March 21, 2011

Anonymous Posts (3.14.11-3.20.11)


Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks or hate speech. Feel free to submit your thoughts and questions :)

Hey y'all. In case you live under a rock (or in the library), March Madness is officially upon us. So are all of the newly infatuated with each other CGers.

More relevant, BLUE DEVILS UNITED HAS A NEW EXECUTIVE BOARD. Thanks to all who came to the meeting, ran, and voted. Another post with more details is forthcoming.

Cool things to know about if you're LGBTQ identified:
  • The men's discussion group is meeting for their second time on Wednesday from 6:30-7:30 at the LGBT Center. They'll be talking about social relations among LGBTQ-identified men. How do LGBTQ men traverse the Duke social scene and navigate friendships and relationships between themselves?
  • Women Loving Women is also meeting this week (Thursday, 6-8, LGBT Center). The owner of Nosh and her partner will be visiting, as the theme is long-term commitment and life as a same-sex couple.

Cool things to know about regardless of how you identify:

  • Lavender Ball is this weekend! Come dance the night away at "The Prom You Never Had." Saturday, 9pm-??, at the Freeman Center. [**Wanna write a recap for the blog about this event? Hit me up.**]
  • All of the Above is also this weekend. In its 8th year, AOTA is a monologue show directed and performed by undergraduate women. Any Duke woman (undergrad, graduate/professional, staff, faculty, etc) was invited to submit a monologue about anything under the sun (including, according to a little birdie in a tree, that "queer women fuck").

Lastly, if you like True Blood, 30 Rock or Ricky Martin, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) says you can feel good about yourself. All three were recognized at GLAAD's 25th annual Media Awards this past weekend. #WhyNotThisBlog? We did get some coverage in The Chronicle, however.

And now, what you've all been waiting for.

#1

QUESTIONING SUCKS. I wish I could be as confident as someone who identifies strictly as homosexual or strictly as heterosexual, but it's not that easy. I will constantly live with uncertainty and it's driving me insane.

#2
At this point in my Duke career I could care less what most people think of me (if you haven’t guessed, I’m a senior on my way out). This is one of the main reasons why I started to come out to my close friends and hopefully everyone else. Though they have all offered me nothing but support and have encouraged me to continue coming out at Duke, the amount of gossip that goes on in the Duke gay community has been enough to keep me in the closet until after I graduate. Coming out has been hard enough for me without gay guys that I have never met before coming up to me and introducing themselves, asking if I want to go out with them, or girls that I interact with once every couple of weeks approaching me to verify gossip they have heard about me from one of their gay friends. Am I really that interesting or is there nothing better to talk about? I am not saying that everyone in the gay community acts this way, but if there are this may guys who gossip endlessly about who is in the closet then how does the gay community expect anyone who is in the closet and still somewhat insecure to come out?

#3
My parents will come for graduation and they don't know. My plan, since freshmen year, has been to forewarn all my friends and walk on eggshells for the weekend. It's a sad way to end my time here, but it's safe. But more and more, I'm thinking that someone letting it slip won't be so bad. I have a job; I can be financially independent; I don't need my family for emotional support - the worst case scenario of geting cut off doesn't seem so bad anymore. Hell, I might even tell them myself.

#4
You know what bugs me about the Queer community? We preach about "born this way," but then we let our own members use the craziest labels for themselves; we use labels that have no basis in actual categories of human gender or sexuality. I had a male friend. He was dating a woman. He told me he was attracted to other men, but was still straight, because he preferred women. I told him, "No. You're bisexual. By definition, that is what you are. You are attracted to both men and women, therefore, bisexual. It's not a good or a bad thing per se, it's just the category your sexuality fits into." I have female friends. They are dating women. They tell me they are attracted to men, but are still lesbians. I don't dare to have the same conversation with them, because they would be more offended than my "straight" friend was. What's the problem? What's wrong with admitting you're bisexual? Why does our community have so much biphobia? Here, this is a handy dandy chart that will work in 95% of all cases.

Woman attracted to men only: Straight
Woman attracted to men and women: Bisexual.
Woman attracted to women only: Lesbian
Male attracted to women only: Straight.
Male attracted to men and women: Bisexual.
Male attracted to men only: Gay.

Sexual identity isn't a "pick your own label" game. If it were, all those slurs the homophobes throw at our "lifestyle choices" would be accurate. But it's not. It's a (mostly) biologically determined essential part of who we are. So check the chart. Pick the appropriate label. Then use it. Don't hide behind "lesbian" or "gay" when you're bisexual, just because it's easier in the gay community right now. If you're bisexual, and identifying as something else, you're not actually out of the closet. You've just traded the bi-phobic world of straight people for the bi-phobic world of gays, and didn't tell anyone the truth.

26 comments:

  1. #4: Transman attracted to people who fuck with gender: ???

    For some of us, things aren't that simple. I, personally, do not identify as bisexual because I am attracted to all kinds of genders, not just two, and the less they conform to the gender binary the hotter they are. (I go for queer, or, if pressed, pansexual.)

    But even if gender wasn't way more complicated than you're making it out to be, why do you get to decide other people's identities? Sexuality is personal, complicated, and fluid. Do we really need to be this inflexible to "prove" that it's not a choice? (Do we really need to prove it's not a choice to deserve basic rights?) I just can't accept that this way of thinking doesn't harm far more than it helps. Maybe it's my Canadian complacency, but this kind of policing just seems counterproductive.

    For example, I'm feeling really hurt and rejected right now, and it's kind of ruining my day. How does that help anyone?

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  2. #4: I agree that bi-phobia/queerphobia is a big problem both in the straight and in the gay communities. However, why try to fix someone's sexuality (and following the mainstream logic) therefore, their identity, to a rigid series of labels or social categories. From my experience -- and from conversations i've had with others as well i can say this is true -- sexual attraction is fluid, and just like our concepts of our selves it can't be fixed in a series of rigid boxes. This is especially true for bisexual/pansexual/queer folks whose identity falls in the middle of, or across, the spectrum.

    People have a right to use whatever language they feel is most appropriate to determine their identity, and to alter or invent language when it doesn't fit right. That inventiveness is what I appreciate the most about the queer community. Perhaps your friend isn't yet comfortable referring to himself as bisexual or queer -- that takes time and he should be supported, not forcefully pushed into it. Also, don't start out your post with the word "queer" if you're gonna reinforce the gender binary and erase the existence of trans and genderqueer folk from your list of definitions.

    To further digress, or intellectualize, I wanna make a distinction between "Identity politics" and "queer politics," -- the words are taken from one of my favorite blogs:

    "Identity politics is the idea that we can organize around individual identity categories (man, woman, black, gay, transgender, Christian, youth). Withing this dogma is the implication that (a) we know exactly what constitutes a man, a gay, a black man, and that if you identify with these categories that you embrace every aspect of that assumed category and (b) that in identifying with that group, you have the same experience and qualities as everyone else in that category."

    'Queer' on the other hand is about emphasizing difference and full diversity, rather than pure congruity with social categories. "DEFINITION: Queer is a “different” approach to our identities. Instead of viewing our identities as fixed, concrete, and immutable, queer allows us to shift our own personal definitions of these identities and therefore, open up infinite possibilities for personal and communal growth. You cannot “be” queer, but you can “do” queer."

    In short -- from this perspective, we're not necessarily "born this way", nor is it a choice. It's more like, "we become this way, and you can't necessarily size me up and tell me what 'this way' is supposed to be."

    Cheers, and thanks for your thoughts.
    <3 Sarah

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  3. #1 - Hey! =)

    You said questioning sucks!! Awwww. I just had to respond to that. I remember I wrote my article in WOMYN magazine about questioning (shameless plug...:), and I actually wrote about how at first I disliked questioning, but that eventually I came to enjoy questioning and appreciate it.

    I can't speak for your experience, but only my own. I know that for me, when I first started questioning my sexuality (because I thought I was "straight", ahahah, that's a laugh...!), I was so super nervous and upset because I thought I was closing the door on "normal" life things (whatever that even means).

    What I came to learn is that by questioning, I was actually opening the doors to an incredibly rich life that I had never known before-the chance to actually date, and talk openly, about a (female) gender which just never ceases to amaze me and take my breath away. I came to realize that by questioning my sexuality, I developed myself more fully as a person-and that while it was scary at first, I was actually never losing anything at all!

    So...all of that doesn't make it any easier. =) I think that yeah, it's hard at first! (and maybe forever?) But, questioning made my life so much better! I don't know what crazy thought got into my head to initially start to question my sexuality (because I came from a SUPER conservative family!)... but I'm so glad it did! =) I feel my life would actually "suck" without questioning!

    Lastly-I identify really openly and strongly as a lesbian woman. I also wanted to say that I like to give off an air that I'm really confident about it, yada, yada....but that doesn't mean I'd ever be closed off to men. Or that I'm really "positive" that I'm a lesbian; I'm not so sure you can ever be "sure", because since I haven't met every man in the world...I can't say they'll never attract me! (That's my perspective at least.) I think closing yourself off to almost a billion people...well in my personal opinion, that's just a little close-minded. So maybe those who seem to "strictly" identify, actually aren't as strict as you'd think-and perhaps you share more in common with them!

    Well, I probably haven't cleared up anything, I just hope you know I can relate to part of what you expressed...and this is my biasis: explore! it's fun! :D

    Good luck!
    Megan

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  4. "Sexual identity isn't a "pick your own label" game. If it were, all those slurs the homophobes throw at our "lifestyle choices" would be accurate. But it's not. It's a (mostly) biologically determined essential part of who we are. So check the chart. Pick the appropriate label. Then use it. Don't hide behind "lesbian" or "gay" when you're bisexual, just because it's easier in the gay community right now. If you're bisexual, and identifying as something else, you're not actually out of the closet. You've just traded the bi-phobic world of straight people for the bi-phobic world of gays, and didn't tell anyone the truth."

    I feel like there are a lot of assumptions in this paragraph. If you could re-write this with I statements, I feel like I would understand you much better.

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  5. #1: Please just reread what Megan wrote. So spot on!
    Also, I kind of see myself as one who’s questioning too, due to the uncertainty of life, etc. So, what helps me not become incredibly frustrated with my sexual identity is just steering clear of labels. This doesn’t work for, nor satisfy, everyone but it’s what I’ve had to do (I mean, what would you do if the most accurate “label” for you was over 7 words long? haha)

    Which leads me to #4:
    People are hard to understand, and while I err more on the side of seriously questioning how others define themselves, I do know that sexual orientation is highly personal and these labels don’t work for everyone (see: my response to #1 and also what Lawrence wrote). When I read what you wrote, I automatically thought of the endless list of “straight men” looking for other “straight men” to hook up with on Craig’s List. In that instance, I agree with you, and it could be as simple as shedding homophobia/biphobia and looking at that list you wrote there. I’m also going to acknowledge the fact that you mentioned the 5% of which your chart doesn’t work for. Though, I’d like to bump that up to at least 10% for those who are trans, pansexual, asexual, or questioning—and whatever else is out there that I’m not mentioning/can’t think of.

    On a side note: Lawrence, please acknowledge that that original poster said the chart wasn’t for 100% of the population—because to say that would be kind of ridiculous—so you shouldn’t be taking it too personally; an anonymous post is perhaps the LAST thing you should let ruin your day. :/

    Anyways, I don’t have much left to say about this post except to touch on the topic of biphobia. While I have yet to experience it (because I have identified as “bi” in the past and default to it when not wanting to explain all of the little intricacies of my orientation) I do believe biphobia exists in the Duke community due to:
    1) Your accounts here and the fact that
    2) Hypothetically speaking, bisexuals should be the “majority” of the LGBT community yet they’re underrepresented/almost silent in our community (though, this could be part of the bisexuals’ doing as well…)

    To end, I’d just like to echo what you’ve said here, because I think it’s gold (when applicable):
    “Don't hide behind "lesbian" or "gay" when you're bisexual, just because it's easier in the gay community right now.”

    #3: More power to you if you “tell them yourself”. And even if you don’t tell them, it’s your choice/decision. I hope whatever happens works out for the best.

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  6. #1: I totally get what you mean. I have been questioning for months now and it also has been driving me crazy. I have felt physically attracted to some men over the past few months and I have been trouble processing my thoughts. I never was really physically attracted to females before but was emotionally attracted to a few. It was especially weird feeling this way basically within a month after liking a girl here.

    Sometimes, I've been thinking that I am gay but can never 100% admit it to myself or be sure. I feel like until I have an "experience" with another person (be it male or female) like a date or kiss, I'm never going to fully decide my sexuality. And for me this is very hard because I'm not willing to just do anything with anyone like many people do at Shooters for example. I'm the type of person who needs to really like someone first before I even muster up any courage to tell them and THEN maybe we'd take a relationship from there.

    Anyway, I feel like you about questioning being really annoying and currently a constant in my life. Some of this may be similar to the way you are feeling and as much as it sucks, know you are not alone. I have multiple friends who I discuss this with, and while they don't necessarily relate, they are all there for me, try to give me advice, and it is just good to get my feelings off my chest. I hope to find a clear answer too and am scared that it won't happen by the end of the semester, but if it doesn't, I know things will be alright - things might just continue to be tough for a little while.

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  7. ebony way - I suppose. I think what I'm really responding to here is the way that kind of framework (and the insistence that it's true in some kind of absolute sense) enforces the gender binary, in a way that I don't find useful or accurate to my life. I think we need a world in which everyone can embrace the ways their lives are flavored with queerness, but I can't see how forcing people to go sit in the "bisexual" corner is better than fostering a new, more fluid sense of sexuality.

    Plus, I respond really badly to the implication that I'm in a straight relationship with my girlfriend. She and I are pretty much the queerest people ever. And nobody else gets to decide that we're straight.

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  8. #4 - This is the most painful thing I have read in a long time. I say this as a woman who identifies as gay even though it is more complicated than that. Bisexual doesn't quite fit right and straight surely doesn't fit.

    I second what Lawrence said...who are you to be the police? Who are you to uphold a very narrow understanding of gender and sexuality? Why should gender be the basis for labeling sexuality anyway? Perhaps your own sexuality is a little queer-er than gay, straight, and bisexual implies.

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  9. I'd like to acknowledge #2:

    People talk. And it really sucks. It sucks even more when people talk about things that you weren't ready for them to find out about. I won't say that all this gossip is particular of the gay community, but I do think that the smaller size of the gay population here allows news to travel rapidly, especially if the wrong person finds out. We all have/have had that one friend that we know will just spill all the marbles to everyone they know. I'm terribly sorry that you are going through this problem. I know how it feels to have others know intimate details about your life when you barely remember their name. It really sickens me when people try to point out to me who they know (or claim to know) is in the closet. It's nobody's business except your own and I've tried to make that point clear to other people. Not being respectful of other people's privacy is an issue that I continuously see and it angers me to no end. It's something we all need to be aware of and stop whenever we get the chance. I'm sorry that this is how your Duke career is ending. I hope the actions of a few people have not spoiled what should be a happy ending at this great institution.

    Best of luck to you,
    AJ

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  10. #2 (part 1):

    While I want to be careful in how I word this, I'm going to go ahead and make the "blanket" statement that I have a couple of friends who seem to find themselves in "the same situation as you." Obviously, I do not know of the extenuating circumstances surrounding your personal experience coming out [at Duke], but, based on what you said in your post, I can at least try and offer up some thoughts on the subject.
    From my point of view, Duke is slowly (slowly!) becoming a little bit more "gay-friendly," strictly in the sense that the LGBT center has made leaps and bounds in just three, short years in terms of harnessing support and exposure on campus, as well as increasing the amount of active and visible members. With this in mind, "Duke is no New York City, baby!" - as one of my friends put it - in the sense that, once you openly identify as LGBT at Duke, you run the risk of supposedly relegating yourself to THE LGBT COMMUNITY. And what the f&$% does that mean?!? Well, call me a "stupid bitch" if I'm making an unfair assumption here, but to most closeted Dukies questioning whether or not it's even "worth it" to come out specifically at Duke, THE LGBT COMMUNITY automatically means THE CENTER and THE LAVENDER BALL and THE PLAZA DECORATED WITH RAINBOWS and DRAG SHOWS and ORGANIZED PDA-IN-PROTEST and BOYS IN HIGH HEELS, etc. etc.
    Now, I, personally, am very down with all of the aforementioned activities insomuch that they all serve some pretty significant purposes in building the visibility of this concept of an LGBT COMMUNITY on campus, and they create some pretty wonderful spaces and forums of discussion (and drinking and dancing) for LGBT-affiliated students who have not yet found their niche on campus and very much need an open environment to explore an Identity that might be a lot more important to them than, say, their involvement in Wind Symphony or a sorority or a multi-cultural club.
    However, it seems to me that you, my friend, have most likely already found a few niches on campus that have served you well throughout your years at Duke, and the big fear, here, is that - now that you're sort of out of the closet - people are looking at you as though that's your ONE identifying factor. People want to talk about it with you, explore it with you, hear your story... or, maybe, people don't give two cents about any of that and just want to say "Ohmigosh, did you HEAR that so-and-so is GAY?!" because it blatantly subverts their original depiction of you based on those other seemingly-conflicting niches you have so often found yourself identifying with (...a fraternity, maybe?)

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  11. #2 (part 2):

    Unfortunately, I have a feeling that you feel it's the latter of those two options, but I challenge you to bite the bullet and have a little more faith in people. Look, I'm not One To Talk because I have never personally dealt with what you're experiencing, and the whole nature of your post indicates that you don't want to be some kind of martyr or figurehead for The Cause or the *Surprise* Gay Kid at Duke, but it's pretty f***ing awesome that you've slowly started to let the people close to you know something new about who you are. For many who identify as LGBT, this identity is a MASSIVE part of who they are, so I in no way want to undermine that mindset, but, for you, I'm thinking that being gay is simply just another facet of your Self, and you'd really like people to acknowledge it, accept it, and move on.
    While some people WILL be immature and WILL think it's okay to just wander up to you and chat about your sexuality, like I said, I challenge you to take it as, well, a challenge! After all, what have your responses been like? Have they been angry? embarrassed? sarcastic? honest? I guess what I'm saying is that you cannot change what other people are going to do; goodness, I cannot tell you HOW MANY times I thought I was being Miss Fruit Fly and Miss LGBT Prom Queen by just wandering up to the Latest Gay Stranger and bombarding him/her with questions about coming out and his/her personal experiences, etc. I thought myself to be just so "tolerant" and so "accepting" and assumed that, surely, someone identifying as LGBT would really, really APPRECIATE what I initially thought were just super-friendly gestures indicating that they had my support! (They may be facing trials and tribulations as an oppressed minority, but, HEY, I was gonna do my part to show that I was "tolerant!") Well, you know what? Some of my gay friends were able to look more deeply at my actions and recognize that I really was saying and doing those things out of love, despite just how inappropriate my execution was, but it took one friend - a less flamboyant, less "out," still-figuring-things-out type (much like you, I'd imagine -- completely calling me on my shit and saying, "Edie, I'm still figuring this stuff out; I'd appreciate you not turning my gayness into a point of discussion when you know that all I really want to talk about is politics and beer!"

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  12. #2 (part 3):

    To be honest, he was really, really pissed at me and rightfully so. Like all of these people who seem to think your gayness is just this big, epic point of discussion, I thought the same thing. I challenge you to do what my friend did and call these people on their behavior. It's not right to make a Character out of someone, especially when it's so obvious that none of us got into Duke because of our sexuality but, instead, because of all the myriad things that make up who we are. That is what you want acknowledged, and I fully respect that. Now, you must demand that others respect that, but you can't very well do it by being silent or dishonest, and I am afraid that is the burden you bear.
    It's so, totally unfair. And, as for the "random, gay guys who ask you out," don't get mad. Quite frankly, this kind of thing just speaks to the lack of openly gay men in different social circles at Duke other than those who affiliate with the LGBT Center. If more gay men in fraternities and multi-cultural clubs and business clubs and sports teams were, well, more "open" about their sexual orientation, we wouldn't have such a small group of openly gay guys who, in the end, are just looking for new people with something in common with them that feels so rare at Duke. The problem is that gay men are NOT rare at Duke; it's having OPENLY gay men that is such a rare thing for this school.
    It's absolutely heartbreaking, but it takes a hell of a lot of courage of conviction to come out when you know you're going to be among the visible minority, and I just have to give you so many props and so much love, knowing that you've begun that journey of letting people know about who you are. In a utopian campus, more men would come out of the woodwork like you, ultimately setting the tone for a campus where we don't have giggly girls wandering up to That Gay Guy and asking him about Being Gay or a tiny coalition of out-and-proud gay men who are literally RELEGATED to just going up and asking New Gays out because, hey, where the f*** else are they gonna find 'em?!
    Be sensitive to those guys, by the way; they may have NOTHING in common with you other than their sexual orientation, but as you might begin to learn down the road, that's a pretty, big ol' thing to have in common with someone, and if you seek it out, you'll forge some friendships that will surely make all of those annoying girls and gossipers seem like a cake walk.
    I know this was a super long response, but your experience comes near and dear to my heart. You are a bad ass for getting your ass out of the closet, and while I'm not gonna turn you into some kind of role model (I feel like that would piss you off), I have to say that there are so, so, SO many closeted gay men at Duke who could just take a cue from you and come out one step at a time. Then, at least, YOU would have some gay guys with whom you might identify more!
    Good luck, and if you ever need anything, I've made it a point to be easily found on the internet. My parents love that, haha. Anyway, you do your thing. Let the haters hate. Half of them are probably gay anyway and just curious to see what it's like to meet someone who's actually acknowledged it. I don't mean that in a snarky, bitchy way. I'm actually quite serious. Some of my favorite gay friends were the most homophobic people, like, 10 years ago. Funny how people change when the RIGHT PEOPLE tell them what's up! That... is my job as an Ally and your job as an Awesome Person. Good luck, friend!

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  13. am i missing something or is there not a part 1 from Edie?

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  14. #4,
    Sadly, this community seems to be demonstrating, yet again, that this blog is mostly for the mainstream gays here at Duke (with an open mind, of course (I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible)).
    While I do not agree with everything you said, you have raised some interesting points that have been glossed over, ignored, or otherwise dismissed under bristling feathers and scrambling to protect pride and hurt feelings.
    Biphobia is real and legitimate whether it comes from the gay and straight communities.
    What I found more interesting in your post was your argument that people should use the labels that are present in the English language. I could not agree more. While not everyone may feel that they fit these labels, they are words with shared meaning that convey information. It often seems to me as though people avoid these labels in order to reaffirm their own uniqueness, and to distinguish themselves from stereotypes. Nevertheless, in order to communicate with each other, we must use words as they exist in the English language.
    Kinsey scale...blah blah blah...if you like guys, and you like girls (or, Lawrence, if you like guys and girls and anything else), then you are at least a little bit bi.
    On another, similar note, I find it deplorable that anonymous #4 was personally criticized. Anonymous at 7:13 and 10:18 both questioned the sexuality of the author, even though his (?) identity, let alone his sexuality, could not be more irrelevant to his post.
    Speak your mind.
    Share.
    Inform.
    These are all important aspects of writing for this blog, but the most important thing we can do is to learn from the writings of others, and to change our behavior to improve our community, our society, and ourselves.

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  15. Wow.
    Edie wrote a lot.

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  16. Sorry, 8:29 AM. That was my fault - missed that comment. Thanks for the heads up, though!

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  17. Edie, that was fucking awesome.

    Snaps at:

    "If more gay men in fraternities and multi-cultural clubs and business clubs and sports teams were, well, more "open" about their sexual orientation, we wouldn't have such a small group of openly gay guys who, in the end, are just looking for new people with something in common with them that feels so rare at Duke. The problem is that gay men are NOT rare at Duke; it's having OPENLY gay men that is such a rare thing for this school. "

    and

    "Be sensitive to those guys, by the way; they may have NOTHING in common with you other than their sexual orientation, but as you might begin to learn down the road, that's a pretty, big ol' thing to have in common with someone, and if you seek it out, you'll forge some friendships that will surely make all of those annoying girls and gossipers seem like a cake walk."

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  18. I never write on the blog, so I had to make up for lost time :)

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  19. lawrence,

    I love reading your post every week. seriously you're one of my favorite parts of the blog. and I can understand how you might be hurt at how quickly #4 labelled people and dismissed questioning feelings. but #4 is not talking about questioning or queer identities, and I did not find that he or she was dismissing other sexualities or preferences. I think all they were trying to say is that if you know you are attracted to both men and women, then you should consider yourself a bisexual and tell people that because that is the only way to increase visibility. and bisexual visibility is what everyone needs so people who are questioning their bisexuality can know that there is a community out there and they don't have to fall into a category in which they feel uncomfortable, whether it be gay straight, or queer. Nor should they have to take on a fuck gender stance if they don't want to.

    matt

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  20. "I think all they were trying to say is that if you know you are attracted to both men and women, then you should consider yourself a bisexual and tell people that because that is the only way to increase visibility."

    - I *should* call myself whatever I want to call myself regardless of what other people think. Maybe I'm attracted to men and women and I want to call myself bisexual...maybe I want to call myself queer...maybe I want to call myself gay. I should call myself what I want not what someone else wants. Just because someone is attracted to men and women doesn't mean they should call themselves bisexual.

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  21. If you are attracted to men and women, you should call yourself bisexual because that is what that word means and it exists for a reason.

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  22. While I'm all about self-definition (ie: I avoid labels because nothing fits 100% due to certain factors) I do feel like, in certain situations they're OK and you can't avoid them without being unreasonable.

    For starters, I like both men and women, and while I question whether or not I like both men and women "sexually" I know for a FACT that I do emotionally and openly call myself "biromantic" when I'm amongst people who understand that. When I'm not around people who understand that, as I said before, I call myself "bisexual" for the sake of being able to communicate at least some of who I am to others.

    However, denying being bi, even though I KNOW I'm attracted to both men and women, would be like me denying that I'm African American. By definition I'm African American and it's not something I choose to be or choose not to be, much like I feel like you can't choose your sexual orientation.

    If I'm 6'7" it would be unreasonable for me to say "I'm short" because that's not really what is considered short, now is it (relativity aside)? I know I'm taking something somewhat abstract and comparing it to physical, concrete things, but that's the best I can do to explain how I see it (which may or may not be how these others are seeing it).

    But, I'm seeing that this is going in circles, with neither side bending--which is expected. Choose what you wish to identify as (honestly, it's your life, not theirs, call yourself whatever you want to call yourself) but do know, others might just/probably will label you a different way because they won't be able to understand you without these preset definitions (to go from) and you can't really get mad at them for that.

    To echo anon 2:16/Matt, I'm all for bisexual visibility. I also want to know why people are SO AGAINST calling themselves bi, because that's what it looks like now. And it's kind of disconcerting... There's obviously a problem here in our community.

    Also, Edie, that was amazing. :)

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  23. Jeez, people. Nobody is saying that there is no such thing as 'bisexual,' or disputing the fact that people who fit that category should label themselves as such.

    The issue that Lawrence pointed out (and others felt uncomfortable with too) is trans-invisibility. Yeah, it's important to realize that our community [referred to as QUEER, NOT LGB by the original poster] is not just "Lesbian/Gay," it's not just "Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual" either. According to the 'master list,' if I'm a pre-op transgirl who's into women, i'm "straight' -- that's kinda fucked up, yeah? What about that transgirl's girlfriend -- is she "straight" or "bisexual"?

    Secondly, the uproar is/was not a question of "whether or not people-in-the-abstract should feel comfortable identifying as bisexual." This person pointed out a *specific* friend and dogmatically told them they were a LIAR because they referred to themselves as straight.

    How can a group of people that usually [sorry if i'm making assumptions here] feel so strongly about fighting inequality take such a personally offensive, closed minded approach to individual liberty?

    Whew. I'm gonna take a break from reading this blog for awhile.

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  24. There seems to be a conversation blowing up about labels above, haha, so I just wanted to re-quote what someone said on this blog awhile ago.

    I remember there was a BDU blog comment once that said something to the effect of this: that most biograpgies and autobiographies are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pages, and that even still, they can't capture the full essence of a person. The question then becomes; what's the chance a single word can? Perhaps except from a person's name, labels might just always fall short of explaining who we really are.

    It's just something to think about! Also, I remember I was super stressed when I thought I had to "pick" a label as I was first coming out; it wasn't until much later that I realized maybe I didn't really have to pick one at all- maybe I was just me. It's been my personal experience that the best thing I could do was this: find a label that you like, and surrond yourself with people who affirm that. Good luck!

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  25. Anon 8:22,

    I don't think anyone said there was no such thing as bisexuality.

    #4 was talking about biphobia and I guess bi-invisibility.
    In reply to #4, Lawrence brought up a point on trans-invisibility. Not necessarily aligned with the original topic, but certainly very important.

    I might be a little ignorant here and apologize for that, but from all that I've read here on the blog about trans folk I thought that they identified as male or female regardless of their original sex. Meaning if someone was a pre-op transgirl, they identified as a girl regardless of physical construct. Going through an operation would only be asserting that female identity physically for more comfort and aesthetic happiness, right? (Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.) So "a pre-op transgirl who's into women" wouldn't be straight, as you've said, because they identify as female, meaning they'd be homosexual...right? And the "transgirl's girlfriend" wouldn't be straight either, because they're acknowledging and accepting the fact that their girlfriend is in fact a girl, regardless of current physical constructs, right? Unless the transgirl's girlfriend decided that she wasn't going to respect the transgirl's personal gender identity until the operation, which doesn't sound like a fulfilling relationship for the transgirl at all...

    While "the uproar is/was not a question of 'whether or not people-in-the-abstract should feel comfortable identifying as bisexual'" it is a valid topic of discussion that has stemmed from #4's comment about biphobia (much like how this discussion of trans folk has stemmed from Lawrence's response to #4's post). It shouldn't be discounted or ignored. I agree with you that #4's decision to govern those around him/her is a bit forward and uncalled for. #4 is obviously aware that while his/her personal opinion of "clear cut" sexual identities is very strong, he/she won't be successful in forcing that upon every friend he/she has (as was exemplified in his/her example about the lesbian friends who #4 "wouldn't dare have that conversation with").

    Your second to last paragraph is, at best, a poor attempt at making indirect personal attacks on those who don't align with your opinion. Not necessarily the most reasonable or mature thing to do. And your last paragraph is another poor attempt to mine sympathy from readers who do align with your opinion and also guilt from those who don't align with your opinion, granted that you could just "take a break from reading this blog for awhile" without announcing it to everyone. Instead of running away from discourse that makes you uncomfortable or upset, you should engage in it and perhaps be a voice to combat trans-invisibility; that would be much more productive.

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  26. #4 I feel like you are not aware of the fact that there are so many words to define ones sexuality and sometimes it is not as simple as lesbian, bisexual, or gay. Have you heard of pan sexual, asexual, pomosexual....there are plenty of words beyond heterosexual and homosexual.......o and one that is interesting to me is heteroflexible. Anyways in saying all this, it seems as though you need to remember not everyone can define their sexuality as simply as you want them because in a world where there are people who claim both genders and no gender, when you are sexually attracted to them what do you call that? Its not as simple at looking at ones sex and saying o I am gay. What if you are a man who is only attracted to transman.......by definition you would be gay but you can also be queer......did you know you can be queer and heterosexual? Just some thoughts I don't like to play the politically correct card just tell it how it is.

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