April 11, 2011

Anonymous Posts (4.4.11-4.10.11)

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, hate speech, or express or insinuate that one is at risk for hurting themselves or someone else. Please read this for an explanation of this policy and seek help if your or a friend find yourself in that position. With those exceptions aside, please feel free to submit your thoughts and questions. :)

I read this list of the top 15 out celebrities and was so excited to see that there were (basically) equal numbers of men and women. And then it came up that there were no people of color...which is just like, REALLY!? smh.

OMG DID YOU SEE LARAMIE THIS WEEKEND!?! This weekend was opening weekend for The Laramie Project. I went Saturday night and was so incredibly moved by the performance. For those of you who don't know, The Laramie Project sheds light on all different aspects of Matthew Shepard's murder. This coming weekend is the last chance to catch the show. Performances are Thursday the 14th, Friday the 15th, and Saturday the 16th, all at 7:30PM, and Sunday the 17th at 2:00PM. Student tickets are $5 and can be bought at the door. Help them sell out their final shows!!

ALSO, this Friday is the 15th Annual Day of Silence. Sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) DoS calls attention to the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ youth, whose voices are silenced everyday in our schools. [Fun Blue Devil Fact: Did you know that Duke alumna Madelaine Adelman is on the national board for GLSEN?] You can participate by pledging to be silent for all or part of the day and by wearing red. Be sure to have a card with an explanation prepared so that when someone asks you about it, you can explain without talking (tricky, tricky)! Blue Devils United will be tabling throughout the week and continuing our ever-famous poster campaign. Get your picture taken after Wednesday's BDU meeting (6pm, LGBT Center) and tell us what you're silent for!! This year, I'm silent for my Uncle Malcolm. Check back later this week for his story--a story my family is all too silent about.

Update: The last Blue Devils United meeting of the year is this Wednesday at 6pm in the LGBT Center. [We'll have a blog specific meeting sometime in the near future, so be on the look out.]

Lots of anonymous posts this week, yo! Good work!

I'm thinking about how awesome fantasy books are! Especially for bookish chicks like me who somehow never noticed their feelings until they were suddenly in college...anyway, I wanted to give a shout out to authors like Megan Whalen Turner, Robin McKinley, and the sadly deceased Diana Wynne Jones. My inner life would have been so lonely without being able to read the strong, interesting, fleshed out, attractive and most importantly COURAGEOUS women characters. Those books and authors (like Spindle's End, The Queen of Attolia, Sunshine, Rose Daughter, Deep Secret, and Hexwood.) The girls aren't necessarily gay (although with some of them you can kind of read between the lines) but it's cool to have a fictional person you can fall in love with and get practice that way. It's a little bit of practice before the real thing. Anyway, that's what i wanted to say. =)

This blog gives such a false impression of what the community is like. Criticism is also a way of bettering the community, you know - maybe you shouldn't automatically silence these voices.

So I came to DUke almost 100 percent sure that I was a lesbian. Later in changed to asexual and now I'll be ending my freshman year having absolutely no idea. This isn't how I envisioned my first year of college. I thought I'd have things figured out and a gf or bf by now. Is this the next 3 years of my life here or will things change?

First off, I don't go to Duke, but that doesn't make reading this blog any less great. I'm in the closet (very in the closet), and I don't have any intention of coming out in the near future. There are a lot of things hard to reconcile in this type of situation. I don't think I'll come out until I have a boyfriend, "I'm gay... this is my boyfriend." Otherwise, there is just a constant pressure to change lifestyles and other than being in the closet nothing about how I act or what I do will change when I come out. It is almost impossible to meet guys while in the closet except for over the internet, but I hate that. "This is my boyfriend... we met on craigslist." So if I don't want to come out until I'm with some one, and I can't find anyone while in the closet except on the internet, and I don't like entertaining the idea of having a significant relationship with someone I met over the internet, what am I to do? I play the waiting game.

I'm finally in my first relationship with a man that I love, but I can't rid myself of a lingering crush. Whenever I see him I get confused again. Does this mean I shouldn't be with the guy I'm dating? Is it okay to have other crushes?

I wanted to say check out the It Gets Better Video made by the American Institute of Bisexuality and posted at the link below by the Bisexual Resource Center. http://biresource.net/

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. If you or a friend are experiencing thoughts or urges to harm yourself or somebody else, please reach out to the following resources: In an emergency, please don't hesitate to call CAPS at any time, including "after hours" at (919) 966-3820. Ask to speak to the advice nurse and tell them you are a Duke student. You may also call the Trevor Project, a national hotline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning youth (college students included). Their number is 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386). Don't be surprised if you see these resources listed in following weeks.


  1. #2: I've been following this blog since its inception, and I was never aware that its intention was to represent "the community" in any way.

    "We seek to inform and empower our Community – a demographic we understand extends beyond the campus walls. A specific goal the staff has is to effectively convey the diversity within the LGBTQ Community, something that is often underrepresented and underestimated."

    Yes, the creators want to convey diversity, but this is very different from trying to somehow represent all aspects of the lives of all LGBT students at Duke as that would be an impossible task. I'm not connected to this blog at all, but I hope that it doesn't go in the direction you're suggesting.

    Also, neither editor has stifled criticism about the community. In fact, it is quite common to see posts about people complaining about the more active LGBT people on campus and in general about the social scene offered to LGBT people at Duke.

    Rather than criticizing the way the blog is run, please try to contribute what you think is lacking. What are the viewpoints that you'd like to read about? Is it your perspective that you'd like to see on here? If so...only you're the one that can really tell us about them...

  2. #1: Love this post, I'm glad that you've found such solace in books and that the strong female characters they show have truly helped you.

    Hey #2,
    I don't know how you have felt silenced, but it is my impression that this blog doesn't endorse personal attacks or hate speech. If you can say something without targeting a single person (you can target a group like the ever popular target of the Center Gays) so long as you don't say that they're all having sex with each other all the time or other hateful things.
    If you are talking about being silenced because of something personal that you tried to share and were denied. I don't think that this blog or group is the kind to avoid or ignore criticism, it's just the question of where that criticism toes the line of helping to reform and progress and trying to only tear down.

    I can't tell you yes or no, #3, sexuality is a finicky thing. I can't tell you how the next three years are going to pan out, but I would hope that, if you attempt to discover for yourself rather than wait for the rain, you will be able to say that you tried.

    #4, 1. snaps to you for posting from a different school, I love that I'm not the only one =)
    I don't personally believe that the internet or craigslist is a good start for healthy relationships, but that's just me, I'm sure there are many stories to counter it. I don't know whether or not you are waiting to get in to a relationship before coming out because you want to present a united front to the world and have someone to be able to talk with about very personal issues. Someone who understands. But I think that you don't have to wait for a significant other. You can be just as close with a confidant, gay or straight, or any person on campus that you feel close enough to talk to. I just worry about what will come of meeting someone on craigslist in order to start a meaningful relationship at a vulnerable time such as coming out.

    #5: For me, personally, I always have lingering feelings for people who I once loved. Not necessarily every crush, but there are a few that will still confuse me. I don't think that they'll ever really go away, but I just look back at them with fondness. It's not a problem unless you want to and are more than willing to take action on those feelings.

  3. #3: I had this INCREDIBLY LONG AND THOROUGH comment typed up. But of course, google decided it was a good time to tell me to log in, again. :<

    I don't have the patience to write it all out again, but the reply consisted of me saying:
    A) ME TOO. (Well, change lesbian into bisexual)

    B) I had a blog entry about asexuality written up in march (March 3, 2011) but I never had the courage to post it because I'm lame and selfish. I'm kind of really beating myself up now about not posting it, I came REALLY close to doing so on Saturday, but chickened out again. It's an incredibly personal entry, yet at the same time not a complete disclosure, so I didn't want people jumping to conclusions about me because of what I've written (or didn't write).

    C) I'm still on the fence about asexuality because of the uncertainty factor. I base a lot of my personal definition on allowing myself time to know myself and experience different things; I'm afraid to jump to conclusions about things I've never experienced. Then again, I knew that I liked women as well as men before I ever had a girlfriend or a crush on a girl, so...

    Anyways, that's not the only reason for my reluctance to adopt that identity and wear it proudly, but I suppose that's for another time. (Perhaps you've inspired me to post that blog entry now.)

    I suppose I'll end this post with letting you know that you're not alone. 1st year Duke student experiencing identity crises on the daily = me.
    PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO CONTACT ME if you want someone to talk about it. My email is in my blogger profile.

    [Side note: AVEN is a great resource. I joined last month in my quest to not drive myself insane with the aforementioned identity crises. Reading the forums led to a lot of "crisis averted" moments due to the fact that I realized I wasn't the only one experiencing the things I was experiencing, but of course those little nagging voices in the back of my mind that I like to call Uncertainty and Forever Alone didn't allow me long enough moments of peace. Regardless, check it out if you haven't.]

    #4: That's what I like to call the Closeted-Gay Dating Paradox. I don't really have advice for you, granted that you're aware of the pros and cons (you're pretty much addressed those in you post). I just wanted to wish you luck! :)

    #6: Thanks soooo much for sharing thing.

    Risa: That list! No people of color! But, that's expected. The queer world is VERY white dominant, you know. :P I hope queer people of color eventually make that list. Though, as a African American, I will boldly state that it's not as accepted (I use this term with emphasis on relativity) to be queer as it is in white communities.

  4. #4 I'm in a somewhat similar position to you. I'm not closeted but I am questioning and I think one of the reasons I'm having difficulty is because I'm not really putting myself out there and don't really know how to. It sounds like you are having a difficult time doing this too. Maybe if someone could suggest ways for us to put ourselves out there, in general and in the context of Duke, that would help us both.

  5. @10:35: Truth.

    The Center, BDU, This Blog, this university, etc. are flawed. Zero people will argue this! And the only way to improve these spaces and organizations is through constructive conversation, which is always welcome here. I'm not sure that keeping hate speech, personal attacks or suicide idealities off the blog is leaving The Dissatisfied with no way to express themselves. Right?

    For the record, since this site went live November 9, 2009, we have only not posted 5 of the 1,893 comments we've received (1 hate speech, 2 spam, 2 personal attacks) and have posted all but 2 of the 260 anonymous entries we got. I don't know. This hardly sounds like the extreme censorship that comments in the past week have warned about.

  6. I'm a sort-of-out-of-the-closet-but-not-yet- totally (hence the anonymous comment) questioner. My comment is a combined response to #3 and #4

    3: As I've been more open with people, I've found that your experience is not an anomaly. One of my good friends who came to Duke in a straight relationship describes Duke as having stripped her of her sexuality. I personally came in as a very closeted questioner and it's something I still sort of struggle with, 3 years later, though I've made great strides. As of about a week ago, though, I'm fairly comfortable with where I'm at--crushless, sexless, relationshipless, and with lots of unanswered questions. I can't offer you "hope" that you won't spend your years at Duke questioning or exploring--because I have. But I can offer you hope that it's possible that not knowing exactly how you identify may cause you less anxiety and strife than it seems to be currently.

    With respect to #4: I'd encourage you to listen to Emma Miller's Develle Dish post about her and her boyfriend, who met on the internet. (Link here: http://dukegroups.duke.edu/develledish/2011/my-new-boyfriend/). The other thing is...if you don't want your friends or family to know, that doesn't mean that you can't vaguely come out to other gay men by going to gay clubs, etc. If you want company to go out to an LGBTQ establishment, people from BDU and The Center sometimes go and you could try reaching out to one of those people and let them know you'd like to go out sometime(I know this requires coming out to one of them, but it avoids coming out to best friends, family, the whole world, etc). Lastly, I was super in the closet, and then I slowly started coming out. I'm still not out to everyone (or even close to it), but with the support of a few key friends (predated by 2 years of slowly coming out to help me be comfortable with everything) I was able to make the bold move of putting myself out there and exploring/experimenting a bit.

  7. Hey #5,

    Crushing on other people while you're in a relationship is not only normal but expected in any relationship of sufficient length. Dan Savage has a lot of great things to say on this (you can check him out at The Stranger or listen to his podcast).

    Committing to someone doesn't mean that we can't be or won't be attracted to others--and in the long run, we'll get just as bored with that other person as we will with who we're with now unless we find ways to keep things fresh and interesting.

    Sooo... it definitely doesn't mean you shouldn't be with the person you're with now. If down the line you discover you're not sexually compatible with that person or some other deal-breaker sort of thing, those would be reasons to break up, but there will probably always be other people you're attracted to (grass is greener, etc).

    Best of luck!

  8. @4:11

    What would you define as sexual incompatibility?

  9. Hey #3!

    I can't completely answer your question that you pose at the end of your post-only you will be able to come close to answering that question (maybe you never will? that's also another option to consider-and if you're comfortable with that!), but from my experience, sexuality is 110% confusing and I don't think it's ever black and white.

    You say you're a first year-I wonder what resources you've checked out? Have you taken a LGBTQ studies course at Duke? If that's an option for you, I'd really recommend it! Janie Long teaches a course in the Spring (I know, far away from now!) called "Clinical Issues in LGBTQ" and it's a great class that covers the wide spectrum of FLUID sexuality, and she covers in detail how indiviuals can sometimes find their gender-specific attraction changing over the course of their lives! Some women identify as straight until they're 50, and then come out as a lesbian years later!

    So where does that leave you? And me? Well these are all really exciting (and super interesting!) issues a class like that explores. If you wanted to take something sooner in the Fall that might help you work through these concepts, you could check out Lit 20-there's one on "normativity" and "sexuality" through lit and queer theory. I'm going to take it because it sounds soooo interesting-according to the syllabus, it's going to question head-on the idea of normativity in regards to sexuality, which I bet will also touch on the topic of "static" sexuality, a pretty commonly-held belief.

    Lastly, if taking a class doesn't sound appealing to you, you can also always schedule a meeting with Dr. Janie Long or CAPS before you leave for the summer.

    To summarize, I think there are so many interesting nuances to sexuality, and studies show that it's fluid for some people, and static for others. I think for some people that sounds fun and exciting, and for others they'd just sort of rather "know" and then never question it again. But regardless, human sexuality is so rich and there's such a wide spectrum, so I'm trying to say-I wouldn't worry!! =) I think that your post here on the BDU blog echoes my life and I'm sure the experiences of many other people.

    Good luck! Although I think you'll find a lot of guidance with it soon.