May 23, 2011

Anonymous Posts (5.16.11-5.23.11)

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. :)

Hey yo.

I'm currently kickin' it in Bend, Oregon but I've got Joplin, Missouri on my mind. Oy.

I hope you all are having fun and adventurous summers. CEO and President of the Phoenix Suns came out last week!! This might be the best thing to happen in American sports in a really long time.

Yo, 2011: Don't think that This Community doesn't need you anymore, because we do!! The BDU Blog (this thing you're reading right now!) needs you to write our first ever set of senior posts! Reflect on your experiences at Duke and over these past four years for as long or as short as you want. You can sign it however you want, including anonymously. Find me (Risa) on facebook or email ( if you're interested (which you are!).

And, if you're on campus, remember that the Center is open Monday through Friday, 9am-4:30pm.

I admit it. I'm falling so, so hard for a friend of mine. I've lived my whole life as a straight guy, and I know that I just fall into the "closeted frat bro" statistic now. But I don't know what to do. I can't reconcile my feelings with my identity, and I feel like there's no one I can talk to to feel better, even among my best friends who I know wouldn't judge me. I feel like everyone I know is slowly finding out, I'm just shifting between freaking out and feeling so low, and I don't even know what my experiences with my friend say about me. I just feel trapped in my situation with no way out. How can you "come out" if you don't know what you're coming out as? Why does Duke make it so hard to exist without a label on my forehead?

Just wanted to share this and this. I've read some incredible stories on this blog, and I encourage anyone who's up to it to submit!

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).


  1. Hey #1! I'd like to apologize in advance for any spelling/grammar mistakes in this long-winded comment. I was so passionate to say something! And if my post turned maudlin and cliched, leaving you with a horribly disgusting aftertaste, forgive me!

    I'm sorry that you're going through a rough time...Coming out can be a difficult experience all together, but then there's also confronting the idiosyncrasies of "labeling".

    Personally, I don't think a label is necessary if you don't have one you identify as, let alone fret too much about lacking one. Simply identifying or saying "I'm not straight" is a good enough sign that you're being honest with the people around you. I'm not depreciating the significance of labels (and there are wonderful -and bad!- things about them!), but it your perspective gets warped if you become to caught up with them. Labels shouldn't be so strict. They simplify things, yes, but I don't believe you should either be imposed or impose a label on yourself or someone else. Labels are on clothes, documents, computer devices, food cans. People don't NEED to be labeled, as much as it's presented as an every day ritual.

    Worse case scenarios are you never come to terms with who you are, or having to force yourself into this predetermined box that doesn't even completely fit you. I've tried the second route, and it didn't go well. I don't think sexuality is meant to be fixed and constrained. It evolves, changes.

    If you need anyone to talk to, I'm always opened to talk. I'm not calling myself an expert, but I can definitely say, "Yeah, I've been there...." There's also greater resources to use at Duke, trust me! Janie and Jess of the LGBT Center are AMAZING. You don't even have to be a frequent attendee of Fab Fridays (personally, I prefer the quiet and cozy atmosphere during the other days of the week at the Center; the computer room/study room is a warm and loving place! Comfy couches! Awesome people! You should totally check it out [end shameless plug]). And what's better, there are actually people at Duke who DON'T make it so hard to exist without a label. Really! There are! I've encountered and befriended a handful of people who will not judge you because you're still uncertain about sexuality; heck, there are people aren't 100% certain about their own sexuality(!). I have my down days where maybe I should just stamp my forehead with a big, neon sign. But when I think about it, not being Sara makes me less of who I really am. I am not my sexuality. I am Sara. I am me.

  2. #1: Just live your life like you want to live it. You don't have to have a sit-down and "confess" your sexuality, unless you want to. If not, just be with whom you will, and do you. Duke may be hung up on labels, but it's possible and even easy to navigate that campus and other spaces outside of it without labels. Be you. And if you want someone to talk to, say so. I'm open to it.

  3. #1: All of second semester was confusing and tough for me. I was so confused and didn't know how to figure out what I was feeling. For a while, I did not tell anyone. I started telling a few friends and they were willing to listen to my thoughts. They were all really supportive and while they could not necessarily relate, just talking made me feel better and be a little more insecure.

    I also spoke to a few gay people: a friend of a friend, and 2 writers for this blog who seemed like they would be willing to help. While I did not know them whatsoever before, they were totally willing to talk to me and definitely helped me through the process.

    I still have some doubts, but I'm confident enough that I am gay that I started coming out to my friends this past week. I guess the points I am trying to make are that there are always people to talk to while you may not think it and they will be beyond supportive and it is OK to be figuring out who you are. You would not believe how many people would be so happy to listen to you. You will eventually figure out who you are and you don't necessarily need to be the "gay frat star" or any other label. Being gay or straight and being in a fraternity are just a few parts of you that combined with all the other parts make a unique person.

  4. #1 - Hey!! I'm so glad you posted on the blog, to start off. =) I remember for me even posting as anonymous on the blog felt like a huge step, so good job!!

    Sara's post really hit everything I was going to say, but I'll add something else; I identified as a lesbian because it seemed like the label that was the closest to fitting most of my experiences. Yet despite that, it still doesn't encompass everything about me-and I don't think we could expect them too!

    You said you're shifting between feeling so low and feeling trapped. Ah, I feel you-when I was closeted, that was me too. My first reaction to this statement, is I don't think you should try and handle this alone, because it's so difficult and you have resources available to you. I went to CAPS, and it helped me a lot to talk about my fears of coming out, and you could just as easily talk with someone over the summer at CAPS (see the bottom of the original post! there's a number!) about your difficulty with this seemingly conflicting identity. You also mentioned that you might have confided in friends-and I know that helped me a lot too. (See below.)

    Also, I know there are some out men in fraternities-some of them are graduates, but there are some out gay men currently in frats who you might be able to talk to about coming out Greek and male. (Out and Greek blog writer, AJ is someone who comes to mind! Check out the recent past anonymous posts too about Greek men coming out.) Talking with someone else similar to yourself who who "did this all before" might be really helpful! I know after I talked to queer women about coming out at Duke (thanks!!), it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders; they showed me that it CAN be done-even though it seemed so impossible to me as a closeted student-and that not only can it be done, but it can be done marvelously. :D

    I know my post is long too, but like Sara I feel really passionate about this! You've got so much amazing possibility ahead of you. When I think back to my closeted year at Duke, I just laugh and smile-she (closeted me) could have never had any idea that there were incredible options besides disliking the present- and that could be anything you chose for it to be; closeted, out, or anywhere in between.

    Good luck!!