August 29, 2011

Anonymous Posts (8.23.11-8.29.11)

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. :)

Yo yo yo. Happy FDOC...which, depending on your course load, might not have a "d" in it. But in any event, we're back at Duke and things are rollin'!!

We'll have a blog meeting soon--but in the meantime, if you are interested in writing for the blog, shoot me an email!

I hear last night's welcome reception at the Center was a big hit (I couldn't make it because I was busy with my JWives at a Jewish Life @ Duke Event). Thanks to everyone who came out (hardy har har). Come see us again outside the Marketplace for snow-cones and jousting on Thursday from 5-7!

A friend sent me this article from the New York Times about bisexual men. Titled "No Surprise for Bisexual Men: Report Indicates They Exist," the article reports on a study that found "evidence that at least some men who identify themselves as bisexual are, in fact, sexually aroused by both women and men." No, duh? Thoughts?

And now, comments from our Community.

When someone asked me about what my biggest fear as an RA was, I lied. My biggest fear does not involve drunken vomiting (although I will admit it ranks high). Instead, what comfort I found in finally accepting my sexuality at Duke is shattered by the prospect that my residents WILL care about what sex I prefer to date or sleep with. The last thing I need is for my ability to perform my job and create a meaningful relationship with my residents be hindered by an aspect of myself, which quite frankly, I'm proud of. Now normally I wouldn't care. If someone doesn't except me for who I am, then I don't have to speak or associate myself with said individual. But as an RA, I'm required to stay involved with my residents. There is no "hands-off" or "ignore the problem" clause in my job description. If my past experiences are correct, then my worries are probably unfounded and people tend not to care. Honestly I hate confrontation (ironic considering the job of an RA), but maybe any potential conflict that would arise involving LGBTQ students would give the experience to diffuse these situations. I'm just curious. Has anyone else in "positions of authority" (I mean this in the broadest sense) gone through similar situations?

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. These resources are available over breaks and throughout the school year. 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. You’re not alone! I know exactly how you feel, having been a TA for a few semesters ( grad. stud. here btw). I’d be lying straight out if I said I was never attracted to students of the same gender, but by some cruel twist of fate, the best looking students (usually) end up requiring the most help come exam time, whether or not they seek it. Anyway, here are some rules I’ve sought to teach by (at the risk of pontification), which you may find helpful:

    Exercise self-restraint. Everytime there is the urge to veer onto the path of turpitude, remember that their parents somehow pay for your lodging & whatever comes for free (as they in some way pay for my TA-ship). Appealing to your self-conscience is a pretty effective deterrent against crossing the boundaries. I’ve had to take points off to ensure students learnt from their mistakes (have felt sorry on several occasions but hey that’s life, remember that you have a duty to fulfil, and tasks to accomplish effectively as an RA). If you do not stand for something, you fall for everything. Remember that you have a choice of whom to divulge your sexuality to, and that it does NOT define your job scope nor your ability to perform well.

    Strive for fairness to all under your charge (Be friendly in an official way). Students are extremely sensitive to this point. The beginning of the end is when you demonstrate an open preference for any person in particular. Within the classroom, I’ve been cautious to (lavishly) praise both genders somewhat equally, whether or not it is well-deserved. Criticize the work of a group of students and never pinpoint the individual. Beyond the classroom (or dorm in your instance), be on the move: a simple and quick greeting will suffice (Different genders respond to body language differently, guys don’t exactly like other guys smiling at them, male TA smiling to female student is a friendly TA). Knowing how to maintain your distance and to set due boundaries for yourself is part and parcel of your job, your public persona is after all one of authority. Be friendly, fair, and open in the way you deal with your constituents; my office hours have been conducted in groups. For tricky matters, send emails instead of “meeting in person”. Your students will be friends at the very most, and nothing more.

    Have some alone time. This is crucial to maintaining your sanity. You (like everyone else), too, have deadlines to meet, exams to take, wounds to heal, and time to love (but please, not the students under your charge).

    You are one brave soul for voicing your dilemma! Proud of you! 8)

  2. I hate that it's understood that straight TAs and RAs have relationships with students (I've heard way more TA hookup jokes and stories than I count), but that it's utterly beyond the pale for LGBTQ TAs and RAs to even APPEAR to have same-sex attractions. Welcome to the way things are, I guess.

  3. I feel like you might've been talking about forming friendships with your residents, and worrying that your sexuality could become an obstacle to that end. I could be wrong, but I don't think you were talking about the temptation of hooking up with same-sex residents. I'm not in any position of authority, but I definitely share the same concerns as you just in general. Unlike you, I have in no way overcome this fear of being disliked or not being accepted. I'd say first kudos on being strong enough to come out and be fully comfortable with and proud of who you are. I think the same self confidence that it takes to be yourself in everyday situations will apply to your life as an RA. My bet would be that the majority of your residents won't give a crap what your sexual orientation is. Of those residents who do, some may just be the kind of people who wouldn't be looking to form a meaningful friendly relationship with any RA in the first place. Otherwise, there may be those who can't accept you for who you are because of their background and what they've learned wherever they grew up, but the great thing about most of the people I've met here is that they seem open to listening to other viewpoints and considering the faults they themselves may have. Who knows, for these kids, your influence as an awesome RA may even change their opinion on LGBTQ issues. Anyways, good luck this year.