October 10, 2011

Anonymous Posts (10.3.11-10.9.11)

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, Community! Happy fall break!! It's a big, but shortened, week here on campus [am I the only one who thinks that the best part of break is not the days of but the subsequent shortened week?]: 1) My mom is visiting! So if you see a woman who looks sort of like me and is just as loud and energetic, be sure to say hi! 2) Our Lives Discussion Group is on Thursday at 6:30...and last but not least 3) COMING OUT DAY IS FRIDAY!! Get ready for rainbows and Love=Love shirts galore on the plaza. [Insider's tip: If you want to be guaranteed your color and size preference, consider volunteering for a one hour shift: 11am-noon, 1-2pm, 2-3pm. Email your name, shift time, t-shirt size (S-XXXL) and color (blue, black. kelly green, red, purple, pink, orange) to comingoutday@gmail.com...You may volunteer for more than one shift, but we can only give one shirt per person].

And now, notes from OC:

I'm questioning and its getting to the point where its really bothering/confusing/upsetting me and I know that I need to talk to someone about it. The problem is I can't bring myself to talk to anyone because I'm embarrassed/ashamed and I feel like if I talk to anyone about it I'll be automatically labeled as gay anyways. How can I overcome this shyness?

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. Hey #1, Thanks so much for writing in. Everything you wrote really resonates with me. As someone who has been involved with the blog for a long time and who is openly questioning (after yearsssss of being an "in the closet questioner"), I can tell you that there isn't enough conversation about questioning on this blog or in the "Community," which I felt made things really difficult.

    You have a lot of options. You didn't identify your gender in your post, so this may not be relevant, but the next Women Loving Women event (oct 27, 6-8) is going to be about questioning and sexual fluidity.

    You may also find it helpful to talk to someone at CAPS or with Janie Long (email her to set up an appointment; she'll meet you anywhere you want on campus if you don't want to come to the LGBT Center)--both of which are confidential and nonjudgmental. A shrink was actually the first person I ever told that I was questioning (and was the only person I talked to about it for a long time), and Janie was one of the first people I confided in on campus. As a fellow questioner, I'd be happy to talk with you about your experiences and share more of my own, as well (of course, completely confidentially). Feel free to find me on facebook or email me risa.isard@gmail.com.

    As for my experience, I found that while it's incredibly (sometimes excruciatingly) difficult, I just had to push myself and take a leap. This is something I wrote last summer. Writing it was clarifying (more on that in a future blog post), but reading it over and over again when I needed that extra umph.

    Sorry this was super long--I just hope some of it was helpful. Just know that you're not alone on this scary, confusing, nuanced, and really personal journey.

  2. first, thank you so much for reaching out. talking is the most important part of this process. questioning can be a really challenging period of one's life because it is so confusing and the answers are yet to materialize. but through conversation and self-exploration you will gain answers and develop personally and intellectually as you get to know yourself better. until you are ready, use online resources where you can maintain anonymity to ask questions and learn, but please know as well that there are so many resources at duke for you. believe me, we have all been there. every one of us had some period of ambivalence during which we were confused and uncertain about where on the spectrum our sexuality would manifest. i, personally, grew up in a close-minded conservative town where there was no presence of alternative sexual or gender identities and this certainly engendered closetedness and discomfort among LGBT youth. it took me until the age of 21 to come to terms with myself, but i came out in december and have never been happier. and perhaps you will decide, in the end, that you are straight, but, in any case, you will know yourself better for having participated fully in this process of self-discovery. but if you decide that you are gay or bi or whatever, that is also a beautiful thing and something to be embraced. never feel ashamed about who you are. you are beautiful and you will be loved for being yourself. relax, take a deep breath and let's talk. no expectations. through others we may find ourselves.

  3. Hey #1!

    I'm going to write my blog post this week (mine is every other Friday, so this Friday!) on your question. I'm not ignoring it!! It's really important and I just want to give it the answer it deserves! (I think it's also really coordinated with this Friday's event, "Coming Out Day" and the significance of coming out.) I hope you get a chance to read my response to your post then!