April 16, 2012

Anonymous Posts (4.9.12-4.16.12)

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. :)

Hello again y'all. This is kind of a big week for us. Thursday marks the beginning of the early voting period, so get out there and vote. Get your friends to vote. Get those randos from down the hall to vote. You get the idea.

If you need persuasive material, just show them this:



The Most Special Thanks goes to Christine and Erik for the time they dedicated to this project and for the individuals who shared their stories and lent their voices to Making It Better.

What's more, Friday is Lavender Graduation. It'd be really nice if we get a lot of people in there to support our seniors that are leaving us all too soon. Then the next day is the alumni reception, which is also a big deal.

In short: This week is kind of a big deal. Now, notes from OC:

#1
I remember when you used to smile - please don't let that joy be gone forever

#2
Are there other athletes who read this blog?

#3
http://whoneedsfeminism.tumblr.com

#4
I was at Duke for Blue Devil Days this week, and I REAAAALLY wanted to stop by the LGBT Center to talk about the level of tolerance on campus...but I chickened out big time. However, seeing the rainbow flags all over West and East Campus, and witnessing two guys holding hands as they strolled through the crowds at Sprinternational answered all of my questions. I'm still choosing between schools, but I know I will feel comfortable at Duke.

#5
I just wanted to give a huge shout out to the gay community here at Duke. I've been feeling less and less comfortable hanging out with my homophobic friends lately. Thankfully, I've been able to spend some time with out students at Duke and you guys just make me feel right at home. I finally understand the importance of having gay friends as well as straight friends and next year I will definitely be going to the center!

#6
Ok I admit it. I’m scared. Actually, I’m scared shitless. Underneath the surface of my smile and energy my heart beats fast with uncertainty. My blood boils and my brain gets tired from the stress. Yup, I said it. I am scared. I’m sorry to my siblings who thought I was a good role model to them. I’m sorry to my parents who thought one day I would give them grandchildren. I’m sorry to my godmother who will now think I will live in hell for all eternity. I’m sorry to the teachers who thought I made it look effortless. I’m sorry to my friends who thought they knew me so well. I’m sorry to my ex-girlfriends, and I just want the to know that I really and truly loved them. I’m sorry to my teammates, who always thought I had it together to be there for them. I’m sorry to all of those who saw me walk up on stage during high school to get the, “Outstanding Senior Award” thinking, “Damn, he makes it look so easy,” when inside I was a mess…. But, I’m not sorry for the reasons you might think. I’m not sorry for who I am. What I am sorry for is that I’ve lied to you all this time. Second confession? Whoa it’s a shocker. I’m gay. “Great!” some might say, “I’m so proud of you for telling me!” Whoopee! Let’s all be best friends! How about you wake up to the real world and realize that I still hate myself!! I hate that I can’t tell my closest friends, people I consider basically brothers, who I really am. I hate that I can’t tell my own flesh and blood the true son they have created. I hate that even at a liberal institution like Duke I am still so afraid to be…me… I hate that people will stare, I hate that people will whisper, I hate that I could only ever get married in 7 out of 50 states in a country that prides itself on freedom. Ha-ha, bullshit. I hate that the way I have to find people to satisfy my, “needs” is through a seductive picture and sites like craigslist where people degrade me by posting things like, “my dick needs your mouth” or, “need to dump a load?” Seriously, what do you think I am, a slut? I hate that the way I relieve my ungodly sexual tension has to be through scheduling what creepy parking lot I have to meet up in, or who’s car we will be in. I hate that when I am blackout drunk at shooters the only thing I remember the next day is the tears running down my face as I tell my friend from home, “I just want to be normal…” To all of you who may have thought nothing could ever bother me, that I am so confident and sure of myself, you are wrong. If you could ever think that I would CHOOSE to be scared that my entire life theoretically could collapse with the simple words, “I’m gay,” you are sorely mistaken. In the famous words of Gaga, bitch “I was born this way.” I once joked to my friend, “you know, I may be one of the whitest people I know, but I sure as hell know what it feels like to be black.” And I do. Judged for something you have absolutely no control over. Granted, I can hide my situation a little more, but imagine being so afraid every minute of every day or every week of every year that the very world you know and have come to love has the chance of being altered with the simple, and irreversible utterance of two words. I’m not really sure what I am afraid of. It is hard to articulate. Do I come from an ultra-conservative area? No. On the contrary, it is probably one of the most socially liberal places in the country. Is my family extremely religious? Nope. My parents barely ever go to church. Do I go to a conservative college? Ha-ha, yeah… Duke is REALLY conservative, especially with all of those flags hanging up fighting Amendment One. On that note let me just have a little tangent on Amendment One. You know, when I first came to North Carolina I was amazed by how much I liked the South. Sure where I am from is TECHNICALLY the south, but everyone around me tries to disassociate us so much that why bother attempting. What gets me, though, is how a state can sponsor so much hate. Literally, hate is what is propelling this onwards. I once had a friend explain to me that Catholics can’t support gay marriage because they love gay people so much so they cannot endorse acts that will lead to sin. And you know what, I respect that. I respect differences in belief no matter how much they may hurt me. What I don’t promote though, is reckless hate. And let me just say that Amendment 1 promotes hate for all of those who simply believe that gay people are inherently bad people. So I’m a practical person, so I’ll try to look for practicality in these situations. Using taxpayer dollars to have your state legislature promote hate is NOT the purpose of government. Using taxpayer dollars to promote inequality is NOT the purpose of government. In practical terms, using taxpayer dollars to cause people within your state to possibly leave is 1) STUPID and 2) NOT the purpose of government. Get real North Carolina. But, I digress. Let’s get back to the real question. Why is it literally impossible for me to reconcile my identity? Everyone who I have told has been more than supportive, always there for me. The problem isn’t acceptance; the problem is recognition. I’m a man, I’m 19, I’m a friend, I’m a lover, I’m a brother, I’m a son, I’m an athlete, I’m a musician, I’m a scholar, I’m an idealist, I’m a stuborn-ass-mother-fucker-ready-to-change-the-world. Oh yeah, and I happen to like guys. So then why if I accept and recognize my own PERSONAL inclination for other guys, does this become so much more a part of my “identity” than it should be? If I were to ask any straight person what they would describe themselves, as I would bet $100 dollars that they would not include being heterosexual. So why does being different automatically define who I am? Yes, this is totally a rant, but I hope that it can actually make people think. There is so much more to me than just happening to like guys. I am a smart, strong and genuinely nice person. If I were to come out, every time I would hear a snide remark or be lumped into a stereotype I would literally be stabbed by those words and thoughts. I consider myself to be a really good friend: to anyone. I can be a “bro” just like the rest of them, but if you judge me based on things I have no control over, how can you really get to know me? Think, listen, learn, and appreciate the beauty of difference. Do not waste your time and energy with hate. Your actions and words and thoughts have direct impact on people. You may never know what effect they have on people, underneath the surface.


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).

19 comments:

  1. I don't understand how #1 is LGBT or relevant. i also think i have a problem with the way this was worded: do you hang out with this person 24/7? how do you know they are simply just not smiling when they are around you? it seems sort of presumptuous to assume something about a person's level of joy or happiness unless that person has explicitly made that known. i just have a big problem with this type of assumption. we never know where the other person is coming from. please respect that about other people, and don't make assumptions.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @12:49 I don't understand how your comment is relevant. #1's comment could mean any number of things, and the answers to all of the questions you asked could be anything. Maybe #1 has a really good friend who's going through tough times. Maybe the situation is more complex than anyone else knows. Or, maybe not; I'm not assuming either way.

    I have a "big problem" with the following sentence of yours:

    "it seems sort of presumptuous to assume something about a person's level of joy or happiness unless that person has explicitly made that known"

    Does this statement imply that cognizant people should not make observations on other people's levels of happiness, but should instead wait for someone to "explicitly" say he/she is unhappy? I can tell when my closest friends are unhappy without them having to say a word. That's not being presumptuous, it's being an empathetic human being.

    Additionally, "it seems sort of presumptuous" for someone to comment so critically on a post without any context. The post could mean anything, but how you got some "type of assumption" out of a vaguely written 15 word sentence, I will never understand.

    To #1, WHATEVER your post is about, I sincerely hope everything works out for both you and for whomever your post is about.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anon 1249 - your own advice seems reasonable in regards to your reaction to what ever #1 was talking about. 'we never know where the other person is coming from. please respect that about other people, and don't make assumptions.'

    ReplyDelete
  4. #6- the more out you are, the less degrading/shady hookups have to be. while there is obviously some stereotyping and some people may see/treat you differently if they knew, i don't think you're giving straight guys at duke enough credit for how unimportant it is to most of them if one of their bros is into other bros.

    ReplyDelete
  5. also, #6, stop slut-shaming.

    ReplyDelete
  6. #6: You absolutely, without question, DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE BLACK. I really don't understand the desire of non-black LGBTQ identified individuals to appropriate racism/blackness/African American civil rights/slavery/any other awful thing related to black people in history, I just don't. It's completely negligent of intersectionality (you know, because you can be black AND gay) and just thoughtless and wrong in so many different ways.

    Anyway, I agree with anon 5:20. And I really do hope something happens that helps you change your mind about hating yourself. I struggle with the same thing from time to time, especially my situation as a queer woman and what this country is doing poorly in regard to LGBT rights, but I can sometimes hold on to hope because things are changing and change is often times a very slow process. Best of luck to you.

    #5: Yay, that's so awesome! No one should ever be content with homophobic friends that make them feel uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ebony way

    i sincerely apologize for my lack of tact when I wrote that. I did not by any chance mean to offend, though now reading it over I feel like I should have seen that one coming. I was very angry writing this and, admittedly, was being stupid. all I meant was that i empathize with the struggle for equality. again, sincerest apologies, i should not have been so crass in my choice of words.

    ReplyDelete
  8. #6. wow you wrote exactly what i feel. i don't think i could ever express it the same way you did, but it's scary. I asked if any other athletes read this blog and then saw your post...

    I don't know about you, but for me, being on a team makes it hard to even think about/deal with the feelings i have. Maybe i'm not giving my friends and teammates enough credit, maybe they'd be totally cool with my being gay... but the number of times i've heard people, teammates, friends, using homophobic slurs or saying mean shit about gay people makes me think everything wouldn't be 100% fine if i were to talk to them about it. And if everything isn't 100% fine, it's not just me that ends up in a shitty situation, but all of my team, my friends, because it shakes things up. It's like I'm afraid that all of the work that went into being who I am, building myself up and 'succeeding' in sports, in school, and socially, could be undone if i told people and anything changed.

    College is the best time to come out, unless you have have homophobic friends.

    ReplyDelete
  9. #6 I agree with Ebony on the whole black thing...but thats a conversation for a different day because i really want to address your identity crisis.

    So i went through a similar crisis before i came out. I was afraid of what my friends would say, my parents, and how the world would treat me. I also had to deal with the whole religious thing, but it sounds like thats not an issue for you. What i will say is that life post-closet is not as scary as you think, and in fact it is much better than the closet. Will it be hard...yes. Will it be stressful...yes.But will it be worth it...YES!

    Its hard to explain the freedom that comes with living an out life. don't have to watch every word i say, or everything i do anymore. Also, being gay will not consume your entire identity if you don't want it to. your identity as a gay man can be a huge part or a small part of you life, thats up to you. Will people make certain assumptions about you...yes. But that happens with all minority group, but you can rise above that by showing people the real you.

    People make assumptions about me as soon as they see the black skin...i cant tell you how many times i've been asked "oh what sport do you play" after telling some i go to Duke. They assume oh , he's black and goes to a good school, he must be on athlete because black men aren't smart enough to go to Duke. But when i respond "no i don't play sports" i put a crack in their stereotype. One person at a time. Does it get tiring to have to break down stereotypes all the time...yes. But consider yourself lucky... you still have your male privilege and white privilege. Imagine how some like Ebony feels every day having to combat stereotypes on three sides.

    So what i'm trying to say is this, there are a lot of perks to coming out, and very few for staying in the closet. Have you ever meet a person who escaped the closet who wished they could go back? i haven't.

    One thing that helped me make my decision to come out is this... I thought if ever there was a time or place it would be here now at Duke. Duke is a great place to come out and "learn" how to be gay, because the outside world can often be more harsh. Come to terms with your identity here because you don't want to wake up one day 40 years old with a wife and kids and then having to say "honey I'm gay".

    And if you ever come to the center i will teach you how to channel the gay "force". Its a little know secret that gays can channel the power of the great queers of the past...(Alexander the Great, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelangelo, etc)

    Best of luck to you

    ReplyDelete
  10. #6: " If I were to ask any straight person what they would describe themselves, as I would bet $100 dollars that they would not include being heterosexual. So why does being different automatically define who I am? "

    hmm that stood out to me. I've pondered this myself..

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Ebony way,

    He was relating them in the fact that neither are choices but you get judged on them by people who don't really understand what it's like. Calm it down. You took one TINY point from his extremely long, sincere post and twisted it out of proportion.

    #6 - I feel for you so badly. Being gay shouldn't have to be your entire identity, and it doesn't have to be. I suggest you come to the center more often (there is a private entrance that's fairly hidden) or schedule an appointment with Janie to talk about some of these issues. It could really be helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. (the original post was too long, so I cut it into two sections)

    Part 1.

    #6,

    I really feel for you. And in a lot of ways I feel like I was you. Long ago when the original "me too" blog was created I was a 19 year-old sophomore going through the very same complex issues and turmoil that you are currently putting yourself through. In fact, I very similarly expressed angst in having to, what I thought at the time, erase all of the great friendships and experiences that I had developed in order to come out. Not because I thought my friends or family would abandon me, but because I would not be able to deal with the guilt after they knew I had lied to them and been inauthentic in my interactions with them. I was determined to continue that lie for as long as possible, and had definite plans to marry a woman and build a perfect family together gated by a white picket fence. But eventually I just became so angry and depressed at the inequality and unfairness of a situation I had no control over and it began taking a terrible toll on my health and psyche. I was a mess and had no personal outlet to vent or let out my exasperation, so I turned to the "me too" blog and let my verbal vomit speak for itself.

    And before this gets too focused on the specific post (the wording of which was quite similar to yours), I want to make sure that I clearly express to you that what you are going through is a completely normal and understandable reaction. One of the blessings of the "me too" blog was that in the comments section, all anyone had to respond was "me too" and it would feel like a little bit of the weight you were burdened with became a little lighter. And I distinctly remember that my post had the most "me too" comments on the blog (or at least on the blog in its original incarnation) at about 15 or so. I was given a definitive, tangible number to grasp my sameness with a few of my peers. At least 15 people on campus felt as lost and confused and frustrated and afraid as I did. It was such a revelation and a relief. Which is what I at least hope to capture for you here. You are not alone in feeling the way you feel and certainly not alone in struggling to come out in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

    One of the most meaningful responses to my post, however, was written anonymously by someone who had been out on campus for a number of years. S/he said that when you come out you don’t have to wave a rainbow flag all over campus, immediately join the glitter parade and become involved in every aspect of the center, etc., (unless of course that is what you want to do). Essentially s/he meant that you don’t have to deny who you are and what you have made for yourself to take on a new gay identity. Whatever “gay identity” means to you. Coming out is a process that peels away one of the many layers and aspects of who you are as a whole person, which can also include being a friend, a lover, a brother, a son, an athlete, a musician, a scholar, an idealist and a stubborn-ass-mother-fucker-ready-to-change-the-world. Identity is not finite, and adding openly gay to the mix should not crowd out or reweight any of the other important aspects of who you are. And to echo Denzell, I am not aware of any queer person that I have interacted with that has ever regretted coming out, no matter the hardships they have come to face (although it could also be the case that most of my peers at Duke and in "the real world" came from relatively privileged backgrounds).

    ReplyDelete
  13. Part 2

    So I encourage you to come out in your own time, as everyone’s experiences are different, but I do encourage you to come out at some point before your anxiety and frustration take a greater toll on your well-being. I ended up coming out at the end of my sophomore year, about 4 months after I anonymously expressed my grief in a very public forum. And to do so I had to type out “I’m gay” on my computer at least 100 times before I could say it out loud alone to myself, which I needed to do about another 100 times before I could say “I’m gay” while looking at my reflection in a mirror. In fact telling my first friend I was gay occurred after a series of sake bombing, when my inhibitions were low and I needed a dose of liquid courage. Coming out for me involved a lot of baby steps, but once I made it through the threshold I only became a much happier, more confident version of myself.

    Of course I was still fearful that my friends and family would feel betrayed by me, in that I had not been who they thought I was, but it turned out to be a non-issue. Because as I said earlier, you are still the same you. “I’m gay” is not a spell that transforms you into a different person. To your friends and family you are still and will always be the same “#6”. I had to get over the guilt myself, and many of the people I came out to expressed how difficult the coming out process must have been on me and that they completely understood why I had kept it hidden for so long, without any prodding from me to express such empathy.

    Of course every situation is different, but I hope you understand that there are a lot of people who only want the best for you. All you have to do is decide ultimately what the best for you is.

    All the best,
    John
    Trinity ‘10

    ReplyDelete
  14. @ #2 and anon 10:30pm - I feel that same way. I really have no idea if a lot of my teammates would be alright with my sexuality or not. So many terms like "fag" and "gay" and derogatory jokes are made in the locker room each and every day. It's so hard to tell if people actually mean these things or just simply spew them out because that is what they have been conditioned to do. Like, perhaps most of them would be chill with a gay teammate, but I find myself analyzing and cataloging every single gay related comment ever said. I feel like it really impacts my performance when it actually comes to my athletic competition. People completely underestimate how mentally draining this is. All I hope for is just some sign of unexpected support, someone speaking up or attempting to carve out a safe space. I wish I had the strength for that person to be me, but I just don't see it happening.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Anon 2:37, No, you are so very wrong. Refer to the post above where original poster #6 acknowledged what he said was poorly worded and then reflect on your own desire to tell ME that I've twisted things out of proportion (which I clearly did not, I think the only person here taking things out of proportion is you). I'm going to need YOU to "calm it down" and leave things that were ALREADY ADDRESS AND RESOLVED alone and stop trying to include yourself in conversations that don't need your input in any way, shape, or form. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @ ebony way

    I respectfully disagree with the following excerpt from your latest comment:

    "stop trying to include yourself in conversations that don't need your input in any way, shape, or form. Thanks."

    While I certainly understand your frustration, I believe that everyone's input is valuable (unless what they have to say is egregiously irrelevant or intentionally hurtful) even if what they have to say is most disagreeable. For the record, I don't think you twisted things out of proportion, although I thought your reaction was much stronger than it should have been. BUT, as a white male I certainly read such statements from a different angle I have to admit, so I'd actually really like to hear your response to this comment.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Kory: I brought up the subject, Anon #6, the person who I targeted my comment toward, addressed/acknowledged what problem I had with what he said in a respectful manner and with an explanation. There, April 16 9:55PM, ended any discourse on the topic in which I was included. Unfortunately for Anon 2:37 I was done with talking about that, as was Anon #6. To bring it up again doesn't make sense. Anon 2:37's input to #6 is relevant, but in no way is his comment to me relevant in this conversation (because what I had pointed out had already been addressed by the person I was talking to, meaning THAT conversation was done).

    Also, I'd like to correct you: I'm not "frustrated", I'm angry as hell. If anon 2:37 really DID want to talk about what I had pointed out, instead of taking the "stop being butthurt/stop overreacting/you're making this a big deal/twisting things out or proportion" road (which I see so many people use for other things like defending sexist, racist, or rape jokes, so yeah, I'm side eyeing Anon 2:37 SUPER HARD right now), he could've done a better job in being civil and respectful, and maybe he could've read the other comments before trying to perpetuate an issue that had already been resolved by the original poster.

    Not only did Anon 2:37 brush off something I find to be a serious flaw not only in anon #6's post, but in the LGBT community as well, he further went to outline a very obvious aspect of anon #6's post as if I were someone who had no comprehension skills. Which is rude. And to be honest, while I was the only one who brought it up (because it seems like I'm the only black person at Duke who even wants to bother with this blog anymore in regard to pointing out BS because, oh look, backlash galore!) Denzell ALSO said he had a problem with it. Not that Denzell's post should be necessary to validate my comment, but it does support it. But it also highlights Anon 2:37's anti-black-opinion response (yes, that's what it is, deal with it) and that goes to show how, had I not said ANYTHING about that comment, no one would've. And I know I'm not the only one who noticed it, which makes the situation sadder.

    Anyway, if I said this conversation is done earlier, it's more than done now. If you want to further talk about this, you can email me or give me a call. This isn't the forum to be talking about this anymore. /derail

    (Side note: I used the male pronoun. Could be he/she/they/etc.)

    ReplyDelete
  18. A little late, but to #6: I probably have never met you, but I love you. You probably don't believe me, but I do.

    I hope one day you'll love yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @ #6

    You rock. I think you've summed up my feelings exactly. I'm pretty involved in the Greek community here which, like sports teams, has a bit of a reputation for homophobia. Being a senior I've adopted the don't-give-a-shit attitude and allowed myself to be more open about my sexuality (bi, FYI). As it turns out, people are a lot more cool with it than I thought. And it's been awesome to be able to talk about that part of my life without worrying about who will overhear me.

    Part of me wants to be even a little more open about it so that people in a similar situation will see that there are more people like them. I want to help adjust the perception of Gay/Bisexual guys on Duke campus so that it more accurately reflects what is it. Most people I know in similar situations (especially in fraternities) are afraid of being labeled as flamboyant just because they are gay/bi. That was definitely the case for me. So maybe we should show them the other side? At the same time, I don't want to make my sexuality into something that defines me.

    So, #6, be happy and confident in who you are. There are a TON of guys just like you also waiting for the chance to be comfortable in their skin in public. At some point just say, fuck it, and help pave the way for the others. That what I wish I had had the courage to do a while ago.

    At any rate, if you want to grab coffee or Dillo drinks let me know. I'd like to hear your story. FB message away. God knows I'm completely incapable of doing work now.

    Best,
    Tucker Howard

    ReplyDelete