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:
I remember when you used to smile - please don't let that joy be gone forever
Are there other athletes who read this blog?
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.
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!
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).