July 30, 2012

Anonymous Posts (7.16.12-7.30.12)

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. :)


Sorry about the gap between Anonymous Postings, I've been busy with personal stuff. This means that we have a LOT of posts for today. Much love to everyone who wrote in.

Now, notes from OC:


#1
Why I dislike the term "gay pride" It seems to me to be a gross misuse of language, a distortion of the way words work. But it's understandable that this term, "pride," is so widely misused by our community. It's American. We grow up in a society where people feel national pride, racial pride, cultural pride. But this doesn't make it forgivable. Pride is a concept that belongs to the idea of achievement. If you work really hard and you accomplish something, develop a skill, succeed in some respect, then you are entitled to be prideful. But using the term pride to refer to your racial identity, national identity, or sexual identity is nothing more than to take the accomplishments of others as your own. People who claim to be proud to be white ride off the success of other white people. How can you take pride in the success of someone else solely based on an accidental feature you two share? The same thing belongs to national pride. Getting wrapped up in being proud to be an American *usually* means taking the success of other Americans and applying that to yourself (there are exceptions where it is a group effort that you are in fact a part of). The thing these two share in common is that one finds satisfaction in a feature of oneself that one had no control over. You didn't choose to be American and you didn't work towards your American identity. You didn't choose your race and you didn't do anything whatsoever to be able to identify with that race. The concept of pride simply does not belong. Pride is reserved for endeavors you, yourself strive for. With regard to gay pride, I don't even understand what one means by saying that one is "proud to be gay." In fact, that sounds inane to me. Why are you proud of this feature? Are you proud that you have a penis? Are you proud that you have a left arm? Are you proud that your hair is brown? Are you proud of your green eyes? Are you proud that you have both a functioning thumb AND pinky? These are features of you that you had no part in. I suppose one could say that they are proud that they had the courage to come out in the face of adversity. That is a perfectly legitimate thing to be proud of. However, that is not what one says when one says "I'm proud to be gay."


#2
I feel in love with a girl and she broke m heart. I'm ready to do it again


#3
I'm an incoming freshman at Duke. I'm gay, but I'm only out to a couple of people back home, and I'm confused as to what to do once I get on campus. I haven't reached the point where I am comfortable enough to be out to everyone, but I really don't want to enter college under the disguise of a heterosexual (like I've been doing my whole life) and have to go through the coming out process later. I want to get to campus in August with comfort in who I am and no need to put on an act. But, like I said, I don't think I'm quite ready to do that at the moment. Advice?


#4
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/07/18/macklemore_n_1684116.html this song is really good! I love that it doesn't sound like he's forcing the material into the music... It flows really well.


#5
[sigh] So, I'm an incoming first-year student, and I'd like to say I love every single thing about Duke and I'm so super duper excited to be a Blue Devil (like everyone here seems to do). However as of late, I've had some concerns. Right before applying and right after I got accepted, I had this notion inside my head that Duke was sooooo accepting of the LGBT community, and that as soon as I step on campus, I will be engulfed by a progressive castle-like wonderland of open-mindedness. My reasoning for this being Duke's selective-nature (I guess the correlation of college selectivity and open-mindedness really DOESN'T imply causation haha) This is important to me because I've been in the closet for my entire life and only out to a handful of gay guys that I know. I thought that coming to college, I'd be given a chance to be more open and happier about my sexuality. However in the last few weeks, I've started being more realistic and coming to terms with the fact that Duke has a reasonable presence of bigoted students. I guess I shouldn't have gone to CollegiateACB (I was so disappointed in the Duke student body for this) and I guess I shouldn't have read the June 18th anonymous post for this site. I'm just worried that I'm not going to be as comfortable on campus as I'd like to be and frankly, I've been flirting with the idea of transferring. I just want to get some input from current students. Is it really as bad as I think it is (PLEASE BE HONEST)? Is the (small) LGBT community here cliquey? I already have strikes against me with Duke being that I am not really a party monster, not really into hookups, and that I am a QPOC. Ugh this is frustrating!


#6
Anyone else down to get the chick-fil-a off our campus? It's not like they're ever open anyways, amiright?

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. 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).

July 16, 2012

Anonymous Posts (7.9.12-7.15.12)

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. :)


Hey all,

I hope your summers are going swimmingly. We've got an anonymous post this week for you, and thanks to recent alum AJ for writing a post during the week.

Now without further ado, notes from OC:


#1
I am not sure if this has ever been considered before, but I think it would be great if the Duke LGBT Center did an "It Gets Better" video. Several other colleges around the country have created videos, so I think it would be exciting to showcase LGBT life at Duke for prospective students and show that it does get better.

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. 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).

July 13, 2012

Fraud


Oh hi! It’s me again. Didn’t think you could get rid of me that easily did you? A silly, little ceremony and piece of paper couldn’t keep me away for long.  So, just a quick update on me: I graduated back in May. Woohoo! And, now, I work at Duke! Even bigger woohoo! I’ll be around for a few more years and, hopefully, keep contributing to this amazing blog.
So, what’s this post about? Well, graduating put me face-to-face with a decision that I had been struggling with for years: whether or not to come out to the rest of my family. My mom, one of my aunts, one uncle, two cousins, and my godmother were all coming up for graduation. I’m only out to my mom. Other family members have hinted at knowing my sexuality but never outright asked and I never said anything about it. That presented a lot of problems for me: What about my rainbow tassel from Lav Grad? What about the rainbow flag I have hanging in my living room? What about my favorite poster ever that was above my bed? What was I going to do with all the symbols of who I am when they came to visit me? I could leave them all up and be like “SURPRISE!” when my family walks in. I’ve wanted to come out to them for a while now and that could be the way to do it. Just rip it off like a Band-Aid and leave it at that.
I took a long, hard look at the Love=Love sticker on my messenger bag. Did I want to keep it on there or take it off? Who knew a decision as small as a leaving sticker on a bag would keep me awake for hours every night? In a fit of delirium and anxiety, I picked up my bag and ripped the sticker off. I ripped it off just like a Band-Aid.
After I pulled off the sticker, a metaphorical wound opened and so did my tear ducts. I cried for a really long time. It felt awful. In a teary haze, I went around my apartment taking down any symbol of my pride, feeling shameful with each sign I tucked away under my bed. As I took each pin out of the wall, I felt as though I was putting a pin in my heart. Once again, I was going back into the closet. The part of myself that I hated for so long but finally grew to accept and love was once again going into the deep, dark abyss of that wretched closet (or, at least, as far as I could make it go lolz). After the de-gayification of my apartment, I sat on my couch looking at the bare walls, tears still dripping down my face. The whole process was so emotionally draining for me. I felt exhausted. I felt like a traitor not only to the community but also to myself. I felt like a fraud. Mostly, I felt like a coward.
I was taking the easy way out, brushing things under the rug to be dealt with another day. I mean, I didn’t want to ruin my graduation weekend for my family which would in turn ruin it for myself, but in the end, it still ended up being more stressful and anxiety-ridden than joyous. I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I came out to my family then, who knows what they would have done. By not coming out to them, I could never fully relax and enjoy the momentous weekend. It was a catch 22. I felt as though I chose the lesser of two evils: 1) stressing myself out and tarnishing graduation for myself or 2) putting the ball in my family’s court and hoping they aren’t upset enough to turn around and go home thereby still tarnishing my weekend.
So, graduation came and went. The weekend was mildly successful in that my family enjoyed themselves and loved seeing Duke. It was a failure in terms of excitement for me. I didn’t really relax and enjoy my graduation until the night it was over. My family was leaving the next morning so it gave me a reason to actually be happy. I could return to my actual life and just be me. It was this realization, this sudden relief, and the wave of happiness that led me to my big decision: I’m cutting ties to my family.
I’ve always had issues with my family or more like; my family has always had issues with itself. It wasn’t really a great environment to grow up in. I learned a lot about people’s behaviors and the awful ways they can treat each other from my family. There’s always been a lot of conflict. Even at big family gatherings, the underlying tensions hung in the air like the smell of the Thanksgiving feast we were about to devour. Since coming to Duke, I’ve been very estranged from my family anyway. I’d only see a handful of them when I went home for winter break. Didn’t really talk to any of them while I was at Duke except for my mom and very occasional call to or from my grandma. There was already a lot of space (physical and emotional) between us. It seemed like the next step. Why agonize over telling my family when they’re not a part of my life anymore?
I’m here at Duke working now. I’m (almost) self-sustaining. I don’t owe them anything and they have nothing to give me. I don’t ever plan to or ever see myself moving back home. I can live my life without their judgment and they can live obliviously to my life. I don’t have to go through the emotional trauma of coming out to people who honestly don’t mean that much to me and they are free to have whatever mental image of me they want to have. Sounds like a win-win to me.
But why do I still feel like a fraud?

July 9, 2012

Anonymous Posts (7.2.12-7.8.12)

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. :)


Hey all,

We've had no anonymous post submissions these past two weeks, so if you've got any thoughts be sure to submit them using this link and we'll post them on the following Monday. We'd really love to hear from you! So, as far as news goes, the only thing I've heard lately is that Anderson Cooper is gay. I don't know if you suspected as much or not, but it's definitely good to have another role for LGBT youth. If you've stumbled across anything interesting related to the LGBT community, be sure to submit it.

Love y'all!

July 5, 2012

Throwback Thursdays:"Why do Gay People...?"

[Editor's Note: Hey Readers! Welcome to the eighth installation of "Throwback Thursdays." Every first Thursday of the month we'll feature a post from the BDU Blog, Version 1.0. I certainly hope everyone (that lives in the US) had a nice July 4th. I at least hope you got to relax a bit, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing. This Throwback Thursday brings one person's answer to the some of the most common question that members in our community get asked by straight people. I hope you enjoy it, and if you feel there are nuances missed by these definitions, please feel free to comment.]

December 3, 2008

I have been asked more than once about why gay people have things like pride parades and why they feel the need to flaunt their sexuality or educate others on how to interact with the LGBT population. These are questions not easily asked nor easily answered, but I want to try my best to say what I think about them. The length of these answers is what it is, but I encourage you to read them and think.

1. When it comes to events like Pride (which may be defined as the state or feeling of being proud, which is defined as having or showing self-respect or self-esteem), the goal is not to display superiority, but to assert our right to have the same “self-respect” everyone else is allowed to possess. As an individual in a group that is consistently marginalized and belittled by members of my community and the government that runs my city, state, and country, my Pride stems from my assertion that I have a right to “self-respect and self-esteem.” I will continue (and we will continue) to demonstrate Pride until our country gives us the same rights that others take for granted. It can be compared to the various other civil rights issues that the United States has overcome in the last hundred or so years. Women marched and displayed their Pride to gain the right to vote and the right to equal pay and the African American population protested, marched, and spoke out to display their pride to gain equality as citizens. I admit, that we still have to work on those issues, but we have come a long way and the legal inequities no longer exist. When those legal inequities disappeared, so did the protests and the marches. Pride did not need to be displayed because the government had given these marginalized groups “self-respect” under the law. In the same way, Gay Pride must exist if we are ever to demonstrate that we are not happy with are marginalized positions in society and wish to be treated equally under the law.

2. I sometimes hear people comment on “why gays feel the need to flaunt their sexuality all the time?” That comment often leaves me speechless, as I wonder what they are talking about. Is it flaunting my sexuality to hold my boyfriend’s hand while we walk? I see how many straight couples doing that on a daily basis? Is it flaunting sexuality when gay characters kiss on television? I see straight couples kissing numerous times on television shows and in my daily life. People comment when a gay man wears “effeminate” clothing, but is it not also “flaunting” your sexuality when anyone wears clothes that reveal their body to the world or when someone wears clothes that somehow assert their heterosexuality? The point is, I see straight people “flaunting” their sexuality every day. The problem that people have with seeing a gay or lesbian person express themselves similarly is that for some reason their thoughts go straight to what that person does is the bedroom. I don’t see a straight couple and immediately picture them having sex, they may do it, but why is that my business and why would I think about it? Why does your mind go straight to sex when it should just move on and realize that these two people share the same love that you and your partner(s) share? I keep my mind out of the gutter, and you should too.

3. Finally, I have heard remarks from people asking why we need to learn about LGBT people and be sensitized to their lives. My answer to this stems from my first two answers. Every day is Straight Pride day in my book. Every day I see straight couple holding hands. Every day I see straight people kiss. Every day a professor or classmate makes assumption in his or her speech that implies that everyone is heterosexual. Every day I am confronted with and forced to understand and live in a heterosexual world that not only won’t accommodate me, but also often times prohibits me from finding my way in a straight world. So, when those “gays” announce their sexuality “from the housetops” it is not really what they are doing, it is just us standing out because we are not conforming to this heterocentric culture that we live in. Straight people declare their heterosexuality continuously, while I have to constantly consider my surroundings and make sure it is safe for my boyfriend and I to hold hands. The trainings and things that are offered to everyone exist to make it so this is not the case, so that being gay is not sensationalized, and we can hold hands in public without fear of harassment and assault or being called out for “flaunting our sexuality.”

Thank you for your time and I hope that you were able to take something away from it. Feel free to comment, but please remain civil.

“Michael”