“That’s so gay”

There is a lot of talk about bully and harassment prevention, but it still occurs quite frequently.  What people don’t think about as often is how words and phrases can have such a negative impact.  I really liked the article from The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/thats-so-gay-phrase-impact-lgbt-youth_n_1837330.html) because it discussed the harmful effects of words.  The author described how hearing the phrase “that’s so gay” can lead students to “feel isolated and experience headaches, poor appetite or eating problems.”  I heard this phrase just the other day while walking to the Davis Center.  I was thinking that hearing the phrase “that’s so gay” could make it even more difficult for some students to come out.  Despite having many students that are open or are advocates of LGBTQ people, hearing such words on campus reveals that there are still those who are not aware of how hurtful this phrase can be or who are not as friendly toward LGBTQ students.  What are your experiences with hearing the phrase “that’s so gay” on campus?


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It Gets Better

Check out this link for a great “It Gets Better” video by Dan Savage: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/#zPcHmlqZnXQ

Watch the first full “It Gets Better” MTV episode here: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/it-gets-better-mtv-special-full-episode

Here is the second full MTV episode of “It Gets Better” about college students dealing with family, friends, and coming out: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/second-it-gets-better-special-to-air-on-mtv-october-9th

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So I’ve been struggling with my sexuality for as long as I could remember.  I grew up very… I don’t want to say conservatively because that can have different connotations, but traditionally (we went to Church every Sunday, traditional gender roles etc.) which has made accepting my sexuality incredibly difficult.  I’ve really always hoped that someday I would just wake up and be “normal”, so that I could grow up, get married and have kids.  I’m finally starting to accept that that may not be an option for me and I just feel like I’ve disappointing myself and my parents because of it.  Because I’m the oldest child of three and the only son, I’ve always felt a lot of pressure from my parents and to grow up to be everything they expect of me, which really does not help my situation.
However at this point in my life I’m just tired of feeling like I’m hiding who I am and lying to my friends and family.  I already live a stressful life with school and what not, and having the constant fear, because fear is really the best word for it, of having to deal with my sexuality has really started to put me over the edge.  None of my friends know that I’m gay/ bi (I haven’t truly figured out where I fit on the spectrum yet) and I just feel like I need to tell someone because dealing with this alone has become almost unbearable.   I’m just scared that this could possibly make things worse or that my friends could reject me because of it.
While not really a question per say, I’d just like some help on what I should do to make this situation a little easier.  I do want to come out, but I just know that because I’m still not comfortable with my sexuality myself yet, it may not be the best time to be telling other people.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated, so thanks for your help ahead of time!

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You are not Alone

 We received an email from a student that said they would be rejected by their best friend if they came out as gay.  They said they have known they are gay since elementary school, but the culture they come from is not supportive.  It sounds from their message like this student feels really alone, but we know that unfortunatley there are still a lot of people afraid their family or friends might reject them or who come form backgrounds where people are not supportive.  Sometimes it helps to know you are not alone.

We are really glad this student wrote to us and we really hope they stay in touch.  We hope any others of you who might be facing similar struggles will reach out to us as well.  If you are facing these struggles you need and deserve support.  We want every student to know that even if it doesn’t feel safe to come to Allen House to talk to someone, you can always be in touch here.

We will be inviting one of our campus partners at the Counseling Center to contribute a message about all of this really soon, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, please reach out here or to any of the other resources like the Trevor Project or PFLAG (listed on the right of the blog screen).  Take care of yourself.  We care about you.         

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Coming Out

Why do some people come out in middle school, high school, college, later in life…?  How does someone know when, or if, to come out?  Good question.  The answer: it depends.  Some people may have always known their sexual identity.  Others may not come to understand their sexual orientation until later in life.  For some people, sexual orientation may be fluid, changing through their lifetime.  Many students may begin to question their sexual orientation in college when they are away from family and meeting new people, experiencing new environments.  And coming out will be different for everyone, with factors such as family, religion, and support being just a few things that people who come out may consider.  For a guide on coming out, check out this link: http://www.pflagphoenix.org/support/guides/readbefore.html.  Also check out the questioning link on the right side of the page for a great list of other links.  -Becky

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Did you know that on the Campus Climate Survey, more students identified as asexual (4%) than gay (2%) or lesbian (2%)?  So if you identify as asexual, you are not alone on the UVM campus!  We have been hearing more from asexual students.  Now this survey gives us even more information.  Since we want to be inclusive of those with all sexual orientations, I thought that a discussion of asexual student concerns seemed important.  Many people do not know about asexual orientations and there are not often discussions of topics important to those identifying as asexual.  Check out the following link to see the full report from the Campus Climate Survey:   http://www.uvm.edu/president/diversity/climatesurvey/?Page=reports.html.


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