In the fall of 1997, I was a Freshman at Duke, a little queer kid who’d been pretty soundly either outright or passively ridiculed for my person. And I arrived at Duke and thought that Duke was my safe space, where I could figure out who I really was and not be skittish about it. And then my freshman year the Gothic Queers, the glbt student group at the time, painted the East Campus Bridge for National Coming Out Week. Painted it pink with all sorts of slogans on it. And the Facilities department whitewashed over the slogans, the words of pride. source
As a kid, that was pretty crushing to my spirit. Duke Administration did that. And for many years after (and even still a little to this day) when I think about Duke and the queer community, I flashback to the 18 year old I was, terrified at the thought that I’d gotten out of where I grew up, that I got to Duke, and it was just more of the same.
Time passes, there is always more work to do, and with work things improve.
I work at Duke Hospital now and am super proud to co-facilitate a class on Caring for LGBT Patients and to serve on a couple of diffent diversity committees. It is still Duke, 15 years and alot of work later.
Yesterday’s vote shows how much more work we have do to.
So let’s get to work:
Have hard and awkward conversations with the people in your life and on your life’s periphery about why this matters.
Challenge the amendment and its assumptions in manners serious, and in manners absurd.
Get involved on the local level, the state level, the national level.
Durham’s my city, North Carolina’s my state. I love both. It’s going to take work and working together, but we’ll make this a better more welcoming state.