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Ask the Queer Resource Center!

By Readers of The Hoot

Section: Arts

February 13, 2009

Do you have questions about gender, sexuality, diversity, or acceptance?

Would you like anonymous advice from friendly peer counselors?

Check out the Queer Resource Center, the educational branch of Triskelion, the Brandeis LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual/ally) group. We provide free, confidential peer counseling to people of all identities in Shapiro Campus Center room 328, Mondays through Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Now you can have your questions answered anonymously in print! Submit a question to “Ask the QRC” at qrc@brandeis.edu. Put “Hoot” in the subject line, and you’ll see your question addressed anonymously in next week’s paper!

Dear QRC,

I’ve had the same roommate for the past 2 ½ semesters, and we’re getting along great. She’s one of my closest friends. Just last week, she came out to me as lesbian. I am totally a GLBT ally, and I have a lot of gay friends, and she knows this, which is probably why she felt so comfortable coming out to me. But I feel kind of weird living with her. I mean, I know she probably isn’t attracted to me or anything, but I just don’t feel okay changing in front of her or sleeping in my underwear. Is it okay that I want to be more modest now? Should I tell her that I want to be more private now? I want to keep our relationship strong, and I don’t want her to think I’m not accepting.

Sincerely,

Unsure Ally

Dear Ally,

It sounds like you need to seriously reevaluate where you stand. This isn’t to say that just because you’re uncomfortable, you’re automatically a bigot, but these feelings you have are sincere, come from very real sources, and definitely need to be processed and dealt with in a healthy way. However unlikely, it’s possible that you are not as open in some ways as you would like to believe. The best route to go is to have a genuine, serious conversation with your roommate and make her understand where you are and where you’re coming from. Clearing the air is the healthiest way to start. Once you’ve initiated the conversation, maybe the two of you can work out what exactly is making you uncomfortable and what the both of you can do to preserve your friendship without making either person feel uncomfortable or put upon. If you’d like to role play the scenario beforehand or have some more specific questions that come up after you talk, the QRC is open for just these situations! You can find us in Shapiro 328, 1-5, Monday through Friday.

Love,

The QRC

Dear QRC,

A lot of my friends are straight, but when they get drunk at parties, they like to kiss people of the same sex. No one’s feelings seem to be hurt, but the next day they laugh about it. Is this okay?

Sincerely,

Paranoid Party-goer

Dear Paranoid Party-goer,

What a sticky question! There appear to be at least two layers – the first is whether or not it’s ok to behave sexually in a way outside how one normally defines oneself, and this is fine. Sexuality (straightness included) is for many people a fluid and changing thing, and it’s almost always much more complicated that being just ‘gay’ or ‘straight.’ As long as no one gets hurt, there is nothing inherently wrong with pushing one’s own boundaries, or transgressing them entirely.

That brings up your second layer: kissing ethics. You mention that no one’s feelings seem to be hurt, and if this is the case, then there probably isn’t anything wrong with the kissing. It’s important to stress, though, that this is a judgment call that can vary greatly from situation to situation depending on the context as well as the people involved. Again, as long as no one gets hurt, there’s nothing to worry about. Someone in your group may be worried about saying this is offensive for fear of what others will assume about that person’s sexuality. College is a great time to explore sexuality, but looking at why your friends need to joke about these experiences may be good idea.

Love,

The QRC

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