From the Bilerico inbox:
Hey, I'm a junior currently going to a small christian college in Kansas and I am seriously considering writing a column about my struggles and acceptance of my sexuality for our newspaper. I am a reporter for the newspaper anyway and we are doing a faith issue next month and I'm really wanting to talk with the editor about this contribution I could do. If I don't get up the courage this issue I'm going to put it out to do next issue or another issue.
What I'm really seriously considering is whether I want to write it anonymously or not. There are pros and cons to both and even now, by putting words to ideas, I'm flipping to the side of putting my name on the column.
A lot of the people I've talked with, mostly guys, have been supportive of me at the least so that's been really encouraging. My only fear is that there will be a target. Anonymity can be a gift sometimes but I feel like that cuts the credibility. I just don't want other people to feel like the only ones on campus like I do sometimes.
Anyways, this is really long, but if you could possibly send this to some of your staff members or just think about this every now and again. so that they can at least me have me in their thoughts and prayers even if they don't hold on to faith that'd be great.
I guess the reason I'm sending this is because I've just recently found Bilerico and already it's given me loads to think about and I love it. You guys are kinda the role models I'm looking up to to some degree. Drew Cordes's article on redefining social activism from Sept. 13 is kinda the article that has made me want to contact you guys since I don't really have much of a support system here other than the occasional straight friends who may or may not agree with me on everything.
Thanks again for reading this long rant and vent session.
Leave your thoughts in the comments. My reply to Scott is after the break.
You are a very courageous young man and you should be applauded for considering coming out in such a public and difficult forum.
Coming out can be a difficult process. Have you come out to your family already? If not, is this how you'd like to do it? If the school reacts badly - whether the administration or other students - there's a chance that they can find out.
You didn't say what denomination your college affiliates with, but that can really change matters. If your school is more conservative, there could be issues with the administration or faculty you may not have considered. Be prepared for that possibility and formulate at least a sketch of a back-up plan.
If you think that there will be serious repercussions, I'd suggest doing the column anonymously unless you're not concerned about whether or not you transfer elsewhere.
While your friends have been supportive, not everyone will. As the old saying goes, "You can't make all of the people happy all of the time." There will be homophobes and bigots at your school, just like there are everywhere else. It's the one thing that LGBT people and bigots share in common: we occupy all spheres and aspects of life. Yin and yang, I suppose.
Be prepared as well, for at least one LGBT person to castigate you for doing anything public. There's always a naysayer. Usually there's a grain of truth to what they're saying, so listen closely and see if you can find the common ground you both can agree on. Explain yourself or just acknowledge their concerns; the choice is up to you. You don't have to justify your actions to anyone. You're speaking your truth and not theirs.
If you think you can handle all possibilities and your conscience compels you to sign your article, by all means do so. By putting a face and a name with the issue, you personalize it for students and faculty. The most important part of coming out is to show others that someone they know is gay. A faceless entity is much easier to discriminate against than the guy who sits next to you in Calculus or your little brother.
Drew Cordes is a wonderful person with a heart of gold and a mind of steel. You could do much worse in the realm of mentors. She's an inspiration to me as well.
So are you. I think you'll also be a hero to some of your fellow LGBT students on campus as well as quite a few straight allies - and that's as it should be. What you're about to do takes courage, dedication, and honesty.
Those three qualities will get you through life admirably, Scott. Stay true to those ideals and you can make it through anything life may toss at you - including an article in the student newspaper.