Dwonna Know What I Think?”
A social/lifestyle advice and commentary column by guest contributor Dr. Dwonna Naomi Goldstone. Dr. Goldstone is a Professor of English and Coordinator of the African American Studies Minor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.
I’m going to be a sophomore at Austin Peay this fall, and this summer I came out to my close friends and family back home. How do I find new friends at Austin Peay now that that I’m officially “out of the closet”?
Out and About
Dear “Out and About”:
Since Dwonna doesn’t quite know what it’s like to be a gay, nineteen-year-old guy at Austin Peay, she passed this question to me, Blake Haney, her favorite student and sometimes collaborator of “Dwonna Know What I Think.”While I did not come out until later in my collegiate career, I still know how you must be feeling. There are several ways you can approach this.
First, I would look into joining the Gay-Straight Alliance (email@example.com). It has grown quite a bit since I was an undergraduate and has garnered several awards for the work it does for APSU’s campus as well as the larger LBGTQI community. Second, and this is one I never thought I would write, but I would also look into joining the Greek community. When I went through fraternity recruitment, I was not out, and my fraternity brothers told me a few years later that they wondered if I was gay. The culture and attitude has changed significantly since I came out to my chapter three years ago. If you can go into the experience without stereotyping Greek life, you will find that most of them won’t stereotype you.
The great thing about college is that you can be in both of these organizations and enhance your experience while teaching others how to be compassionate and kind towards those who are different than they are. You made that first step of coming out, and I’m so happy that you were able to do it so early in your life.
Be safe, go find a place where you feel comfortable, and never apologize for being whom you are.
Blake Haney (Dwonna’s Sometimes Collaborator)
*Dr. Goldstone lives in Nashville with her four unruly dogs—Satchel Paige, Butterfly McQueen, Charlie Parker, and Lena Horne. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.