I saw you have hours for when we can call outline. I’m scared of my roommates hearing my conversation when I call because two of them are homophobic. Is there another way I can talk to someone about the confusion regarding my sexuality because I think I am gay.
I think it’s really cool that you’re trying to figure out what is going on in your mind and body and are taking steps to keep yourself safe in a challenging environment!
I’m also hearing that you’re facing some barriers to accessing our over-the-phone services because of you’re concerned that your roommates won’t be accepting. I’m sorry that you aren’t able to give us a shout from the comfort of your own space.
When I was thinking about this quandry, a few ideas came to mind that you might consider:
1. Try calling OUTline from a safer space. Perhaps you have a friend, or an RA, who might let you borrow their room/phone? If that doesn’t feel very safe, you could try a pay phone somewhere quiet, or somewhere very busy if you prefer to be lost in a crowd. If you have a cellphone, you can call us from anywhere you like! Though if your parents have access to your bill, that might be a consideration. If you’re able to give us a shout, call us during our hours of operation: Mondays from 3:30-6pm, Wednesdays from 6-9pm, and Fridays from 1-3pm.
2. Get support online. There are great new text-based supports coming out all the time! Toronto’s LGBT Youthline now offers real-time chat support on their webpage, and over SMS (text message). Text them at 647-694-4275. OUTline’s supportive listening services are also coming to a computer near you! OUTline ONline is currently in development, but keep an eye out for updates – we hope to start testing this new real-time chat service late in November.
3. You could explore some of the alternative support services that U of G has to offer. The Student Support Network in Raithby House is a confidential peer support drop-in for students. Everyone is welcome, and the volunteers receive training about creating safer spaces and queer identities. There’s no guarantee that you’d be speaking to someone who identifies as queer or trans* themselves, but all the volunteers would be happy to listen to you and help you explore you feelings. If you’re not too concerned about anonymity, you could drop by to the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity (also known as GRCGED, located in UC 107) and talk to their friendly volunteers. They have a cozy safer space and offer supportive listening, as well as an expansive queer and feminist library. They also have a quiet room if you’d like to be alone. If you think you’d like to meet other queer and trans* students, you could check out Guelph Queer Equality‘s socials, which run every Tuesday evening. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or check them out on Facebook.
You might also consider keeping a journal (online or IRL) about your thoughts and feelings. By giving yourself the space to bounce your thoughts and feelings around, you might be able to get a better handle on your identity. If you’re concerned about security, use a password protected file or an anonymous account that isn’t linked to your regular accounts (ex. if you’re using LiveJournal or Tumblr). If you prefer a hardcopy journal, store it somewhere safe, or consider labeling it “Chemistry Notes” or “English Lit” if you’re going to hide it in plain sight.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that you are in charge of this process! If you feel uncomfortable or outside of your zone, you can always step back and reassess. Don’t let anyone rush you.
Roommates can be frustrating, but it might help to remind yourself that you only have to live with them until April. You have lots of time now to start making friends and looking for new (more open-minded) roommates for next year :3
If things get really unruly in your living situation, remember that your RA is there to support you. They can help to mediate a discussion about safe spaces in your residence and if necessary, connect you with higher ups and get you into a safer living situation.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are caring for yourself!
❤ Liz and Nadia