By RED editor Amy Goldwasser, who interviewed a blogger she loves on the LGBT life in New York City
Love-not-hate for Valentine's Day. Pretty basic stuff—you'd think it would be easy, right? But you'd also think, Who could possibly vote against this guy's most powerful, heartfelt presentation in defense of same-sex marriage to the Iowa House of Representatives? Well, it's never easy to overcome prejudice or have to worry about how people perceive you in this world (and who hasn't been there?), especially when you're staring down a new set of strangers in a new city at a new school. The transition can be even tougher if you're gay. Meg Dukes, 18, author of the awesome Meg in the City blog on Matthew's Place, a cool, useful and above all, safe place for young members of the LGBT community, writes a winning, first-hand chronicle of her life, from coming out as a high school student in rural Colorado to sorting out the shift to college freshman at NYU. Meg assures us that—like the slush covering her current hometown—it gets better.
How did you discover Matthew's Place—or how did they discover you?
There was a program for all seniors in my high school that would connect us with various local businesses and organizations in our fields of interest for internships, and I was introduced to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. I will admit I had not previously heard about MSF or knew who Matt was before applying to be their fall intern. That grew into a summer internship and the blog.
What would you blog back to yourself now in your unincorporated county in rural Colorado? Advice on feeling less alone?
I would tell myself just hang on a little bit longer—you will make it to college and it will be everything you expect it to be. Some advice I would give is to set a goal and do everything in your power to reach it. If it's moving from rural Colorado to New York City or making the basketball or soccer team, just pick something to focus on other than feeling alone. Because in attempting to accomplish your goal, you will more than likely make friends along the way.
Any words of wisdom about coming out (or, as you write about, coming out all over again to a new set of people in college)?
Coming out it isn't something that can be rushed into. You have to do it at a moment that feels right to you and only if coming out will not endanger your well being. Coming out again at university has been relatively easy, at least for me here. There's a joke at NYU that everyone is assumed gay until proven otherwise. My philosophy toward being out on campus has been just to be me—not to advertise, but also not to lie or hide.
And lastly, the plain old fun: What are you "hearting" in these pre-Valentine Days?
I was watching The Chicago Code—again—on Hulu when I got this email. I'm also hearting Glee, Pretty Little Liars, Grey's Anatomy, and Law & Order: SVU. I am in love with Mariska Hargitay. I also recently discovered UK Skins and have started watching the US version, but if I were to go into more detail about my thoughts on that it would require another interview. In terms of news I am a total Rachel Maddow junkie. I download her podcasts every night, and I even when to two of the live shows she hosted right before Christmas. I also read a lot of the Huffington Post and New York Times. Fashion-wise, I am pretty easy to please, as long as I'm comfortable. I wear a lot of jeans and button-ups with sweaters and a pair of Converse I may need to replace soon because I've started wearing through them. I also got a fabulous pair of riding boots that I would love to wear more often if it wasn't so slushy in New York right now.