This Spotlight on Scarleteen interview features the one and only Jacob! Also known as PenguinBoy on the message boards, Jacob is an engineering student living in Leeds, UK. A big influence on his identity, both at the site as well as in person, is his rejection of labels. (You’ll hear more about this soon!) At Scarleteen, Jacob puts his diverse background to use by offering an introspective take on topics such as sexual orientation and relationships, while also being one of the few male volunteers at the site.
Currently taking a break from his studies, Jacob is a Jack(ob)-of-all-trades who manages to fit volunteering into his busy schedule, which includes recently having worked in the neonatal ICU and maternity area of a hospital, regularly creating art work and graphic design commissions, teaching English to asylum seekers and refugees, writing poetry and hanging out with his beloved friends. (Of course, this is to be expected from someone who is such an open, welcoming friend himself– in person and on the boards!)
While Jacob is frank and transparent about many things, it is his unique perspective on the non-importance of labels that is extra special. He offers a truly refreshing take on an age-old dilemma faced by so many young people questioning their sexual orientation. Jacob’s article Living without Labels could be seen as icing on the cake in that it wraps up all those resources while adding a sprinkle of his personal experience. Human sexuality is so diverse. People are as different and unique as snowflakes, if even more so; no one label appropriately describes anyone. Many websites and resources may sponsor that message but few hit the nail on the head as well as Jacob does in his piece.
To use his own words:
But for any of you who have trouble with trying to work it out, who actually undergo stress to fathom what box you belong in or have an inkling that maybe you're over-squeezed to fit in a badly shaped one, I suggest to just think for a moment, that maybe you don’t need a box after all. Like I don’t have to ‘come-out’ and confess that something of myself is different to that which never needed to have been assumed in the first place.
Not long ago, Jacob did come out–- from behind his computer screen–- so we could get to know him better. Indeed, even without the convenience of labels, Jacob peals back the layers to reveal a lot of interesting and new information about himself. Here it is, “straight”-up! Please feel free to comment or ask Jacob any questions directly by leaving a message on this page or in the Staff Stuff area of the message boards.
Without any further ado, let’s get started with the interview!
Shadowlover says: I am feeling extremely guilty at the moment. I am a seventeen year old bisexual girl, and am currently involved in a relationship with a lovely boy. But I am also lusting after (or crushing on, really) another girl. The problem isn't that I can't have her, I know that, but rather the guilt I feel towards not wanting my boyfriend as much....
I feel very awkward asking this question. I am a 13 year old girl, and I feel like I'm trapped inside my own body. I have never told anyone about this before, and I'm really confused. Are there certain ways to tell if you're transgender or not? I feel like I'm more attracted to guys, but I sometimes have thoughts about girls too....
By now we all know that Obama is the president-elect, but what about all those other issues that were up for decision? Heather put together a guide to the ballot measures particularly relevant to Scarleteen and our mission and I thought I'd post the results.
Proposition 102: Approved
Arizona now defines marriage only as the union of one man and one woman.
Me and my GF have been going out for about a year and I want to get her comfortable with us bringing in another girl, but I don't know how to approach her about it. I don't know what I should say to get her comfortable. I don't want to sound as if I want another girl, I just want to try something new....
If you're a U.S. resident, at this point, you've probably given some thought to who you will be voting for for President, and may even know who you'll vote for by now. You may also know, or have some idea, of who you will be voting for when it comes to positions in your state up for the vote this year.
My best friend (boy) just came out to me that he is gay (I'm a girl). I have been in love with him for 2 years now, and I am utterly devastated by this. I am really, really heartbroken. This happened just 3 days ago and I'm still in a state of shock. I don't know what to do now....