This is not a black and white world
To be alive
I say the colors must swirl
And I believe
That maybe today
We will all get to appreciate
The beauty of gray
Look into your eyes
New day now
-Live, The Beauty of Gray
In or Out.
Gay or Straight.
Male or Female.
This is not a black and white world. There’s something in the water lately. Whatever it is, its picking people up and tossing them like ragdolls in a cyclone. It started in earnest a few days ago, though really it never stops when you live a rainbow life. Judgements flow like rivers of blood through social media, friends, family and extended groups of acquaintances. Conversations that always felt easy suddenly turn grim and begin with “So I think you should…” Worse is when the conversations stop all together after ending with, “You lied to me.”
Coming out to friends and family, indeed even to yourself, is still one of the scariest things a person can do. Coming out as Gay- Bisexual- Trans of any stripe- or really anything that isn’t “normal” is easier now than it has ever been in the past but it can still be terrifying. I think it’s something that is generational as well. I have no concept of what it was like before Stonewall and twenty-somethings today don’t have a clue what it was like to live through the loss of over half your family to the then unknown disease in the 80’s.
I’m lucky enough to have a family here in San Francisco that accepts me and all of my “non-normalness”. I would argue that SF is an island in this regard what that my social circle is made up of almost all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender kinksters but even in such a safe environment of friends who love me for who I am, it can still be nerve-wracking to sit down and have an intimate conversation regarding the things that make us who we are. The events which have shaped our lives. The people who have influenced us. And the internal wars that can still go on under the File Heading of: What Am I?
Labels suck. Plain and simple. For as long as I can remember, the “What Am I?” question has never strayed far from the front of my mind. Even now at 40something I struggle sometimes with societal labels. Every time I meet new people, people who I call friends and some eventually family, there comes a time when conversations come around to more intimate subjects. How do you explain certain things? Will you be rejected or accepted with open arms? Will it completely change how they see you? Will they leave. Do you just leave certain topics undisclosed?
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, recently officially came out and confirmed he is gay. While I am thrilled that we have yet another successful individual to look toward for inspiration that no matter what you can be queer and successful in the world, what comes with it is a rash of “outings” where people suddenly rush to out themselves and those around them.
In no way should anyone ever, for any reason, out someone else. For anything. It is a personal decision that each person has to make for themselves. I would go one step further and add that no one owes anyone else any explanations on any aspect of their personal lives. Where this especially comes into play, and wrapping this long-winded post back to where I started, is orientation and identity in Second Life.
For some, Second Life (and online social media in general) is the only way they can be who they truly are inside and out. Some people can’t transition or come out. Full stop. Health reasons, society pressures, family pressures, and a whole host of personal choices. Until you walk a mile in the shoes of a person who was born into the wrong gendered body, you have no earthly idea what it is like to spend every day feeling “wrong” at the core. And at NO TIME do you have the right to tell them that their choice of being the opposing gender within SL is something that is a “shame-able” event. Fuck. You. Very. Much.
For anyone to sit in judgement of someone who chooses to be a different gender in SL than they were born with in RL just infuriates me. Can you tell yet?
First of all, what business is it of yours? What difference does it make to you at all if someone is a different gender? Or size? Or shape? Or color? Or sexual orientation? Second Life is a place where you can be whatever and whoever you want to be. People walk around in Horse Avatars, Aliens, Werewolves, Vampires, Faeries and every other amazing creation SL Designers have to offer. What about the entire Furry population out there where virtual reality is the absolute only place they can fully express themselves?
Are you going to jump up and down and scream from the rafters that these people aren’t REALLY werewolves so they should not portray themselves as werewolves in SL? What’s next? Are you going to scream at someone who made themselves a 36-24-36 because in real life they’re more a 50-40-70?
Second of all, WHO THE FUCK CARES?!?!? SL is a social media interface. Yes, there are real people behind the avatars and while I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole of “It’s not a game!” vs “It’s Just A Game!”, stop for a moment and consider this: the person changed their gender. They’re still the person they are inside. So they’ve chosen to, or needed to, represent themselves as looking different: I’ll bet you do too. How often do you change your eye color? Your hair color and length? Your VERY SKIN. Explain to me why that’s any different. Did you change your personality because you changed your skin? No, didn’t think so.
Get over it. Get over yourself. Second Life is a fantasy for most, sure, but there is a significant portion of the population for which Second life provides the only way for them to feel and express themselves the way they can not in real life. It gives some a sense of realism. To be accepted for who they really are inside. For some, it’s acceptance they can’t get anywhere else.
So everyone back to your corners and worry about your own life and no one elses.
-N, who just so happens to not be a 7’2″, 24/7 gothed out 20something with a perfect body in RL. Shocker, I know.
Talons: [europa] Khor Hands
Wings: [europa] Nyxus wings