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[personal profile] amorpha
There are some things I want to write about right now, but I don't think this is a good time for us to do it. We've been having enough healthfail and frustration over doctors and insurance recently (physical health, but the end result is frustration in any case), that I think I wouldn't be able to write about certain issues directly without all kinds of hostility we don't want getting into it. And Cthulhu knows, some of these issues already have enough hostility and aggression involved in them that I don't think anything remotely productive could come from fanning the flames.

I will say this, though. Because it's something that seems to be true almost everywhere, not just in specific communities. If, at some point in your life, you genuinely adopted an identity that you thought was right for you at the time, and later came to feel that it wasn't right for you after all, and went to your friends and said "Guys, I don't think I really am this thing after all," and they respond with hostility and trying to shut you up... those people are not your friends.

(This is all assuming, of course, that this actually happened to you. And that you aren't just making up a concern troll identity claiming that it did in order to make a certain community look bad. I admit that when people claim that certain words or terms originated on Tumblr that I happen to know predated Tumblr by at least a decade, I get suspicious.)

And for what it's worth. I have not seen massive amounts of hostility directed against people for backing out on a certain identity, in any of the communities we've been in. The worst fallouts I've seen are not entire communities trying to silence people, it's the interpersonal hurts that can come out of things like... someone deciding they might be gay or bisexual, starting a relationship, and then deciding they're not and backing out on it. Or saying you're plural, pairing up everyone in your system with someone else's, and then backing out on it. Making ties, in other words, that you should not be making if you're that uncertain of your identity, and which get another party emotionally invested in you.

Another thing I have seen is groups of fucked-up people within specific communities, being problematically conflated with the entire community, or with everyone who has a certain identity, or similar.

We really have seen people attacked for saying "this person did terrible things to me," called liars, etc, by coteries that seem to gather around specific people. (And in some cases, things getting really fucked-up amd twisted with a person doing terrible things to another person, then trying to proof themselves against accusations by making up a bunch of really nasty lies about that person and convincing all their friends and followers of it, trying to make it so that if the person ever has the courage to come out in public and say "No, you were the one who hurt me," they won't be believed.)

The thing is that that is a fucked-up social circle. It is not a community. It doesn't represent some universal attitude across the communities its members may claim to be part of.

And fucked-up social circles can happen among people who are not "weird" or hateable in any way. They can and do happen all the time.

As does telling people "you must swear to this principle and never disagree about it, or you're not really One Of Us."

Anyway. Point is. A person who gets hostile towards you or even tries to take some kind of retaliation against you when you back off on something you told them is not your friend, because they do not care about who you actually are-- just that you keep acting out the role they've assigned you.

Admittedly in some situations it's borderline defensible. Like I can understand someone being upset if they find they were the partner of someone who was just experimenting to see if they were gay/lesbian/bisexual, and then backed out on it after the other person had gotten emotionally invested in the relationship. Being bitter and feeling like you were led on is understandable to an extent, there. But going around badmouthing and trashing that person to the rest of the queer community is going too far, if they just do it once and don't repeatedly get into relationships that they back out of.

And we've actually been on both sides of this kind of thing.

Like we've known people who began venting hostility at us when they wanted all of us to be past lives and we weren't marching in lockstep with that assessment of us. Or even when we said some things about ourselves after coming out as plural, that we genuinely thought were true of ourselves at one time, and later decided they weren't-- they were invested in this static unchanging view of us, and couldn't accept any change, not even from people just a few years out of the closet. If they had gotten really invested in the idea that one particular person in the system was The Main Person, for instance, and then that "main person" decided they actually were several people who'd been unnaturally integrated. (Yeah, this happened. Who stayed our friend and who didn't was pretty telling.)

And on the other hand, we actually have friends who identify as ex-otherkin, or who thought at one point they might be multiple or median, and then backed off on that view of themselves.

The reason they are still our friends is because our friendship with them wasn't contingent on one single aspect of their identity. It never was. And because they didn't blame entire communities for their having temporarily decided a certain identity that wasn't right for them actually was, and conclude that every single other person in it was having the same experience as them but just dragging out the lie for longer.

Also for what it's worth. In a community we've co-moderated for a long time, we've seen a pattern among people coming in seeming to have an... overly polished, very neat list of everyone who is supposedly in their system, acting like they have themselves completely figured out, making a few posts, and then disappearing entirely.

My conclusion is usually that they wanted to experiment with an identity to see if it fit them, and once they start to feel that it doesn't, they try to back out as quietly as possible. Especially if their journal suddenly gets deleted without a trace.

And I don't hold any particular hostility against people like that. Sometimes there really is no good way to figure out if a certan identity fits you other than to try thinking of yourself that way, and if the shoe doesn't fit, you shouldn't keep trying to force it on your foot. I don't see it as anything worth being embarassed about, if you did it honestly and not with the intent to manipulate people. (I have seen some people become Suddenly Plural for manipulative purposes, but that's something else entirely.)

And yeah. A lot of these people may be teenagers experimenting with an identity. But I'm frankly getting all-around tired, at the age of 33, of seeing "teenager" used as a covert slur. Teenagers, at least in this culture, often do a lot of experimenting with identity, trying to figure out their place in the world and what they will be like as adults. I know Yarrow and S. have brought up, at least in in-system discussion, that part of this may be because the Western world has pretty much lost anything like an initiation ritual into adulthood. The point is, a lot of people during that time are desperately searching for a place to belong. I'm not offended if they use a community I belong to to try out an identity, as long as they don't do it with massive amounts of drama. And tbh, most of the people who've caused the worst drama in the community have seemed to be genuinely plural, just with... a lot of problems.

...and I also have way fewer problems with them overall than with concern trolls. I'll just leave it at that for now.
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January 2013

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