November 21st, 2008

Paul Neyron rose 2

and what do you say in public?

     My reflections on online personas, what people say about themselves, and somewhat on the politics of the closet.

     I slowly learned on various online groups to watch what I said, and try much harder not to rant in public, because later I'd be really sorry for what I said if I said it in anger, or in a rush to vent.  Now I'm trying to be careful with this journal, to not overshare my personal life or be too specific about where I live, or where friends live.  It's a balancing act.  I think I'm not doing too bad a job at it.

     I identify as queer, and I'll participate in marches and protests, but I'm really not that comfortable with the protests.  I'd much rather talk to people one on one, have more control when discussing the issues, be able to answer questions my way.  I'm shy in real life.  I'm not proud of this, but when I was in my late teens and early twenties, it was easier for me to say that I was gay-friendly than to explain that I was bi myself.  It still feels very personal for me, but I'll out myself for political reasons.  There's some argument to be made that I really only need to talk about my sexual preferences to the people I date, which has a certain appeal to me.  Certainly, in public, there's no reason for me to go there to any extent.  It's just more that I don't look at things from a purely heterosexual perspective, and if people really want to understand me, it's helpful if they know that.

     There are people who will totally go into detail about which sex acts they enjoy.  Sometimes it's fascinating, sometimes I wish I hadn't heard it.    There are those who feel that it's nobody else's business, and while I might still make some assumptions about them, I feel that it's only right for me to respect their wishes.  I know that my assumptions may well be totally off base, even if I think my reasons for making those assumptions are somehow more altruistic than others' reasons.  For some of my reading choices, I'd kind of rather feel like I'm supporting people who are queer themselves, or at least genuinely gay-friendly.  Although, thinking about it, I could just choose to read only lesbian romances and other genre fiction about lesbians.  There are certainly so many fine stories about women, for women.  But I really enjoy reading stories with realistically male characters.  And I like reading stories with gay heroes -- I'm as much a literary fag hag as I am in real life.  I've gotten into my share of arguments with women who prefer to be separatists, as much as they possibly can be.  That's their choice.  It would never work for me, as it's not possible for me to be a woman-oriented woman in the full sense that they mean.

     I have to make the choices I can live with, and other people have to make the choices they can live with.  It's freeing for me to be able to be so open about my queerness online.  And freeing to be able to be open about my liking for gay romance with the students who are members of the GLBT organization at [local university].  The students seem to be interested in hearing about the books and stories I'm reading and proofing.  I'm hoping to get them reading some of the books I like so much -- I think they'd really be able to appreciate well-written books with gay heroes.