27 February 2010

Exposing Yourself

This week brought the big reveal of the identity of blogger Scrum Central, who I think is a central blogger in the liberal side of queer mormondom. It also brought a lament from Beck that he isn't ready to break anonymity.

I support revealing your true identity as appropriate, so why would O-Mo still choose to go by O-Mo? Is he secretly afraid of his own homosexuality? I sure doubt it. If it becomes relevant to a conversation, I tell people. I've personally spoken about my homosexuality with well over half of my hundreds of Facebook friends, and I'm pretty sure many more know. I'm hardly closeted. Before I was as open as I am now, I didn't feel "afraid" as much as I wanted to take things a step at a time, in order and wisdom as I saw it, to keep things at a pace I could emotionally deal with and so I could respond to people's questions attentively and individually. A careful rolling-out with the opportunity to educate and inform before the grand opening. It's just good marketing. :-)

I think, however, there's a difference between sharing your story with friends and family who genuinely know you and will be impacted by their loved one being one of those gays, and revealing your name in a forum where most people don't know you personally anyway.

I remember reading stories on Evergreen and wishing I could see their faces, at least, even if I couldn't know their names. I wanted to see whether young or old, confident or shame-ridden, sharp or sloppy, and I simply wanted confirmation that they were "real" people. But while I might use my real name and photo in a story for publication on a web site or in a book, having my identity visible for all to see on a public web site I'm constantly updating with personal stories, thoughts, and details, is another story, especially when the posts are of such a nature that people are sometimes finding my blog by searching for things which are obviously not family-friendly or savory, and the subject matter is of a nature which potentially begs for over-involved stalker-crazies and people who think they know what's best for you without ever having met you personally. It's just not worth the downsides, to me, though it may be for others.

My blog is public, so it can be found by anyone looking for people talking about this stuff. But I'm already careful about how much I share about my experiences with others and make sure to disguise timelines or identities, to not connect too many dots to other people involved. Those who know me well often figure out who and what I'm talking about, but some of my friends don't even make the connections, which I think is as it should be. If I had my real identity out there, then that many more people would start making the connections, and I'd be even more cautious about sharing personal stories, for the sake of the privacy of others.

Homosexuality is a big part of my life, but I'd just as soon keep this blog mostly on-topic and not fill it with the other personal details of my life or have people who know me only on the basis of homosexuality coming to my other more private, personal spaces unless we've discovered some things besides homosexuality in common and have connected on some level. That may change, but that's how it is now, and I have no sense of guilt about it, nor do I think others who are more public with their whole personal life are wrong for doing so. I just draw my own lines.

I have thought about posting a picture of myself here a time or two. Just so passersby can at least see that I'm a real person. But I like the fun of being those hands poking out of the closet, maintaining that image of the tentative and cautious moho barely emerging from his closet, which reminds me of where I am and where I've been and sets a sort of tone for the blog. The mystery is part of the fun.

Homosexuality aside, I generally don't make anything online public if I can avoid it. There's an exception or two for particular aspects of life where sharing ideas or talents demands some reduction of privacy, but those still stay on-topic and not connected with my other online worlds. I'm quite familiar with internet safety, and I have chosen the more cautious route in most cases, and I've been glad I have.

For some of us, this just isn't the forum to be "out" with our identity, even if we're totally "out" with our homosexuality in our private lives (which I think is where the most impact will come). For some, this is where they believe they'll make the greatest difference, and internet searchers will be happy to see real faces online sharing their stories. For others, they simply aren't ready to be "out" either in blogs or in their personal lives, and while many are working towards that openness, some have reasons to simply hold off indefinitely, and I don't have any right to presume to know those reasons aren't valid.

So to those of you who aren't ready to come out and aren't sure you ever will be, only you know your motives or whether it's from cowardice or wisdom, and I don't think you should allow pressure or guilt to make your decision for you. In general, I encourage working towards increasing openness, but we each have our own timeline and our own reasons.

6 comments:

Bravone said...

Amen.

blj1224 said...

Ditto.

D-Train said...

I think it is quite funny that you label Scrum Central as "liberal." Having met and gone out to lunch with Rob, "liberal" might be the last word I would use to describe him. But I guess in terms of Mormonism, people would might consider him liberal.

Of course, Mormons are always accusing me of being a flaming liberal, and everyone else accused me of being a neo-con. I guess the so-called political spectrum isn't so much a spectrum as much as it is a perspective.

Original Mohomie said...

D-Train, I don't use the word "liberal" in the traditional, socially-loaded political or external-appearance sense. I used "liberal" in the sense of interpretation of church doctrine and practice, so yes, I was speaking in terms of "Mormonism".

Rob said...

Well I gotta say I'm not quite used to this much attention. But thanks guys, I'm flattered.

I agree completely with O-Mo that everybody has their own timetable and reasons for how out they want to be. Having practically suffocated myself in the closet for far too long, I'm the last one who'd ever think of criticizing anyone else for their choice in this respect. I had my own several reasons like everyone else will.

And thanks Derrick, I'm chuckling at your description. But I think O-Mo is right too, from an LDS doctrinal perspective I am certainly way liberal. Of course, I prefer to think of it as having a reasonable perspective on what we do and don't know, and what's gospel and what's culture. Correlation will probably disagree, which is why I live far from Salt Lake. ;-)

Jon said...

Fantastic post. Ditto and amen. I think you are really a robot. The humans are dead!