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Some Thoughts on Fandom, Privacy, Money, and Other Stuff - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
July 25th, 2008
09:57 am


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Some Thoughts on Fandom, Privacy, Money, and Other Stuff

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Date:July 25th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
It's not just that I think there are differences between outing an LGBT person and the outing of a hobby. It's that I also think there are legitimate cases where outing is the best course of action (Larry Craig, for instance), and the vehement response in fandom right now -- particularly the "never, ever, ever do this" part of things -- is, I think, blinding people to those circumstances.

Rachel Moss and Laura Hale both used their real names (as far as I know), and now if someone in the future Googles them, these recent events will surface because their names are all over all sorts of posts.

Was it justifiable to use their names? Yes (particularly since they'd already suggested them to the public). Does that mean that the "central rule of fandom" is occasionally broken (and everyone agrees that it's okay to break it)? Yes. Even though Rachel Moss' online identity wasn't the one she used at Wiscon, and that connection was made without her consent. The connections between Ecks, Hale, partly_bouncy and whatever other pseudonyms Hale used are likewise not necessarily public information -- or at least weren't before recent events.

And while I agree with you that it's best to let people come out on their own terms and at their own pace, I think you're much more comfortable with that idea than I am; I'm still at the stage where I get unreasonably upset with people who aren't ready to come out yet (as LGBT; not as fans. I don't really care if people come out as fans). I'm working on becoming more sanguine.
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Date:July 25th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
I actually am *not* comfortable with people being in the closet (the real closet, again, not the fannish one). And I agree that there are times when outing is necessary. I really am going to write that meta post, sometime soon. But I think they're few and far between.

I think not outing people except in some really extreme situations (and Larry Craig represents one of them) is important, but it doesn't mean that it's okay to be closeted. It means that I feel there's a real downside to outing and we shouldn't ignore it. And that the way to get people to come out is often through example and sometimes through persuasion. But yes, I hate it when people are in the closet - for those people, for the people they love, and for society. I particularly hate it when it is sooooo clear from the outside that they have little or nothing to lose and so much to gain. But as someone who has always been out everywhere it's easier, I think, for me to see both the costs and the benefits. And I've experienced lots of costs - I lost my family of origin while still in my teens, for the big one, but I've had career consequences and acts of violence to deal with too - but I've never felt it wasn't worth it.

Edited at 2008-07-25 11:55 pm (UTC)
Date:July 26th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
I meant the part about "their own time": I can't quite get why "their time" is not the same as "my time" because it's just so obvious to me.
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Date:July 26th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
Oh! Yes, I know the feeling.
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Date:July 26th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC)
I came out at age 14 in the middle of a screaming match with my mother who wanted to know where I'd been all afternoon... In retrospect it probably would have been more sensible to just come out and not turn everything into some massive stressy fight. Naturally, despite what dumb 14 year-old me thought, my mother was a lot more interested in where I hadn't been (doing drugs) than in where I had (a queer youth group meeting).

And, yes, a lot of people's families don't handle it nearly as well, and you hear some absolute horror stories sometimes, but I agree that a lot of people are overestimating the trauma of coming out. If you're as loud and indiscreet as I am, being in the closet is just about the most emotionally stressful thing you could possibly do to yourself.
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