Being Outed

Another kinky blogger, a woman I have a great deal of respect for, recently set all her entries to “private” after a horrible experience with a loved one finding her blog and having a less than positive reaction to it. She’s been posting a little bit, now, about her experiences in dealing with this, and her thought process in deciding what to do. Subsequently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the implications of my own blog on my life, about the anonymity of my writing and of the communications I’ve had with other bloggers, about the absolute terror that surrounds being outed, and about the very real possibility that someday, someone I don’t want to read this blog will read this blog.

In fact, it’s such a possibility that I’m a little astonished I hadn’t really given it much thought before now. I’m not too worried that a family member, for example, could connect all of this back to me, but it’s quite possible that someone in my extended circle could deduce that this was me, based on some things I’ve written here: I have openly identified myself as a vegan anarchist living in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example. There are a few other clues I won’t spell out here, but suffice to say that a close friend could easily reach this blog within a few clicks of anything I’ve written publicly, under my real name.

I guess there are actually three things that I’m trying to write about, here. The first is why this blog is anonymous in the first place. The second is what I think I’d do if I was outed to someone who reacted negatively, whether a friend, family member, or professional contact. The third is why taking down my blog would not be on my list of options.

It seems pretty easy, on the surface, to see why all of this stuff should be kept anonymous. Even if I were completely comfortable with my friends and family knowing that I was kinky, I suspect that this blog might have negative repercussions for my professional life. Perhaps not; or perhaps not now. But once you’re out, you’re out—no going back—and I’m not sure if I want to forever have anything I’ve written or worked on associated with BDSM. (And I know that’s what would happen; I could write a book on brine shrimp, and somewhere along the line, some review or interview would mention my perversions and somehow tie that into questioning my credibility as a writer.)

So my name remains hidden, at least, and overt links to my professional life are nowhere to be found on this blog. But if, by some chance, I was put in the uncomfortable position of having to defend myself against an attack on my sexuality, and this blog was part of the conversation, I’d have some choices to make.

In all likelihood, I would immediately take down my blog. I would probably be tempted to simply delete everything I’d written, but in the end would find myself unable to just throw away a few years of intensely personal writings about an incredibly important part of my life. In the case of a nasty fallout with a family member or friend, I would probably find myself in a dark pit of self-doubt and -hatred, and would need a lot of support to remember that no, I’m not a bad person and no, I’m not twisted or broken. The blog would go to “private,” though I might allow a few blogging friends to have access to the posts. I would probably spend the next week writing The Great Defense of BDSM to present to the judgmental person in question, an essay that would undoubtedly cause them to rethink everything they thought they knew about sexuality, individual freedom, and feminism. I would spend the following week tearing up large portions of it and wondering whether I should even bother, now, and wouldn’t it just be easier to forget the whole thing. I’m honestly not sure whether or not I’d be brave enough, in the end, to confront the person in question and argue my case.

The blog probably would stay down for some time, but most likely, I wouldn’t be able to stop writing completely, because writing—and knowing that there are others out there who can resonate with it in some way—is a lifeline for me at times, and is often the only way I can begin to express what I’m feeling, problems I’ve been facing, dilemmas, fears, successes, excitement, joy. Perhaps it’s different when you’re so involved in a community of like-minded folk (and I’m reminded of Maymay’s post on the importance of such), but for me writing publicly (though anonymously) has become one of the only outlets I have for talking about my sexuality.

The point of this is to say that writing on this blog, while anonymous, is also a way for me to enjoy the positive aspects of being out, while pretty much eliminating all of the negative ones. For the most part, I feel I can openly discuss my sex life, my fantasies and desires, and my fears without worrying about being misunderstood or judged. But I don’t think it’s completely possible to continue to enjoy those benefits without ever having to deal with the drawbacks, and at some point, there’s a choice that has to be made. And if and when I am faced with that choice, I think I’d probably keep on writing, and do whatever I had to do in my social and professional life to adjust to that.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have even considered that. I have the circle of writers like the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post to thank for that.

3 comments so far

  1. Brina on

    Yah sometimes I wonder how much my outspokenness about kink is going to fuck me over but I guess I’ll worry about it later. It helps I talk to few members of my family I suppose.

  2. maymay on

    Sometimes when I’m feeling melodramatic I tell myself that all my outspokenness about kink will make my children’s lives easier if they ever find themselves in a position of fearing for their job security or self-worth due to their sexual behavior.

    When I’m not feeling melodramatic I just remember that it makes my life easier, too.

  3. plum on

    You say this really well; I’m going to also write on this topic–it is a good one!

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