My first SL wife and most fabulous best friend Tatsuko Hayashida, recently and publicly decided to out herself as bisexual, two-spirited, and TG, to all of her second life friends. She did so in a very novel method- a group IM to everyone on her friends list, and a change to her 1L profile to point this out, and to point to me and this blog. This may be a TG outing first. It's also IMHO a very brave and direct way, and one that is only possible in a social network system such as SL. I am proud of her for it, and for her.
Tats and I have known about each other since very early on, she was direct and honest with me right away, and I've had my TG Pride flag and tg identity declared on my 1st life profile tab since pretty much my 1st week in SL. She has always been the most amazing and beautiful woman, and has never failed to make me feel like the lady I am. Our love for each other was and always will be legendary. Tats is a very sensual woman, many of you know her from all the time she worked and managed at the Kitty aka Brew, and then on to found Anarchy. She is incredibly outgoing and I'm sure has a *massive* friendslist.
We had talked quite a bit about why I am so Out and direct- much of this has to do with lessons of Pride and community that I've learned over the past 10 yrs. It's about not being invisible any more. When we're invisible we're feared, misunderstood, ridiculed, and excluded from the communications and the community. If someone I get to know, knows directly and up-front, then they are likely to not only think "wait I have a friend like this... what would she think about this conversation?" but in fact help raise awareness overall. I can speak freely, and publicly, as a single member of a large and mostly silent community- but we're ending that.
We also talked about the problems and fears around being Out. The friends and family that we can lose, the misunderstandings and nuance and details that our friends and family suddenly have dropped in their laps. This is not an easy time for everyone, there's a lot of misunderstanding, partial-truths, and bad information out there. Not all of these tales end happily- some people just can't handle the truth.
Relationships grow and mature at faster paces in Second Life than they do in "1L". Case in fact: Only a few months after Tats and I decided to call it off between us, I actually officiated the wedding between Tats and her subsequent wife Amber (Peas). I learned to love them both and trust that they would be great together faster through SL than I would have otherwise. Likewise, relationships between avatars, while feeling the same intense emotional cycles, move through them faster and we learn understanding and new growth faster, simply due to the immersive situation that we use for our avatars and communication. We can express ourselves in multiple dimensions simultaneously, as well as absorb them multidimensionally as well. This has affected our friends' ability to adapt to new situations- they can absorb, react, interact, and gain better understanding *faster*. The addition of the web/blog media around us makes this immersion more thorough and efficient.
In the end, I'm proud of Tats, and so happy to have an out sister waving the flag with me. You, and all of our friends through the TRC, earn a major curtsey from me, and I hope to see a lot of us at Pride this year- let's show the grid that we're here, most of us are pretty queer, and most of all, we're Proud.