Thursday, June 7, 2007

Out, and Proud

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.



albemuth said...

Hi Cala, I hope you continue your blog, it's good to know there are other TGs in Second Life and that there may even be a way to be outed without giving up my beloved female self. With the introduction of voice looming I have been considering writing a note to my friends and coming back as a male av, but something inside me just can't let go. I would be so interested in meeting you in SL....

Zavijava Voom said...

Today my lovely TG came out! Thanks to your inspiring story and to the wonderful counselling of Veronique.

I have also started blogging so that others may feel less afraid and alone, knowing that others are out there.

The TG resource centre and the Transgermany group have also been great.

Mercy said...

I met Tats at the Anarchy opening, and my impression of her was all that you said and more, Cala: friendly, outgoing, funny, strong. Stepping Out is a big step, and congratulations to her! May she get the tremendous amount of respect she deserves for taking her happiness in her own hands.

Rob Clark said...

When I signed up to Second Life, I chose a female avatar for myself. Tats was the first of my friends in SL to learn of my RL gender when, in a late night chat, I used the 'wrong' pronouns whilst relating a childhood anecdote.

I can remember the sudden grip of panic when asked "He? Are you a guy?"

Oh lord - what to do? What to do? Try to cover in a pack of lies? Tell the truth and be met with revulsion? Hostility? Would I lose my newfound friend?

I'm pleased that I chose to be honest and was relieved that I was met with nothing but caring and respect. ))Many hugs and appreciation to Tats((

With Tats' encouragement, I went on to 'come out' to other friends. I haven't outed myself in my profile as of yet. SL still holds a bit of seperation from real life: a vacation from myself, as I like to put it. I think I want to hold on to that for a while more. But when someone becomes close, I take 'em aside for 'the talk'. And if anyone asks, I most certainly tell.

I will admit 'the talk' never becomes any easier no matter how many times you do it. I'm proud of my friend Tats. It took a lot of courage to open herself up as she did.

oh - and in postscript, I want to say that there's something special about Second Life that anyone and everyone I've opened up to has met me with nothing but understanding and support.

Virtual Queer said...

Love the blog! I'm TG in SL and hope to be in RL one day as well. Couldn't find a way to email you, so just a blurb to let you know about my blog, - about the adventures of a TG in SL. Keep up the good work!

Cala, Wired Faerie said...

Welcome aboard, 'Virtual Queer'! Link to your blog added to my roll- very interesting reading. :)

Good point, I'll put my email up on the sidebar, lots of people might want to reach out without using registered comments.

kara_h said...

Hi, great blog. Hopefully we run into each other at the TRC sometime (just ask for Kara).

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