This is how it felt.
My ability to navigate the world (the “real” one outside my front door) safely while enjoying and exploring who I really am? That was stifled.
The judgment is bad enough. We’ve all been judged. We know what it is to be measured against society’s standards and to be found “wanting” by those standards. I can’t stop anyone from being prejudiced in their assessment of me. PREJUDice. Pre-judging. We all pre-judge. It’s the discrimination that hurts. So you don’t approve of me? You don’t like me? I scare you? I disgust you? You are envious? You are insecure? What-the-fuck-ever. Whatever the reason(s), that’s all about you – not me. So, the judgment stings, sure, but …
It. Doesn’t. Matter.
Turning those judgments into justifications to marginalize me or my kind? Oooof. That’s fucked up.
When someone takes those judgments they’ve made of me and decides to take my freedom or my rights or my voice? That’s a different story. You want to silence me? That matters.
So, judgement not withstanding, it is the REPRISALS I am concerned about. I keep my real name (the one my parents gave to me cobbled with the one I got by marriage) separate from my wawbat persona for a reason. There are very real consequences for me if those worlds collide without notice. Folks who know me KNOW THIS.
Why this rambling? I am processing what happened on facebook yesterday. I was locked out for most of the day and notified that an individual (not some algorithm-driven-program, but a real flesh-and-blood human type) had reported my account to facebook as being “fake”
Feel free to peruse the TOS for facebook. I understand the reasons they say they want “real names only” and I also understand the benefit they derive from having real names (and demographic data and network information and phone numbers) of members.
I’m back on facebook while they decide if I get to keep my wawbat account. This is causing me extra work – sure – and I have to show how I’ve EXISTED here on this blog and email and twitter and facebook for YEARS now. I get to show them places I’ve “worked” as wawbat at events, etc. I have to prove that I exist.
I exist, damnit. I am bat.
My beef isn’t with facebook. My beef isn’t even “a beef” really, because I have no desire to fight. My conflict is with someone who chose to do this. I’ve done nothing TO anyone on facebook or fet or twitter or here that is vicious or harmful. I’m generally circumspect with criticism and I try – as best as this human bat can – to take issues with ISSUES rather than with PEOPLE.
But somebody made this personal. Very personal.
I’ve blocked three people on facebook. Three. I’ve blocked a few more on fet (but not many). I have a good notion of who did the reporting to facebook, but without evidence I won’t allow myself to settle on that thought with any intent to do ANYthing about it. What makes this very difficult for me to process and understand is that the person I suspect is NOT a person who has dealt with me much at all – they are tangential to my life at best. I suspect them for a specific set of reasons. I may never know for certain, and that’s simply life. I really do not NEED to know, right? Because I’m not planning any reprisals of my own… no reprisals… but…
BUT… Listen up IF you are the one responsible…
IF you did this… reported me… after I blocked you on fet and on facebook and unsubscribed here after you were blocked elsewhere and decided to subscribe to my blog? (seriously? why?) then you are already dancing perilously close to internet stalking – by facebook’s definition. I don’t need to give them any information on our interactions. They have all communications. They see when and where folks are blocked. These things all carry electronic signatures. These are not things that I need to prove – they are already documented. So, if that’s what this is about? Then STOP. Seriously… just stop. It is not worth it. If it persists? No reprisals (because those are about payback) but I will avail myself of all the remedies at my disposal to stop you from interfering with my everyday life (real and cyber). Facebook pulls data when these reports come in. They look at the people making the report as well as those they reported. I am not afraid of what facebook will find in my account or interactions with people. They may not let me keep my account – but I hope they will. If they don’t, my life will not end, but it will be an inconvenience and… for what?
IF you are reading this and you’ve been blocked on fet and facebook and unsubscribed here, and you did NOT contact facebook? I’ll politely ask you … why the hell are you going out of your way to come here to read this blog? I can’t stop you from reading the blog – it’s a public blog – but ask yourself what YOU get out of it. It’s a blog that has no significance in your life and it is written by someone who doesn’t want to be part of your life – so why?
I speak – here in cyberspace and in safe venues out in that “real world” because I wish to speak… I need to speak. My voice matters. Sometimes it matters only to me, but it matters nonetheless. Others do the same.
They speak to give voice to their life or their struggle
They speak to let loose demons or vanquish fears
They speak because they have been silenced for far too long
They speak – sometimes – just to hear themselves fucking think
Do not silence me or others or even yourself. Stop thinking that you need to hobble other people in order to make your way in the world. There are plenty of lanes… you don’t need to be in mine – I don’t need to be in yours. I’m not trying to keep you from happiness or success – go for it.
And… if you are the person who contacted facebook and you want to tell me – that’s fine too. If there was a legitimate reason for you to do what you did? Then you can tell me. I don’t have to respond. I don’t have to understand. But I will listen. Send a message and tell me if you wish – or don’t. Either way, no reprisals.
And… I will not try to take away your voice. Ever.