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3/14/16 closets

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:29 pm
by fluffy
Hi, today is a particularly precise pi day, but I don't care about that (even though I know pi to a stupidly useless number of digits*). Instead, let's pretend I didn't miss National Coming Out day last October, and take advantage of the fact I'm a bit tipsy and punch-drunk from a good day at GDC.

Lots of folks here know I'm queer, but don't actually know the precise flavor. Folks who have been here a long time know some aspects of things, 'coz I was trying to pin things down a lot and presented myself as way more sure of things than I actually was back then. I feel like I'm at a point in my life where I gotta stop hiding, because after 37 years of living my life I think I'm pretty sure where I'm at. (I might not be 100% sure but hey, who is?)

I identify as trans, specifically neutrois (which is similar to "agender" but subtly different in ways not worth getting into, and of course there's a large camp of people who see the same distinction but reverse the meaning of the terms, yay for linguistic evolution?). Those aren't particularly well-known terms but you might have heard of "non-binary" or the like. Not really identifying with male or female. This is a big part of why I've always been so sensitive about my appearance and also the name people call me. "fluffy" is a non-name I used as a means of getting around deciding on a name. I'm pretty sure I've decided what name I actually do want to go by, which helps, although I'd still prefer if people here just know me as "fluffy" for now. Maybe that'll change in the future.

The big thing that I'd request is that you not use masculine pronouns when referring to me. Unfortunately English doesn't have really good gender-neutral ones but the singular "they" is fine, if a bit confusing (if thou thinks that is ungrammatical, then thou should rethink thy use of the singular "you" as well, because "they" has been acceptable as a singular for at least as long).

Requests to you (it's okay if people slip up accidentally but please try not to be a jerk about it):
  • If you know my birth name, please don't use it. It's what those of us in queer circles call a "deadname." It doesn't get you any props for knowing super-secret information, it just makes me uncomfortable. (And then I have to abuse my forum admin privileges and nobody wants that.)
  • Please at least try not to use masculine pronouns (he/him/his) for me. Avoiding pronouns is fine, and I guess I'm okay with feminine ones if you're really uncomfortable with singular they or can't do whatever, but still.
  • Please don't ask about my various medical status on various things. What is or isn't between my legs isn't important to you and makes no difference in your life, and it's pretty objectifying and creepy to pretend otherwise.
  • Also, asking respectful questions about gender is okay, but I'm not interested in being an ambassador of all things trans/genderqueer/whatever. I've had so many conversations about this over the years that I'm frankly pretty tired of trying to be a Gender 101 professor.
  • And my identity is not up for debate. It's for me to decide, not you, not some outdated study from John's Hopkins in the 1970s, and so on.
Anyway, happy pi day!

* 3.14159265358979323846264338

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:19 pm
by Billy's Little Trip
Too long to read right now because I took a shot every time Bernie didn't win a state tonight. But I couldn't leave you hanging, fluf. ;)
Yes, I can handle more than 4 shots!. There was some drinking in-between. ...if you will, good sir.

So, congratulations that you are celebrating your annual officially out as gay, queer and every other human thing that makes you happy. I really really really am happy for you.

And no, I'm not looking for a date. I'm unhappily married and that's the way I don't like. So no sir, you can look elsewhere. Man hugs are always welcome.

......if you can catch me.......Image

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:44 pm
by fluffy
Thanks... I think?

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:48 pm
by roymond
Yay! Word up and power to you, Fluffy. I've been hearing Bowie's Changes a lot lately...coincidence? (not the "changes" part specifically, but the "Don't tell them to grow up and out of it" part)

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:23 pm
by fluffy
"Changes" and "Rebel, Rebel" are the two Bowie songs that always spoke to me the most, lyrically anyway.

Damn, wish my portable recording setup were actually working right now...

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:41 pm
by fluffy
Holy cow, I've gotten so much support and love from so many people here. Thank you everyone! I happened to run into a few Song Fight! folks at GDC (I love this small world we all inhabit) and had some wonderful conversations, and tonight I got home to find that someone had written me a beautiful song about this and I'm crying like crazy just because it's so touching and I love the song so much and I really hope they post it publicly because I certainly don't feel right posting it myself but I want to share it with everyone. And I think it would really help a lot of others who feel the same way as me.

As a rather amazing coincidence, a couple days after I posted this thread, an article I'd written for finally went up as well, and so many folks have contacted me saying that they thought they were the only one like this and I'm so glad that I've helped other people to not feel quite so alone too. And I love that these conversations are finally happening.

Anyway, time to finally write some letters to family and coworkers. :)

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:16 am
by fluffy

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:34 am
by noma
Congrats, fluffy! :)
This was an interesting read. I've experienced past problems with my sexuality myself (I'd call myself asexual in the broader sense of the term), but especially with the social connotations of masculinity which still make me feel uncomfortable as a biological male who, socially, can't identify with much else than just human. I'm fine with being addressed as "he" though, I just don't care that much about gender. Vi Hart sums up very well my own feelings about this in her video on gender.

Oh, and if you wonder about some of my lyrics now - I like playing with stereotypes for fun, as I did, for example, in my "Full of Courage" (Nur Ein IX). I think I just like the comedic appeal of gender stereotyping. (Needless to say, I'm put off by anyone who does that in a serious way.)

So, fluffy, it was really cool of you to post this here, as that also helped me post the above, something I usually keep for myself. Thanks! :)

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:27 am
by fluffy
Ah, neat. That might be more of a gender-apathetic identity? I know quite people with that particular leaning. :)

It's worth noting that asexuality and agender/neutrois are separate things - asexuality is an orientation, not a gender identity. I happen to be both but I know lots of folks who are one but not the other.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:24 am
by noma
fluffy wrote:It's worth noting that asexuality and agender/neutrois are separate things - asexuality is an orientation, not a gender identity. I happen to be both but I know lots of folks who are one but not the other.
Gender-apathetic sums it up pretty well. I know of the difference, but yeah, I am asexual as well, that is, I don't feel the desire to interact sexually with others. Similar to my sentiments on gender, there is no antipathy or disgust involved there, I just don't care much about it.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:15 pm
by hillbilly
I think I am going to cry.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:17 am
by noma
It's OK to cry. *hugs*

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:12 pm
by jast
I've been about to write a post here several times, but each time I was worried I might come across as dismissive of other people and their struggles (or revelations), and dismissing people is the last thing I want to do... but here goes anyway. Maybe I can stack the odds by using more words. Most of this is about me... sorry about that, but it's because that's who I know most about, and I needed some kind of starting point. This starting point is roughly 15 years in the past.

It's challenging, sometimes, and sometimes a lot more often than that, to be different, to deviate from other people's expectations, and all that. In the context of this thread I'm going to spare you all the "woe is me" stories from my time in school and focus instead on something that took me something like 17 years to figure out. Because for the longest time, stuff like intimacy didn't compute for me at all, and I had no notion whatsoever of physical attractiveness, except on an analytical level. All this talk about love everywhere? Didn't make any sense. Sex? Sounded kind of overly complicated, DIY and all that.

I guess it's easy to read things into the past, so maybe I'm wrong about all this, but I've come to think that it's difficult to feel things that you don't know exist. Strange feelings maybe still come up but they have no meaning to you. There's this vague physical sensation and that's all... a sensation without any meaning has little power. I've read somewhere that it's hard to distinguish being in love with a stomach bug if all the context is missing, and I can see a surprising amount of sense in that. To reach a little further, I've come to believe, quite strongly, that a lot of the way we are is down to the meaning we've made out of things.

So here's what happened, one day on my way home from school, in the tram. I have no idea what led to it, but I was puzzling over why I seemed to be the only person on the planet who absolutely couldn't relate to all this love stuff, to all this sex stuff, who could only see relationships in terms of friendship or family (well I didn't puzzle over that last part because I wasn't really aware that there was anything else). And then, more or less out the blue, I had this crazy thought: maybe I'm gay or something? Seemed quite ridiculous, though. Surely I would have noticed that. Right?

Nothing else worth mentioning happened that day. But a few days later, on my way to school, I suddenly noticed myself looking at guys differently. Some of them, anyway. There was this strange feeling, a mild tingle of who knows what, part apprehension, part excitement, part voodoo or something. And it just kept happening. I learned to look at the world quite differently during that time, and some other events that I'd thought to be quite innocuous started feeling a little different in hindsight.

You remember using words as a kid with some kind of vague, nebulous non-meaning in mind for them? Like, for example, the word "gay"? And at some point some adult explained how that's about men who love each other, or something like that, but that's really just a phrase that doesn't mean anything to you. Well, that changed quite a lot for me in those days. Armed with the power of ADSL, I discovered that there were quite a few real people out there who were gay, and somehow they were all quite normal (not, strictly speaking, all of them, I learned a bit later, but that's life).

Given all that, what in hindsight was a pretty big identity crisis just went up in smoke, and for a while I was quite a lot happier than I'd been in a long time.

I've never stopped questioning things, though. I have stopped questioning the core of my personality and all that (took a bit longer, though), but there are things I can't fully accept. I never really talk about this because it's so easy to misconstrue, but I figured, what the heck.

From all I've learned in my time so far, I've found that doubt is a terrible thing to have. I've also found that, more often than it might seem, certainty is every bit as terrible as doubt. I'll never forget a lady I talked to who one day said, "I have no idea how I could live without my eating disorder." Certainty feels a lot better than being completely at sea, but whatever it leads you to, it makes you stay there. I made it out of a later dark time of mine once I started learning to deal with less certainty in my life, and that was maybe the only thing I could have done. I don't want to over-romanticise it, though. The point is, I've come to appreciate that some things in life become open to change if you take away their certainty, and others are pretty good at continually reasserting themselves even if you take a very open-ended view on them.

Unlike some others, I believe it would be overreaching to assert that X is bound to be changeable and Y is bound to be fixed... but what I do know is that while there are some things I'd like to change about myself, and I'll never stop looking for ways to move on from various old things, I feel comfortable with myself in every aspect, good and bad (ignoring the odd unavoidable bad day or three). I've taken to using less labels, both positive and negative, and I now believe that, sometimes, if you focus on words, you miss the things that really matter.

I could describe myself as gay, or as a smart person, or as a lazy person (can't be all good, I guess)... but those are all tiny shards of a whole, and I don't think of myself as the jagged edges on those shards. Those edges don't exist except by smashing apart the whole. I absolutely needed to understand what the words mean to relate myself to them, but I've stopped identifying myself -- or others -- with them. In fact I tend to cringe inwardly when I hear other people get described in terms of shards, and I don't really like describing people to others, either (often hardly know what to say). And the last thing I want to spend time on is taking people apart and judging them based on how jagged the edges of the piece I broke off are. Sometimes it's hard to resist the impulse, and I have a tendency to sometimes say strongly worded things I don't actually mean, though.

But anyway, change... I'm not really actively expecting I'll ever feel properly attracted to a woman, but it's a possibility I'm allowing in my mind, and I've maybe had a faint sense of it once or twice. I guess the idea is: there's a lot of things I don't know about who I am or who I'm not, but I'm open to learning more. I've talked to someone who wanted to know whether being gay could be changed. The party line is "definitely not", but I'm not that convinced. I shared a few ideas, allowing for the possibility of things changing. Given what I know I don't quite believe in a clear way in which you could purposely change someone's sexual orientation that isn't quite morally, medically or psychologically questionable or even dangerous, but a "definite no" seems like a bit of a stretch for me. That said, I'm not terribly interested in experimenting, either.

Anyway, that's the one side of the coin: dealing with yourself. The rest is... other people. This is another thing I haven't really talked to anyone about. I'm not keeping my gayitude a complete secret and I'm not exactly going out of my way to hide it, but I tend to keep it out of circles it's not already known in, for the most part. I'm not particularly great at defending my own person (except in hindsight, in my mind, where I deliver perfectly executed and personally engaging responses) and I remember certain aspects of my school days well enough that I don't like to potentially sour interpersonal relationships I can't get away from. (So basically I tend to be somewhat more likeable when I'm stuck with you, but fortunately this is the internet and so I can be a big meanie here.) It takes quite some time until I feel comfortable talking to someone about who I live with, or stuff like that. I guess there's this nebulous ideal of coming out to the whole world but I don't quite see the point, beyond maybe sending a message of sorts.

If there's one thing I'm completely committed to, it's that I will never judge people solely for who they are, or even who they think they are (where I live, I have some -- completely accurate, of course -- prejudices about people with certain career specializations: I tend to think that they get into their field mainly because of things they think they need to do or ways they think they need to be. And these thoughts are completely stupid and harmful and I will never encourage anyone to think them, but still I'm not gonna go and blame them for having those thoughts.)

So, there's one thing I want to say to everyone who's struggling with coming out or coming to terms with stuff: nobody has any business judging you as a person. Not even yourself, in fact. If you're confused about yourself, or if you're having having trouble finding your place in the world, you have my sincere sympathy. I can, with complete confidence and no white lies, say that I think you're okay, even though I've never met you and maybe know nothing at all about you. I think that way about everyone, and if it helps you if I say it about you specifically, well, here you go.
I know it's hard to be all alone with something new and/or confusing, and I know how scary it can be to get some support... but I can also say that there are always people who will be on your side, and there are people you can talk to in comfortable anonymity, which is a lot more helpful than you may think. Another thing that's going to help: in figuring everything out, think of yourself first. There's only one person who can always be on your side as long as you live, and that's you. No matter who you are, no matter what you can and can't do, you're entitled to doing that for yourself, and you'll learn to bounce back from everything if you actually dare to unconditionally support yourself. Everyone else's opinion and judgement you can take on a case-by-case basis. People who reject you for things outside of your control are clearly stuck in their own complicated world and it's not your duty to take it personally nor to help them figure it out. Not making it your duty will become easier over time, and it will free you from the tyranny of other people's misguided opinions.
Your life will still be more complicated than many other people's, simply because there are a lot of misguided people, but you'll learn to deal with it and you'll become a bigger person for it. Whenever things get difficult, look first for people who will be on your side, and forget about the rest for a bit. It's completely okay to do that (perfectly legal cheating, basically).

You can do this... even if you don't know yet what exactly "this" is going to be.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:06 pm
by fluffy
That was wonderful, Jast.

Meanwhile, today I finally came out at work and it went incredibly well. I'm swimming in delight, and I haven't even had any weed today.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:40 am
by Billy's Little Trip
fluffy wrote:Thanks... I think?
Yes, I was sincere. And a bit tipsy at the time of that post. And I realized I already fucked up. I should have simply said "hugs are always welcome". But I'm sure you forgive me because you already know I'm an idiot. :P

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:46 am
by fluffy
Yes, nothing new there. ;)

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:57 pm
by hillbilly
Since Mom pasted a way and I moved into her old house, I have 7 closets.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:24 pm
by hillbilly
I have thought about this topic, probably be banned , don't give a shit. Face it your a fucking Queer, your not wired right. This is no bull shit at 5 yrs old I was taken advantage of by a 50 or some yr old Queer. I was talked into doing things for candy, that have scared me to this day. I would love to beat ever queer I see, half to death. Hate to be soo rude, but don't expect any friendship for me for being queer, fuck you.

NOTE FROM JB: Hillbilly has been permanently banned from the forum. He had received numerous warnings and was banned for 30 days previously for a separate incident of racial bigotry. If you really want to read what he wrote go ahead and select it and paste it into a notepad.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:54 am
by jb
Sorry that happened to you Hillbilly. But you don't have to post on this thread, you don't have to be friends with anybody, and you don't have to be tolerant.

You can be an asshole here all you want, probably, but you can be intolerant on somebody else's dime. I pay for this forum to exist, so I make the rules.

Go be a bigot somewhere else. This will be a permanent ban from the forum.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:13 am
by noma
Hate to see people (I'm talking about Hillbilly, of course) generalizing in such a way. Rumors have it that one main reason for Hitler's hatred of Jews was that his mother's Jewish doctor could not save her from dying of cancer. It's a really stupid reason to hate on such a huge group of people. So there was that one homo guy who was an asshole; well, there are lots of heterosexual assholes too. Should I hate all hetero people because of that?
Sure I don't have to explain association fallacy to most of you. But I wrote this response specifically for you, Hill. So, if you read this, be aware that only stupid people think in terms of collective guilt and the like. Rant over.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:16 am
by fluffy
Thanks for standing up for decency, JB.

He'd been on my ignore list for quite some time because of this stuff and I'm completely unsurprised at what he posted. I also find it funny that he seems to think that I'd want to be his friend in the first place.

At this point I just find that form of bigotry hilariously sad. Like my conservative aunt who, upon me coming out to the family, said my gender was just a passing fad. (Frankly I was expecting worse - the last time transsexuality came up in conversation with her it was about one of her neighbors who she wished would die of AIDS.) Fortunately, literally everyone else in my family has stated their support and understanding (as have all my friends and coworkers), and I'm feeling pretty great.

Re: 3/14/16 closets

Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:26 pm
by Jerkatorium
Thank you jb, you were absolutely right to do that. None of us should have to be subjected to offensive idiot nonsense posted amid these earnest personal attestations.

I'm surprised you put up with as much as you did. I'm surprised that this double-whammy racist/homophobic gem didn't get him banned earlier: ... 83#p198683
Maybe it went under the radar somehow; I suppose I shouldn't have been shy about hitting the 'report' button on that one myself.

He explicitly stated that he "don't give a shit" about being banned anyway. If he honestly doesn't give a shit, then he has nothing to complain about.