October 12, 2012

“Behind Closed Doors”

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a furry. I mean, just look at the goddamn header. It’s something I identify with, like, and support. Some of the most awesome friends I’ve had are furries, or, well, sort of self-proclaimed “former furries,” and I feel like one of the main reasons why we all get along so well, and we’re all so awesome, is because of this sort of general attitude of acceptance and celebration of what we love, regardless of how silly it is, that the fandom is full of. Just like any group of people out there, there are plenty who take things too far, or who are total dicks, and whom I generally want to slap and tell to grow up. But so many are just awesome people, and I love them to death. Friendship-wise, I mean. Besides the boyfriend. And maybe a former lover or two I’m still really close to. Heh.

I guess I worry, though, that being in this insular community where everyone is cool with everything changes your perspective. It makes me wonder if that’s a bad thing. It makes me wonder where the “normal” perspective is, and if knowing that and maintaining that actually has any value. It makes me wonder if a “normal” perspective is naturally bad for people, and that by trying to adhere to it, I’m just making things shitty for others. I wonder.

Anyway, I’m going to talk about a thing and the people involved in that thing, which I won’t name, might see it. If you are one of them, I hope it doesn’t seem passive-aggressive, because that is not my intent. I know saying that makes it seem MORE like my intent, but seriously, I don’t mean for it to. It just put me in a weird head space, and when I get in a weird head space, I need to write it out to figure it out. So here I am.

I have a bunch of furry friends who are going to a convention soon. I’m super pumped for them as they’ve known each other and been close way longer than I have known them (they were nice enough to try to involve me in their pony watching nights, which I gladly joined and got to know them from) and this is, from what I understand, the first time most of them will all be the in same physical location at the same time, which is super thrilling. Recently, though, they were talking about the more… mature things they were planning to get up to at the con in detail on twitter. Because I follow them all, I could see all the @ replies back and forth and see the whole conversation. It really struck me as… weird?

I’m no prude or anything. They’re all awesome people, and adults, and they can have fun any damn way they’re comfortable with and I will shake my pom-poms and cheer them on. And a lot of their discussion was talking about being safe, and what’s acceptable and what isn’t, which are conversations that totally should happen in such a situation. That’s healthy. That’s cool. But it was in a public forum, you know? They weren’t writing pornography or anything, but they were being very open about their sex lives, likes, and dislikes in a public forum. They were making plans. It just seemed really inappropriate to me.

Then I realized almost all of them had their accounts locked, so nobody could see it except people they approved and they weren’t just yelling all this stuff in public, and I calmed down a little. I mean, if we were all in a chat room and they were discussing this, I wouldn’t be freaked out. Since they were all locked up, this was the same way. I just didn’t realize it to begin with, because I just kind of assume everything on twitter is out there for everyone to see. That’s how I run my account, anyway. I was weirded out over literally nothing. But it just kind of got me thinking about why I felt that sort of thing should be done behind closed doors, right? Why did I think it was inappropriate when I thought they were talking about that in public?

When I first was trying to transition, my mother tried to shame me into not doing it because “that sort of thing should happen behind closed doors.” She was wrong there, for many reasons, and I’m not shy about being who I am. But at the same time, I wouldn’t talk about what I actually do and actually like, except in maybe the vaguest of terms, on here, or in public. If I like you and you want to ask me, fuck yes, we can sit down and talk about it, but I’m going to keep that stuff quiet or at least not in your face.

In a similar way to how me being female is way way more than how I prefer things in the bedroom, though, a lot of people take other things of that nature to be a core part of who they are. People live extremely BDSM Master/Slave sort of lifestyles, for example, and that’s awesome for them. Yet that’s kind of awkward to talk about in public. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable with people casually mentioning that. Same thing with being poly. I mean, I did that, and I wasn’t going to deny I was dating multiple people? But I still didn’t explain the fact that I had multiple boyfriends except when it was necessary to, or someone asked me. It seemed inappropriate to go about yelling that. But there are people for whom that is a serious way of life. It’s who they are, and their little family is important to them. I wouldn’t want them to feel like they couldn’t discuss their family. I wouldn’t want them to feel like they can’t mention all the nice things they do together. But it would make me feel weird if they drew a lot of attention to it.

I guess I’m just wondering where that comes from. Is it “normal” to keep that stuff hush hush? And is that actually important? I do pretty well believe that not being able to talk about a thing just makes it kind of… evil in public opinion. It makes it a point of shame, whether or not you really feel like it is. Look at the history of homosexuality as a thing. It used to be something to be ashamed of, to hide away, but nowadays it’s out there from people mentioning it, even though others thought it was awkward, and now it’s just a thing. It being just a thing is clearly better. People can be who they are, and not be ashamed about it, all because the community was not willing to conform to how society expected them to treat who they were attracted to. As a transgirl, I don’t want to be outed to random people, so I don’t talk about my past, and that makes my past a thing to be ashamed of, even though I don’t really believe that it is. I’m not ashamed of being an Eagle Scout, for example, but I could never mention that to my students or people I work with, because I would be goddamn terrified of what they’d then think of me. How is that different from actually being ashamed of it? It’s not really that different at all. I can fully admit that, in a lot of ways, it would probably be better if I just wore that stuff on my sleeve. So I guess I don’t know why I should feel odd about people treating their sex lives as something to get out there and be part of who you are, because fuck, it ISN’T something to be ashamed of. As long as it’s between consenting adults and nobody is getting hurt (or at least not seriously hurt. Pain can be fun) then rock the fuck on. Enjoy yourself!

But there’s just this politeness element to it, as well as a focus element. It’s not expected for someone to reveal this stuff, and it can throw them off their game. You can’t know if someone won’t be offended, and that sort of thing can turn a boring conversation into a fight, which is something that, in society, you’re just not supposed to do, you know? Similarly, it can quickly derail whatever is going on. Going back to the Eagle Scout and students example, I know that mentioning that would completely derail the entire class period into me having to explain so much about both myself, and my dysphoria, and everything. The class work wouldn’t get done. So you just avoid that stuff. You avoid rocking the boat, and you move through life. You’re SUPPOSED to. It’s how society works, and how things get done. I want to work together well with everybody. I don’t start fights, or even the vague potential for fights, if I can help it.

I just wonder if that’s really alright, though. I guess I wish the world worked differently. I wish one could just be who they are without having to fight for it. I know the world will never work that way unless people are willing to get out there and show how stupid these barriers are. Yet I still, automatically on a gut level, work to protect those barriers, and keep them intact. I really wonder why I do that. I really wonder if I’m part of the problem. I really wonder if I’m somehow failing everyone else in a similar situation as me by not being willing to be honest. I wonder.

Leave a comment