Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Social Media and the Casual Out

Social media, interactive journals, the internet, when used properly can give you an outlet, provide help or the ability to help others. Used improperly, it can cause stress and anxiety for you and the people who read it. For example, my wife and her sister are having an argument on Facebook over the election. This has caused issues for both of them and for her parents who are reading the posts and now upset. My wife is now upset and feels ganged up on by the family. I’m not saying she should hold back on her thoughts, but if you post something on social media, others are going to read it and they have the option of reacting. 

 

I’ve said this several times on my blog, this is a place for me to vent or to just talk it out to the world without necessarily expecting a reply back. I liken it to the virtual version of yelling over a cliff and listening for the echoes. There are those who respond, I am glad of that, giving advice or condolences or congratulations. My immediate family knows that I have a blog; they don’t know what it is called, where to find it or what I talk about in it. I don’t share this with them because I don’t want it to passively take the place of my talking to them directly about issues or problems or good things in my life. I’m not sharing my issues here, then waiting, hopeful that my family will read these posts and then suddenly understand me or my issues or come around and fix any of the problems I may have with them or others.  

 

This isn’t the place where I am coming out to the world. I am coming out, little by little to the world on my terms and in person. I believe that writing letters can help you define your feelings and what you want to say to those you come out to. But I also believe that you should be present when they read the letter. 

 

That said, in a way I am outing myself on Facebook. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I was looking at my facebookpage and realized I did very little to hide who I am and where I am. For one, I posted my photos on facebook, photos of me as me, and there are a couple of photos of my mask, of “him”. A photo of my face is indeed my profile photo, so even with the wig and the makeup it would not be hard for the casual observer to notice the mask that they know. I didn’t really think about my mom, who is on facebook all the time and well everyone else, friends, acquaintances, or enemies. They can all see this photo, as part of the Facebook algorithm that defines “People you may know”. I hadn’t really thought about this as an issue, considering I don’t have any ties to this facebook and my masks facebook. However, this is not the case, I can see me from my masks facebook page and I know that others will see it too. I’m not going to change the photo though, unless I find a prettier photo of myself. I call it the “casual out”, where no effort was really put into hiding something that would out me, to friends, employers or family. I don’t think it’s the right way to come out; I am actually against this type of outing. However, it wasn’t my initial intent, I’m just not going to go back and hide it now. I’m not a perfect person, I have flaws.

 

I’m ready to come out, but the circumstances are not. I won’t lie though, if I am asked or if I am outed, I will freely admit who I am. I can’t control the world or how it reacts to truths that come to light. I can only control how I deal with them if they do.

5 comments:

  1. What we did on our 'trans' Facebook profiles was to search for and block any family and significant friends from seeing the profiles. That way there should be less chance of an accidental outing before we are both ready. I have said before that sometimes when you think something is obvious it actually isn't as the person seeing is not in the zone. As for your pics, if they are not a friend all they can see are your cover and profile pictures. I wouldn't worry to much about it all.

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    1. You gave me great advice when I created my facebook page. And when I started it, I did avoid putting my face on the profile. That didn't last long though, as I had what I thought was a really cute photo of me, so vanity won out over fear of being outed :) I'm actually not worried. If they find out, they do. I am coming out to more people, faster than I believed I would anyway. It's really not that hard once I start, the truth wants to come out.

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  2. I am consider strange calling them "anti social " media sites. Constantly making changes and hiding away privacy controls drove me demented. People have had lives ruined by unintentional outing on these sites, google caused deaths by linking sites without asking or telling! Just take care.

    Once I found the real "kill this profile now" button rather than the half hearted "cancel my account but let me back when I reconsider" button I knew I had better just hit it there and now. Bliss was instant, five years of bliss now and no regrets.

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    1. Hello Coline, yes I agree an errant algorithm and your secret site is in the view of people you never intended. I can certainly respect your need to avoid social media. It's stressful even without having a secret to hid. But, rather than avoid the social media, I am choosing use it as my peer group/support. I have wonderful friends, many of whom I never would have met otherwise. They offer support and comfort and I in turn can offer this back, all because we are connected through social media. I'm only a bit worried about my job, but not enough to stop being who I am. I am already planning coming out to them.

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    2. Hi Beth, that was exactly what I was using it for when mt group started moving from blogging to something easier and quicker, for a short while I played along but I disliked the lack of control. Thankfully it was towards the end of my transition when others were falling away too. Use it with care and good luck with your change, life is so much better on this side.

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