Tuesday, 8 July 2014

An Open Letter

I know I often write about shitstorms and meltdowns that have occurred on the internet. I know that for some people this appears to be feeding trolls, passive aggressive whining or a sign of how messed up our society is these days. I find it indicative of how our society is changing.

This blog is to and about a young man of my acquaintance. He is a real person.

I first met you online several years ago. You made some sensible reasonable contributions to discussions in NZ Pagan Community forums. Then you vanished for a while. Then you came back, but different.

I thought you were an utter tosser. You would enter into a discussion with a rant that had little to nothing relevant to the discussion. The most memorable being a post about recognising logical fallacies in discussions, debates and arguments. You were the first comment, ranting about how logic had no place in religion. I read your comment several times to see if there was something I had missed. Had someone else commented to put those two together and then deleted it? It couldn’t have been someone who had me blocked because they wouldn’t have been able to see the post in the first place. Here you were spouting off that they didn’t belong together, but there was no one putting them together except for you in your comment about why that was wrong. Perhaps you were demonstrating what a circular argument looked like?

I shrugged and went to bed. I’d try to make sense of that tomorrow.

When I looked at it again the next day, it hadn’t improved. You’d gone on about Philosophy and stuff like that. I saw one person had made the valiant effort to try to understand where you were coming from. He was asking you where your viewpoint came from and how you came to that conclusion. You were insulting and condescending. You said things like “Imma break it down and use real small words so you get this, m’kay?” Did you not realise that this terribly patient person was currently in the midst of his PhD in Philosophy? Did you make yourself clear? Oh I think so. That discussion seemed to end when you complained that you didn’t care, you were drunk and had better things to do like saving lives and shit.

Ah. You were drunk. That makes everything okay doesn’t it?

I recalled your posts filling my feed one night about how you were drunk and someone needed to come and bring you pizza. It reached the stage where you were demanding that at least one of those insensitive bastards you called friends owed it to you. When someone pointed out that pizza companies deliver and you could order one yourself, you insulted everything that was important to her and her most special achievements.

All of a sudden, and possibly because I was looking for it, everywhere I saw your name pop up, I saw your abusive behaviour. I saw an overweening arrogance. I saw you act as though being a Mall Cop was something pretty fucking special and how the Police were so grateful for your intervention. I saw you repeatedly tell people what your IQ was as if that made you something even more special. I saw you insult and demean a lot of wonderful people that really didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

I met you in person at an event. Firstly, I was surprised at how tiny you were. All your posts had made you out to be at least average size in a guy and closer to big for a guy. I was expecting someone at least 5’10” and built like the proverbial brick shithouse. Not this skinny weedy little fellow. But I thought that explained a few things. A bit of small man syndrome, bantam rooster stuff.

About six months later, you were outed to me. It was quite by accident. This mutual acquaintance didn’t know you were active in the Pagan Community. He knew you through the transgender groups that you’re active in. He said, “hang on, do you mean X? Transgender X?” Ah, suddenly so much about you made sense. Your irrational ranty aggressive behaviour could be fueled by all the testosterone you’re having to take in your transition. Even the questionable profile pic that was a close up of your barely covered genitals now made sense - even though I still found it distasteful and unnecessary.

I saw you again at the same event the next year. This time, I had two young women with me. Both vulnerable and dealing with some pretty nasty stuff of their own. That either of them had chosen to come at all and spend a weekend with a bunch of mostly strangers was pretty huge for them.

You got drunk. We had a chat and decided to see if we could mend fences and at least try for some sort of understanding. You mentioned your big “thing” and I told you that I hadn’t known about your big “thing” until a few months earlier. You were surprised, you thought everyone knew. It’s not a secret in this ‘family’ you told me. You went on to tell me all about how hard it was for you because you’d really like to have a girlfriend and things go so far and then they find out about FRANKENSTEIN you yelled while pointing at your crotch.

It didn’t get better. You were loud, you were drunk and obnoxious for most of the weekend. You didn’t seem to participate in anything other than the drinking and some sort of competition to be the most strident voice in any conversation. You were behaving like a complete arsehole.  You went on to near strangers attending their first one of these events about all your problems with your parents.  They learned nearly all of your issues while waiting in line for something.

At different times, both of the young women that had come with me came up to me freaking out over your behaviour. You’d been too in their space, you’d yelled things about freaks and frankensteins and how you didn’t want to be M any more so often that they were becoming really frightened by you. Both would most likely have pulled pins and gone home, if it had been something they’d had more control over.

“What the fuck is the deal with that creep?”

So I told them your big secret that wasn’t a secret in this group. It allowed them both to understand you. It was the only thing that allowed you to form friendships with either of them. Actually, knowing your secret that wasn’t a secret was the only reason I was open to forming a connection or friendship with you again. I know it’s not an easy place to be in, and perhaps with some more support you’d tone down the idiocy.

You sent me a message on Friday night telling me off for outing you. I asked where this had come from and you told me it was one of these young women. I apologised. You accepted my apology and complained about how you’d finally worked up the courage to tell her and found out that she already knew and that stole your thunder. I’d told you that I’d also told the young woman closer to me. She tells me that she hadn’t let you know that she already knew, but you then blew her up for not telling you this. I thought about the situation and felt that total honesty was required. I told you that in the case of these women, I would do it again in the same situation. Even with your “If you do this again then we can’t be friends” decree.  Normally, I wouldn't have outed you, but you needed to take responsibility for your own actions, understand why I'd broken this "rule" and perhaps be able to prevent it from happening again.

I had a responsibility to keep them feeling safe and you were threatening that. Your right to privacy stopped when it threatened their safety. Safety is not just purely physical circumstances. You can call this excuses all you like, you can pass it off as I have a sad, miserable life (you clearly have no clues at all about me) but nothing you rant at me, or anyone else who is sitting in self-appointed judgment of me will change this. If there is something I know that can make a difference to the situation these two were in, not sharing it for the sake of the privacy of a clown who has just told me that it’s not a secret and has yelled it to an entire campground, well that would be negligent.  And given that you'd yet to ask who told me showed another inconsistency in your problem.

You can tell me it’s about self-preservation. Right back at you. This was about their preservation. Yours was of lesser importance to me. And your hypocrisies and inconsistencies in this make it even odder. You’re supposed to be smart aren’t you? A 140 IQ should realise that you’ve dug yourself a hole and stop before it’s too deep to get out of.

Then I learned about the way you’d been behaving to these women. I’d been somewhat concerned about the tone of your conversations with one of these women since then. You were constantly chatting with her, presenting this persona of over the top masculinity and she was still trying to be understanding with you. She has other transgender friends and has a pretty good understanding (well almost as good as it gets from the outside) of what it’s like for you.

I didn’t know that the persona you were projecting onto the other young woman was the opposite. You’d chosen a part that was somewhat pathetic. She tried to justify your most recent behaviour to me as “the poor thing, he tries to hard to measure up to the macho male thing and just can’t feel comfortable with it. He doesn’t have much contact with anyone else in the LGBTQ+ communities.”

It was at that point I told her where your outing to me had come from. Not much contact with these communities? Really?

You see, we’ve all heard the stories about the way you behaved regarding your two ex-girlfriends in the community and the stories you’d told one of my girls about one ex didn’t match the person we knew. We were not there, we weren’t going to try to make sense of any of it or take sides. But the two different personalities you were presenting to the girls suddenly looked sinister. They’re both smart girls, smarter than you (in case you hadn’t figured that out) and while they were both vulnerable, neither would have fallen for it for long. One in fact realised just how insidious and mind-gamey your interactions with her had been.

That you spent a day and a night trying to turn my own flesh and blood against me, while she was visiting and sitting in my lounge with me shows a remarkable level of stupidity.  You can talk smack and try to use your own twisted brand of logic with her, but as I said, she's smarter than you and that didn't work so well did it?

Now you’re doing a big poor me bleat about how you’ll only ever be known for that label. You talk about all the questions you get when people realise and then they switch off. Did you get a single one of those questions from me or my girls? Did we treat it as anything other than a part of who you are, like your hair colour?

Do you honestly think that we’ll remember you for that transgender label?

Nope. Not even close.

If you don’t grow up and try to be a better human, you’ll just be known for one of a number of different labels. Or possibly all of them.

Arsehole. Manipulative bully. Perpetual victim. Abusive loser.

None of those have anything to do with what’s in your pants. Stop using that as an excuse to keep justifying and reinforcing those labels.  Try to be a decent human being first and the rest should follow.


I've had a long and wonderful conversation recently with one of the folks who outed you to me.  He pointed out that one of my most outspoken critics in this publicly outed you some time ago without your knowledge or consent.

She had a big thing on her facebook about how cruel it was of our government to not allow you a passport that reflected your transgender identity.  Your comments expressed your surprise that she had posted on your behalf and your gratitude that she was going in to bat for you.  Nowhere was there any kind of issue about being outed without your consent.

I guess it's okay when it's political and can be used to whine about our government.

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