The other day Nina Yau published a beautiful article, in which she came out publicly on her blog.
I mentioned on Twitter that it’s a post I wish I had written. Well, not the exact same post – everyone’s experiences are different – but something that brings my online self into “philosophical alignment” the way my physical self is, and has been for a few years now.
This is an issue I’ve wondered about for some time– is the blogosphere a safe space to be openly queer?
Dominated by Straight White (Socially Conscious) Males?
One of the first things I noticed in the lifestyle design community, is that most of the big name bloggers tend to be straight, white males. Now, this isn’t really all that surprising. It sort of mirrors- well, everything else in our society.
Even most of the female bloggers I encountered appeared to be openly straight, often referencing their husbands on their About page (not a criticism, just an observation). All to say, I was a little unsure about whether it was safe to be open. No sexual minorities seemed to be represented at all.
Yet as I learned more about my peers (many of whom I now consider friends), I realized just how progressive and enlightened these particular ‘straight white males’ tend to be. Check out some examples here, here, and here.
Maybe it’s something about valuing choice, freedom, rejecting the status quo and embracing the pursuit of ones own path. It makes sense that 20-somethings who are into unconventional life design would also be proponents of human rights, sexual freedom, and the like.
Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise. Even if the queer community is not yet adequately represented in the blogosphere, at least we know we’ve got allies.
How Transparent Should a Blogger Be?
I like being totally open on my blog, at least about the particular topics I choose to write about. The thing is, I don’t write about relationships on the blog. I’m not saying it won’t ever come up in some form, but it’s just not my focus.
So why is my sexuality relevant? Moreover, should I even have to come out? People shouldn’t be presuming me to be straight in the first place. If they do, isn’t that be their problem? Their bias?
I’m not sure.
It’s tricky as a ‘public figure’, establishing where to draw the public/private line. I don’t want to hide who I am because I wouldn’t want anybody to think that I’m ashamed– I’m not. But at the same time, I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a queer blogger either. That’s not all that I am and it’s not relevant to my ability as a writer.
But as irrelevant as it is (or should be), sexual orientation is about more than who you sleep with. Being queer is a big part of who I am as a person and how I look at the world. And although people shouldn’t presume anybody to be straight (or gay), it happens. There are many more straight people in the world, so even well-meaning people often just assume that you’re straight until they hear otherwise. I wish this weren’t the case, but unfortunately it still seems to be.
Also, lets be honest. I don’t want any homophobes reading my blog. They should know so that they can go away. And if coming out means that I lose readers, then I’m glad. Those are not my people… our people.