Every so often, something comes out about a member of our communities that leaves us feeling hurt and deceived.
For those who missed the story, Mardoll is a trans and disabled fantasy author whose Twitter bio now only reads “Inactive. Pronouns: xie/xer or he/him”.
But before this controversy, xie was very active on Twitter and known for xer strong moral stances.
Online, Mardoll suggested that xie was dependent on donations, Patreon, and book sales to survive. Yet xie was revealed to have a career with defence contractor Lockheed Martin spanning fifteen years.
KiwiFarms, the forum known for coordinating bigoted doxxing and harassment, was later revealed to have played a part in the release of information about Mardoll’s workplace.
But that doesn’t stop people who donated to support Mardoll from feeling betrayed, both because xie was not transparent about xer finances and because they saw xer job as at odds with xer progressive persona.
Some people also brought up the fact Mardoll is over forty, but xie self-describing as a “trans boy” made them believe xie was much younger.
There is a lesson in this for all of us.
When teenagers post a link in their Twitter bio listing all their triggers, I wince and hope no one uses that information to hurt them.
Having a space to express our queerness online doesn’t mean that we would be safe if people in our lives found out about it. Anti-queer violence is on the rise, so people have good reason to want to hide things like where they work.
So how do we reconcile this self-preservation and privacy with the desire to be authentic and honest?
Ultimately, it’s down to us to decide what we feel comfortable sharing: we don’t owe each other every detail, particularly when over-sharing can be unsafe.
But we do owe others the chance to make informed choices about how they interact with us and about the trust, authority, and even money they might give us.
For me, it’s about integrity. If we can give each other that, we’re in a much better position to protect ourselves and support each other.
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