Some Thoughts …

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I don’t take sides in conflict that isn’t mine. I often take a mediator role, or one where I am trying to stay supportive of people’s feelings, while not really expressing my opinion on the matter at hand. One of the reasons why I am doing that is because I have experience as a community manager and I know that conflict is never resolved by taking sides or emotional outbursts. It is often in the aftermath of everything, when emotions have calmed down, that things can be talked through, apologies happen and people can move forward.

But I am not only taking on the role of a mediator in other people’s conflict. I also often take on the role of the observer. I don’t engage because I am scared. Yelling, aggressive behaviour, threats and conflict are huge triggers for me. They are related to trauma and they give me flashbacks and panic attacks. And yes, I need to handle my own triggers, I have that responsibility. If I didn’t take that responsibility, I’d not be able to be on social media these days. But being more of an observer has turned me silent and scared. Scared to be attacked to not speak up, scared of losing friends.And I am scared to say a single word, just in case someone’s emotions will boil over and I will suddenly be the person receiving death threats.

I know that I am not alone in my silent, anxious and observing position. I know that others, just like me, have supported many members of the community in private messages lately. There is a huge group of us, that look at the declining stability of the community with fear. Those who get triggered by aggressive behaviour and bullying. We are silent, because we are scared. Instead, we stay in our private messages, we support whoever comes our way and also try to understand what the heck is going on.

And still, here I am, writing this post, which goes against my overwhelming anxiety, and goes against my role as a silent and observing mediator in conflict. Because I realized that I even I need to speak up. Speaking up and voicing your opinion, and expressing your emotions, is always valid. What is not valid is doing that in hurtful ways. It is important to pick the words you use, the tools that you feel need to be activated. No one outside your group listens to the person who yells, is rude. People listen to the person who makes sense. So if your content makes sense, but you yell it out in hurtful ways, then those who you want to listen, will turn away. Why? Because people get scared and uncomfortable. You don’t make them think or question their behaviour, you make them walk away.

There are a few things that I really can’t have around me. I already mentioned conflict and aggressive behaviour. But there is also bullying. In that, I include when a victim of bullying bullies someone themselves. In a sort of revenge way. It is not fair behaviour, and you sink to the same level as the person who has hurt you in the first place. If “an eye for an eye” is the sort of culture you want to live in, then eventually we will all turn blind.

Now, you might think: well, I can’t take responsibility for your triggers, Devie, sorry. I had to say it out loud – I am not saying you need to do that. Promised, I know how to handle my triggers. I mute people for a while, I mute conversations, I stay away from conflict. But it is hard to do that right now. There are those in the community that make social media unsafe for those of us who are silent observers, and who are scared, and feel threatened and get panic attacks from seeing things explode in the ways that they do.

So what am I asking for? Am I even allowed to ask for anything? I am a member of the sexblogging community, I think, so I should at least be able to express my feelings. So I have done that now. But my opinion on the core of the issue? Sure. Here it goes. I am an ally, and although I am pansexual and I struggle with my gender identity sometimes, I am not part of the LGBTQ+ community, or well, I don’t feel that I am. The reason why I don’t feel that I am is because I am privileged. I never got hurt because of my sexual orientation or my sometimes elusive gender identity. I never got attacked for it. So I don’t feel that I have the right to call myself LGBTQ+, because I think that the LGBTQ+ community is so much glued together by the struggles everyone shares with each other on one level or another. I have never had those struggles, so I don’t dare make them mine.

So I am an ally, and I have been that ever since I grasped the ideas and feelings of LGBTQ+ related topics. I call people out on transphobia,, on homophobia, on biphobia. And I am trying very hard to not misgender anyone, and sometimes even don’t comment or say anything, out of fear to use the wrong pronoun or the wrong term. I am careful and sensible about it. And I will continue to do so. Transphobia is not okay. There is a scale of severity though, where on the one hand you have those who are confused by different gender identities, and on the other end, you have those who threaten to hurt trans* folk, or write political manifests around gender. The confused person, you can educate. The extremist, you need to warn people about. Let’s not forget those differences.

Transphobia is not okay. Ever. Not under the umbrella of free speech, not to joke about (although Ricky Gervais might disagree with this point) and not even in the realm of fiction if presented as a viable option. This is my opinion. I would love to bring that point across in a calm and reasonable manner, instead of threats, bullying and cancel culture.

Because that is not how you convince people, that is how you make people afraid of you, and how you dig a bigger hole between those who want to understand, and those who can explain. That is my opinion. I can’t change anyone’s behaviour, and I wouldn’t want to. And I know that behaving in that way comes from hurt feelings, and fear. I respect that., and it sucks that someone gets pushed into a position where they feel so emotionally overwhelmed that they feel the need to fight back. It is just not how I operate personally.

So when I read that I am a bigot and transphob by association, I feel sad. I feel sad because people don’t respect another approach than cancel culture. Those of us who are silent, and observing, and try to focus on supporting emotions in a time like this, we are choosing another path. A path where we wait it out. We know things will calm down again, and then we can rebuilt what is broken. The community has been in such a disarray lately. with so much bullying, calling pople out, and conflict, that it is difficult not to get affected. I definitely have been affected and I wasn’t even engaged in anything. And yes, there is transphobia in the sex blogging community, and it needs to be addressed. But I disagree with the current approach.

So who am I writing this post for? For those reading who are similar to me, and are triggered, scared and uncomfortable at the moment. I hear you. I feel you. In my eyes, you are not a bad person for refusing to engage in cancel culture. Let’s just wait it out, allow people to express their emotions (hopefully in healthy ways) and then help rebuild what is broken. We exist too, and it is okay to not want to be pushed into a conflict that we didn’t choose to engage in.

P.S. If you are afraid to comment because of what is going on, feel free to send me a DM on Twitter, or use the contact form on this blog to send me an email <3

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29 Responses

  1. Sweetgirl says:

    Your words are always so well balanced and considered. Please stay safe x

  2. MrsK says:

    Nicely written! Being new to the community, I’m unsure of the entire situation but I have seen some appalling speech being flung on social media. Thank you for being a warrior and reminding people we’re all on the same team, even if we see things differently 🙂

    • Thank you! It is sad when a safe space turns into a unsafe space filled with aggression, anger and conflict. Mistakes were made, anger was expressed. Although no resolution is near, I fear, I still hope that things will be less intense so we can all work on rebuilding instead of helplessly watching it all burn. We are all on the same team indeed!

  3. PurpleSole says:

    Thanks DS, ‘bullying’ is a term I used to describe the situation as well. You are not alone in these feelings.

  4. I cannot love this post enough! You have taken the words and feelings right out of me and expressed them in a way that I am too shaky to right now, so thank you. This is a mess.

    • Thank you, Birgit! Yes, it is all a mess indeed. And it feels overwhelming, helpless and triggering to watch it all burn, and feeling the pressure to need to join those with the fire. Let’s hope that even though a resolution seems far away, hopefully things will settle so we can regain a safe space and can start rebuilding.

  5. ams says:

    Thank you for this post. I feel the same way in that aggressive behavior makes me scared. It’s in my past as well. I try to avoid this kind of drama because it is often fruitless. Some people simply want to hurt and some are so insidious as to claim victimhood (rightly or wrongly) before lashing out with righteous indignation. We should all strive to be a kind person even in disagreement. But for my own sanity I avoid people who fail to be kind.

    • It is definitely hard to stay away from conflict and drama, I agree. It is everywhere, but we can try to lead by example: we can be kind, validate people’s emotions and be respectful. A calming voice is always better than no voice. But I often choose the path of avoidance too, because it is far too triggering for me to be around hateful aggressive behaviour, no matter whom it is from. It doesn’t mean I disagree with opinion, neither does it mean I invalidate emotions: it means that that I am scared and I am unable to join the conversation. The oppressed becoming the oppressor is actually quite a common behaviour in all sorts of situations, unfortunately. I avoid all sorts of unkind discourse, for my own mental health. I wished people would accept that. Thanks for your comment <3

  6. Sometimes when tempers flare, we forget what’s important: mutual kindness, tolerance, compassion and, above all, empathy.

    “It maybe shocking but when we see our weakness or shortcoming in others we tend to be harsh on them, because we hate how we see ourselves in them and that’s why we attack. Remember how you felt when you were in their shoes and how you wished others would have treated you. If your intention is to help or motivate them do it with compassion and understanding, be constructive and tolerant. Yet, that’s not the only reason we sometimes mirror others in their treatment to us. Sometimes we take it as a chance to exercise the same oppression we have once experienced. So when we are put in a situation where we have the same power or authority over others we seek vengeance, we lash it out. Which makes us only contribute to extend this vicious circle!”

  7. This is a well-written post which clearly comes from a kind, caring and thoughtful person. I feel as though I’m like you, in that I tend to distance myself from drama for fear of getting burned. I avoid conflict because I, like you, know that everything will eventually settle. That’s a huge privilege for me because I’m a white cis het man – I don’t need to fight for my rights. However, in this particular instance many of those involved are simply doubling down on their behaviour and seem incapable of listening. By continuing to associate themselves with a sickening blog post (and an author who made hateful replies in the comments below) they are continuing to demonstrate their bigotry – they are adults, after all, capable of listening and learning. Cancel culture is tiresome, but sometimes I see it as being necessary to protect those whose lives and way of living are constantly under threat. I’ll wait a little longer and hope that those who erred are able to see the light. Thanks for providing an outlet for my thoughts and apologies for the rambling comment.

    • Thank you! I can see your point and I am definitely not disagreeing with it. I don’t support transphobia and I think that there needs to be a resolution to all of this. But as long as everyone’s feelings are high up in gear, it is hard to find that resolution. I hope that things will settle soon, at least emotionally, so a lot of us can help rebuild what has been burnt. I will never engage in anything that is triggering to me, neither can I be around people who are being aggressive and hateful. I don’t necessarily have the privilige you have (not cis, not hetero, not white, not mentally healthy), but I can see that people assume that I do, because otherwise I’d join those that feel hurt. But I can’t join those that express their anger through aggression and personal attacks and threats. So I stand in my corner, wave the flag of kindness and understanding, and hope that no further hurt will happen. I can see your perspective, and I also think that waiting until everyone is more on a level of opening up a real conversation, is a helpful thing to do!

  8. slave sindee says:

    well written i am right with You
    GREAT JOB !!!!!

  9. Zebra Rose says:

    I think it’s important for those of us who are cis or gender-conforming to realise that we have huge privilege here, and our perspective is shaded by that. When marginalised people hit back at maltreatment, they are doing so from a place of precarity, of pain and fear that goes waaay beyond butthurt into ‘deep spiritual injury’ territory. It’s easy for us to say ‘everyone just be kind’, easier to see ‘both sides’. Some things are worth fighting for, some things are worthy fighting against. We don’t have to be cruel about it, but now is the time to judge our principles against our loyalties.

    • Hey! I can see your point and I am not disagreeing with it. I am actually not totally cis, because there is a bit of a complicated situation with DID/plurality and gender identity, but let’s say I am in the cis corner. I think that different approaches to help and to support need to be valid. There is no one way for everyone. I can support trans* and LGBTQ+ folk (and have ever since I was a teen) by supporting them emotionally, and speaking up when they can’t. I do not support transphobia. But I also need to take my own mental health into consideration, and I can not be around behaviour that I perceive as aggressive and threatening. I handle my triggers, stemming from serious childhood trauma, the way it works for me. I want there to be a safe and inclusive community without any discrimination of minorities. I will always stand for that. But I will never be able to join a conflict that is as heated as the one going on right now. I especially dislike being given ultimatums, as those feel as threats to me as well. I am doing the best that I can, with the capabilities that I have, while trying to remain, calm and respectful. And I respect if others define as cowardice. I define as choosing a kinder approach, and I am looking forward to when things have settled down again and we can all work together again, in a safe space. I validated the pain and hurt and fear everyone is experiencing. But by trying to pressure me into joining the conflict, my feelings and fear, stemming from my issues, are being invalidated. Everyone’s feelings are always valid, and we all do what we need to protect ourselves emotionally.
      Thank you for your comment. I understand where you are coming from. I still think that different approaches does not equal different sides.

      • Zebra Rose says:

        I realise that came across as preachy as it wasn’t meant to be, sorry! I understand your reasoning and don’t think you a coward. You have to put on your own oxygen mask first, right? Thank you for sharing your thoughts xxx

  10. Thanks for writing this. Certainly has made me feel less alone.

  11. Lisa Stone says:

    yeah, the “an eye for an eye” culture could turn blind everybody…

  12. Thank you for writing this, Devie.

    Rebel xox

  13. “I read that I am a bigot and transphob by association, I feel sad.”

    I’m a year late, but received DMs with this. Threatening if I didn’t pick that person’s side (and then actioning said threats)

    I’m like you. An observer. Quiet, calm and contemplative (and also fearful of the poison that comes flying out of comments, posts and DMs)

    Anyway, enough of me. Great post Devie, I’m glad I found it N x

    • I think it is always best to not let our immediate emotions of anger and upset get the best of us when we are triggered. Unfortunately not everyone is able to do that, and they go to attack the people they assume ware out to hurt them. And unfortunately it doesn’t matter which corner of any ideological debate you are on, it can happen to anyone, really. I am glad that you also like taking a calm and quiet approach!

  1. April 18, 2020

    […] Deviant Succubus – Some thoughts […]

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