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I’ve used a fake name pseudonym online for so long and so consistently, that I have friends who don’t realize that it isn’t my legal name.  This blog is the first project I have written in a long time that deviates from that name.

For years, I’ve listened to people harass me about my “silly” or “unreasonable” concern for my privacy. And yeah, I thought it was shitty of you, but I thought being polite was more important. I never said anything because I thought my request for privacy should be enough to be respected. For some people (most of these people are no longer in my life) my request was a joke. The same way I see some people responding to Facebook’s edict to the Trans community being made into a joke.

First, let me be very clear. No one should have to explain or justify a desire for privacy. If you can’t respect that, you don’t respect the person making the request.

I don’t use my legal name online for many reasons. Primarily I do this because I value my privacy (as much as I can have using an social network). I want to engage in my religious community (being public in that way CAN cost me my career). I want to engage in politics and activism, some of which could also cost me my career. – Here I want to express and explore my sexuality and that could cost me my family (and probably some friends).

And because I have on two occasions been involved with men who turned out to be stalkers. Sometime last year, one of these men, who I discovered has friends in common with me, posted a comment on a friend’s page. Just seeing his name and picture gave me a panic attack. Seeing his name and picture through a screen (after 15 years apart). If you’ve never had a panic attack, Google it.

Using another name gives me a measure of control over my privacy. Even if it is false, even if it is silly, it allows me the opportunity to engage online. It allows me the same opportunity that other people have to be part of wider communities.

I choose the name I use as an expression of my own agency, as my way of protecting and defending myself – because I couldn’t do that before.

I don’t post this for sympathy. I post this as a reminder to respect people’s chosen identities. I post this as a reminder to respect their privacy, simply because it is theirs. I post this because NO ONE should *have* to justify their desire for privacy. I post this because NO SHOULD *have* to justify their chosen identity.

***Finally, I have zero interest in your apology – yes, this means you. I have zero interest in the “reasons” for why you mocked my requests or feelings – sit with your discomfort, the same way you made me. I have zero interest in your thoughts, opinions, or blame regarding my past ***

And for gods’ sake, please THINK, before you repost people’s stuff. If people’s accounts are private, it means they don’t want the world knowing their business.