An "old school"-ish plural system trying to muck about with this Tumblr thing. Hoping to do more good than bad here. We'll see what happens.
Where/when/how/why do people who devote huge amounts of their time to trolling and mocking the social justice community, or what they perceive the SJ community to be, get the idea that the SJ community in general or the Tumblr SJ community in particular, is accepting of things like otherkin, fictivity, and plurality, and that the SJ community spends huge amounts of time defending people who identify that way? Sometimes to the point of apparently thinking that people who identify as those things actually created the SJ community?
And for the record, while we don’t consider ourselves part of the SJ community, we’re definitely not part of “anti-SJ” either. But as far as we can tell, people who identify as things like otherkin, fictive, or plural— even if those things actually need have nothing to do with each other— get a very chilly reception from the actual SJ community at best, if they aren’t being outright attacked for allegedly “claiming to be oppressed” (even if no one ever said that, or just a handful of people who didn’t have a really good perspective on things said it or something like it).
Honestly, what we see is more like people with particular hateable identities who are trying to find ways to wedge those identities into some very elaborate widgets/ideologies/whatever you call them, viewing the entire world in terms of discrete categories, and using very specific types of language that are actually pretty limited for describing all the complex ways that various types of oppression can work and interact but keep being used anyway. Or to put it more concisely, they’re using the same types of language as the SJ community to try to carve out a place for themselves as a category amongst all these other designated categories, but are not really getting a great reception from the community, are certainly not central to the “mainstream” version of it, and definitely did not create the various communities that are referred to as the social justice community nowadays. It’s more like being the kid everyone hates, hanging around the edge of where all the other kids are playing hoping that someone will invite you in, as opposed to the other kids deciding to chase you away while throwing basketballs at your head. And yet it seems to be extremely common for trolls to make fun of what they think “SJWs” are, by coming up with stuff like “I’M SANDWICHKIN, CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE, STOP OPPRESSING ME.”
(…the more things change, the more it seems they really do stay the same, sometimes, especially when you end up all over again with things like self-proclaimed “DID experts” fighting other “experts” who insist it’s a debunked psychogenic illness blah blah blah, on forums that exist just to snark people. Even though both sides hate you and neither have really bothered to read much of anything you actually say. We remember the Anachronic Army’s website getting linked on some snark forum in the late 90s and people making comments like “SHE SAYS SHE HAS THOUSANDS OF PERSONALITIES, HOW CAN ANYONE CLAIM TO BE ABUSED THAT MUCH.” Going off the assumption of “higher numbers = more abuse,” even though the Army themselves said they weren’t trauma-split, though they were also open about having trauma in their past.)
(NB to those who know me: Pronouns are different than usual because this is a signalboost. I am genuinely afraid of jeopardizing any help the people involved here could get from a signalboost because of people who might decide to not take me seriously just on the basis of my identity and pronouns. Anyway, moving on to what it’s actually about.)
I have a friend who, along with his partner, is stuck in a living situation with someone who has threatened violence against him, to the point where he won’t be alone with the abuser any more because she herself genuinely believes she might lose control and try to kill him, and is constantly psychologically abusive to him already. He and his partner are looking for another place to live, but they are both disabled with chronic illnesses that make it impossible for them to have jobs, and they’re trying to find an apartment that they can afford with their disability income, that doesn’t have a huge waiting list already, and move out as soon as possible.
His partner’s post about the situation is here. His post about one of the threats of violence is here. I personally know both parties involved here— I’ve known one of them for over ten years, and can vouch for his credibility. He is trapped between having to stay in that house, and going back to an abusive birth family who is currently ignoring attempts to contact them anyway. Well, the other option is homelessness, but homelessness and chronic illness are a bad mix, especially since his partner has celiac disease and could die from eating wheat-based bread, or crackers, or granola bars, or any of the other kinds of foods that homeless shelters tend to hand out.
They are getting closer to their goal of finding a safe living situation as soon as they can, as of the most recent update on their situation, but still can’t reach it without some outside help at this point.
So if you could contribute even just a few dollars, or even know someone who might, please signalboost this. I’m on the other side of the country from them and can’t do anything besides contribute what money I can, but this is a friend of 10+ years for me and I’m extremely concerned about his wellbeing and his partner’s.
I know we haven’t been around in a while. We could type a lot of detailed blather about why exactly we haven’t felt up to doing Tumblr recently, either reading or posting, but it basically boils down to “we got sick of bullshit.” Like… we really have to post about it in more detail sometimes, but there’s frequently so much “been there, done that, tried to reason with people until we were blue in the face and finally just gave up” going on, and it’s not the first time we’ve been through it. And the thing is, it’s not just anti-plural trolls but also our own admitted difficulty in dealing with people who are probably not trolling, but remind us too much of our own “ACTIVISM!!!” naivete ten years ago, and thinking that if we could just hang around long enough to prove we were as Sane And Functional (tm) as Anyone Else Out There, the harassment would stop… etc. (And yeah, we pulled back from that one majorly when we realized it was running into a head-on collision with our non-plurality-related disabilities.)
There was a point, several years later, when we jumped onto the “we are not required to educate you” bandwagon, because we got really tired of having to give the same cut and paste answers over and over again to people who would sometimes just turn around and go “surprise, I was trolling!” or “surprise, I was playing devil’s advocate!” or ask increasingly ridiculous questions trying to get us to give an answer that they could snark at.
And I guess… we still lean more in that direction nowadays, but we’re also starting to move away from it. Because while there are people who are willing to drag out debates with maybe-trolling maybe-not posters, or give cut-and-paste answers, there’s… context to the things we say, based in our past experiences in various parts of the plural community. And we haven’t seen many, if any, people on Tumblr who were around during those times and in those communities.
This is not a slam against anyone— I mean, it’s not your fault if you were eight years old when, say, Dark Personalities was in its heyday and never read anything about plurality on the Internet until just last year. And yes, we were in high school in the mid-90s when we first started researching it, but we would have gotten a lot of context that the books lacked, another side of reality, if we had had an Internet connection back then, when a lot of BBSes, IRC chats, etc, for plurals were first starting to show up. We were just lucky to make friends with a system who had been online in those places then, and could tell us something about what they were like, and what they saw that the books never even scratched the surface of.
And some of the answers we see being given out, even with genuine good will, are a little worrisome to us in their oversimplification— again, the oversimplification was something that happened when we tried to do ACTIVISM!!!, and we got into it too for a while, but it eventually became obvious that there was just too much diversity for simplistic models to encompass. Like the often repeated question (whether it’s by trolls or honestly curious people) about “what’s the difference between multiplicity and DID?”— our answer to that, nowadays, is basically "mu." (And, before anyone tries to rabble-rouse about whether it’s okay to use that word if you’re not a Buddhist— though at least one of us is— know that we settled on using it because it was extremely difficult for us to find concepts in Western philosophy that matched our brain’s overall tendency to look at various parts of reality and go “you know, we just can’t answer that with a dualistic model.” If anyone is offended by our use of it and would like to suggest an alternate word for us to apply to our brain’s pre-existing tendency to not like viewing things in dualistic terms, feel free. I’m sorry if I sound a little snarky or arch here; I’ve just gotten paranoid about being stopped and apprehended over terms that we used not because we believed we had some right to possess the culture that originated them or any similarly outrageous and offensive thing, but because the culture we were born into gave us no words to use for certain things. Non-dualistic thinking: in America, it’s a pre-existing condition. :p)
Anyway, going back to the mu part: This was an oversimplification that we used once ourselves, partly because we were trying to distance ourselves from the scandals that led to doctors deciding MPD/DID was just a form of delusional thinking. But nowadays we’re uncomfortable when we see that the “party line,” in many places, seems to be “Multiplicity is a natural state of many people existing in one body and DID is a psychiatric illness caused by trauma.” See, in the days of mailing lists like DP and Enabled Multiple, there was an enormous overlap between people whose chosen label was multiple/plural, and whose chosen label was MPD or DID, and how they said they had originated and what they experienced in their day-to-day life as far as memory loss, trauma issues, etc. In some places, people just assumed without asking that you’d experienced some kind of childhood trauma, but there were also places where they’d assume without asking that you didn’t want to integrate, trauma origins or not.
We started out wanting to keep the terms separate partly because we were offended by having the term “disorder” applied to us, but I have to admit nowadays that in a way, that’s throwing people who do identify with the labels of DID or MPD under the bus. There was also an enormous amount of drama, back then, over whether the term “empowered multiple” (which was invented by two systems who don’t have webpages any more as far as I can tell, but I think one of them identified as trauma-based at the time when they came up with it) necessarily excluded those who felt they had split from trauma, if natural systems were being elitist against trauma-based systems, etc.
And nowadays our thinking is more along the lines of “regardless of what we think caused us to be the way we are, MOST OF THE REST OF THE WORLD THINKS WE’RE CRAZY AND THAT THIS IS BAD, and this is offensive to both those who want to stay as they are and those who don’t, to those who believe they would have been this way no matter what happened to them and those who believe that it was an important coping mechanism for them.” And… yeah, regardless of whether you view it as a problem for you or not, I also think “multiplicity is not insanity; it’s a defense mechanism against circumstances that would otherwise result in insanity” is also a perfectly legitimate point of view. And so is “I do identify as crazy/mentally ill/etc, but this doesn’t mean I’m bad; it means that I was hurt in ways that overwhelmed me and made it impossible for me to stay sane.” (With common sense caveats, as long as you’re not using it to justify abuse of others, etc.)
So instead of trying to nail down distinctions, we’d really rather… unask the question, talk about why a single division isn’t enough to cover the complexity. That’s the kind of thing we’d like to talk about. It’s why we don’t look at our dashboard much, because you wander in and argh, there’s another damn trainwreck all over the place, and some of the people involved could defend themselves if they had access to certain information, but they don’t, okay, there go the next two hours, type type type, edit edit edit, is this justifiable anger or is it taking unnecessary potshots, edit edit edit, etc… siiiiigh.
I know running away from confrontations doesn’t solve things, but we can keep a much cooler head if we stand back writing infodumps in response to questions or objections that might or might not have come up.
We’ve seen a couple of people we follow recently mentioning having arguments/discussions with someone going by the handle convertedinvader, over whether multiplicity can exist.
Convertedinvader is a person who has been trolling in the plural, otherkin, and transgender communities for well over a year now. We saw him attack several trans people and reblog their posts to tell them that not identifying with their bodies was delusional. Basically he trolled anybody who didn’t identify with their bodies, which included trans people, and called them delusional. But like several of the other trolls who did the same thing, he managed to turn various people in the SJ community against hateable groups, some of whom actually ended up hating them partly on the pretext that they were supposedly “appropriating trans oppression.” (And on top of that, most of the people we saw who really were saying things like “it’s exactly like being trans, just with species instead of gender” turned out to be trolls themselves.)
I don’t know what he’s like now— if he might genuinely have changed his mind and wants to consider the idea that it could possibly be a real thing, or what. The thing is, we saw him trolling so much that no matter what he may be saying now about just wanting to see if he can be convinced it exists, or whatever, it would take A LOT to make us believe that he wasn’t faking it. So if you’ve gotten into long debates with him, I’d honestly be wary about how much he really means anything he might say about wanting to see if you can defend your own identity in a way that will convince him, etc.