Dear Dan: I recently synced my phone contacts to my Twitter account. When I was scrolling through the list of people who turned up from my contacts, I saw a username that looked out of place. It was the account of a low-key traditional-guy friend of mine. To my surprise, on the account he was dressed as a woman in a few of the pictures and was with another Twitter user who is a popular dominatrix in the area where he lives. I’m sex-positive and support people who are gender nonconforming, of course. I also work for a porn company, so I don’t judge anyone who participates in BDSM. My concern is that I don’t know if this person is aware that his account can be found via a regular old social media and phone sync. I don’t want him to get outed for being a fetishist or possibly being gender questioning or transgender if he does not want to be out. Should I give him a heads up? Should I keep my mouth shut? I want to be respectful.
— Knowing Isn’t Necessarily Knowledge, Yes?
Dear KINKY: Send that traditional guy a note, KINKY, but “bury the lead,” as they say in the news biz. Instead of opening with those particular photos being easily accessible to all, open with the relevant facts about yourself: “You know I work in porn, and I’m not fazed by BDSM or sex work or any sort of gender-related sex play, and I’m a big supporter of gender-nonconforming people as well as the trans community.” Then let him know what you found, how you stumbled across it and how to adjust his privacy settings.
Dear Dan: My name is Peter and I’m a longtime fan. I’ve also been very involved with the Human Rights Campaign and their work in getting the Equality Act passed. I’m 21 and only recently out of the closet. I opened up about my sexuality after the passage of marriage equality last June and have since been a proud gay man. It seemed that since marriage equality, our community was only going up. Even the passage of HB2 didn’t make me cynical about the future. But this recent shooting has changed my world completely. Fighting for equality in housing, education and employment seems like a joke after this massive act of violence in Orlando. I’m looking to someone in the community for guidance.
Dear Peter: They don’t win — the haters don’t win — when they chase us, beat us or kill us. They win when we stop fighting.
Please don’t stop fighting.
And please don’t despair. Hundreds of thousands of us died in the 1980s and ’90s when hate, fear, greed, racism and negligence intersected with a deadly virus. A lot of us felt then the way you do now — that it was over, that it was hopeless, that the coming out and the organizing and the fighting had been for nothing, and that everything we had won up to that point was meaningless. And then we got up off our butts and we showed them — we showed those motherfuckers — that the fight in us was greater than the hate in them. We showed them that we were stronger and smarter than they were, we showed that fucking virus that we were stronger and smarter than it was, and we made it clear to them that we were not going to shut up and die quietly or go back into the closet and die alone.
And we had only each other for a while there — for a long while. For years we fought alone.
Look at who is on our side today — all good and decent people everywhere. The president of the United States and the next president of the United States. Look at the rallies, look at the vigils, look at the outpouring of love, sympathy and support. Don’t look at the killer. Don’t look at the haters. Don’t look at the vile comments left by shit people on Twitter and Facebook. Look at the good. Look at the love. Look at the good and loving people inside and outside the LGBT community and take strength from their love and support.
Then get out there and fight.
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