Saturday, April 14, 2007

Second Life to Lose 25% Members in 2 Months!!!

It's true . . . Second Life is about to kill off a quarter of it's membership in a misguided attempt to make their virtual universe more real. It's been coming for some time -- voice chat in SL. But, a recent article in SL's PixelPulse Magazine reveals how it's going to affect a great deal of its membership: RL males who are women in SL.

I.E., me.

I use the word "male" because I am most decidedly not a man, and I don't say that in a self-deprecating way. Right now, sexualities of all sorts are re-evaluating their core identities and differentiating themselves from the big-tent categories they've been placed into since Eden. First, there was man and woman, then a few years later, we added "eunich"; most recently were the additions of gay men and lesbians, then transgendered persons, then queers who didn't like any of those titles, and the "questioning" who didn't want to associated with any of the above until their real life experiences were more aligned with their wet-dreams.

Even more recently, the more macho dick-divers have dropped their bar-bells and electric body shavers long enough to declare their independence from the world of "gay" -- insisting that they are Same Gender Loving or Men who have Sex with Men (SGL and MSM). Yawn. Just because some "metrosexuals" are arching their eyebrows and getting away with it does not assign masculinity to the lispy-voiced fem-hater.

Perhaps it's time that the rest of us disassociate ourselves as well -- those of us who emerged from our mothers' vaginas asking where she bought those heels never had the luxury of a closet: everyone knew we'd eventually be on our hands and knees before we could even pronounce the word "homosexual."

Second Life has made me further evaluate my own sexuality -- I'm beginning to realize that I'm not a highly-subcategorized queer, but a female brain inside a slightly male body (most of the sexual characteristics are appropriate, except for the slight shoulders, the wide-boned hips, and the twice-a-week sex drive). Everything's in working mechanical order -- except that there's no such thing as "pre-cum" from this queen's dick.

After many sleepless nights created by this realization, I've just accepted it. No cutting, no cross-dressing. I don't need that drama -- trying to assimilate as a woman in a highly-Christian pre-fascist society is more than I can handle right now. It's not that I'm a wimp or a coward -- but I'm most definitely not a man.

The requisite harassment if I did would be nothing unusual. My life growing up was no less cruel than a black kid in suburbia, a Jewish kid in Biloxi, or an Afghan at Guantanamo. I was unusual -- so, I was humiliated, tortured, stripped, dehumanized, and ridiculed on a daily basis. And somehow, I managed to not end myself before learning how to transcend that cruelty. I'm still the biggest sissy I know, I still attract attention, and -- honestly -- I don't even perceive when I'm being mocked anymore.

I've learned to move on, I've forgiven the male gender -- god bless them, they know not what they do -- and I've tried to make a life for myself. Something still didn't sit right -- and as I mentioned in the previous blog posting -- it wasn't until SL that it all clicked.

And now, SL wants to take it all away from me by introducing real-time voice chat. How? Because of it becomes extremely popular, the pressure will be on for all to conform: speak up or get the fuck out. Of course, other residents can't kick out those real male-powered females, but we could certainly lose a lot of friendships and relationships when RL prejudice prejudges our preferred existence in this new world.

I have a bf in SL. I love his spirit and his soul. He has asked me twice if I was a man -- early on, mind you, because "as everyone knows," a great deal of SL women are indeed biologic males. As the linked article explains, some are people like me acting out transgender fantasies, while others are just guys who are into lesbian sex and want to engage in it themselves. If voice-chat takes off, he'll want me to join him and the millions of others to get with the program, and "I don't have a mike yet" will only work a month or two at best. Eventually, I will have to tell him. And, I will most certainly lose him.

I thought about this a lot today -- it kind of bummed me out. The best I can hope for is that voice-chat will be as popular as it has been in chat rooms and IMs around the internet -- which is to say it will be an enormous flop. Chats -- particularly in large rooms (on the web and in SL) are organized in chronological order -- even if 14 people are talking at once). If you're a quick read, or archive your chats, you can literally "hear" everything in the room. With voice-chat, that will be impossible. In the dance halls of SL, you wouldn't be able to hear the disco since I've never been to a popular one where no one could keep their digital mouths shut.

And it's not just the transgendered or lesbo-posers who will feel shafted by this. MOST residents are living a fantasy existence in SL -- whether they want to be samurai warriors or Elizabethan princesses, these illusions will be busted by their asthmatic wheezing and Bronx accents. Sure, the ordinary avatars powered by those without imaginations won't mind the transition to sound . . . but it's entirely possible that half the residents won't use it at all.

Or they could . . . except for most of the ladies who have penises in RL. Our fantasy lives could be destroyed . . . and if so, look for us to leave en masse.

Friday, April 6, 2007

I'm not a real woman . . .

. . . I just play one in Second Life.

Second Life (google it): that fantasy playground in cyberspace, the holodeck in 2D, those dreamscapes in pixels and LCD screens.

I found SL during the holiday season -- and was immediately hooked. It has been a pleasant addiction, one I've tricked myself into believing is "healthy" because I indulge in a bit of capitalism on the side.

But, it isn't the trading that's got me down -- it's who and what I am.

When I joined, it was automatic. No conscious choice . . . no deliberation . . . no game of deception. I just pointed, clicked, and "poof!": for the first time in my life, I was a girl. There were no second thoughts about it either . . . I went about learning how to navigate, how to build, how to fly. My psyche merged itself with its new feminine identity like we had been separated since birth; or in her case, since before the account became premium.

Within a matter of hours, I was trading newbie hair and newbie skin for flowing and delicate -- and within a matter of days, I had my first boyfriend . . . who thought I was a girl in real life . . .

Again, no act of deliberate trickery -- "She" was me, and when he failed to pay me enough attention to she-me, I proceeded to acquire more and more boyfriends . . . until I had a stable full -- enough to keep me feeling needed and wanted, and more importantly -- beautiful and feminine.

Except, that I'm none of those. I'm a middle-aged gay man slap-ass in the middle of an existential crisis that's been boiling for several years. Okay, I'll dumb it down -- "mid-life crisis" -- same difference, except that it's worse for smart people.

Instead of just worrying about the small things like whether we could ever attract anyone other than the one we tricked into pseudo-matrimony, we choose "since I now understand that there is no God, what is the point of anything?" - or - we amuse ourselves by watching people who overly concern themselves with news and politics, as if the extra ulcer will actually slow global warming with the all-encompassing power of its acidity.

That's the good thing about SL -- I've stopped watching TV altogether: not only the news, but HBO (and that's not even TV) and Showtime and Logo and Bravo . . . I've even stopped blogging and reading my favorite blogs. Who gives a flying fuck if Keith Boykin writes another self-indulgent "weight training" entry, or if malcontent finds even more common ground with Newt Gingrich than I ever could? I realized the moment Kos opened his mouth on Bill Maher that the pretense of bloggers affecting politics was mostly a sham -- as if Kerry's defeat wasn't proof enough. Sure, they can "find things," but so do church ladies -- and you have to search through tons of cushions and nooks and crannies, turning up nothing more than a lot of lint and a handful pennies before ever finding that rare twenty-spot, or a Franklin.

But, let the hair-splitters continue grinding gears behind curtains . . .

As for me, I've gone somewhere else . . . trying to find my own truths in the nooks and crannies of a virtual world.

About halfway through my second SL boyfriend (also straight and doubly clueless), suddenly . . . it hit me. And, it was hard realizing this -- the fear of being discovered and possibly slaughtered for the crime of having virtual sex in a multiple-animation bed powered by a Grade A premium mam-beef on the other PC was enough to prevent a lot of things.

But, it hit me one night . . . I wasn't pretending to be a girl. I was one. I am one. At least . . . in my head. Suddenly, it all started to make sense: my inability to relate to my own gender, my inability to relate to other gay men or homosexuality in general (although I've functioned as a well-adjusted gay man most of my adulthood), my own desires, my frustrations . . . things that seemed so disordered before seemed to be rearranging themselves on the puzzle table -- almost without my assistance.

By boyfriend number three, I decided that I was "a woman trapped . . ." as the cliche' goes. And so, I dreamed and imagined how i might be transformed, and of course -- how I would get rich and famous in the meantime so that my fake boyfriend would want to be with me (instead of killing me when he found out) . . . and other assorted delusions of grandeur.

And then I researched transgenderism, the "surgery" and all that -- and realized that the most possible outcome would be this: if I bankrupted myself to have this surgery, I would not only lose my real-life boyfriend (who is most definitely not straight or bi by any stretch of the imagination), but I would most definitely estrange myself further from finding lovers among all members of my gender -- gay or straight. Getting your dick wacked off does not make straight men like you. The creme of the pie was this: I would also (and most definitely) lose the only dick I would ever get from there on out -- making the situation more hopeless than it already seems.

And so, I've become more rational about my Revelation from On-Line: emotionally, I am a woman. Physically, I am a guy. So, until that great and final day when they come up with GirlTron3000 Genetic Transgenderizer, I will follow this moral: If you're not going to get more dick when you trade in your old ones . . . you gotta keep the ones you have.


Hello, cruel world.

This blog isn't my attempt to understand the world . . . just a place for me to explore myself, my thoughts, my memories and everything else.

I've done the blog thing before -- tried to make it entertaining and enterprising . . . this time, it will be just about what's in my head. I won't try to swap links or post ads -- this isn't my shingle on the internet freeway.

If you want queer politics, queer religion, queer news, queer opinion, or just queer "queer," -- go somewhere else. If you just like reading about me . . . you need serious help, but you're invited to keep reading.

This is just about queer me. If you like . . . post a reply. If you don't . . . do the same. Don't take it personally if I don't reply -- again, this isn't an intentional blog.

Welcome to my reality.