What is the divorce status? It’s in abeyance for now, because I was very strongly urged to make it so.
But I still very much want to leave. I’m going to set up a Patreon account, and if I get a few subscribers, that will help make it possible. (Imagine B&W with no ads again!) I want to leave because several network colleagues have ostentatiously attacked me, not simply as someone they disagree with, but as a bad harmful dangerous person. They consider me a taint, a pollution, a toxin, and that is obviously very bad for a network of this kind. I don’t want to blog on a network where a small but vocal group of fellow bloggers think I’m a contaminant.
We don’t have a rule against a group of bloggers ganging up to ostracize and demonize one blogger. I thought (without noticing I thought it until recently) we did have a tacit rule of that kind, but I’ve learned that we don’t. We don’t have a rule, but what we do have is reality. The reality is that if a group singles out one blogger and goes after her for thought-crime and deviationism, that blogger is going to leave.
What do I mean, thought-crime and deviationism?
I think she said particularly impolitic things in particularly impolitic ways, regurgitated damaging arguments handed to her by TERFs that rightly got peoples’ hackles up, and I think she personally does not understand that at least some of the vitriol thrown her way is because some of those positions she’s taken are, actually, expressly damaging to trans folk. And the way she finally acquiesced to saying yes was so loaded with “but but gender is weird” — as though anyone was arguing gender WASN’T — is further damaging and undercuts her yes in a way that looks like a YES-BUT, which always reads as a NOT REALLY. And I am aware that she keeps saying over and over that she’s answered “yes”, but she’s doing so much lashing out at the genuine, nuanced criticism, and so much cozying up to the TERFs that everyone ELSE recognizes as having it out for trans folk, that it is perfectly reasonable for trans folk to want to steer clear even where people who are not trans might want to continue to engage.
To modify my first sentence though, I think my like and trust for Ophelia Benson is eroding the more she refuses to acknowledge that she might have done wrong and that anyone is at all legitimately hurt here. And every clarification — even if a step in the right direction — is loaded with paranoia about snakes in the grass and poisoners and witch-hunters who just want to attack her, that no amount of nuance in the argument is going to get through to her.
That’s not how colleagues should talk about each other in public – not in any organization where I want to work, at least. The main reason I wanted to join Freethought blogs when it was first set up was because it appeared to be a great group of people. I loved working solo but then once the network was created, I didn’t want to be left out of it. I thought it would be fun to have colleagues, and it was. It’s not fun any more, now that a few of them have lined up to talk about me the way Jason did there. If it’s not fun any more, why on earth would I stay? I could decide to stay for the good of the network, but since it’s the network that’s portraying me as a contaminant, I’m not motivated to do that. I’m getting all the shit part of having colleagues, and none of the good part.