Sunday, October 5, 2008

Living free

My Second Life is still pretty low key these days, so I didn't want to bore you by writing about it here. It's not entirely gone though.

I DJ at the Velvet from 2–4 p.m. on Thursdays, which is 5–7 p.m. Eastern time, 10 p.m.–midnight in the UK, and 11 p.m.–1 a.m. in Europe. Just so you know. It's been a bit lonely on most afternoons so far, although I've had some special visitors.

After not having seen Illya for weeks, I had a nice talk with her a few days ago. We just talked, and I think we actually communicated. No pressure, no expectations. It was really nice. I hope we can meet up again soon, but my first life schedule doesn't allow that much.

None of that was worth kicking this blog into action though. Here's what is: Gender Freedom Day in Digital Worlds, October 25, 2008. This is an idea started by SL resident Sophrosyne Stenvaag, who helped create the Extropia sim. Here is her explanation for why she declared Gender Freedom Day in Digital Worlds: "The last straw came yesterday, when a friend was attacked in social media and later pilloried on a blog for the expression of her sexuality." She goes on to say that the same thing happens to many other women in SL as well as to "queers of all gender persuasions," as she puts it.

In my counselling practice (rather slow at the moment), many of my clients came to me with gender issues. SL is the perfect place to explore them. Most of the cross-gender avatars I met weren't about deception. For many, SL is the only place they can express what they feel to be their true gender. For some, SL is a way to help them decide whether they need to go further. People need this freedom to explore themselves. If not in SL, or some other virtual world, then where?

I do not approve of deception or playing with people's emotions. But that should not preclude those who do not deceive from expressing themselves in a way that they feel they must, for their own mental well-being. And I definitely do not approve of self-appointed people who feel they must "out" others.

Gender Freedom Day in Digital Worlds was brought to my attention by my friend Shockwave Plasma, who wrote about it in her own blog. She included links to Sophrosyne's blog as well as to an article that ran in the Metaverse Journal. I decided one more blog entry with links couldn't hurt, even if most people have given up on this mess of virtual scribbling.

October 25, Extropia sim. Spread the word! But not to haters.