Out Among the Living

| Jan 11, 2010
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To be, or not to be, that is the question.  Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing them, end them.”

My degree is in English, and while I knew what Will Shakespeare was getting at with that famous line from “Hamlet,” I never really understood it until now.

But let me back up.  I’m dating a young woman who has been stalked and hounded for the last three years, by an ex-boyfriend.  His online modus operandi is a brief burst of online harrassment, followed by months of silence.  His real life methods are no less cowardly.  He talks smack about her to everyone who will listen, in an attempt to cloud her reputation.

Online, he hides behind false identities and has friends do some of the dirty work, so the cyber-evidence doesn’t lead directly back to him.

She’s taken out protection orders, and he lies low for a while.  Then he answers with counter-suits of claims of defamation.  So, nothing ever comes from legal recourse.

To date, I’ve advised her to ignore him.  He’s nothing but a nuisance, doing no real harm.  His bad-mouthings will eventually be disproved, because they’re lies.  Because he’s committing emotional terrorism, I’ve asked “why give him the pleasure of knowing that it bothers you?”

Back against the wall
Back against the wall.

But, now, he’s crossed a line.  He’s threatening to out me.

Yes, I’m closeted.  And I work at a high-profile job, in a very conservative community.  While my employer technically has pro-GLBT policies on the books, the revelation that I’m transgendered would not go over well.

My girlfriend was the producer of the Ronnie Rho Show web videos posted over the last couple of years, and that’s how he found out about my “double life.”  (I’d met him a couple of times before in guy mode.)

So far, he hasn’t done much.  A fake Twitter account, with my name and hers, and a link to my online presence.  She got that taken down pretty quickly, and suspended the RR show website.  His next step was a Vimeo account, with her name, my names, and links to all of my web sites, male and TG.  It also had some of the video posted on the RR site.  (So, obviously, he cached stuff before making his move.)

The Vimeo page was sent directly to us, so would recognize the threat: he could destroy my career quite easily.

So, what are my options? I could take the man-of-action approach and beat the stuffing out of him.  As satisfying as that sounds, it’s not a long term fix.  He’d still out me, and I’d likely go to jail.

I could pursue the enlightened-man-of-action course, and obtain a protection order, and unleash a battery of lawyers on his ass.  But again, the outing will happen, only in a court of law, and I don’t have the money for a crack legal team anyway.

There’s defensive mode: Yank all my online photos, videos and blogs, and go stealth.  Set up a meeting with my boss and HR, explain the situation, and come out, hoping for the best.  But, the problem with this is: I haven’t done anything wrong.  Why should I run and hide?  Why should I take my chances with my job?  Even if they keep me on, they’ll probably shift me to a less prominent position.  And I like what I do now.

Besides, he’s demonstrated that he could out me at any moment.  By not doing it shows he wants me to squirm.  He wants me to worry and panic and do something stupid.

To be, or not to be.  Do I take arms against a sea of troubles?  Do I suffer the slings and arrows?

The options presented are not good.  So, I’ve chosen my own path: I’ll take it as it comes.  I won’t sweat over it, because that’s what he wants.  These colors don’t run, so my pictures and videos stay up.

I have nothing to be ashamed of: my image is not raunchy or embarrassing.  If anything, I’ve tried to present a positive image of transgendered people.  And I have to trust that the people nearest and dearest to me will stick by me, otherwise, they wouldn’t be my friends.

I’m not really ready to lose my job.  Not in this economy.  But if it comes to that, I’ll just have to start over.  Other people have done it, and lived to tell the tale.  It won’t be easy, but I will not cave, I will not cower at the hands of a madman.

To be, or not to be.  I choose both, and yet neither.

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About the Author ()

Ronnie Rho has been writing for Transgender Forum since May of 1999. One of these days, she'll get it right. She's been described as the "world's most famous recluse," but only by people who don't know her very well. She is unmarried, and lives in Cincinnati.

Comments (2)

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  1. Gina-Vizavi Gina-Vizavi says:

    What a revolting development this is! So sorry to hear this story and let me just say you do a big part in representing the transgender community in a positive light. The high road can be a difficult path to take. I wish you all the best.

  2. tami ann tami ann says:

    Sorry for your distress. A real bummer. I do think you are probably taking the right track. one cannot argue with one who is not arguing back. although it will get sticky if he outs you to work. Only other solution is to call the Godfather. Maybe have someone slip him a mickey and get him into a very compromising posisition and take pictures. Oh well i hope it works out for you. Hugs Tami Ann