This is a hard topic for me, for reasons that will become apparent soon. First, a little backstory from memory. If anyone wants to jump back to Twitter in December on the timelines of the people in question, please do feel free. I would rather not relive it. I have spent enough energy on it already.
Suffice to say that Fay Brown started out in our community like almost all allies do: Taking a stance in front of bullies to defend us despite obvious backlash. This stance-taking escalated quickly, with Mrs. Brown being hounded by trolls, threatened, and whatever else have you. This escalated further to include her SurvivorCulture group essentially turning against not only Fay, but those survivors in our community who were brave enough and vulnerable enough to seek guidance from them. Fay stood up for us the entire time, and the drama involved with that got very, very ugly. The SurvivorCulture group leaders even involved themselves with trolls who dox people in an attempt to silence the issue. That level of drama is hard to fake.
I stood right by Mrs. Brown when that drama came to my attention. Bear in mind that December utterly sucked as a month: Over a hundred trolls, 1.16 million impressions on Twitter, and me basically ruining my mental health to weather the storm of bullshit, which included a particular transphobe named Bepis attempting to play self-appointed safeguarding officer (babysitter) in our community. Getting involved in the argument Fay was having with SurvivorCulture on top of everything else was less than pleasant. The issues with the SurvivorCulture group lasted into January.
Group Chat Chaos
Following that, sometime in February, following about two months of history, a topic was raised in a group chat of 20+ people: Sex offender registration. I forget the details, but as many already know, it is an issue I am passionate about. Sometimes, that passion goes a little beyond my control. I tend to be detailed and verbose about issues I am passionate about, not to mention knowledgeable. So, being me, I talked and talked… and Fay accused me of being aggressive. I disagreed, so I explained to her – outside the chat, in direct message – why I cared so much, not understanding that she wanted to just be done with the topic. We got our wires crossed.
She chose to share those three messages in the group chat. This was the first red flag. I ignored it, considering the circumstances, and hoped she might take it seriously. I talked with her a day or two later after giving it time to cool off, and she indicated that because we were not under contract, she was not under any obligation to keep our private conversations confidential. This is a big deal in the MAP community, because it violates trust. Still, I thought she was just still upset about the previous conversation and us missing each other’s signals. I deleted by hand all of my messages. I thought deleting my messages made the strong point that disrespecting privacy is not okay. Text communication leaves a lot to be desired, we are all human, shit happens, let us move on, right?
During the month of January, two rather strange (sorry you two, but I need to set the backdrop) teenagers showed up on Twitter, both claiming to be 13, both of which our community initially thought were trolls. As February progressed, we quickly decided they are unlikely to be trolls and started public dialogue with them. One of them was posting somewhat questionable content, the other posting about his relationship with an adult (sexual in nature).
I did not involve myself for a myriad of reasons. I expressed concern for one of them on two different group chats, after several others shared what had been said about them publicly (or rather, I assume what was being discussed was public information shared by the individual, having not spoken to either of them at length or seen their tweets). Neither situation is something I care to concern myself with, because it is a recipe for trouble for anyone involved.
Last Friday, March 15th, someone messaged me that the two of them seemed to know each other, and discovered that in the same conversation, that Fay was calling one of them out for inappropriate behavior:
What all happened is still not clear to me, but in that same conversation on Twitter, someone said they were reporting the issue to law enforcement, so there was never any need for me to figure out specifics, it was already well out of hand. Many people by that point had an issue with Fay calling out a 13-year-old on their behavior, publicly, and labeled it harassment. I tended to agree, given what I saw:
There were further replies and messages between Fay and myself, others and Fay, where people were trying to get Fay to realize the seriousness of what she was doing, and how she was essentially bullying a 13-year-old in how they are behaving in an attempt to correct their behavior. It tore me up to wade into any of that in the first place. However, there are minors in our community, and if it happened once with one minor…
It was following that issue that several people informed me that Fay had used other’s real names, trusted to her in private, in public. I verified that this was indeed the case – which of course, I cannot present proof of without sharing private information – and acted immediately within the best interests of the community. I announced I was blocking her, and why I was doing so:
I also addressed the issue of her sharing private information on Virtuous Pedophiles. The admins decided to keep it up for a period of time, and then remove it. Two days went by, and I wrestled with bringing it up again. My concern for the MAP community won out:
Over the last week, the issue has come up again… and again… and again… and again… every time it dies, someone brings it up again. I also have a responsibility to protect the MAP community from bad actors in our midst, which sometimes leads me to wade into drama I would rather not touch with a barge pole. When the issue involves private information that could dox someone… I go Mother Bear on people a bit. These are my people, my friends, and I want to protect them. I hate having to throw anyone under the bus to do that. I am a gentle person. Doing that makes me sad:
At the same time, I am not the only one raising concerns:
Fay’s reaction, not only to the Tamira incident, but also to the MAP community’s reaction to it, was heartbreaking. Firstly because she believes that tagging the FBI on Twitter constitutes a report:
To me, none of Fay’s reactions have been level-headed or professional. Certainly not when she accuses me of having pro-contact friends and dealing with abuse in-house:
I categorically deny trying to deal with anything in-house. I have numerous times reported to the police, and I can and will do so again when certain conditions are met:
Protect Your Information
There are many new MAPs on Twitter, so please listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. It concerns YOU keeping yourself safe, and YOU are the only person who can do that.
That is the bottom line, and sorry to randomly bring it up like that, but there it is. Unless someone has been in the community for quite some time, and you 100% trust that they will not share confidential information… DO NOT TRUST THEM WITH THAT INFORMATION. There. I said it. I get these people are allies, and it is a nice thing to have allies and people who care about us. Our allies lately seem to be growing. That does not mean all of them (particularly unaffiliated individuals as opposed to nonprofits) can be trusted with sensitive information.
That does not mean we trust them with information that can lead to real-life consequences. Was what Fay did unacceptable, and should a therapist know better? Absolutely! At the same time, the only one who can protect your information is YOU. Sharing it with people when you do not know their views on every single issue, you can risk exactly what just happened: A well-meaning individual who sees things differently from how you do misusing that information or accidentally letting it slip.
Also, see these tips (PDF) for keeping yourself safe on social media.
Vet Allies By Their Actions And Opinions
The MAP community needs to protect itself, and part of that is by feeling out how allies feel about a variety of subjects, and evaluating how they behave in a variety of situations close to the MAP community. Do they value trans members and show them respect? Do they refrain from shaming people for sexual kinks if they come up in conversation? Do they treat people with dignity and respect? Do they respect confidentiality?
I pushed for some kind of informal set of questions to be formed, that seems unlikely at this point. However, we need to keep in mind that our allies, like other MAPs, do not always come to the same viewpoint we do, and sometimes, a difference of viewpoint can mean a big fight over who is or is not right or worse. We, like our allies, are just as human. We need to be aware that part of being in a community is caring for others, and having our feelings hurt.
At the same time, we need to be sure that we are not trusting people too soon and putting them in an essential role within the community while they are not yet worthy of that role, or giving people access to information they could misuse to hurt the community or individuals within it.
Unity In The MAP Community
I am going to close with this. My goals are spelled out in my mission statement. The prevention of child sexual abuse via correcting misinformation with education and facts, as well as changing public attitudes. Part of changing public attitudes is destigmatizing minor attraction, so that those of us with said attraction can get help.
I think destigmatization is a goal we all can work towards. We also live in a society that – whether we disagree with this or not – is paranoid about children having sexual contact… with anyone, including other children. Like the prevention of sexual abuse, there are some attitudes that will only shift gradually, one step at a time. Right now, we are trying to get people to listen to us and to humanize us while distinguishing us from those who harm or have harmed children.
There are many ideas that much of society simply is not ready to swallow. The idea that a child can be sexual with an older individual – child or adult – and not be harmed by it is pretty high on that list of ideas. We cannot allow ourselves to get so wrapped up in our own opinions that we forget how the average person responds to those opinions.
I find it distasteful to suggest in any capacity that a certain segment of the MAP community needs to capitulate on certain fine points so we can help the average person understand our predicament. That is why I suggested to the anti-contact community first that perhaps we need to stop nitpicking every single nuance, far before I broached the topic of pro-contact pedophiles (those who want legalization of sexual contact between minors of whichever age to be legal, age of consent) focusing on humanization for awhile and leaving the issues of legality and consent in the background.
The MAP community is at a turning point. Far more people are listening than any other time in our history, and that puts pressure on every single one of us. That means more naysayers, trolls, and an increase in hostility, as well as those who wish to discredit us. It means more drama.
As a community, we need to stand tall in the face of that adversity, band together, and put forth a united front on one simple idea: As minor attracted people, we are just as human as anyone else is. That idea is what is important right now. Not this bullshit on Twitter over who has the bigger sexual organ.
I am sorry I do not have a greater ability to bring people together. Lately, it seems all I am doing is participating in tearing people down. That is why I am calling on all of us to be working together, not bickering and arguing publicly, and settle whatever disagreements we have privately, person-to-person, with respect and clear communication. None of us can get what we want on our own. We need to work together to do it.