If you also listen to the Sunday podcast, you also know that I am reconciling myself to the reality that some things are worth fighting for -- like advancing the dialogue on sex and sexual freedom -- and some things are not.
The incredible negative pushback I've lived with as long as I've been on the Internet is something I grew to accept as a rebel outsider with a harshly judged sexual identity. I was controversial even in my BBS days (ca. early 1980s) for always pushing the envelope and uploading sadomasochistic fiction straight from my depraved imagination (a dangerous place indeed).
Some of the highlights:
Getting kicked off (then re-instated on) Compuserve (CIS) in 1988 after a corporate vice president announced that I was "a cock teaser" to my boss in a meeting.
Waking up to find that my entire (and not backed up) archive of SM fiction written specifically to draw people into my web of depravity (or that was how CIS management saw it) had been expunged. I lost half a book's worth of SM stories overnight. Ouch.
Getting banned from appearing at Borders' Books after being booked as a special guest for their Banned Books Week events. They didn't ban my books: just me. They didn't want to appear to be "endorsing" a pervert.
Getting hired and fired overnight by an editor at Business Week Magazine after the Internet told him I was a dominatrix. The man I was supposed to interview for them was my old friend, poet Dana Gioia, who was the head of the NEA under Bush. Dana was as shocked as me when I got blocked, since he recommended me for the job in the first place.
Getting thrown off ISP after ISP for my original website design which included excerpts from Different Loving and BDSM fiction-- which, in the 1990s, was considered dangerous material. Jen finally found me a kink-friendly friend to host it.
Being banned by whole countries. Yes, it's true: my website is blocked around the globe and, as I recently learned, even on the Canadian Rail system.
Getting banned, cropped out of, censored, and otherwise silenced out of articles in mainstream magazines (though they never minded using my ideas and words without attribution, mind you).
You get the idea.
Now, here's the thing. I don't mind everyone knowing I'm a sadomasochist and dominatrix. I've never been closeted. I'm not ashamed of it.
I definitely do not mind taking the hits for my words. I understand why I get censored: people are scared of sex. But I also know I can't let prudes and wussies dictate the dialogue on sex. So my public personae has exploited the opportunities on the Internet to be like whomp-a-mole: when I get censored one place, I go build a presence someplace else.
But today's Internet changes the game somewhat. Social Media makes it impossible not to be known across platforms, and if one environment is nervous about you, others will be too. Perhaps it was just a coincidence I got kicked off LinkedIn and FaceBook at the same time. Perhaps not. In both, cases, however, they had me: according to their Terms of Service, even if I didn't post pornography, if they think it could be perceived as pornography, they have the legal right to delete the post and ban the user. This applies equally to classical paintings by the Great Masters, clumsy homoerotic Christian art by rednecks in Kentucky, and Irving Klaw.
My beautiful friend Buck Angel wrote me a word of support, summarizing the trend, "FB is super touchy about SEX..I redesigned my site and that helped tons. The world is fucking weird. We can shoot people but god forbid if we fuck."
So what's a sexually liberated sexologist to do?
In my case, it's been to sit down and have a lot of conversations with everyone in my inner circle, especially my lawyer, Dave, who's been urging me for years to reconfigure myself so people can see more of my professional side and less of the personal one. Of course, if I took all Dave's advice I'd end up looking and sounding like Arianna Huffington but without the funny accent.
So I'll still be Gloria. I just can't help myself. I'm Gloria to the core. But from now on, I'm going to be writing more about my original theories and posting less (and less explicit) erotica. If I am going to be attacked, at least let it be because I believe that bisexuality is a true sexual norm, that polyamory is as normal and natural as monogamy, and that NOTHING in sex requires a cure, except for the sick behaviors most people develop around sex because of the way culture trains us.
How does it look?