twitter harassment & real names

So a few months ago I was involved in the decision to open up an LGBTQ-specific space (the LGBTQ Community Lounge, they’re calling it) at my university, the University of Oklahoma. Although other universities (like Kansas State and the University of Wyoming) have LGBTQ resource centers, we’ve never had anything like that. More here, at The New Civil Rights Movement.

It was pretty exciting…or controversial, depending on who you ask. The story took a pretty rough tumble through the conservative press (I won’t bother linking to it, but we got some nice headlines like “No Straights Allowed,” sigh, not true), and our Twitter mentions blew up for a few days:

Screenshot_2015-06-24-15-51-22 Screenshot_2015-06-24-15-51-34

I was sad for a few days about these–though the lounge is still very much happening!–but that’s not really the point of this post. I’ve heard women and people of color talk about how awful people can be on Twitter, but my own personal Twitter is pretty small, so I didn’t really understand what they were talking about. So this was my first taste of that. It’s amazing how much of my time and energy these small comments wasted, you know?

Not that these mentions are particularly bad–no doxxing, no rape threats–but. It’s just amazing what people will say under their real names. People like to blame this stuff on easy access to anonymity online, but clearly the problem is deeper than that. 😦

(Names not blurred out for obvious reasons. I thought about it, but nah.)


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