I choose to write anonymously. If you look through this site, you won’t find my name listed. You will find things about me if you read through the blog posts and see what I have written elsewhere on the site, but my name is missing. I think it is time to explain why.
When I first set up this website, I didn’t think about anonymity. My mind was on what to call it, how to set up communication links, what I wanted it to look like and the structure of it. Improving my IT skills was a big thing at the time, so that was where I was at.
However as time has moved on, some of the things I said have been taken up nationally and the profile of what I am doing has increased. Only this morning I saw a new book that had a quote from me on the cover. I have an audience for my work that has gone far wider than I could ever have expected.
I have to recognise and acknowledge that being anonymous does come up in discussions. I realise that some readers and discussers find anonymity affects credibility and gravitas. It affects how they see what I write. It changes the lens they put in front of the text.
Cyberspace can be a brutal place and the material I write about is exactly the sort of thing that brings out some of the worst trolling. That level of abuse shuts down many voices in the debates. Frankly I have had enough homophobic abuse in my life and I don’t need any more of it.
Many of those around me know that I write and that this identity is mine, but not everyone. Sometimes I get comments or messages from people I know in real life who don’t know this identity. That can lead to some interesting real-life conversations! And my real identity is out there, but perhaps a little more diplomatic.
Without this anonymity, I would be silenced by the abuse I know would come my way. I know it would shut down the work I do here and impact the work I do locally and nationally. Without using anonymity my voice would be silenced.
I didn’t deliberately set out to operate this way, but as events have unfolded, it is the way that works for me. Being able to put your name to controversial or difficult opinions is a luxury that not all of us can enjoy. For some people speaking out will not be safe and their voices need to be heard too.
There is a dark side to anonymity and I acknowledge that. If anonymity is used to threaten and abuse others, then that is something that should not be tolerated. But for some of us anonymity is that only way that our voices can be heard. So I will continue to write this way because I have something to say and a voice that needs to be heard too.