On Pseudonymity

I've written before about why I use a pseudonym and about the importance of naming, but there one aspect of this whole "being tycho" thing that I've never really articulated, mostly because I think they're hard to explain.

And then the entry sat in an open window on my desktop for the better part of a week.

Let this be a lesson to you. Don't write the introduction to a paragraph that ends with "hard to explain" and then let the post fester for 5 days.

Luckily to save my ass, someone on my knit list (JoVE) posted something to the queer knit list I moderate, about how she was always surprised when people didn't realize that she was a she, even though she intentionally uses a gender neutral handle/nickname/name.

And then, I wrote this post, in response to the email. I knew it was sitting around waiting to come out. First to contextualize: all of the previous list moderators had gone by "list mom" or "list dad" and being even younger then than I am now, I was sort of weirded out by the concept.

Also I've done some but not a lot of editing the below, just to clear things up a bit.

When I started taking care of the list, re the listdad stuff for previously covered reasons (age mostly, I think) and I think you (JoVE) were the one who reminded folks that Sam was a gender-ambiguous name (and I think this was at a time when there were more Samantha's on the list anyway,) which I'm sort of vaguely aware when I introduce myself online, but I forget too.

(For the record, while I'm not intensely invested in masculinity, I'm pretty comfortable with my maleness.) I also think that I probably give off more vibe as "Jewish" than "Gay," which means that the goyem either think I'm ethnic or gay, and and the jews don't seem to notice (unless they're queer.) But then I'm convinced that, at least in America the gay male stereotype is lifted pretty indiscriminately from the jewish stereotype, so fair is fair.

In the last year and some change I've been using a pseudonym that is less jewish and more male (and fewer letters! woot!) than my given name, and it's sort of an interesting drag to pull off (and I still usually dash out my g-ds, which I think is endearing and a bit ironic/weird, and it might negate the drag a bit, but, whatever.)

I've always seen my use of a pseudonym--at least in part--as paying homage to a tradition of women (and jews) using pseudonyms to gain entry into the publishing world. But in fairness there's probably a level of "guy pretending to be a woman pretending to be a man," that gets lost in the translation. Thankfully, the other part--keeping my given name out of google for privacy concerns--works just fine.

And there you have it. Thanks for reading, more non-introspective (extrospective?) posts soon.

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