Meaning in the Mundane {29}: On pseudonyms.
Zelda Pinwheel

When I got back into fanfiction in 2007, there was absolutely zero question about using a pseudonym. None. Because, in that community, back then, it was (ironically) almost mandatory. No one used their “real” name because the backlash of being “outed” was real — women have lost jobs, gotten divorced because she was discovered to be writing erotic slash fanfic. People who used their real names were regarded with suspicion.

And further back, of course, is the level of anonymity that was de rigueur in the queer community. Drag queens did not take stage names just for the heck of it. Even if that anonymity was often a mockery — everyone knew that “Stella Luna” was really Joe who owned the antiques shop, etc.

There is a long, storied history to having a pseudonym for safety and sometimes, respect (George Elliot, James Tiptree). Here’s the thing: that was and IS always more true for minority groups such as women, people of color, immigrants, etc.

The luxury of being able to write under our own names is not something we, as women, are able to exercise without due consideration. We must think about the repercussions, the criticism of our work, the backlash…the threats, the doxxing, the harassment.

Which is a long way around of both validating your experience and the decision you came to, as well as saying that it resonates with me. I have feared for a lifetime being mocked for writing romance-adventure stories. I chose to write my fanfic under a pseudonym. I write my gay male romance novels under a pen name. I write here under my real name. It’s all coming from me…the same voice, different names.

Reading your post and my own comments here, I think…well, it’s always a risk isn’t it? The POWER is in being able to decide and mark out our own boundaries and name our territory as we choose.