This past week produced a whirlwind of emotions for many people in SecondLife and FirstLife and I want to take this opportunity to talk about some of them.
The news has inundated us with stories of increasing tensions with Syria and the possibility of chemical warfare, an alarming number of random acts of violence and murder, and the destructive fire that has already burned down an area the size of Chicago in Yosemite. These are just a few of the highlights and it feels terribly overwhelming.
In SecondLife, the LGBT Community suffered during the SecondPride Election which was filled with vast amounts of negativity, name calling and hurtful, drama-filled slander. This election pushed many to their limits and some people left the in-world group, posting their exasperation on Facebook.
Yesterday, a female friend made a post on Facebook. She felt extremely upset and discriminated against because she was told to leave a male-avatar only sim. The sim is not sex themed and she had only visited to cast her vote on a piece of artwork that her friend submitted. She was not there to hang out or socialize.
… and yet, there is HOPE. With all the negativity that has recently surrounded us, I still see little diamonds in the rough that make me smile from ear to ear, stand up proudly, and perform a little “happy dance” that would shame anyone’s parents!
A number of people that I respect very much replied to my friend’s post, offering their support and reminding her of how great she is. She is one of the most sincere, loving, caring, and financially generous people I have ever met and has given away hundreds of thousands of lindens to venues and charities in the LGBT Community within the past few months. One person publicly spoke out against clubs being only ‘male or female’ because it is discrimination. An employee of the club replied that they were submitting their resignation; they could no longer support a club with that policy! I’m not writing any of this to point fingers or portray any shame or disapproval. Having a venue/avatar specific sim does not violate Linden Labs Terms of Service but having a public discussion on the issue is healthy.
Within days of winning the election, Karl asked me to partner with him and be his Community Relations Co-Director. This was not an empty gesture! He saw the opportunity to connect and network more groups of people together by working with me and having us function as a team for the betterment of SecondPride and the LGBT Community. We spend most our time in different places and with different people. Our SecondLife Avatars show you how different we look from each other. Yet, we are here as friends, partners, and allies in pursuit of a more inclusive world. How could I say no to that?
I attended the first meeting of SecondPride and felt extremely proud. There was no sign of the terrible mess the election portrayed. Most of the previous board members were in attendance and offered their sincere congratulations and a peaceful “passing of the torch” ceremony. The outgoing board members were all respected, thanked, and appreciated for all the hard work they had put into making SecondPride more successful than it had been in a long time. Everyone glowed with positive energy!
I have learned that another person who ran for a position on the SecondPride Board was asked by a newly elected board member if they would get involved and bring their leadership skills to help make SecondPride a success. This individual accepted and eloquently pointed out that they got into the election because they wanted to do more for the betterment of the LGBT Community. Cheers and Applause!
Karl and I dedicate this post to a new day filled with new opportunities. We give special thanks to those individuals who inspire us to to be selfless and do more for our community. The actions we take are key to fostering an environment of partnership as we travel down the pathway that leads us to “One Community.” We would love to hear your thoughts, insights, and/or suggestions and welcome any feedback you may have.