I have a new policy in my online life. If you make my world a worse place in some way, you get deleted. I just don’t have the desire to see some of the crap that people spout. I’m turning my online spaces into places I would want to frequent.
I don’t mean that I will delete people who have different opinions to me in every case, every time. I can disagree about drugs, sex, and rock and roll, politics, health care, and all sorts, and that’s fine. But I’m not tolerating homophobia or transphobia. Those are non-negotiable. Racism too. Shaming people for things they can’t control – their appearance, their skin colour, their gender, the way they present, anything like that – is way out.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking ‘but what will people think of me?’ and I’ve realised, I don’t care. I want to be friends with people who respect others’ human rights. I don’t need the approval of bigots of any flavour.
I’m not strong in real life, and I tend to passively avoid difficult situations rather than actively speak up. I realise that I’m avoiding situations which bring up awkward conversations in my online life as well, and I’ve decided that’s the way I need it to be for now, especially online. I’m creating an environment that does not pose too many challenges to my mental health, so I have a place I can retreat to that is relatively safe.
I’m creating my safe space, and while I hope it doesn’t mean I lose too many people from my life, I accept that some people will go. I’m not sorry.