The war

by ARIA SALVATRICE

In 2014, I saw an IRC channel I ran turn into a source of moral support for a then-friend in the entourage of a small-time celebrity, celebrity whose name is omitted merely to avoid contributing to the war effort.

That friend was involved in the Steam port of a text adventure about mental health, written by that celebrity. Allegations made about that celebrity were the spark of a huge culture war, that I was swept into unwillingly at one of the most vulnerable times of my life.

That friend was clearly in distress about the violence of the war. That friend lost sleep moderating Steam forums that had turned into incessant abuse, rape threats, death threats, and private nude photos.

I, too, was losing my mind. It had all gone to shit. I gave up on creation. I started drikining again.

I was pressured by people involved in the battles to excommunicate friends who mentioned accusations of emotional abuse made about the celebrity.

It happened a few months after I came out as a victim of child rape–which I did not do willingly, but, sensing the coming storm, to shield myself against people engaging in the culture war.

It also happened around the time I was struggling to come out as transgender. Struggling to do it in a politically acceptable way. I found no such way. Instead, I was forced to out myself in anger and terror, to reclaim some measure of dignity.

People demanded that I be ostracized from mutual friends and acquaintances. Empty IRC. Zero notifications. Steam goes silent. IM conversations are dropped.

People who said they want to help, they admire my courage, turned into cruel reminders I’m inconvenient to their male feminism.

When you have nobody you can call your close family, and you live in a tiny garbage European town, this hurts disproportionately.

I hope the war will end. Until then, all the social justice civilians can do is stay alive and healthy, and share without regret testimonies that hurt the war effort. War profits politicians and warriors. Nobody gives a fuck about civilians.