Why I Use a Pseudonym
When I first started going by 'Ettina' online, I was in my early teens, and my Dad forbade me from using my real name on the Internet. Why? Because of child predators. He did not want anyone I met online being able to track me down and try to exploit me. Which is a very real issue, and I completely agreed with that rule.
I started this blog when I was 17, and still under the 'no real name' rule (I was allowed to make my own choice at 18). By then, I had already seen another reason not to blog under my real name - anti-vaxxers. On the EOHarm listserv, at the age of 15, I was viciously flamed for saying that I thought calling autistic people 'walking biohazards' was disrespectful. Not only that, but they went so far as to Google my handle and drag up stuff I'd posted on other forums (badly misinterpreted, by the way), in order to call my claim of being a 15 year old kid into doubt. I was honestly quite shaken by this. I have also heard of anti-vaxxers sending death threats (although that link claims it is 'new', it was going on 10 years ago) and have no desire to have people sending me or my family threats over my beliefs. No one I know in person would do this, even if they disagree with me.
Plus, I plan on becoming a mother someday. For all that these people claim they're trying to protect children, they have shown themselves willing to bully and frighten children, and threaten children with violence. I don't want that for my child. I went into advocacy to give my future child a better life, not to put them at risk from the worst of the anti-vaccination and anti-neurodiversity movements.
Furthermore, I have gone by this name in communication with self-described psychopaths, even linking to a psychopathic blogger because I find his blog interesting. As far as I know, I have given them no reason to want to hurt me, but psychopaths do sometimes attack others unprovoked. If one of the psychopaths I've met online decided it would be amusing to hunt me down, I want to make sure it's not easy for them.
And lastly, I don't like my real name. I don't like how it sounds, and some of the letters in it are ones I have a dislike for (yes, I dislike certain letters of the alphabet). Not enough to change it, when I'm used to it, people know me by it and my parents chose it for me. But when given the chance to pick a different name to be called by, I'll do it.