On being out

The collision of personal and professional

April 6, 2017 - 3 minute read -

J.T. Revner is not my legal name. When originally chosen, it was intended to offer pseudonymity and a separation of spheres of my life. Not just personal from professional but also social from familial.

While this helped to an extent, I found myself regularly coming out as kinky, queer, and poly to people who didn’t know “J.T. Revner.” I outed myself as kinky, somewhat accidentally, to my mother before I had ever been to munch, let alone the level of involvement in the leather scene I am now.

When co-workers and mangers ask about my weekend or why I’m taking a few days off, it gets tiring to always have a fake reason ready to go. So eventually, bit by bit, I’ve come out at work. Sometimes with drinks and a loose tongue, truth be told, but I don’t regret it. Now, when asked about personal time, my response is anything from “You know, one of those parties,” to “Here’s a link to International Mr. Leather, have a fun Memorial Day weekend!”

“But JT, isn’t it unprofessional to talk about your personal life at work?!” Good question, dear reader! Sure, that’s what they say. But here’s the thing - I see my coworkers more in a week than any of my friends or family. I’m not interested in turning myself off for 40+ hours a week. If others can (and they do) comment on their stellar golf game, or the awesome BBQ they had, why can’t I say a few words about my trips to Columbus, Indiana, and Chicago?

This isn’t to say I’m giving explicit details about my on-goings. I value privacy for myself and those in my community. I’m not talking about scenes I participate in or watch. Coworkers don’t need to hear about my sex life (however it manifests itself) anymore than I want to hear about theirs.

All of this has led to using J.T. Revner professionally as well. Feel free to add me on LinkedIn. I’ve always been big on personal branding, both as a pseudonymous writer and as a software developer. It just makes sense to me now to combine the two. I’d estimate that 95% of people I talk to call me JT and about 80% of the people I interact with regularly know me as J.T. Revner anyway. The name is way more unique than my legal name, so in terms of branding and having a cohesive online presence it makes a lot of sense. Ask any blogger and any freelancer in digital spaces and they’ll tell you branding is everything. Also, and let’s be frank here, I simply like it better.

This decision does have some negative side effects. I have not doubt that this choice is likely to close some doors in my professional life. In fact, without a doubt, some potential clients and employers will read this very post. Ultimately, if they decide I’m not a good fit for their team or project because of my extracurricular activities, they’re the ones that will be missing out, not me.

That I am able to do this is definitely a privilege. Many in my shoes cannot be out, not only to their coworkers but to their family too. They risk ostracization, job loss, violence (emotional and physical), and more. Those with children have even more to worry about when it comes to the courts and CPS. These risks are not lost on me and as such, I feel a duty to use my privilege to educate where I can. Because I’m out, it’s not uncommon to get questions or do a few minutes of BDSM 101 and consent 101 to interested people. Education can be as simple as pointing someone to a book on shibari so they can experiment with bondage safely to discussing the politics of alternative lifestyles and perhaps changing someone’s vote on some measure or law in the future.

So with that: Hello, world. I’m J.T. Revner, and I’m kinky, poly, queer, and proud of it.