25 Years Online

I finished building my Pentium 486 in early 1996. It ran Windows 95 and had a screaming 32megabytes of memory and 3 gigabyte hard drive. My current machine is 12 years old a Pentium I7 with a couple of terabytes of hard drive. I currently run Windows 10.

An upgrade to Windows 11 will probably require a new motherboard which I will put off as long as possible.

When I first went on line I had a dial up modem. Downloads took forever. Some folks swore by America On Line. Not me. I blew off using Microsoft’s Explorer for Netscape too. Yahoo was the first search engine I used. Soon replaced by Alta Vista which in my book was the best of all time when looking for real information as opposed to the modern day “search” engines like Google which exist to give you information that reinforces the point of view you already embrace. Algorithms that find products the magical AI knows you might be sold on.

The mid 1990s were the time of the Usenet and Newsgroups which were the social media of their time. Wild and often viciously mean. No pictures just words. Usenet started about 1980 and is apparently still in existence.

By the late 1990s i moved on to mailing lists, which were somewhat moderated and a little less wild.

In 1997 I was 25 years post-SRS. Next June I’ll be 50. That makes me an elder. People I first met online in the 1990s who were just going through the surgery process then are now old timers in their own right.

Mailing lists gave way to Blogging which has now sort of faded away.

Now I’m on Facebook and have friends I went to high school with as well as family members I have reunited with.

When I first came on line Transgender was erasing Transsexual as preferred term of choice. Now days I’m lost when presented with all the new terminology. For example “non-binary”. To me gender had always been a personality rainbow, a spectrum ranging from hyper-masculine to hyper-feminine and not firmly cemented to sex. Which is to say one can be a very feminine man or a very masculine woman.

I was a 1960s and 1970s hippie on the West Coast. We had the Cockettes and Dykes on Bikes. Leather Dykes and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. None of whom expected me to play the “State My Preferred Pronouns” game. I mean I pretty much carved that one in stone when I started hormones in March of 1969. My words, my actions, my life lived have all affirmed my pronouns.

If you are a Millennial or a member of Gen-Z I respect your right to play this transactional game. There is a lot I don’t understand about your ways, which is okay. People who were 74 year old elder when I was 20 didn’t understand my generation either.

But I do expect the respect of not being expected to join in your games. I also expect you to respect how hard I had to fight to have my pronouns go unquestioned.

BTW I’m an old hippie dyke who often wears dresses to Temple or out to dinner. Then the next morning wears jeans to cut the lawn. I’m mystified by the idea of there being a gender binary.