We do education on multiplicity, so we get asked a lot of questions. That's okay! The problem comes when we get asked rude questions over and over. Alternately, some folks are so scared of offending us that they won't ask anything, which is its own problem.
So we're here to help! We're going to put all those rude questions and their answers in one big post. That way, people get to learn and we never have to answer these questions in person again! Hooray!
Question: Are you dangerous?
If there was ever a question we wish we never had to answer again, it would be "are you dangerous?" We understand why people ask it (after all, we usually get depicted as axe-murderers in movies) but it's still a little soul-crushing.
If you really wanted to get philosophical about it, just about anyone could be dangerous in certain environments, and we're no exception to that. I mean, sure, Sneak would like to think that ze's a very nice person who would never hurt anybody, but then again, ze's never been put into a situation where ze's had to.
So this question is, in a way, impossible to answer, and yet, nobody asks this before we come out multiple. Which suggests that folks presume being multiple is what makes us dangerous, and we have to disprove their worries with our good behavior, even if they thought we were totally not dangerous for the years they knew us before. Ouch!
Question: How do you have sex?
Rogan: People apparently aren't very imaginative in their sex lives, if they have such a difficult time figuring out mine. Maybe one day, a great multi sex educator will arrive on the scene, but that person ain't me. Don't ask.
Question: Why do you hate the psych system?
This is a complicated question. Historically, the mental health industry has done a lot of horrible things to the people in its care, and still does; even if you only pay attention to multiples, it's not hard to find therapists who have published books about drugging, exorcising, or otherwise mistreating us. We know people who the mental health system has hurt terribly. It's only reasonable to distrust it when it has the capacity to wield such power over us, and a history of misusing it.
At the same time, though, we're in the complicated position of being dependent on this very system, due to our disabled status. It's a weird, unpleasant place to be in, to be financially, medically, and legally reliant on a system that has a history of mistreating people like you. But we've been lucky, and had generally decent experiences so far. (Namely, we've been able to fight through all paperwork errors threatening to remove our benefits, get legal help, and have a medical team firmly in our corner.) Mental health professionals HAVE helped us, quite a lot in fact. But they are not infallible. They are human beings, with human frailties and blind spots. If you can afford it and find someone who works with you healthfully, then I recommend it, but man, is it complicated sometimes.
Question: Can I call you a personality?
No, you may not. We don't call you a personality; we call you a person. We'd prefer the same courtesy!
Also, nobody here likes being called 'ego state,' 'part,' 'piece,' or 'fragment.' All those words feel dehumanizing to us; we don't want to hear them. We used to be okay with the word 'alter,' but now it's a kind of loaded term. Just call us 'people' or 'system members,' please.
(Note that different multiples have drastically different language preferences; it is entirely a matter of personal taste. When in doubt, ask which words are okay, and then use them.)
Question: Can you prove you're multiple?
Prove you're not and get back to me.
That might sound flippant, but we're being totally serious here. We have, as of yet, not actually seen any scientific evidence that singlets (as we call them) exist; all we have is a lot of anecdotal claims. How are we supposed to prove that we differ from the norm when we can't even prove the norm exists? What is the definition of a 'personality' or a 'person,' anyway? People who ask us to prove we exist pretty much never give us the criteria, so we can never actually satisfy them; the goalposts just keep moving so we always fail.
The answer doesn't really even matter, in our view. Whether we exist, or simply believe we do, our life has improved with accepting that. We're not about to argue with results.
Question: Are you going to try to become one person again?
No. To do so is a huge life change, and would require a complete reorganizing of how we interact with the world. Imagine if you had to lose your family, your roommates, and your own identity, all at the same time! It's very stressful! And definitely more complicated than, "Yay, all better now!"
We've known folks who've done it, but it's not something we really want to happen to us. If it happens, it happens, but we will likely resist it.
Question: Don't you want to be cured?
This is actually a more complicated question than you think, and will require some breaking down.
First of all, being DIFFERENT is not necessarily the same as being ILL. Being multiple may be a problem others want to solve for themselves, and that's fine! But that's not the case for us. We see our multiplicity as a way we're different, and not a way we're impaired. It's just the thing everyone gets hung up on, because I guess it's the weirdest, most obvious part.
That said, we do have Dissociative Identity Disorder. But plurality is just one of its symptoms. The other stuff, like the flashbacks and memory issues, yes, we hope to reduce those. But just being plural? No.
Furthermore, sometimes a cure is not possible or practical. Would we like to be magically immune to our depression, our flashbacks, Rogan's eating disorder? Sure! But we also have to accept that we may never reach that point, and make adjustments to our life to allow us to live as best we can, even if we ARE impaired. To us, 'health' can be so much more than being 'normal' or 'cured.' It can mean learning to deal with our burdens as best we can, and live as fulfilling a life as is available to us.
Question: anything concerning the identity of our "host," "core," "original," or "real person."
Sneak: We don't have one anymore. She died in 2005. And not everyone HAS an "original person" at all! Please don't make assumptions!
Rogan: What's interesting to me is that singlets tend to assume that the host/core/whatever is the person speaking to them first. So when Miranda fronted a lot, people assumed SHE was the "real person." When I fronted, they assumed I was. When Mac fronted, they assumed HE was. And so on.
Also, just as a side note, we've seen "host" used in myriad ways. Sometimes it means "original," other times it means "main fronter." Since it's confusing, we've just tried to drop it from our terminology.
Question: Are you a boy or a girl?
This one isn't offensive so much as it is a complete brain-breaker. It's like walking up to an entire family of mixed genders, and asking them to pick one. We have four guys (one of whom is never here), two girls, and two who are neither. So we can't even get a majority rule.
They. Just call us THEY.
Question: OMG multis are so fascinating please let me learn all about you I've never met a multi before!
I think a lot of people think this is a compliment, but really, it's kinda a little startling and weird. Maybe we're just used to thinking we're more boring than we actually are, but just a, "Hi, I'm curious about multiplicity and you seem cool. May I ask you some stuff?" is plenty, really. Please don't treat us like a rare exotic animal at the zoo!
At the same time, this particular behavior isn't a huge deal. It happens, and on the list, it's possibly the least obnoxious. If you did this, don't beat yourself up. Just don't do it anymore!
Question: How can you identify as such-and-so if your body is a such-and-so?
Because it's not US. It's just a container, a vessel!
This is apparently a really hard concept for some singlets. They really seem intensely identified with their vessels. It's kind of weird to us, but okay. Regardless, we see ourselves very differently than our body. It doesn't control our age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical appearance. It's like a car: it's how we get around and interact with other cars, and we get very attached to it and see it as an extension of ourselves, but still, it isn't us. We just try and make sure the car is in good repair and is comfortable for everyone to drive.
Question: Will you have a sex change? What genitals do you have?
Our genitals are none of your business. Also, due to the make-up of our system, we are uncomfortable with basically any single gender presentation, so a sex change would give us the exact same problem, just in the opposite direction.
Now, if we could REMOVE the gender marker from our paperwork, that'd be fantastic.
Question: Why would you date a headmate when there are real people out there?
Please don't act like one of us is more real than the other. It's the fast track to honking us off.
Also, we will likely never have a corporeal relationship again. Our system has a hard enough time agreeing on what to eat at a restaurant; we would never agree on a partner! Our ages, genders, sexual orientations, and personal tastes are all at a cross-purposes, and we have a lot of issues that make romantic partnership obscenely difficult. Really, you should be THANKING us for removing ourselves from the dating pool! We've done y'all a favor!
Question: What is you/your body's sexual orientation?
It doesn't have one. Our body is like a car. It can't turn on the ignition by itself; it needs the driver to do that. Physical arousal is not the same as attraction, as any poor person who gets a boner in eight grade math class can attest. Attraction is a personal, mental thing, for us anyway.
For simplicity's sake, we just call ourself queer. That, at least, we have a clear majority rule on.Question: What's your "real" name?
Rogan: My real name is Rogan Lee. Our real name is LB Lee. What are you really getting at here?
Sneak: That's not the name we were born with... but we're not going to give you that name, because it belonged to our dead original girl, and it's really, REALLY weird to get called a dead person's name.