In Part 1 of this discussion, we talked about why someone might want to stay anonymous as a result of stalking or for personal safety. Here are some more of the other really good reasons to stay anonymous.
Transitioning is a really tough process, made intentionally tougher in some places. Plenty of gifted writers have discussed the process, so I’m not going to repeat that here.
What I am going to say, however, is that you may, or may not, be ready to ditch your deadname. You may be out, or you may not. You may have fully transitioned, or you may not. You may have sorted your legal name paperwork, or you may not. And none of that has any bearing on the story you have to tell.
To a certain extent, as a legal entity, the press has to maintain the legal rules and norms of the place we are. We have to have legally signed contracts, for instance. There’s no getting around that, because getting around that is screwing with the IRS and there is no way we are brave or stupid enough to do that. Publishing involves tax law, and we adhere to the law. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t 100% committed to helping you get your work published pseudonymously.
A similar problem occurs when someone wants to write their truth, but is risking retaliation from family, friend, or cult. For reasons out of your control, you cannot just lay out your art safely. Sometimes changing the names of the guilty or horrid isn’t enough. And Anne Lamott’s assertion that “if they wanted me to write nicely about them they should have behaved better” does not protect you from unacceptable retaliation.
Using a pseudonym has a long and glorious tradition in literature, and we are more than happy to support you in this choice, if it is necessary or even desirable for your particular context or situation.
Until the world gets to a place where it’s willing to meet people on their own terms, the work of support has to be done on the ground level. We’re here to help.