I just read a question about a girl meeting a girl online, who turned out to be a guy. This makes me wonder, how many people on GAG are not who they claim to be? Feel free to go anon on this!
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I'll admit, I've pretended to be a girl online before. Not for any terrible reason though, I used to be strongly affected with gender confusion and it'd fulfill something in me before I had the guts to cross-dress and things. No one ever found out, and I never did it for much longer than a month or two.
Despite that, knowing it goes on, I'm generally predisposed to believing people are who they say they are. Even if they're not, generally they aren't doing it to deceive me, they're doing it for themselves, and who am I to go prying into their private affairs? I'm good at knowing wether or not someone is who they say they are or not, though.
I was once very close to a girl, online, who came out to me and told me she was a guy. I said it was fine, but ever since that I noticed something slightly different about her- well, him. The magic of our friendship has vanished, I felt like he was acting, trying to be something he wasn't, trying to overcompensate for what I had just found out. If he didn't try and do that, I really wouldn't have cared. We didn't talk for months. BUT, then, I found out why! It wasn't even the person I knew before! She moved to a new apartment that didn't have internet and asked her brother to tell her online friends about it. He decided instead of telling people she had moved, he'd tell them she was a man! What a bastard! And she was able to prove she was a girl, and all. But it didn't really rekindle our friendship, which was very sad. The damage had been done, and we don't talk anymore. Quite sad, really...
It's funny though, it shows you that if someone tells you they're a girl, you question it, and if they tell you they're a guy, you believe it instantly, and treat it with no contempt at all.
I've met and known hundreds of people online, though, and there's only been one incident where that happened, and then it didn't even happen, so it's not all that common. I'm the only one I know who's ever done it and I don't even do it. So, I wouldn't say it was normal.2