Whenever I talk about Second Life outside of Second Life, I always see these people reacting kinda surprised, as if they had no idea. No idea that this virtual world was even still a thing. But I suppose that’s a reaction that you’d probably expect, since Linden Labs doesn’t exactly go all-out advertising the existence of this place anymore. But, it is, by-and-large, still a very much functioning place to be. And although the population numbers have dropped over the years, there’s still plenty to see and do (if you use the Firestorm viewer, you can see that the concurrent logged-in amount of users is actually almost always higher than that of even EVE Online).
Now, there is the huge population of people who use it for virtual sex and/or romance meet-ups, but tha
t’s not the only attraction or reason people have accounts in SL. But, this is also the reason that Second Life is banned on Twitch: Because it has communities that are heavily involved in sex acts and sometimes when you’re jumping into a new zone (or sim), your avatar can appear completely naked for a few seconds (since a lot of us have switched to using us
er created mesh avatars). I have my own opinions about this, like the fact that Twitch actively allows any game that features nudity, as long as it’s not the center-piece of the broadcast, and it’s a shame that Twitch doesn’t trust its users to not break site-wide rules.
Although, I guess you can’t blame them when a lot of gamers these days garner viewership based on trolling and maliciousness alone.
But, there is another large group of people who use Second Life, and you’d be surprised to find out that it isn’t all people who just wanna have sex. And no, I’m not talking about the people who login to go gamble away their Linden on gaming (gaming, as in slot machines) sims.
LGBTQ+ people! And also quite frequently, a hella large amount of transgender women. In a world that seems to be spiraling out of control on a daily basis, with people being threatened with losing their healthcare and the president, himself, personally attacking the transgender community via his Twitter account, it’s no wonder a lot of us seek refuge in a place where no matter how hard people try, discrimination will never be a thing that works in Second Life.
And what better place to spend some of your free-time, than a place where you can literally be anyone, or anything you want to be outside of the confines of a violent and anxiety-inducing real world.
Sure you have the lesbian clubs where people stuck in the seventies try to enforce trans exclusionary rules (or TERFs, a topic for another entry), but there is literally no way for them to actually enforce these types of things and most people going to LGBTQ+ clubs, and especially lesbian clubs, don’t give a rats ass about all that (it’s usually just the owners who hold these prejudices and phobias).
And clubs aren’t even the only attraction! You have roleplay sims where you can be a vampire, or a sith lord, or an Enterprise commander. You can load-up on Linden and live out your dreams of being a fashionista. You can even go build yourself a car or just sit back, relax and go fishing.
But one of the biggest parts about Second Life, I think, that is most important to LGBTQ+ people, is the ability to gather and form virtual support groups with each other. Whether they be literal groups that you can join to speak among yourselves within, or actual pieces of land where you can hang out and even setup support group meetings. I’ve personally seen this with more than a few transgender centered sims and groups.
All that aside, Second Life is sorta difficult to get into if you’re brand new, and it’s pretty typical to think of it as just this big super-advanced chat client. But it can be so much more than that. The reason a lot of people have trouble though, is because the beginning training island, although capable of explaining some basics, it doesn’t really stick too well with some.
Like, one of the first things you wanna do when you login is go into your preferences and set it so that your WASD keys move your avatar around, rather than automatically start typing in the chatbox (which is also hidden by default).
Because Second Life is kind of confusing for first-timers, and because I’ve been there myself, I would like to offer my help to you if this article has convinced you to come hang out. I’m almost always in-world (unless I’m streaming a game on Twitch, ’cause I can’t run Second Life and play most games besides, like, Rimworld and Stardew Valley). You can reach me on my avatar by finding my username (through search), Lula LaValette (merylimperil). Alternatively, you can also reach me on here, on Twitter, or wherever, and once you login just let me know where you are, what your name is and I’ll help you get started. Hey, I’ll even give you a tour of my store and maybe some free stuff!