The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Who Is ‘Tiggy Upland’?

Posted on | June 12, 2015 | 103 Comments

During my explorations of Feminist Tumblr, I stumbled across an online “advice” site called Tiggy Upland. The word “advice” must be put in quotation marks because it’s actually an advocacy site, promoting bisexuality and polyamory (i.e., what used to be called “swinging”). The name “Tiggy Upland” is obviously a pseudonym. At first I suspected the person behind it must actually be male, because there was such a weird “Dear Penthouse Forum” vibe of kinky fantasy to it.

A simple and obvious question: How does a person hiding behind a pseudonym become an online advice columnist? That is to say, where does the adviser get that first advice-seeker? Ah! The self-created “Tiggy Upland” must have invented this seeker and also invented the seeker’s dilemma, you see. Does the phrase roman à clef mean anything to you? Don’t you suspect this first post included some element of autobiography? Whatever your mere suspicions or speculations may be, however, any intelligent person must conclude that there is a self-interested authorial purpose behind the creation of “Tiggy Upland.”

Anyone can see — it’s right there in plain sight, clearly written — that “Tiggy Upland” wants people to believe it is perfectly normal for a man in a heterosexual relationship to masturbate with gay porn and also to want his girlfriend to penetrate him with a strap-on dildo.

Furthermore, pay attention to the backdating of posts, so that “May 3, 2011” was actually posted Jan. 3, 2012. Why would “Tiggy” do this? January 2012 was quite a busy month for “Tiggy” in terms of creating backdated Q-and-A posts, and the similarity of themes is notable. Were any of those questions authentic? Why was “Tiggy” doing this?

Check the “late bloomer” tag, and you find “November 1, 2011” (posted Jan. 10, 2012), “November 15, 2011” (posted Jan. 12, 2012) and “January 10, 2012” (also posted Jan. 12, 2012). So in the span of three days, “Tiggy” posted three Q-and-As with people who were interested in pursuing bisexuality. Some of these questions seemed authentic. But look very closely at this backdated post in which “Tiggy” answers two questions from bisexual women, the second of whom says she “grew up in North Carolina and didn’t really even know what it meant to be LGBT until I moved to Boston four years ago.” The answer to that question included this unusually detailed information:

Since you’re in Boston, I highly recommend that you attend the peer-led group, “Straight Marriage, Still Questioning” on the second Monday of each month. For more information, contact kate.e.flynn [at] gmail [dot] com. . . . They’re in the same position you are and will welcome you into their mutually-supportive space with open arms.

Is that just random and coincidental? Is “Tiggy” simply such a conscientious adviser that, upon getting a question from a woman in Boston, “Tiggy” did some research about support groups in the area and (what luck!) found this monthly meeting advised by Kate E. Flynn?

No, of course not. Here’s your answer: “Ask Tiggy” is a regular column in the quarterly newsletter of the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network. It would seem that the column first appeared in the Summer 2011 issue. Yet if this is a women’s group, and the advice columnist is supposed to be giving advice to bisexual women, why is the “Tiggy Upland” site fielding questions from so many bisexual men?

In the fine print of the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network newsletter, they declare their purpose to provide “a safe environment” for support of “women of all sexual self-identities, gender identities,” promoting “full acceptance” of bisexuality “within the larger LGBT community,” including “transgender people.” Carefully examine Page 16 of the Spring 2015 issue of their newsletter and see if you can’t guess who might have managed to smuggle a penis into their November 2014 brunch.

“Tiggy Upland” made her public debut in October 2011, performing at the Bilicious Boston show, produced “in association with the Bisexual Resource Center.” Oh, what’s the Bisexual Resource Center?

It’s a Boston-based tax-exempt 501(c)3, the administrative director of which was, from 2004-2014, Ellyn Ruthstrom, whose resumé is quite interesting: After getting her master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Ohio State University, Ms. Ruthstrom worked five years (1995-2000) at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., then spent six years (2001-2007) as editor of Teen Voices, “the only national magazine and website written by, for, and about teen girls,” where she “trained a team of college-aged editorial assistants and mentors,” etc., etc. If the dates on Ms. Ruthstrom’s LinkedIn profile are correct, therefore, during the years 2004-2007, she was simultaneously president of the Bisexual Resource Center and the editor of Teen Voices.

(Hey, Teen Voices, let’s talk about your vaginas!)

While Ms. Ruthstrom is too old to be “Tiggy Upland,” she certainly must know who “Tiggy Upland” is, which leads us to the question, “Why the strange masquerade? Why the pseudonym?” Because I stumbled onto this entirely by accident, the why part of this question is as mysterious as the who, and Ms. Ruthstrom’s career is an intriguing tangent. The director of the Bisexual Resource Center is the former editor of Teen Voices, “an intensive journalism, mentoring, and leadership program for teen girls in Boston”? Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

What happened to Teen Voices? Their former website is defunct, but the non-profit tracker GuideStar showed their blog address on WordPress, which hasn’t been updated since August 2012. However, the site had an embedded Twitter feed for @TeenNews — “the girl news site of Women’s eNews that delivers news about teens to a global audience and incorporates teens into the production of news.” In 2013, it seems, the former Boston-based Teen News was absorbed by New York-based Women’s ENews, about which we learn:

Women’s eNews became independent on January 1, 2002. Women’s eNews grew out of a 1996 roundtable discussion conceived and funded by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation and hosted by the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. After additional research on the need for a media outlet to distribute news of concern to women and the opportunity to provide women’s voices to commercial media, NOW Legal Defense underwrote in 1999 the creation of Women’s eNews as an Internet-based news service for all women, with a special emphasis on being a resource for commercial media. . . .

This 501(c)3 outfit gets money from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, United Nations Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and the Starry Night Fund of Tides Foundation. The editor of Teen News is now Katina Paron, who is director of the NYC High School Journalism Collaborative at Baruch College. From Ms. Paron’s online profile at the Youth Media Learning Network, we learn that her “youth media career began as an editor, mentor and Board of Directors member with the Boston-based Teen Voices magazine.” Thus we return full circle to the publication where Ellyn Ruthstrom was editor for six years, prior to Ms. Ruthstrom’s subsequent position at the Bisexual Resource Center.

Random coincidence. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

All these coincidences were discovered because I encountered the “Tiggy Upland” Tumblr and wondered, “Who is Tiggy Upland?”

Still don’t have the answer to that question, but I imagine it would be a very interesting answer. Only haters ask questions, y’know.

UPDATE: @TiggyUpland on Twitter was kind enough to share this photo of herself speaking at the 2012 Boston Dyke March:

Just so you know, OK?

UPDATE II: What kind of event was this?

Each year, the Dyke March is held in Boston the day before the Pride Parade as a grassroots efforts to remind the public and the government that “they are a movement, not a market.”

You stay classy, Boston Dyke March ladies!

UPDATE III: There modern double standard involves the way in which feminists constantly derogate masculinity and heterosexuality, whereas no one may express even the mildest criticism of women or homosexuals. It is therefore quite a risky enterprise to suggest that most “bisexuals” are either mainly gay, mainly straight, permanently confused, or just hopelessly perverse.

What are we to say, then, of Tiggy Upland’s approving attitude toward the man in a heterosexual relationship who wanted “his girlfriend to penetrate him with a strap-on dildo”?

We can consult the testimony of a woman who wrote to gay advice columnist Dan Savage (second letter), complaining that she was dating “a wonderful guy” who requested this particular practice. “Honestly, it turned me on as much as it did him,” she said. Then the guy said he wanted to try, uh, “the real thing.” She was also OK with that, “having a threesome with a trusted bi guy friend . . . and we all had fun.” Ah, but then she reaches the plot complication: “We never have vaginal intercourse anymore unless I ask. How soon will it be before I am left out entirely? Have I just been the testing ground for a shy gay boy who is now coming to fully realize that he would rather be with men than women?”

Ma’am, you are an enabler to a narcissist. You are a supporting character in a drama in which he plays the starring role. Yet you willingly cast yourself in this role, otherwise why would you think someone like this is “a wonderful guy”? And, as you say, you enjoyed playing your part up until you realized that this would eventually lead to you being excluded from the final scene. What was it that originally made you think he was “wonderful”? Doesn’t it say something about you — your disastrously bad judgment, or perhaps your own subconscious personality problems — that you would have been attracted to this guy, and willingly gone along with his deviant schemes?

Until people are willing to accept responsibility for their own problems, they will never be able to solve those problems, and feminism is all about absolving women of responsibility.

My advice to anyone who wants a normal life is to stop hanging around weirdos. However much weirdness you might have ever indulged in the past, it’s not actually the past until you walk away from it, renounce it, start socializing with respectable decent people, and try to become someone decent and respectable yourself.



103 Responses to “Who Is ‘Tiggy Upland’?”

  1. Finrod Felagund
    June 13th, 2015 @ 11:40 pm

    Heh. I wouldn’t consider myself any kind of authority on porn, I’ve just been finding it on the Internet since before the Web, back when you had to find it on ftp sites or in Usenet posts. My first rule: don’t pay for access to porn– if you’re spending money at all, make it for something specific, not for web site access etc. I’ve spent less than $200 total on porn over 25+ years; there is plenty enough free porn out there on the Internet to satisfy anyone whose tastes are broad enough and who isn’t overly picky.

  2. Who Is ‘Tiggy Upland’? | Living in Anglo-America
    June 15th, 2015 @ 8:51 am
  3. M. Thompson
    June 16th, 2015 @ 9:41 am

    You’re already on the purge list for having this site in your history.