I accept trans women in my tech feminism.


This goes out to all my fellow cisgender people in tech, both men and women. If you don’t know what cisgender means, stick with me. Content warning over the usual things.

I’m subtweeting… subposting?… sumblring? a recent personal blog post of a man whose technical work I respect, who I perceive as feminist, and who has been a good Twitter buddy to me for a few years now. I can’t bring myself to bombard him from orbit with my disproportionate social media reach, so, no names, no direct quotes. (I apologize for not being more direct about it. This is rooted in my ongoing social anxiety.) His post lamented the ongoing gender disparity in tech, but then criticized transgender women for eating up resources that should be going to real women in tech, essentially reducing trans women to a cosplay fetish and just another way for selfish men to center narratives on themselves.

I remind you for context that transgender people routinely face domestic abuse, routinely face street violence, and routinely face being driven to suicide. Transgender people are vastly more likely to be murdered than the average person. This is especially true of trans women, and extra-especially true of trans women of color. Such details are not directly tracked by most governments, making citations up to scientific standards difficult to come by. Estimates of the projected lifespan of trans individuals range from about thirty-five to twenty-seven to as low as TWENTY-THREE.

My sister is twenty-five. Imagined gods of social justice, give her more borrowed time than that.

Being transgender is not a costume you can put on and take off at your convenience; it’s not a role you choose to play. Specific people may vary their gender identity over time, but this doesn’t make them trans and then not trans any more than my bisexuality (pansexuality, really) means I flip-flop from straight to lesbian every time I see a cute girl. I can’t speak as to the subjective experience of being trans, because I am in fact Cis As Heck no matter how many times verbal abusers tell me that I, and implicitly all trans women, are “lying” by claiming feminine identities in tech. However, I can say that transgender identity is acknowledged by medical science as a Real Thing, and that the recommended course of action for one’s mental well-being is to embrace it, not suppress it. Unfortunately, prejudice is so deeply ingrained in culture that many doctors and mental health care providers are wholly ignorant, or worse, actively ignore research into transgender issues in order to enforce their gender essentialism beliefs at the expense of the well-being of their patients. Hence, repeated signs may be missed through one’s childhood, adolescence, or even their entire lives, and a transgender person may never get the help and support they need.

Several people in my personal life – blood relatives, in-laws, classmates, friends – have embraced the transition process in recent years, both designated-male-at-birth and designated-female-at-birth individuals. I have seen the same pattern repeatedly: someone struggling with depression, entire years of their lives weighed down with intense emotional distress, and suddenly – they’re happy! They’re productive! They’re going at life again! They face incredible challenges of course – possibly losing the support of family or encountering workplace prejudice, experiencing resurgences of depression and anxiety, and as already mentioned, everyone who is openly trans has to worry about their personal safety in public. However I would say without hesitation that, from my perspective, pursuing their trans identities was absolutely the right thing to do for their own sake in every case.

It seems to be true that there are a lot of trans women, relatively speaking, in tech. I don’t know that it’s possible to even estimate the numbers or ratios. However, I suspect it’s completely untrue that they exist in such numbers as to push cis women out of the frame. Just like you can put six men and two women in a movie and people will report that they perceived it as roughly 50/50, you can put a few trans women with a bunch of cis women and people will remark that there sure are a lot of trans women simply because they exist in the plural. Unfortunately, such observations seem to come with a negative connotation – too many trans women – not enough “normal” women.

The blog post that prompted this one complained that trans women have in the past benefited from male privilege, and hence someone transitioning mid-career is effectively bootstrapping on said male privilege before “changing teams” to the historically oppressed group. Specific trans women I know have confided in me that their eyes were opened to how much male privilege they really had in the past. But since a mid-career transition is a sign of not having gotten the help and support they needed during adolescence (it’s not like gender dysphoria typically comes out of nowhere late in life), being upset with a trans woman for a lingering patina of male privilege is contrary to the cause of supporting gender equality and minorities in general. The concept of “Shared Girlhood” underlying womankind’s struggle is only partially true to begin with. Black girls have a different window on oppression than white girls. Gay girls have a different window on oppression than straight girls. Poor girls have a different window than rich girls. So on and so forth. Trans girls – by which I mean trans women during their assigned-male childhood – have a very different view from cis girls. They simultaneously experience male privilege and deeply internalized repression, reinforced by every facet of culture, demanding that they bury their female identity and “man up.” The experiences are wildly different, but the common core is that culture denigrates femininity and femaleness as inferior to masculinity and maleness in most respects. A trans man will struggle with being assigned femininity he may scarcely even possess. A nonbinary person may be confronted by perfect strangers on the street angry about “mixed signals,” because these strangers feel an urgent need to know whether to put them in the masculine or feminine slot. So on and so forth.

I’m just one cis-woman-in-tech, but my stance on the subject is:

I accept trans women as women, who, like all women and DFAB non-women, from the most feminine to the most masculine, have experienced difficulties in life due to cultural bias against femininity and femaleness;

I do not resent trans women for making use of resources set aside for women, joining women’s organizations, or occupying roles that place them as a prominent face of women-in-tech;

I welcome trans women and nonbinary/agender/genderqueer people in my safe spaces.

We’re all in this together – it is the responsibility of everyone to make the culture we have, the industry we have, a safer place for people who have experienced discrimination and prejudice of any sort.

Trying to enforce the separation of trans women from other women does not support any cause I believe in – especially if that enforcement is being proposed by a man, no matter how well-meaning or feminist.

I thank the community of Unstable Systems for reviewing this post and providing feedback from several perspectives. I tweaked some wording after getting feedback from someone who wasn’t available during the preview.

My family has always been private about our time spent together. It was our way of keeping one thing that was ours, with a man we shared with an entire world. But now that’s gone, and I feel stripped bare. My last day with him was his birthday, and I will be forever grateful that my brothers and I got to spend that time alone with him, sharing gifts and laughter. He was always warm, even in his darkest moments. While I’ll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay, there’s minor comfort in knowing our grief and loss, in some small way, is shared with millions. It doesn’t help the pain, but at least it’s a burden countless others now know we carry, and so many have offered to help lighten the load. Thank you for that.

To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too…

Dad was, is and always will be one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls I’ve ever known, and while there are few things I know for certain right now, one of them is that not just my world, but the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence. We’ll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again.

My only statement. My brothers’ are also online. Thank you for all your kindness, and goodbye for awhile guys. xo (via zeldawilliams)

(via theashleyclements)

I’m trying to prove a point that there is a fan base for a solo Black Widow movie. Please reblog if you’d watch it.


Grilled Peach Chipotle Salsa
Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Bart Yates, The Brothers Bishop


Bart Yates, The Brothers Bishop


The Library of Celsus

Built in honor of the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus in Ephesus, Anatolia (now Selçuk, Turkey), the library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. Celsus is buried in a sarcophagus beneath the library, in the main entrance.

Construction was between 117-120 AD, and the building is important as one of the few remaining examples of an ancient Roman-influenced library. It also shows that public libraries were built not only in Rome itself but throughout the Roman Empire.

The interior of the library and all its books were destroyed by fire in the devastating earthquake that struck the city in 262. Only the facade survived. 

(Source: Wikipedia, via bookporn)


Homemade Peach Ice Cream
Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota). The story goes that Queen Ann (likely Anne, Queen of Great Britain or her great grandmother Anne of Denmark) was crocheting lace and pricked her finger, leaving a drop of blood in the center. The small red flower in the center of the cluster helps to attract insects. Argyle, Wisconsin.


Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota). The story goes that Queen Ann (likely Anne, Queen of Great Britain or her great grandmother Anne of Denmark) was crocheting lace and pricked her finger, leaving a drop of blood in the center. The small red flower in the center of the cluster helps to attract insects. Argyle, Wisconsin.


Dang, Scotland is gorgeous.

My therapist just told me a joke.



So this girl walks up to another girl and says “Hey, have you heard of the Bechdel Test?”

And the other girl says, “Yeah, my boyfriend was telling me about it the other day!”


(via singingmyscreamsong)


Matcha Pound Cake
Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Really nice recipes. Every hour.

I’ve binge watched the first three seasons “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” based on Belle Du Joure’s blog posts and novels. SO, SO GOOD. 10/10 would recommend. The characters are a bit stupid at times but overall very enchanting and believable and the entire series was very…educational. It’s also pretty entertaining to see actors from other shows I watch play the parts of prostitutes or clientele - Billie Piper from Doctor Who, Matt Smith from Doctor Who, some guy from Arrow….I don’t think I’d ever seen Matt Smith that naked until this series.


Well I think this is brilliant, so I decided to make these gifs (so you don’t have to bother with video 😅) and give it a little promotion. Here’s a Kickstarter link for anyone who can support it:

Fonde: The Ravioli Rolling Pin, Perfected.