Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Naomi Ceder, an American Python language programmer, blogger, transgender activist, lead software architect and developer at Razor Occam, former IT Director and Python developer at Zoro Tools, Fellow of the Python Software Foundation, and the author of The Quick Python Book. Hello Naomi!
|At the first Trans*H4CK with Monica Roberts,|
I’ve often told (cisgender) people in tech, that if I could put together my “dream team” of trans women in tech, we’d rule the world! I think part of the reason that there are so many of us in tech is that being geeky offered some of us a tiny bit of relief from gender policing as we were growing up.
At least that was my case. And the tech world is a bit more accepting of LGBT people in general than a lot of other fields.
The Internet made it possible to connect and share information with everyone, anywhere. Suddenly we were not quite as alone. I think that continues to build in importance today – like many others, I’m in touch with trans people from around the world, via email, Twitter, and social media, but also via Skype and hangouts.
The days of trans people being stuck in isolation, believing they are the only ones like this in the world, are mostly over. And this ability to connect with each other also brings strength and power.
I was very fortunate in having good medical care and support from friends, from the tech world, and at work. The only place where I didn’t get much support was from some of my family. Still it was a very frightening time – worrying about what would happen, which people I would lose, if I would be accepted, all of that was hard.
|Mentoring with a team at the Chicago|
I was also quite influenced by Helen Boyd’s writing about her relationship with her spouse during transition and Julia Serrano’s writings on transmisogyny. But overall, it’s rather surprising much less visibility trans people had when I started just a few years ago.
For my part, being active with various trans causes and meeting the people has helped me appreciate the additional problems that come with being trans and female and a person of color, disabled, poor, etc.
And I’ve found other gay and lesbian folks who have become strong allies. We do have to keep in mind that being gay or lesbian doesn’t automatically give someone an understanding of being trans, so we need to be willing to help them to that understanding.
|Giving her talk 'Farewell and Welcome Home' about|
transitioning in tech at Chicago Software Freedom Day 2013.
Now that I’m in London, I feel more free to mix it up. So I’m still finding my style, but some of the things I like are: big tunic sweaters with leggings, boots, cute dresses with black tights and ballet flats, and scarves. Scarves aren’t worn that much in the Midwest US, which is a shame, since they can add so much to an outfit.
When I put together an outfit I try to have things work together to create an understated look with just one thing that stands out a bit – a bright colored or patterned tee under a sweater, a piece of jewelry, or (of course) a scarf. Colorwise, I’m most attracted to the range of blues, from aqua to deep indigo, such a range of possibilities!
I also just recently started a blog to tell the stories of people who were surprisingly and beautifully accepting when I came out to them. We need more positive stories and I hope that trans people approaching transition can draw encouragement from them. I’m also hoping that those stories can serve as a model for cisgender people who have just learned that a friend or loved one is trans.
My hope is that I can also persuade other trans folk to contribute similar stories. It's called Something I Need you to Know. I invite anyone to stop by and have a look, and possibly contribute a story of a positive coming out.