A sad, scared child hiding in a dark room with yellow light shining under the door frame.
We still need to come out.

Coming out (of hiding)

In October 1988, I was a shy eight year old. The first few years of primary school were pleasant: there was reading, writing, arithmetic, and play, and my world was genderless and simple. Everyone played with everyone, and barely had a sense of themselves, let alone a sense of stereotype. Nowhere was this more true than at home, where my two best friends other than my brother were the girls that lived nextdoor in our two neighboring houses. We usually played outside, running and frolicking in the summer, with squirt guns and balls and flowers and an empty street. While outside was fun, I always looked forward to those rare days when we would go inside and I’d get a glimpse of their bedrooms. They were full of things that toy stores implied I could not have: dolls, doll houses, pink, and pillows. So. Many. Pillows.

  • Everyone says boys can’t spent time with girls or play with their toys.
  • Everyone says boys are better than girls because they are strong.
  • Everyone says that computers are for boys.
  • I like computers.
  • Everyone says I’m a boy.
  • Therefore, I must be a boy.
  • Misogyny. This is the bigotry that despises and diminishes femininity (e.g., boys are better than girls). This kind of sexism was the frame of my closet door, drawing me into the safety of pretending to be a boy.
  • Transmisogyny. This is the intersection of the two above. It is the culture of hate, violence, and discrimination against transfeminine people that emerges from embracing both gender essentialism and misogyny. This transphobia was the door, hiding my trans self from the world.

Professor of programming + learning + design + justice at the University of Washington Information School. Trans; she/her. #BlackLivesMatter.

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