A highly warped, up close photo of Boomy the tuxedo cat, with her nose so pink and large.
Boomy was a little too curious about my smartphone. Credit: Amy J. Ko

Trans day of chores

Amy J. Ko
10 min readMar 31, 2024


Today is trans day of visibility (TDOV). For those that don’t know, many trans people have mixed feelings about it. Being visible, without any other change in the world, doesn’t make trans people’s lives any more materially possible. Visibility also has consequences — 533 anti-trans bills in U.S. state legislatures, for example, that make trans people’s lives unequivocally worse. So fine, yes, a day to be seen. But let’s make the other 364 days are about ensuring everyone has health care, affordable housing, amazing public education, and a bit more love in the world, mkay?

If we have to be visible today in a transy way, I’m going to play along by writing about the most routine, unglamorous, human thing I can: my Saturday of chores, the day before TDOV, as a bit of passive aggressive protest for the day, but also to help humanize trans people for whoever happens to be reading this.

I recommend y’all stop reading now and just take away the gist of this piece, that trans people are people too. If you stay, all you’re going to get are a bunch of boring details about a day in my life. You really should just leave. You’ll have nothing but regret after reading this piece; you’ll wish you could have watched a flashy YouTube video, or the latest TikTok trend. All I have for you is a bunch of irrelevant insights into my insecurities and obsessions.

You’re staying? Okay, fine… I warned you.

I slept in Saturday. I forgot to put on my watch, so my alarm buzzed on its charger, introducing a strange element into my 6 am dreams. I was on a boat, probably seeded by me watching Poor Things late last night, but instead of the wshhhh of the ocean around me, there was a brrr. brrr. brrr. I tend to be pretty aware that I’m in a dream in my dreams, and so my dream self said, “Ugh, alarm. Take me to land!” I turned it off, and noticed that my cat was about an inch from my face. She sniffed my nose, screamed at my for breakfast, and so I cuddled her tightly and slept for another hour.

When I woke up again, my eyes were crusty. Friday or Saturday nights are sleep with Boomy nights. She’s terrified of me when I’m standing, but when I’m laying down, she just wants to cuddle her feline butt next to mine for the whole night and lick whatever bare skin she can find. I grabbed my phone, did a morning Wordle, watched a YouTube video about about an expat in Japan and her new luxury 800 square foot apartment in Tokyo and then some random clip of Aubrey Plaza doing a very bad job flirting with Al Pacino.

When I finally got out of bed, Boomy did her morning yowls for extra breakfast. DeAnn was away for the weekend to spend time with her Dad after having recently lost her mother. So it was just me and Boomy. I refilled her water, cleaned her box, and gave her the usual few extra morsels, since her automatic feeder is made for dog portions. She ate ravenously, and then I realized how hungry I was. I made it my goal to find brunch, and a cozy place to fix a few Wordplay bugs for fun. I climbed my stairs, brushed my teeth, popped my morning titty skittle to stave off osteoporosis, and took an overlong shower to clear up the night’s cat allergies.

After I was clean, what I wanted most was to get on my new Jackrabbit e-bike. It’s so tiny, so cute, so light and zippy, it’s my current obsession. I’ve been tricking it out with so many little things, like some new lightweight fenders for the rain, a new matching bike lock, matching Lumos helmet and turn signal. I love how ridiculous I look zipping along the Burke-Gilman and NE Seattle side streets. But I also love how freeing it is, relative to our 4,000 pound electric car, to a bus, or to our city trains. I’ve been an annoyingly snotty urbanist lately, especially to my Californian car-loving wife, and so getting on my little 30 pound wheels just feels like the teeniest slap in the face to car culture. It’s also so riveting to just be in nature, and to enjoy all of our wonderful trees and animals, and the people who live amongst them.

I got dressed and noticed it was cold but sunny. It was a perfect day for an early breakfast at Mr. West. I packed my new laptop and a few essentials, strapped on my helmet, and bundled up in my favorite jacket, and set off on the empty 8am streets. When I arrived, it was pretty empty, and I was pregnant hungry, so I ordered a Mr. Breakfast with potatoes, bacon, a soft boiled egg, an avocado, two slices of sourdough, and an oat milk mocha. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten used to just always being hungry while on progesterone. No one really knows in any aggregate sense what it’s effects are on trans bodies, but I know what it’s effects on mine have been: pregnancy boobs, pregnancy hunger, pregnancy weight, and amazing sleep. I’m just going to keep feeding myself, preparing for that baby that will never come.

While I munched, I decided to shop online for a bit before bug fixing. Allergy season is starting, and so my nose is always a bit drippy throughout the day, and I’m tired of always carrying around a little packet of tissues. Instead, I thought I’d try a small handkerchief instead. It’s kind of gross, but at the same time, my anti-waste compulsion usually means that I’m carrying half used tissues around in my purse or pockets anyway, and a handkerchief seems less gross than that and more useful too, since the right material might be useful for wiping my glasses and screens too. Then I looked for a summer bra that might work for tank tops and gave up when I remembered my wider shoulders make it hard to find anything that doesn’t expose my straps. I then had a flurry of ideas about a talk I was going to give in May at the NCWIT Summit, and frantically wrote them all down in my presenter notes. That talk is going to make some people very uncomfortable, which makes me very happy.

When there was only coffee left, I started work on Wordplay issue #422. This is a bug that a 6th grader at Open Window School found a few weeks ago. I had gone to try out some teaching ideas with a best case scenario school (private, well-funded, dedicated computer science class). I gave the kids a half-finished word guessing game that would take a word’s letters, split them up into a list, and then lay them out on the screen in random places, where the goal of the game was to pick them up in the right order. The class was very engaged and creative, and one kid decided to try to make an impossible game, by making the secret word the first 10,000 digits of π. Wordplay borked: the browser became unresponsive and I had to teach him how to force quit a Windows application. It turned out that after Wordplay made a list of values, when its type was computed to do some runtime value checking, it was creating a huge union type from all digits, and doing this for every value. A bit of simple caching, and the performance defect was gone: 10,000 digits of π, in an impossible game!

I had to pee. Fortunately, Mr. West has two single stall rooms. I know I pass, and haven’t had issues in women’s rooms for years. But that time in 2019 when an elderly woman screamed at me in a Target and started hitting me with her purse still sticks with me, so I always have that little bit of flight response when I have to pee in public. I relieved myself, and then went out to a sunny sidewalk, walking proudly to the teeniest tiniest cutest little e-bike I’ve ever seen, ready to ride back home.

I was still in a Wordplay mood when I got home, but I had a backflow tester coming soon to do our annual mandatory test, so I decided to start some laundry, and go through some updates from Wordplaypen students. One recommitted to finalizing an issue; another shared an update on a Git issue. A few needed design feedback on some final drafts of designs. The backflow tester finally arrived, and everything checked out. By the time he was done, I was feeling domestic, and so I put another load in, and decided to head back out for a few errands.

First up was a stop at the Apple Store. I wanted to get an AirTag for my bike lock key. I had lost my first key already — after only five days!—and had ordered a replacement, but I figured having a trackable keychain was a good idea anyway. I groaned a bit out loud when I had to get into our car. I love driving it in the abstract, but I hate cars in general, and knew that even driving around my hood was going to be painful. I crawled through local traffic to U Village, inched up five stories of a very full parking garage line, and then waited for an elevator back down. In all, it took 10 minutes longer than biking would have. Once I was in the store, I found an AirTag, and then got a little obsessed with opening every AirTag case they had to try it out with my bike key. I saw the Apple Store employee watching me closely, trying to figure out what this skinny girl in a pony tail was doing opening so many boxes. Eventually, I found one I liked and I scanned it and the tag to buy it from my phone, then sat down on one of the benches to set it up. Out the door, back to the elevator, back to the car, and then back down the large parking structure, I finally made it back onto the street.

Next up was Whole Foods. I figured I dropped my bike lock key somewhere around there. I walked around the parking lot awkwardly, looking under people’s cars and staring closely at the sidewalks. The houseless guy that sits on the corner creepily winked at me, as he usually does, and I rolled my eyes at him, as I usually do. No luck finding it. I was thristy, so I went inside for a drink and sat in the eating area for a while. I decided to work on Wordplay issue #423, another one that arose in my classroom visit. This problem was the unconventional design of the windowing system. Students didn’t know how to minimize windows, or show them after minimizing them, because they didn’t follow any common conventions on macOS or Windows. I decided to redesign everything to be a little more conventional in layout and visual design. Once I was happy with it, and done with my Sanzo, I had to pee again.

This time, I had to go into a multi-stall women’s room. There was a short line. One older woman looked up at me and seemed a bit scared; she was really short, I was really tall. I said, “It’s a busy day, isn’t it?”, just to reinforce that yes, I am a woman, and she relaxed, and said “So busy. This neighorhood is really hoppin’!” I could tell she was the type to have a bunch of friends over on a Saturday night on her porch. She was probably getting ready for the evening. I said, “It is! I used to live a block away, and everything really changed when light rail opened up, didn’t it?” “It did, so much, so many young people like you, so much activity. I like it.” I didn’t tell her I was 43, and just happy to have a quiet day of solitude with my kitty in my much more boring neighborhood a few miles down the road. I peed again, and then went in search of a basket.

I was in the mood for a simple food week. I planned a big batch of vegan mac, broccoli, and turkey for lunch, and some breakfast tacos, and decided to wing it for dinners. DeAnn was going to be back Monday night, and sometimes we like to do take out and sometimes we cook. She’s a nurse, still working overtime every night, and I teach late this quarter, so that probably meant lots of delivery. The store was really was busy and crowded mid-afternoon. I decided to shut out the noise and listen to the latest On The Media while I shopped. I had no idea how many conspiracy theories have been floating around about Boeing flubs being caused by “woke” hiring strategies!

When I got home, I was still feeling domestic, so I did a flurry of more chores. I changed the laundry, cooked the vegan mac, broiled the broccoli, made some morning protein shakes, put the groceries in the fridge, cleaned the stove, folded some towels, cleaned my sheets, and vacuumed. I then realized that for the past several months, DeAnn and I have banged our arms on the bookshelf in the garage every time we’re removing clothing from the dryer, and so I decided to move the bookshelf to the other side of the garage. I took advantage of my scooter’s ability to fold and stand upright and made a little cozy corner for my bike, scooter, and helmets. I had earned one of those little non-dairy Babybel cheeses that were about to expire, so I sat on the couch, pet boomy, and took a break, and ate some cheese. I then folded my clothes, swept the garage while I listed to the latest episodes of Gender Reveal and Outward.

I realized after listening to both of those episodes how much I just wanted to sit down and write for the rest of the late afternoon. So I wrote this, and thought about the little flatbread I got at Whole Foods, and listened to Helado Negro’s latest album, PHASOR, which just has this beautiful, jovial, ebullient vibe. The clouds were setting in, but Boomy had found that last bit of sun, so I settled in with her on the couch, wrapped up this post, put the flatbread in the oven, and put on The Kitchen for a bit of discomforting, anti-capitalist sci-fi. The oppressive London police in the film, and the main character’s brief escape to a sterile flat in a high rise, away from the chaos of his unjust world, made me think about my day as a happy, privileged, trans human. This day, like all days, I have a bad case of survivor’s guilt, as the country around us with ignorance, hate, and violence.



Amy J. Ko

Professor, University of Washington iSchool (she/her). Code, learning, design, justice. Trans, queer, parent, and lover of learning.