As A Trans Woman, I’ve Seen Nerd Culture’s Misogyny From Both Sides

Do WE Change When We Transsex?

I believe many things do not change when we transition. Honest people don’t suddenly decide to rob banks. That’s just one example. Our moral compasses and values, at least in my observations and experience, remain rather constant. Polaris is still in the north and we still steer by her light.

I transitioned as a 20-something in the 1970s, the whole smash including bottom work which was virtually a requirement to get my documentation changed, but I would have wanted to do it anyway.

However, to your point, I think that once we make the outer shift, the world reacts to that and I suppose we want them to, otherwise we would not transition. To me transitioning is merely letting the outer world know what our inner self has been all along. Coming out in trans terms is not like LGB, which is telling the world who we love. Coming out T is telling the world who we are. Yes coming out of the closet in the LGBTQ world is no longer faking it, but in my view for the T person coming out is coming out across the board and coming out with a new (presumed) body, not just who you kiss goodnight.

When I was a boy coming out of college, I was damn good engineer and at my first job at a blue ribbon hi-tech firm my designs were tested in-iron. I was the golden kid being fast-tracked.

Then I transitioned and moved to a different high tech firm and suddenly I was “stupid.” It was as if they wanted the designs to fail and the anger I would get when I pushed back on suggestions I knew would not work. That “arrogance” cost me plenty. I remember vividly report to my boss that a certain phenomenon seemed to be following a power function (in the math sense) and he called me an “idiot” to my face.

It’s long-dead history now, but was it ever a lesson. I learned from other women engineers the term “lab wife,” which means many women became the wife at work who could understand what the PhD Section Manager was talking about and clean up after him. The other women engineers suggest I flirt with my boss more. Ya, after that “idiot” remark, no way.

As I said, all ancient history. Forty years ago, and yet not. The STEM programs still send young women into environments where they are not valued nor are we mentored. Bosses will look for their sons, or younger versions of themselves, in their new hires, but rare is the boss who looks for his daughter and even rarer the woman manager who takes the time to take mentees under her wing.

Crazy isn’t it that the more successful we are in our gender role (especially if we have a closed narrative (aka stealth)) the less successful we are seen in the geek world of tech.