Saturday, April 03, 2021

Two years! 📏 ➡ 🏳️‍🌈 ➡ 🥚🔨 ➡ 🏳️‍⚧️

It's hard to believe - it's been two whole years since my egg cracked. April 3, 2019 was the day my life changed. That's when I went from "I'm just a cis guy who'd like to be more feminine" to "I'm definitely not 100% cis, maybe I'm genderfluid or non-binary". I still wasn't certain that I was trans, but I now knew it was a possibility. I began exploring, and within 3 months, I had:

  • Started HRT
  • Started laser hair removal
  • Come out on my blog, on Facebook, and at work
  • Legally changed my name
  • Updated my name and gender on my driver's license and birth certificate

I feel like I did things really fast, but I felt like I had to. Not because of any external pressure, but because the flood gates opened on my dysphoria once I recognized it. Once I realized how much better I felt being a woman, I just couldn't stand being perceived as a man anymore.

Once, I was at the grocery store after work. I was pushing my cart down the main aisle, going pretty quickly because I couldn't wait to get home and change into my femme clothes, and this kid ran in front of my cart, being chased by their mother. I was able to stop before I hit them, but the mother said "Watch out, that M̻̤͍̬̼̪̤̼̺͉͎̦̭ͭ̃̌ͥ͋̎̿̈́̓̋̈́ͯ̔A͓̭̲̯̦̘ͅǸ̟̙̗̬̹͚̣̩̬ͧ̓̈ͦ͆͂ͮ̓ almost ran you over." That... hurt. It felt like a personal attack. I couldn't blame her, of course. I got so distracted that I forgot to get something that I needed and had to go back the next day. Except this time, I brought my femme clothes, pocket bra, and clip-on earrings with me, and put them on in the car before I left work.

I don't regret doing everything so quickly. If anything, I regret not transitioning sooner. But the past is the past, and I can't change it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Flying my flag 🏳️‍⚧️

Today, March 31st, is Transgender Day of Visibility. Visibility matters for one very important reason - it's easier to hate people that you don't know. If you don't know any trans people, it's easy to put them in this "other" box and make generalizations about them.

I have never tried to hide the fact that I was trans. At first, this wasn't even a possibility. I came out before I looked even remotely feminine, so it was immediately obvious to anyone who saw me. Recently, however, I've noticed that it's getting much easier to see myself as female in the mirror, and I haven't been misgendered by a stranger in a long time. At my current job, there are some people who know I'm trans because I've worked with them before, but many of them don't know.

I don't mind being seen as trans at all. If I can show just one closeted trans person that they are not alone, and give them the courage to transition, it's worth any potential hate I might get from transphobes. Also, if transphobes show their true colors around me, at least I know their true intentions.

Some trans people prefer to be stealth because they can't handle the harrasment, or they are not in a safe environment, and that's okay. Nobody should be pressured to come out before they are safe.

This year, trans visibility is especially important because of the huge number of unconstitutional anti-trans bills being introduced in state legislatures right now. Healthcare for trans people is under attack all over the country, and this will cause real damage to transgender kids. It's so overwhelming sometimes.

Art by JenPallante

Friday, February 26, 2021

I exist!

Trans people exist. — OREO Cookie (@Oreo)

I was really doubting my own existence until I saw this tweet from Oreo. Thank you so much, Mondelez International! I'm still gonna buy the knock-off store brand cookies because they're cheaper, but good for you!

This has to be a social experiment. It looks like humanity failed it, though. A corporate social media manager literally made the most uncontroversial, non-political, objective statement of fact it's possible to make about trans people, and people lost their damn minds over it. This is dangerous. People are literally disagreeing with a cookie about my very existence.

These people can't be reasoned with. They don't live in our reality. They want nothing less than for us to just disappear. We can't let that happen.

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Gender euphoria

When discussing trans people and why they transition, there's a lot of discussion about gender dysphoria - and a lot of debate about what exactly defines it. When I first started questioning my gender, I was in complete denial about ever experiencing any kind of dysphoria. Yeah, I hated my facial hair, my voice, the way I looked in general, and I avoided mirrors and rarely took selfies, and never looked at them when I did. But that wasn't dysphoria, I just hated those things for no reason.

I never understood how some people could be so vain - staring at themselves in the mirror, taking tons of selfies, posting them everywhere...

Until I started seeing her.

The girl I was always meant to be.

Now I've got mirrors within arms reach in my home office, I created a shortcut on my laptop to show me a view from my webcam, and I take out my phone and snap a few selfies whenever I get the chance. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of vanity!

Seeing myself the way I was meant to be makes me very happy. It's the opposite of dysphoria - known in the trans community as gender euphoria. Many trans people, including myself, only realize they are experiencing dysphoria after experiencing euphoria for the first time. Dysphoria and euphoria are relative. If dysphoria is all you've ever felt, then it's difficult to recognize. This is why people say "You don't need dysphoria to be trans!" All that is necessary to be trans is to feel better as one gender other than the one you were assigned at birth.

I feel like everyone should explore their gender a bit. If you try out a different gender, and it doesn't work for you... well, now you know!

Monday, February 01, 2021

My new favorite microcontroller

I've been using various microcontrollers and single-board computers since 2013. I started with an Arduino Uno, and I fell in love with how simple it was to write real-time code that runs on bare metal on a tiny chip. Despite the limited RAM and storage space, it didn't seem restrictive at all! I've used a couple of Uno boards for various projects: a remote thermostat for my room A/C (at my dad's house), a "universal" TV remote, a modem rebooter, a furnace / AC control unit (at my current house), and... a clock. That I can update and set the time over bluetooth.

Of course, other manufacturers saw the success of the Arduino, and started making their own boards, either directly compatible with existing Arduino boards, or programmable through the Arduino IDE. In 2017, I got my Macchina M2, and started working on what would become my Volt mod project.

The problem

Last week, I was talking to my boyfriend about the Wifi-controlled outlets I had purchased years ago and reverse-engineered, and I lamented the fact that I could no longer get the exact same model and would have to do all that hacking all over again with a new model. Of course, if I could just build my own, it would be a lot easier. The problem is, Arduino boards with Wifi are expensive, right?

The solution

Let me introduce you to my new favorite microcontroller: The ESP8266. Built-in Wifi support, decently fast, plenty of RAM, a good amount of I/O pins, and dirt cheap. I got a pack of 3 for about $15. Wifi is super easy to use, especially if you're just doing UDP.

For this Wifi-controlled outlet project, I would also need some relays. I bought a pack of 4 dual-relay boards which are 3.3v I/O compatible. I already had an outlet box with a couple of outlets and a bunch of wire. Hooking it all up was very straightforward. The code for the ESP8266 is very simple and fits on a single page.

This is definitely going to be my go-to microcontroller for projects going forward. If you're interested, just search for "ESP8266" or "NodeMCU" on your favorite online retailer.