the letter z

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2009-08-31

I read yet another horrible thread today about how yet another random transphobe thinks that trans women have no place to be mentioned in a women in tech/IT article, and there was the sickening display of transphobia on Slashdot recently about Caster and sex determination.

Why is it that there are questions about the appropriateness of trans women in IT in discussing women in IT? Do trans women have any sort of “advantage” over cis women in IT, by virtue of their biological history? Let us suppose first that this is not the case, and the affinity is afforded by, say, the lack of gender policing towards the field — then any trans woman in technical fields is demonstrative of any woman’s natural ability to excel in technical fields. If trans women have some biological advantage by virtue of, say, early exposure of the brain to testosterone, then what is the question we are presented with? Someone may posit that if a trans woman has an advantage in technical fields and should not be considered for encouragement, as it would be “unfair” — but then the argument has shifted away from women in technical fields and rather to where one may draw the boundary involving trans women.

Thus, raising questions about trans women appropriateness in technical fields becomes an excuse for, most often, a cis person to exercise their hostility towards a trans woman who has worked exceedingly hard to get where she is both in life and in her career, and to criticise her technical efforts because the bigotry of person doing the criticising.

Luckily most women in IT outreach groups I have seen are inclusive organizations, however, I have not had personal experience with these groups. Perhaps a bit of effort is required to make sure that cis hostility doesn’t gain a foothold and yet make outcasts of these women in yet another area.

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