Happy Trans Awareness Week

This week is Trans Awareness Week. I don’t have searing insights here, but I did want to reflect briefly on how my own awareness has changed over the last year.

Most obviously, I’m now aware I have a daughter. Ash has always been my daughter, I just didn’t know that until relatively recently. Many of the other points below have come from her. It’s wonderful to be educated by your kids. (And Robin and William certainly teach me things too – just not so much about trans issues.)

I’m more aware of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), mostly due to the proposed changes to it. This goes alongside increased awareness of the many forms of discrimination faced by trans folks.

I’m now much more keenly aware of the divisions within feminism over whether cis women’s rights and trans women’s rights are complementary or in opposition. I’m not naive enough to expect feminism to mean the same thing for everyone, and there are plenty of other topics that cause fierce debate within feminist circles, but this one makes me sadder than any other.

I’m gradually raising my awareness on a slightly more academic level: Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl is proving very thought-provoking and informative. It’s going to take me a long time to process all the information and ideas there.

On a human level, I’m more aware of the experiences of trans people simply by meeting, talking and making friends with them. Thinking about it, this is almost all trans women at the moment, which is obviously not ideal in terms of learning more diverse experiences, but maybe that will change over the next year.1

On a more personal level, I’ve probably thought about my own gender more over the last year than in the past. I identify as a man: why? What does that mean to me? How much does that identification prop up a harmful gender binary dichotomy? I don’t know whether this really counts as something to bring up when specifically talking about trans awareness week, but it’s definitely a corollary of my increased awareness of trans issues.

I’m very conscious of how much I’m still unaware of, and I look forward to taking stock again in a year’s time.

1 I don’t like the way this paragraph reads. I don’t like using the word “them” as if it’s in opposition to “us”. I don’t like the idea that I’m “collecting” trans friends as some sort of woke status symbol, or that these new friends “owe” me education. I may rewrite this when I’m less sleepy. For the moment I just want to acknowledge its problems.

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Mad props to @arcaderage for the "Princess Rescue" image - see https://toggl.com/programming-princess for the full original

5 thoughts on “Happy Trans Awareness Week”

  1. Great post, and it’s awesome that you’re supporting your daughter by learning about trans issues. ❤️

    I liked the bit about not collecting “woke points“ or expecting trans women to educate you, too.

    I’m genderqueer so I also appreciate the nonbinary aspects of this post.


  2. I identify as a man: why?

    Scanning your blog, I believe you are deliberately imprisoning yourself in a very closed set of beliefs.

    You will be unable to address this question because I believe you will not accept answers that come from biology or evolution, unwilling to accept answers that come from human values that have evolved over thousands of years as expressed in religions or other traditions, and only willing to listen to a particular trending egalitarian philiosophy.

    Egalitarian philiosophy does not explain why males tend to take on a nexus of male characteristics and behaviours. The answers will come from places you are unwilling to listen to.


    1. I think we will have to agree to disagree. I do wonder how much listening you are doing though, to the voices in society which have struggled to be heard over the centuries.

      I will remain egalitarian. If you choose to take a different path, I doubt there’s much I can do to persuade you otherwise.


    2. “Egalitarian philiosophy does not explain why males tend to take on a nexus of male characteristics and behaviours”

      N.. No, masculine and feminine traits are just an outdated system of societal categorisation of what the two genders were expected to behave like – think about it this way, if you make society expect women to be subservient and caring, you will get women who are subservient and caring, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

      Transgender individuals are valid and the wide world of feminism is quite a turbulent one in regards to debate, I, like you Jon Skeet have also learned a lot regarding feminism and trans rights compared to my own upbringing – also learned a lot of C# but that was from you!

      Anyway, we are all on our own journey in life, but I think it’s important to ground ourselves in logic and realising societal labels are just that – labels placed by us, society. Biological facts exist in of itself, but much of our views on gender and really most societal issues have come from our own upbringing – as humans we should strive to grow out of our belief set given by our parents.


      1. No, masculine and feminine traits are just an outdated system of societal categorisation

        I think it’s important to ground ourselves in logic
        Biological facts exist in of itself

        Biological facts exist in and of themselves: yes. Female and male individuals exist in sexually-reproducing species. They often have traits beyond the carrying or fertilization of ova. For example there are physical traits that allow more reliable identification by members of the same species – of obvious value to sexually reproducing species. There are also species-dependnt behavioural differences.

        If you are saying that is “outdated” you are thinking of some ignorant opinions existing a very small political bubble existing right now in one species. It often happens that a subset of individuals will adopt a maladaptive path and get selected out over a number of generations – that is normal evolution.

        as humans we should strive to grow out of our belief set given by our parents

        It is possible and even necessary for parents to teach children beneficially. Even more so than other species, as humans need a lot of parenting. “Strive to grow out of our belief set given by our parents”: by arbitrarily choosing different beliefs (e.g. teenage rebellion), by conforming to other belief sets (e.g. current social trends), or by observation, reason, and logic? The latter is best but very incremental.


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