I was musing about writing about this publicly. For the first time in all these years of writing pretty personal stuff about my feelings, my way of becoming more honest with myself and a more authentic person through that I was thinking about letting you in on this is a good idea.
You see, people have used information from my personal blog in the past, and tried to use it against me. Needless to say they failed with it, and it only showed their true face. So why does it feel different this time?
Thing is, I'm in the midst of my second puberty, and the hormones are kicking in in complete hardcore mode. And it doesn't help at all that there is trans antagonist crap from the past and also from the present popping up left and right at a pace and a concentrated amount that is hard to swallow on its own without the puberty.
Yes, I used to be able to take those things with a much more stable state. But every. Single. Of. These. Issues is draining all the energy out of myself. And even though I'm aware that I'm not the only one trying to fix all of those, even though for some spots I'm the only one doing the work, it's easier said than done that I don't have to fix the world, when the areas involved mean the world to me. Are areas that support me in so many ways. Are places that I need. And on top of that, the hormones are multiplying the energy drain of those.
So ... I know it's not that common. I know you are not used to a grown up person to go through puberty. But for god's sake. Don't make it harder than it has to be. I know it's hard to deal with a 46 year old teenager, so to say, I'm just trying to survive in this world of systematic oppression of trans people.
It would be nice to go for a week without having to cry your eyes out because another hostile event happened that directly affects your existence. The existence of trans lives aren't a matter of different opinions or different points of view, so don't treat it like that, if you want me to believe that you are a person able of empathy and basic respect.
Sidenote: Finishing to write this at this year's #36c3 is quite interesting because of the conference title: Resource Exhaution. Oh the irony.
Recently I thought a lot about group building. There had been some dynamics going on in way to many communities that I am involved with, and it always came down to the same structural thing:
Is the group welcoming participation of everyone?
Is the group actively excluding people?
When put this way, I guess most people will quite directly swing towards the first option and outrule the second. Thing though is, it's not that easy. And I'd like to explain why.
Passive vs. Active Exclusion
The story about passive exclusion
Exclusion always happens, it even has to happen, regardless how you try to form a group. Let me explain it by an example, that recently happened at an event in Germany. It was an event called "Hanse inter nichtbinär trans Tagung (HINT)", conference for inter, non-binary and trans folks. A doctor was invited who performs genital "corrective" operations on babies, something that inter people suffer a lot and unfortunately is still legal and a huge practise around the globe while there is no medical need for any of this. In turn inter people didn't feel safe to attend a conference anymore that was specifically set out for them as part of the target audience.
And that's just one example. I could come up with a fair amount of others, like having sexual abusive people at polyamory meetups, and there is a fair amount of free software related discussions going on too, having abusive people in the community actively invalidating others, ridiculing them, belittling them, or software that specifically enables access to hate-speech sites on free software portals, all with the reasoning that it's about free software after all.
All these things lead to passive exclusion. It leads to an environment that suddenly doesn't feel safe for a fair amount of people to get involved in in the first place. People that are claimed to be wanted within the community. People who are told to grow a thicker skin. People who are criticized for pointing out the discrimination and being rightfully emotionally wound up, also about the silent bystanders, having to do the emotional labour themselves. And as organizers and group leads, it's definitely the less energy consuming approach.
When you understand this, and start to engage with abusive people that make other feel unsafe, you might realize: That's actually hell of a work! And an unthankful one on top of that. You suddenly have to justify your actions. You will receive abusive messages about how could you exclude that person because they never have been abusive to them so it can't be true, you are splitting the community, and whatsnot. It's an unthankful job to stand up for the mistreated, because in the end it will always feel like mistreating someone else. Holding people accountable for their actions never feels good, and I totally get that. That's also likely the reason why most communities don't do it (or, only in over-the-top extreme cases way too late), and this is a recurring pattern, because of that.
But there are these questions you always have to ask yourself when you want to create a community:
"Whom do I want to create a community for, whom do I want to have in there - and what kind of behavior works against that? What am I willing to do to create the space?"
When you have a clear view on those questions, it still might be needed to revisit it from time to time when things pop up that you haven't thought about before. And if you mean it honest, for a change, start to listen to the oppressed and don't add the hurt by calling them out for their reaction of fighting for their sheer existence and survival. Being able to talk calmly about an issue is a huge privilege and in general shows that you aren't affected by it, at all. And doesn't contribute to solving the discrimination, rather just distracts from it.
One last note: Active exclusion doesn't necessarily have to happen all the time. Please check in with the abused about what their needs are. Sometimes they can deal with in a different way. Sometimes the abusers start to realize their mistake and healing can happen. Sometimes discussions are needed, mediation, with or without the abused.
But ultimately, if you want to build any inclusive environment, you have to face the fact that you very likely will have to exclude people and be ready to do so. Because as Paula said in her toot above:
"If you give oppressors a platform, then guess what, marginalized people will leave your platform and you'll soon have a platform of dicks!"
It's been a while. And to be honest, I'm overdue with a few things that I want to get out. One of those things is … Brazil doesn't let me go. I'm watching this country since over a year now, hopefully understandable with the political changes last year and this year's debconf being there, and I promise to go into more details with that in the future because there is more and more to it …
Because one of those things that showed me that Brazil doesn't want to let me go was stumbling upon this artist. They were shared by some friends, and I instantly fell for them. This is about Oxa, but see for yourself:
Toy: Their first performance at the show »The Voice of Germany«, where they also stated that they are non-binary. And the song is lovely.
Born This Way: With this one, the spoken word interlude gave me goosebumps and I'm astonished that this was possible to get into the show. Big respect!
I'm Still Standing: The lyrics in this song are also just as powerful as the other chosen ones. Extremely fine selection!
I'm absolute in love with the person on so many levels–and yes, they are from Brazil originally. Multo brigado, Brazil!
Today, November 20th, is Trans Day of Remembrance. It is about remembering victims of hate crimes that aren't amongst us anymore. Last year we learned about at least 331 murdered trans people, the real number is like always higher. Also like always it affects mostly trans women of color who are the target of multiple discriminatory patterns.
What is also a pattern is that Brazil has a fair chunk of those murders. Unfortunately the country since a while is on the top in that statistic, but the election of an right winged outspoken queer hating person as president of the country last year did make those who feel the hate having some sort of legitimacy to it, which makes it obviously harder to survive these days. My thoughts thus are specifically with the people of Brazil who fight for their survival.
Right-winged parties though rise all around the globe spreading hate, and as our Debian Free Software Guidelines say in #5, "No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups", and this is something that we can't limit only to software licenses but also have to extend to the way we work as community.
If you ask what you can do: Support your local community spaces and support groups. I had the pleasure to meet Grupo Dignidade during my stay in Curitiba for DebConf 19, and was very thankful for a representative of that group to join my Debian Diversity BoF. Thanks again, Ananda, it was lovely having you!
I was musing whether I should post something for the Lesbian Visibility Day on April 26th. After all, being part of the European Lesbian* Conference means a lot to me. I've never felt so much empowered and being part of an event that takes inclusivity to a next level.
And then ... there is still a lot of these internalized doubts. I fully stand behind EL*C and its inclusive agenda. I know that the L is accompanied by an asterisk for a reason. Among others, to make it clear that Bisexual peeps aren't left out. And that trans people are also included. And here I sit, thinking nevertheless, am I allowed to see myself in that spot? Am I enough to take up space in there?
And here I am again with my internalized transphobia. Speaking up, making yourself heard is hard enough for trans feminine people. Especially when you click for everyone and people's first instinct is to address you with he/him pronouns.
Because those are traits are often enough seen as male - and when you don't identify as such you start to try everything to avoid being put into that box. Which results in a self-silencing. Including on such important dates where visibility is what it's about.
So here I am ... Trying to fight these feelings. And as much as I see it needed to be visible in the bisexual community, I also see it very much needed to be visible in the lesbian* community, because I feel connected to both. A lot.
Just the other day a working colleague asked me what kind of music I listen to, especially when working. It's true, music helps me to focus better and work more concentrated. But it obviously depends on what kind of music it is. And there is one project I come to every now and then. The name is Enigma. It's not disturbing, good for background, with soothing and non-intrusive vocals. Here are the songs:
Return To Innocence: This is quite likely the song you know from them, which also got me hooked up originally.
Push The Limits: A powerful song. The album version is even a few minutes longer.
It seems almost as if being political correct is something people do not want to be. As a matter of fact, to move forward as humanity, we though need it very much. Let's take a look at the why and what it actually means, shall we?
I think we all have heard of the Golden Rule: "The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one's self would wish to be treated." I hope that we can agree on that. The idea behind is to envision oneself in the other person's shoes, figuratively, and see what it would do to yourself. If you don't like it, don't do it. Sounds easy?
Well, it isn't. When it comes to discrimination, which is something systematic, that doesn't work. There is also a power difference involved in discrimination, and here it starts: It's not possible to envision what some words might do unto others. Most of of the people within the Debian community are most probably white, able-bodied, cis (identifying with the gender assigned at birth), hetero, and male. Just to name a few most prominent categories. So even if we try to envision oneself in the place of the other person, we haven't experienced systematic discrimination like racial profiling, not able to enter a restaurant, being looked strange at whatever toilet we go to, have heads turned on us and people whispering when walking down the street hand-in-hand with our partners, or being cat called. And we might envision that being called "fag" isn't the nicest thing, people forget one thing: There is a huge power difference especially also in language.
How many discriminatory words can you come up for black people? Disabled people? Non-hetero people? Trans people? Women? And then take a step back ... and try to think about how many discriminatory words you can come up with for white, able-bodied, hetero, cis and male people. And then try to realize how even language plays into that power imbalance. Especially on the internet where the only thing you get from others is written language. So the one way to work with that is to actually listen to those facing discrimination and acknowledging that some words are off limit.
So next time you tell someone they are just a special snowflake, or that they should just swallow it down because that's the way things work ... think about this. And think about what you actually are transporting when you oppose to a political correct approach: When you consider political correctness something awful to strive for because it seemingly limits how you speak to and about others. Because honey, no, it doesn't. Anytime you belittle a political correct approach you are just showing one thing: That you are unwilling to be a safe space for the people around you, and simply don't care.
Oh, and one more thing: Free Software and Debian in specific always was political. Don't tell me that's news to you. Working on Free Software is an extremely strong political statement. It is to improve the world for everyone through making software available to everyone. And yes, that everyone includes non-white, non-cis, non-ablebodied, non-hetero and non-male people too, surprisingly to some it seems.
Enjoy, and happy new year!
P.S.: Part of this content is inspired by the German language book: Eine Frage der Moral from Anatol Stefanowitsch. If you understand German I urge you to read it. It gives a good insight.
Today is Transgender Day Of Remembrance. Today is a black day for trans people around the globe. We mourn the trans folks that aren't amongst us anymore due to hate crime violence against them. Reach out to the trans folks that are part of your life, that you know, ask them if they are in need of emotional support on this day. There are more trans folks getting killed for being trans than there are days in a year. Furthermost black trans women of color. If you feel strong enough you can read about it in this article.
Also, we are facing huge threats for our mere existence all over the world these days. If you follow any social media, check the hashtag #WontBeErased. The US government follows a path of Erasing Gender left and right, which also affects intersex people likewise and manifests the gender binary and gender separation even further, also hurting cis people. Now also in Ontario, Canada, gender identity gets erased, too. And Brazil, where next year's DebConf will be held, which already has the highest trans murders in the world, has elected Bolsonaro, a right wing extremist who is outspokenly gay antagonist and misogynist. And then there is Tanzania which started a hunt for LGBTIQ people. And those reports are only the tip of the iceberg. I definitely missed some other countries shit, like Ukraine (where next year's European Lesbian* Conference is taking place) or Austrian's government being right-winged and cutting the social system left and right so we are in need of Wieder Donnerstag (a weekly Thursday demonstration) again.
I'm currently drafting the announce mail to send out about the creation of the Debian Diversity Team which we finally formed. It is more important than ever to make it clear and visible that discrimination has no place within Debian, and that we in fact are a diverse community. I can understand the wish that it should focus on the visibility and welcoming aspects of the team, and especially to not make it look like it's a reaction to those world events. Which it isn't, this is in the works since two years now. And I totally agree with that. I just have a hard time to not add a solidarity message alongside mentioning that we are aware of the crap that's going on in the world and that we see your pain, and share it. So yes, the team has finally formed, but the announcement mail through debian-devel-announce about it is still pending. And we are in contact with the local team for next year's DebConf and following the news about Brazil to figure out how to make it as safe as possible for attendees, so that fear shouldn't be the guiding factor for you to not attend.
I have to excuse for being silent for that long. Way too many things happened. In fact I already wrote most of this last fall, but then something happened that did impact me too much to finalize this entry. And with that I want to go a bit into details how I write my blog entries:
I start to write them in English, I like to cross-reference things, and after I'm done I go over it and write it again in German. That process helps me proof-reading the English part, but it also means that it takes a fair amount of time. And the longer the entries get the more energy the translation and proof reading part takes, too. That's mostly also the reason why I tend to write longer entries when I find the energy and time for it.
Anyway, the first thing that I want to mention here finally happened last June: I officially got changed my name and gender/sex marker in my papers! That was a very happy moment in so many ways. A week later I got my new passport, finally managed to book my flight to Debconf in my name. Yay me, I exist!
Then, Stretch was released. I have to admit I had very little to do, wasn't involved in the release process, neither from the website team nor anywhere else because ...
... because I was packing my stuff that weekend, because on June 21st, a second thing finally happened: I got the keys to my flat in the Que[e]rbau!! Yes, I'm aware that we still need to work on the website. The building company actually did make a big event out of it, called every single person onto stage and handed over the keys. And it made me happy to be able to receive my key in my name and not one I don't relate to since a long while anymore. It did hurt seeing that happening to someone else from our house, even though they knew what the Que[e]rbau is about ... And: I moved right in the same day. Gave up my old flat the following week, even though I didn't have much furniture nor a kitchen but I was waiting way too long to be able to not be there. And just watch that sunset from my balcony. <3
And I mentioned it in the last blog post already, the European Lesbian* Conference organization needed more and more work, too. The program for it started to finalize, but there were still more than enough things to do. I totally fell into this, this was the first time I really felt what intersectionality means and that it's not just a label but an internal part of this conference. The energy going on in the team on that grounds is really outstanding, and I'm totally happy to be part of this effort.
But one of the two moving speeches at the march were from Charlie Rose titled My Gender Is Black. I managed to get a recording of this and another great speech from another Black Lives Matters activist, and hope I'll be able to put them online at some point. For the time being the link to the text should be able to help.
And then Debconf itself started. And I held the Debian Diversity Round Table. While the title might had been misleading, because this group isn't officially formed yet, it turned out to get a fair amount of interest. I started off with why I called for it, that I intentionally chose to not have it video taped for people to be able to speak more freely and after a short introduction round with names, pronouns and other things people wanted to share we had some interesting discussions on why people think this is a good idea, what direction to move. A few ideas did spring up, and then ... time ran out. So actually we scheduled a continuation BoF to further enhance the topic. At the end of that we came up with a pretty good consensual view on how to move forward. Unfortunately I didn't manage yet to follow up on that and feel quite bad about it. :/
Because, after returning, getting back into work, and needing a bit more time for EL*C I started to feel serious pain in my back and my leg which seems to be a slipped disc and was on sick leave for about two months. The pain was too much, I even had to stay at the hospital for two weeks because my stomach acted up too.
At the end of October we had a grand opening: We have a community space in our Que[e]rbau in which we built sort of a bar, with cooking facility and hi-fi equipment. And we intentionally opened it up to the public. It's name is Yella Yella! Nachbar_innentreff. We named it after Yella Hertzka who was an important feminist at the start of the 20th century. The park on the other side of the street is called Yella Hertzka park, so the pun in the name with the connection to the arabic proverb Yalla Yalla is intentional.
With the Yella Yella a fair amount of internal discussions emerged, we all only started to live together, so naturally this took a fair amount of energy and discussions. Things take time to get a feeling for all the people. There were severalinterviews made, and events to get organized to get it running.
And then out of the sudden it turned 2018 and I still haven't published this post. I'm sorry 'bout that, but sometimes there are other things needing time. And here I am. Time move on even if we don't look at it.
A recent project that I had the honor to be part of is my movement is limitless [trans_non-binary short]. It was interesting to think about the topic whether gender identity affects the way you dance. And to seen and hear other people's approach to it.
At the upcoming Linuxtage Graz there will be a session about Common misconceptions about names and spaces and communities because they were enforcing a realname policy – at a community event. Not only is this a huge issue for trans people but also works against privacy researchers or people from the community that noone really knows by the name in their papers. The discussions that happened on twitter or in the background were partly a fair bit disturbing. Let's hope that we'll manage to make a good panel.
Which brings us to a panel for the upcoming Debconf in Taiwan. There is a suggestion to have a Gender Forum at the Openday. I'm still not completely sure what it should cover or what is expected for it and I guess it's still open for suggestions. There will be a plan, let's see to make it diverse and great!
I won't promise to send the next update sooner, but I'll try to get back into it. Right now I'm also working on a (German language) submission for a non-binary YouTube project and it would be great to see that thing lift off. I'll be more verbose on that front.
I long thought about whether I should post a/my #metoo. It wasn't a rape. Nothing really happened. And a lot of these stories are very disturbing.
And yet it still it bothers me every now and then. I was in school age, late elementary or lower school ... In my hometown there is a cinema. Young as we've been we weren't allowed to see Rambo/Rocky. Not that I was very interested in the movie ... But there the door to the screening room stood open. And curious as we were we looked through the door. The projectionist saw us and waved us in. It was exciting to see a moview from that perspective that was forbidden to us.
He explained to us how the machines worked, showed us how the film rolls were put in and showed us how to see the signals on the screen which are the sign to turn on the second projector with the new roll.
During these explenations he was standing very close to us. Really close. He put his arm around us. The hand moved towards the crotch. It was unpleasantly and we knew that it wasn't all right. But screaming? We weren't allowed to be there ... So we thanked him nicely and retreated disturbed. The movie wasn't that good anyway.
Nothing really happened, and we didn't say anything.
It's been a while. And currently I shouldn't even post but rather pack my stuff because I'll get the keys to my flat in 6 days. Yay!
But, for packing I need a good sound track. And today it is Apollo 440. I saw them live at the Sundance Festival here in Vienna 20 years ago. It's been a while, but their music still gives me power to pull through.
A fair amount of things happened since I last blogged something else than music. First of all we did actually hold a Debian Diversity meeting. It was quite nice, less people around than hoped for, and I account that to some extend to the trolls and haters that defaced the titanpad page for the agenda and destroyed the doodle entry for settling on a date for the meeting. They even tried to troll my blog with comments, and while I did approve controversial responses in the past, those went over the line of being acceptable and didn't carry any relevant content.
One response that I didn't approve but kept in my mailbox is even giving me strength to carry on. There is one sentence in it that speaks to me: Think you can stop us? You can't you stupid b*tch. You have ruined the Debian community for us. The rest of the message is of no further relevance, but even though I can't take credit for being responsible for that, I'm glad to be a perceived part of ruining the Debian community for intolerant and hateful people.
A lot of other things happened since too. Mostly locally here in Vienna, several queer empowering groups were founding around me, some of them existed already, some formed with the help of myself. We now have several great regular meetings for non-binary people, for queer polyamory people about which we gave an interview, a queer playfight (I might explain that concept another time), a polyamory discussion group, two bi-/pansexual groups, a queer-feminist choir, and there will be an European Lesbian* Conference in October where I help with the organization …
… and on June 21st I'll finally receive the keys to my flat in Que[e]rbau Seestadt. I'm sooo looking forward to it. It will be part of the Let me come Home experience that I'm currently in. Another part of that experience is that I started changing my name (and gender marker) officially. I had my first appointment in the corresponding bureau, and I hope that it won't last too long because I have to get my papers in time for booking my flight to Montreal, and somewhen along the process my current passport won't contain correct data anymore. So for the people who have it in their signing policy to see government IDs this might be your chance to finally sign my key then.
I plan to do a diversity BoF at debconf where we can speak more directly on where we want to head with the project. I hope I'll find the time to do an IRC meeting beforehand. I'm just uncertain how to coordinate that one to make it accessible for interested parties while keeping the destructive trolls out. I'm open for ideas here.
I need music to be more productive. Sitting in an open workspace it helps to shut off outside noice too. And often enough I just turn cmus into shuffle mode and let it play what comes along. Yesterday I just stumbled upon a singer again that I fell in love with her voice a long time ago. This is about Anouk.
The song was on a compilation series that I followed because it so easily brought great groups to my attention in a genre that I simply love. It was called "Crossing All Over!" and featured several groups that I digged further into and still love to listen to.
Anyway, don't want to delay the songs for you any longer, so here they are:
Nobody's Wife: The first song I heard from her, and her voice totally catched me.
Last fall I went to a Silent Disco event. You get wireless headphones, a DJane and a DJ were playing music on different channels, and you enjoy the time with people around who can't hear what you hear. It's a pretty funny experience, and it was one of the last warm sunny days. There I heard a song that was just in the mood for the moment, and made me looking up the band to listen more closely to them.
The band was Icona Pop, they have a mood enlighening pop sound that cheers you up. Here are the songs I want to present you today:
I Love It: The first song I heard from them, and I Love It!
Girlfriend: Sweet song, and probably part of the reason they are well received in the LGBTIQ community.
I guess you know by now that I simply love music. It is powerful, it can move you, change your mood in a lot of direction, make you wanna move your body to it, even unknowingly have this happen, and remind you of situations you want to keep in mind. The singer I present to you was introduce to me by a dear friend with the following words: So this hasn't happened to me in a looooong time: I hear a voice and can't stop crying. I can't decide which song I should send to you thus I send three of which the last one let me think of you.
And I have to agree, that voice is really great. Thanks a lot for sharing LP with me, dear! And given that I got sent three songs and I am not good at holding excitement back, I want to share it with you, so here are the songs:
It's not often that an artist touches you deeply, but Thomas D managed to do so to the point of that I am (only half) jokingly saying that if there would be a church of Thomas D I would absolutely join it. His lyrics always did stand out for me in the context of the band I found about him, and the way he lives his life is definitely outstanding. And additionally there are these special songs that give so much and share a lot. I feel sorry for the people who don't understand German to be able to appreciate him.
Here are three songs that I suggest you to listen to closely:
Fluss: This song gave me a lot of strengh in a difficult time of my life. And it still works wonders when I feel down to get my ass up from the floor again.
Gebet an den Planeten: This songs gives me shivers. Let the lyrics touch you. And take the time to think about it.
An alle Hinterbliebenen: This song might be a bit difficult to deal with. It's about loss and how to deal with suffering.
I have a long overdue blog entry about what happened in recent times. People that follow my tweets did catch some things. Most noteworthy there was the Trans*Inter*Congress in Munich at the start of May. It was an absolute blast. I met so many nice and great people, talked and experienced so many great things there that I'm still having a great motivational push from it every time I think back. It was also the time when I realized that I in fact do have body dysphoria even though I thought I'm fine with my body in general: Being tall is a huge issue for me. Realizing that I have a huge issue (yes, pun intended) with my length was quite relieving, even though it doesn't make it go away. It's something that makes passing and transitioning for me harder. I'm well aware that there are tall women, and that there are dedicated shops for lengthy women, but that's not the only thing that I have trouble with. What bothers me most is what people read into tall people: that they are always someone they can lean on for comfort, that tall people are always considered to be self confident and standing up for themselves (another pun, I know ... my bad).
And while I'm fine with people coming to me for leaning on to, I rarely get the chance to do so myself. And people don't even consider it. When I was there in Munich, talking with another great (... pun?) trans woman who was as tall as me I finally had the possibility to just rest my head on her shoulder and finally feel the comfort I need just as much as everyone else out there, too. Probably that's also the reason why I'm so touchy and do go Free Hugging as often as possible. But being tall also means that you are usually only the big spoon when cuddling up. Having a small mental breakdown because of realizing that didn't change the feeling directly but definitely helped with looking for what I could change to fix that for myself.
Then, at the end of may, the movie FtWTF - female to what the fuck came to cinema. It's a documentary about six people who got assigned female at birth. And it's absolutely charming, and has great food for thoughts in it. If you ever get the chance to watch it you definitely should.
And then came debconf16 in Capetown. The flight to there was canceled and we had to get rebooked. The first offer was to go through Dubai, and gladly a colleague did point out to the person behind the desk that that wouldn't be safe for myself and thus out of scope. In the end we managed to get to Capetown quite nice, and even though it was winter when the sun was shining it was quite nice. Besides the cold nights that is. Or being stuck on the way up to table mountain because a colleague had cramps in his lags and we had to call mountain rescue. Gladly the night was clear, and when the mountain rescue finally got us to top and it was night already we had one of the nicest views from up there most people probably never will experience.
And then ... I got invited to a trans meetup in Capetown. I was both excited and nervous about it, what to expect there. But it was simply great. The group there was simply outstandingly great. The host gave update information on progress on clinical support within south Africa, from what I took with me is that there is only one clinic there for SRS which manages only two people a year which is simply ... yuck. Guess you can guess how many years (yes, decades) the waiting line is ... I was blown away though by the diversity of the group, on so many levels, most notably on the age spectrum. It was a charm to meet you all there! If you ever stop by in Capetown and you are part of the LGBTIQ community, make sure you get in contact with the Triangle Project.
But, about the real reason to write this entry: I was approached at Debconf by at least two people who asked me what I thought about creating an LGBTIQA+ group within Debian, and if I'd like to push for that. Actually I think it would be a good idea to have some sort of exchange between people on the queer spectrum (and I hope I don't offend anyone with just saying queer for LGBTIQA+ people). Given that I'm quite outspoken people approach me every now and then so I'm aware that there is a fair amount of people that would fall into that category. On the other hand some of them wouldn't want to have it publicly known because it shouldn't matter and isn't really the business of others.
So I'm uncertain. If we follow that path I guess something that is closed or at least offers the possibility to have a closed communication would be needed to not out someone by just joining in the discussion. It's was easier with Debian Women where it was (somewhat) clear that male participants are allies supporting the cause and not considered being women themselves, but often enough (mostly cis hetero male) people are afraid to join a dedicated LGBTIQA+ group because they have the fear of having their identity judged. These things should be considered before creating such a place so that people can feel comfortable when joining and know what to expect beforehand.
For the time being I created #debian-diversity on irc.debian.org to discuss how to move forward. Please bear in mind that even the channel name is up for discussion. Acronyms might not be the way to go in my opinion, just read back up the discussion that lead to the Diversity Statement of Debian where the original approach was to start listing groups for inclusiveness but it was quickly clear that it can get outdated too easily.
I am willing to be part of that effort, but right now I have some personal things to deal which eat up a fair amount of my time. My kid starts school in September (yes, it's that long already, time flies ...). And it looks like I'll have to move a second time in the near future: I'll have to leave my current flat by the end of the year and the Que[e]rbau I'm moving into won't be ready by that time to host me yet ... F*ck. :(
Last week we lost another great musician, song writer, artist. It's painful to realise that more and more of the people you grew up with aren't there anymore. We lost Prince, TAFKAP, Symbol, Prince. He wrote a lot of great music, even some you wouldn't attribute to him, like Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares To You, Bangles' Manic Monday or Chaka Khan's I Feel For You. But I actually would like to share some songs that are also performed by himself, so without further ado here are the songs:
As my readers probably are well aware, I wrote my transgender coming out poem Mermaids over 10 years ago, to make it clear to people how I define, what I am and how I would hope they could accept me. I did put it publicly into my blog so I could point people to it. And I still do so regularly. It still comes from the bottom of my heart. And I am very happy that I got the chance to present it in a Poetry Slam last year, it was even recorded and uploaded to YouTube.
There is just one thing that I was also told over the time every now and then by some people that I would have liked to understand what's going on: Why is it in English, my English isn't that good. My usual response was along the lines of that the events that triggered me writing it were in an international context and I wanted to make sure that they understood what I wrote. At that time I didn't realize that I am cutting out a different group of people from being able to understand what's going on inside me.
So this year there was a similar event: the Flawless Poetry Slam which touched the topics of Feminist? Queer? Gender? Rolemodels? - Let's talk about it. I took that as motivation to finally write another text on the topic, and this time in German. Unfortunately though I wasn't able to present it that evening, I wasn't drawn for the lineup. But, I was told that there was another slam going on just last wednesday, so I went there ... and made it onto the stage! And this is the text that I presented there. I am uncertain how well online translators work for you, but I hope you get the core points if you don't understand German:
Ich bin was ich bin
Fünf Worte mit wahrem Sinn:
Ich bin was ich bin
Du denkst: "Mann im Rock?
Das ist ja wohl lächerlich,
der ist sicher schwul."
Na da schau ich nicht mehr hin,
wer will das schon seh'n."
Jedoch liegst du falsch,
Mit all deinen Punkten, denn:
Ich bin was ich bin.
Ich bin Transgender
Und erlebe mich selber,
ich bin eine Frau.
"Haha, eine Frau?
Wem willst du das weismachen?
Heb mal den Rock hoch!"
Und wie ist's bei dir?
Was ist zwischen den Beinen?
Geht mich das nichts an?
Warum fragst du mich?
Da ist's dann in Ordnung?
Oder vielleicht nicht?
Ich bin was ich bin
Fünf Worte mit ernstem Sinn:
Ich bin was ich bin
Ich steh weiblich hier
Und das hier ist mein Körper
Mein Geschlecht ist's auch
Das ist mein größtes Problem
Schlägt mir entgegen
Wenn ich mich öffne
Verständnis fast überall
Es wird akzeptiert
und das schmerzt mich am meisten
sagt doch mal wer "er"
Von Fremden? Egal
Doch hab ich mich geöffnet
Ist es eine Qual
"Ich seh dich als Mann"
Da ist, was es transportiert
Wenn ihr über mich redet
sind sie, ihr, ihres
Ich leb was ich leb
Fünf Worte mit tiefem Sinn:
Ich bin was ich bin
"Doch, wie der erst spricht!
Ich meinte, wie sie denn spricht!
Das ist nicht normal."
Ich schreib hier Haikus:
Mit fixem Versmars
Sind fünf, sieben, fünf
Silben in jeder Zeile
Haikus sind simpel
Probier es mal aus
Transportier eine Message
Es macht auch viel Spaß
Wortwahl ist wichtig
Ein guter Thesaurus hilft
Sei kurz und prägnant
Ich sag was ich sag
Fünf Worte mit klugem Sinn:
Ich bin was ich bin
Doch ich schweife ab
Verständnis fast überall?
Wird es akzeptiert?
Doch ich bin auch was and'res
Und hier geht's bergab
Eine Sache gibt's
Die erwäh'n ich besser nicht
für die steck ich ein
"Deshalb bin ich hier"
So der Titel eines Lieds
verfasst von Thomas D
"Wenn ich erkläre
warum ich mich wie ernähr"
So weit komm ich nicht
Man erwähnt Vegan
Die Intoleranz ist da
Man ist unten durch
Hab 'ne Theorie:
Vegan sein: 'ne Entscheidung
Transgender sein nicht
Mensch fühlt sich dann schlecht
dass bei sich selbst die Kraft fehlt
und greift damit an
"Ich könnte das nicht"
Ich verurteile dich nicht
Iss doch was du willst
Ich zwing es nicht auf
Aber Rücksicht wär schon fein
Statt nur Hohn und Schmäh
Ich ess was ich ess
Fünf Worte zum nachdenken:
Ich bin was ich bin
Hope you get the idea. The audience definitely liked it, the jury wasn't so much on board but that's fine, it's five random people and it's mostly for fun anyway. Later that night though some things happened that didn't make me feel so comfortable anymore. I went to the loo, waiting in line with the other ladies, a bit later the waitress came along telling me "the men's room is over there". I told her that I'm aware of that and thanked her, which got her confused and said something along the lines of "so you are both, or what?" but went away after that. Her tone and response wasn't really giving me much comfort, though none of the other ladies in the line did look strangely.
But the most disturbing event after that was to find out about North Carolina signed the bathroom bill making it illegal for trans people to use the bathroom for their gender and insisting on using the one for the gender they were assigned at birth. So men like James Sheffield are now forced to go to the lady's restroom, or face getting arrested. Brave new world. :/
So, enjoy the text and don't get too wound up by stupid laws and hope for time to fix people's discriminatory minds for fixing issues that already are regulated: Assaults are assaults and are already banned. Arguing with people might get assaulted and thus discriminating trans people is totally missing the point, by miles.
Today is one of these moods. And sometimes one needs certain artists/music to foster it. Music is powerful. There are certain bands I know that I have to stay away from when feeling down to not get too deep into it. Knowing that already helps a lot. The following is an artist that is not completely in that area, but he got powerful songs and powerful messages nevertheless; and there was this situation today that one of his songs came to my mind. That's the reason why I present you today Moby. These are the songs:
People these days often do think about what worked well in the last year that they are proud of, what didn't work so well and what they plan to change the coming year. For me a fair amount of the resolutions were about my name. One of them was getting rid of my old name from the Debian—Project Participants page. Actually, I started with it on new year's eve already:
So far I've done a fair amount of my job. There are eight source package left to get tweaked. Those might be a bit more difficult and require more attention though. What I also did during those efforts: Convert all packages to source format 3.0 (quilt), and use a dh style debian/rules file. The latter enabled the packages to build reproducible too, which is also an added benefit. So this is a win situation on many levels.
One of the most prominent reasons why I didn't convert to a dh style debian/rules file yet was that I considered it making easy things easy and difficult things difficult. Finding out what to override and how to do that was something I was unable to figure out, and speaking with people didn't help me there neither. Only recently someone told me that there is dh binary --no-act to figure out what would be called, and then you just prefix it with override_ in debian/rules to get to where you want to go. This worked extremely well for me.
I'm personally still not a big fan of source format 3.0 (quilt) with respect to that it insists on patches to be applied and leaves them that way after building the source package, which makes it difficult to deal with when having upstream source in the VCS too, but I managed to find my way around so many things in the past that I can live with that. The benefit of not having to repack upstream source if it isn't in .gz form is a far bigger benefit.
So, I hope to stay productive and be able to get the remaining package also adjusted and fixed. Guess that's doable until the end of the month, and getting rid of all reproducible build bugreports against my packages along that lines. I will check those packages that carry my name already too after my old name is gone from the overview page.
Happy new year everyone! Let's start with another round of nice music, this time it is coming from Chipzel who is a great chiptune composer. Given that I'm coming from a c64 background I love chip tunes, and she does a really great job in that area. Check it out!
Focus: The first tune I heard and I still like it. I had it as ringtone for a while. :)
To The Sky: Nice one too, always set your high goals.
I don't really remember where or how I stumbled upon these four women so I'm sorry that I can't give credit where credit is due, and I even do believe that I started writing a blog entry about them already somewhere. Anyway, I want to present you today Salut Salon. They might play classic instruments, but not in a classic way. But see and hear yourself:
Wettstreit zu viert: This is the first that I stumbled upon that did catch my attention. Lovely interpretation of classic tunes and sweet mixup.
Ievan Polkka: I love the catchy tune—and their interpretation of the song.
We'll Meet Again: While the history of the song might not be so laughable the giggling of them is just contagious. :)
There are some things that I didn't mention in my sort-of quickly written entry about DebConf15. So first things first. When I received the mail about the room allocation I was at first confused. I was put into a room with other ladies, which I didn't expect. Granted, two of the other three names were people that knew me since a while, but it still felt like a mistake might have happened. But after a while I realized what has happened: It wasn't a mistake, it was intentional, I was finally recognized as woman for the room allocation too, which made me extremely happy. I was just just concerned about the third person who would be in our room who doesn't know me yet and whether it would make them feel uncomfortable. In the end, that was no trouble at all.
I felt so empowered and more accepted than ever in this community. And when finally being on-site there another thing happened with me. I started to use the women's restroom. Up to now I usually had the feeling of "it's fine for me to use the male one, and I don't want other women to feel uncomfortable", but somehow, with a skirt on, it in the end made me feeling uncomfortable. Additionally, there were only three times in total when I used the male toilet (and one was on the boat for the daytrip), and every single time of it I felt extremely uncomfortable with it, like others might think I'm just faking it. It at least in my mind doesn't help with accepting me as female when I go to the male restroom. And it's not a Good choice! as a woman did put it during the conference dinner when there was a longer queue infront of the male restroom. It's not so much of a choice over here. But I give her the doubt of not knowing how important these little steps became to me over time.
Totally unrelated to the restroom question but interestingly featuring it a fair bit I was made aware of the Assigned Male cartoon. I instantly fell in love with it, and in case you want to enlighten yourself a bit more about how some things you might say or do get received by trans people, be very much invited to read it. Sophie is currently on European tour with her book, unfortunately Vienna/Austria doesn't seem to be part of europe in that respect so I hope someone will be able to visit one of her stations to pick up a book for me ...
And then there was also a small inofficial Nail Polish BoF going on at DebConf. I left it on my fingers for the next two weeks, totally in love with it. Unfortunately the nail polish I got for myself after DebConf had a rather big brush so I wasn't able to work on it, I failed miserably.
... which brings me to the empowerment that DebConf meant for me this year, and the time since. Given that I left the nail polish on I even took the comfort in being myself to go to work in my skirt on a more regular basis. Also, a very nice friend did visit me and we went lipstick shopping. I loved the color she chose, even though in the meantime it isn't visible enough for me and I guess I'll get another one rather sooner than later.
Also, about what I mentioned in my last blog post was that my name change within the Debian project was granted. A quick update on that is that also now my GPG key got replaced. I guess it's finally time for me to write a gpg transition statement, even though I don't follow those myself. I still prefer meeting up with people face-to-face for signing their new keys. But given that it's called a transition statement makes it more appealing to me on that grounds. :)
And I got invited to a local podcast show. Actually I know the person who does the podcast since several years already, he's also part of the local free software community who attends various events, and he does a podcast since several years now called Biertaucher (named after cooling the beer in a fountain). It is held in German language, so if you don't understand German you might want to skip these links.
In the first episode that I joined in I talked about DebConf. Afterwards we were sitting together and talking about that they would like to have more social topics too, not just technical things. So we took that chance and talked in Biertaucher #221 about Polyamory, which was a quite interesting experience. The host intentionally asked questions coming from a quite ignorant point of view, but it went nice. We were three poly people sharing our views and insight how it works for us.
Then there was Biertaucher #223 where it was just me and one of the hosts. We didn't had much to talk about from the past week, so we agreed to talk about Transgender in the end. Granted, it's mostly my personal story, but I guess I got some important topics addressed in a useful way.
And, after getting my name changed in Debian, I thought about what it might take to get my name changed officially, too (as if it could get more official than using it throughout my work environment, both payed and voluntary, but ...). I covered that in the podcast, but mostly it is either quite expensive or requires me to change my gender in the register of births, which require a lot of other hassles that include psychiatry. Or, settle for a so-called "gender neutral" name as first name, which both doesn't sound very convincing somehow ... Only time can tell I guess.
Guess that's enough for now, if I forgot something I might come back to it. :)
One last note: I consider the Debian project a very welcoming one, and that can only work for a fair amount of people if the tone is right. So yes, I wholeheartly agree with the Code of Conduct. And I'm very disappointed to see that there are still people in the project that are advocating for a freedom of expression, so to say. Respectful communication with each other is a must in a bigger community to make it work, not something that might be a nice to have, and calling someone names and ridiculing them for stating that is absolutely not acceptable. I encourage those people to watch How to Throughly Offend and Insult People in Open Source presentation (or at least read the slides) that Gina Likins gave earlier this year. It might give them an idea why it's important to communicate respectful with each other, and that includes banning degrading terms like "SJW" from your vocabulary because it actually speaks a lot more about your own attitude than about the one of the person you use it for.
It's time for some new music. And given that this artist was suggested to me at least twice by different people I guess I finally have to feature her. This time it's about Sookee, a rapper from Berlin with queer-feministic background. I guess if you listen and see the first song you might know why she was suggested to me, and also why I consider her an important artist to share. So without further delay, here are the songs:
D.R.A.G.: The saying you're born naked and the rest is drag couldn't be more true. Actually, that quote says it all, even though I try to use this drag to help people get my gender on a more regularly basis these days.
I tried to start to write this blog entry like I usually do: Type along what goes through my mind and see where I'm heading. This won't work out right now for various reasons, mostly because there is so much going on that I don't have the time to finish that in a reasonable time and I want to publish this today still. So please excuse me for being way more brief than I usually am, and hopefully I'll find the time to expand some things when asked or come back to that later.
Part of the reason of me being short on time is different stuff going on in my private life which requires additional attention. A small part of this is also something that I hinted in a former blog entry: I switched my job in June. I really was looking forward to this. I made them aware of what the name Rhonda means to me and it's definitely extremely nice to be addressed with female pronouns at work. And also I'm back in a system administration job which means there is an interest overlap with my work on Debian, so a win-win situation on sooo many levels!
I'm at DebConf15 since almost two weeks now. On my way here I was complimented on my outfit by a security guard at the Vienna airport which surprised me but definitely made my day. I was wearing one of these baggy hippie pants (which was sent to me by a fine lady I met at MiniDebConf Bucharest) but pulled up the leg parts to the knees so it could be perceived as a skirt instead. Since I came here I was pretty busy with taking care of DCschedule bot adjustments (like, changing topic and twittering from @DebConf at the start of the talks), helping out with the video team when I noticed there was a lack of people (which is a hint for that you might want to help with the video team in the future too, it's important for remote people but also for yourself because you can't attend multiple sessions at the same time).
And I have to repeat myself, this is the place I feel home amongst my extended family, even though I it still is sometimes for me to get to speak up in certain groups. I though believe it's more an issue of certain individuals taking up a lot of space in discussions without giving (more shy) people in the round the space to also join in. I guess it might be the time that we need a session on dominant talking patterns for next year and how to work against them. I absolutely enjoyed such a session during last year's FemCamp in Vienna which set the tone for the rest of the conference, and it was simply great.
And then there was the DebConf Poetry Night. I'm kinda disappointed with the outcome this year. It wasn't able to attract as much people anticipated, which I to some degree account to me not making people aware of it well enough, overlapping with a really great band playing at the same time in competition, and even though the place where we did it sounded like a good idea at first, it didn't had enough light for someone to read something from a book (but that was solved through smartphone lights). I know that most people did enjoy it, so it was good to do it, but I'm still a fair bit disappointed with the outcome and will try to work on improving on that grounds for next year. :)
With all this going on there unfortunately wasn't as much time as I would have liked to spend with people I haven't seen for a long time, or new people I haven't met yet. Given that this year's DebConf had an height in attendees (526 being here at certain times during the two weeks, and just today someone new arrived too, so that doesn't even have to be the final number) it makes it a bit painful to have picked up so many tasks and thus lost some chances to socialize as much as I would have liked to.
So, if you are still here and have the feeling we should have talked more, please look for me. As Bdale pointed out correctly in the New to DebConf BoF (paraphrased): When you see us DebConf old timers speaking to someone else and you feel like you don't want to disturb, please do disturb and speak to us. I always enjoyed to get to know new people. This for me always is one of the important aspects of DebConf.
Also, I am very very happy to have received feedback from different people about both my tweets and my blog, thank you a lot of that. It is really motivating to keep going.
So, lets enjoy the last few hours of DebConf!
Another last side notice: While my old name in the Debian LDAP did manage to find some wrongly displayed names in the DebConf website, like for speakers, or volunteers, it was clear to me that having it exposed through SSO.debian.org isn't really something I appreciate. So I took the chance and spoke to Luca from the DSA team right here today, and ... got it fixed. I love it! Next step is getting my gpg key exchanged, RT ticket is coming up. :)
I wrote well over one year ago about Earthlings. It really did have some impact on my life. Nowadays I try to avoid animal products where possible, especially for my food. And in the context of vegan information that I tracked I stumbled upon a great band from Germany: Berge. They recently started a deal with their record label which says that if they receive one million clicks within the next two weeks on their song 10.000 Tränen their record label is going to donate 10.000,- euros to a German animal rights organization. Reason enough for me to share this band with you! :)
(For those who are puzzled by the original upload date of the video: Don't let yourself get confused, the call for it is from this monday)
10.000 Tränen: This is the song that needs the views. It's a nice tune and great lyrics to think about. Even though its in German it got English subtitles. :)
Schauen was passiert: In the light of 10.000 Tränen it was hard for me to select other songs, but this one sounds nice. "Let's see what happens". :)
Meer aus Farben: I love colors. And I hate the fact that most conference shirts are black only. Or that it seems to be impossible to find colorful clothes and shoes for tall women.
Sometimes one stumbles upon stuff that touches one deeply. Granted, the topic of the first video from the artist I want to present you now did touch me naturally. But it made me take a closer look. This is about HollySiz. Yes, yet another French singer, but fortunately (for me) she sings mostly in English. :)
So here are the songs:
The Light: At first I wasn't even aware it's a music video. And the story is strong. I'm uncertain on the story of Nils Pickert did inspire the video, but it's lovely to see people getting it right. The parents job is to support their kid in finding their own identity instead of defining it for them.
Better Than Yesterday: In the light of The Light everything else looks antique. So what's better as a video that actually does look antique. ;)
Tricky Game (feat. Sianna): I somehow like this version of the song better because it contains rap. But that might be just me. A catchy beat anyway.
Like always, enjoy! And take good care of your kids if you happen to have some.
Friday the 13th was my day. In so many different ways. I received a package which was addressed to Rhonda D'Vine with a special hoodie in it. The person at the post office desk asked me whether it was for my partner, my response was a (cowardly) "no, it's my pseudonym" but that settled any further questions and I got my package.
Later I received an email which made me hyper happy (but which I can't share right now, potentially later).
In the evening there was the WortMacht FemSlam (WordMight FemSlam) poetry slam to which the host asked me to attend just the day before. I was hyper nervous about it. The room was fully packed, there were even quite some people who didn't have a place to sit and were standing at the side. I presented Mermaids because I wasn't able to write anything new on the topic. One would think I am attached enough to the poem by now to not be nervous about it, but it was the environment that made my legs shake like hell while presenting. Gladly I hope it wasn't possible to see it enough under my skirt, but given that it was the first time that I presented it in my home town instead of the "anonymous" internet made me extra anxious. In the end I ended up in place 5 of 7 attendees, which I consider a success given that it was the only text presented in English and not in typical poetry slam style.
(Small addition to the last part: I've been yesterday to the Free Hugs Vienna event at the Schloss Schönbrunn, and one of the people I hugged told me I know you, I've seen you at the FemSlam!. That was extra sweet. :))
I'm happy that I was notified about the FemSlam on such short notice, it was a great experience. So today's entry goes out to the host of that event. This is about Yasmo. One can just be envious about what she already accomplished in her still young life. And she is definitely someone to watch out for in the years to come. I have to excuse to my readers who don't understand German yet again, but I'll get back to something English next time, I promise. :)
Wer hat Angst vorm weißen Mann: Most straight-to-the-point line of the lyrics is Wie kann es sein, dass es immer noch diesen Jolly-Buntstift gibt, der "Hautfarbe" heißt?" (How is it possible that there is still this jolly crayon called "colour of the skin"?)
Wo kommst du her?: Not a song but one of her great slam poetry texts that I love since I first heard it.
Just recently I stumbled upon one of these songs again and thought to myself: Are there more out there? With these songs I mean songs that could from its lyrics be considered queer-positive. Lyrics that cointain parts that speak about queer topics. To get you an idea of what I mean here are three songs as examples:
Saft by Die Fantastischen Vier: The excert from the lyrics I am refering to is: "doch im Grunde sucht jeder Mann eine Frau // Wobei so mancher Mann besser mit Männern kann // und so manche Frau lässt lieber Frauen ran" ("but basically every man looks for a woman // though some man prefer men // and some women prefer women").
Liebe schmeckt gut by Grossstadtgeflüster: Here the lyrics go like "Manche lieben sich selber // manche lieben unerkannt // manche drei oder fünf" ("some love themself // some love in secrecy // some three or five"). For a stereo sound version of the song watch this video instead, but I love the video. :)
Mein schönstes Kleid by Früchte des Zorns: This song is so much me. It starts off with "Eines Tages werd ich aus dem Haus geh'n und ich trag mein schönstes Kleid" ("One day I'll go out and I'll wear my most beautiful dress" sung by a male voice). I was made aware of it after the Poetry Night at debconf12 in Nicaragua. As long as people still think of people like me as "a dude in a dress" there is a lot work to do to fight transphobia and gain tolerance and acceptance.
Do you have further examples for me? I know that I already mentioned another one in my blog entry about Garbage for a start. I am aware that there probably are dedicated bands that out of their own history do a lot songs in that direction, but I also want to hear about songs in which it is only mentioned in a side note and not made the central topic of the whole song, making it an absolutely normal random by-note.
Like always, enjoy—and I'm looking forward to your suggestions!
It is time for some more music. This woman was introduced to me by a friend who actually understands what she sings about, because she sings in French. Regardless, her voice and feeling for music touched me deep, so today I want to present to you Zaz (homepage seems French only). Like mentioned, she sings in French, and her connection with the Chanson genre brought her (deserved) comparison with the great Édith Piaf.
Without further ado, here are the songs:
La Fée: I think this was the first song I heard from her and caught me.
Je Veux: This live version of the song shows how much of a charming person she is and that she simply enjoys music. :)
I stumbled upon this site thanks to Helga: Parable of the Polygons. On the site you can interactively find out how harmless choices can make a harmful world. I found it quite eye opening. And what most catched me but isn't part of the site is that only unhappy polygons are willing to move. Those who are just ok with their neighbourhood but not really happy about it aren't willing to move. Which made me try it out in my own way: Trying to create the most diverse possible environment by temporarily making as many polygons unhappy to find out if it's possible to make as many polygons happy in the long run as possible.
... which is actually part of the way I see my own life. I always sort-of tried to confront people to think. I mean, it's not that common that you see a by-the-looks male person wearing a skirt. And ... since I moved out in July into a small intermediate flat and thus a new neighbourhood, I found the confidence (in parts also to be attributed to the confidence built up at these fine feministic conferences) to walk my hometown in a skirt. Only on some few occations, when meeting up with friends, mostly at evening/night, but it was always a nice experience. And I only felt once uncomfortable to be honest, when there was a probably right-winged skinhead at the subway station. Too many other people around, so I tried to avoid eye contact, but it didn't feel good.
Diversity is something that society needs. In all aspects. Also within the Debian project. I believe strongly in that there can't be much of innovation and moving forward if all people do think the same direction. That only means that potential alternative paths won't even get considered, and potentially get lost. That's one of the core parts of what makes the Free Software community lively and useful. People try different approaches, and in the end there will be adopters of what they believe is the better project. Projects pop up every now and then, others starve because of loss of interest, users not picking it up, developers spending their time on other stuff, and that's absolutely fine too. There is always something to be learned even from those situations.
Speaking of diversity, there is this protest going on later today because the boss of a cafe here in Vienna considered it a good idea to kick out a lesbian couple because they kissed each other for greeting and told them that they don't have a place for their "otherness" in her traditional viennese cafe and they rather should take it to a brothel. She excused yesterday for her tone that she used, she said she should have been more relaxed—as the CEO of that cafe. Which literally means that she only exused for the tone she used in her role, but not at all for the message she transported. So meh, hope there will be many people at the protest. Yes, there is some anti discrimination law around, but that only covers the workplace, and not service areas. Welcome to Austria.
On the upside, court striked down ban on same-sex couple adoption just the other day. Hopefully there is still hope for this country. :)
Happy New Year everyone! How did you celebrate the year change? I've been at the Seestadt Aspern listening to electric:indigo (who is also part of the open:sounds project powered by artists of the female:pressure collective), watching a show called "Laser-City", enjoying the really chilly air.
With so much female power mentioned in the former paragraph, it is almost hard to find a matching artist/band to present you today. Almost I said, because Beth Ditto and her band Gossip are definitely up for the challenge. That woman is pure power and has a uniquely great voice. They are definitely worth listening into closer, and here are my suggestions:
I do hang out in #debian-women on IRC, which shouldn't be much of a surprise after my last blog entry about my Feminist Year. And for readers of my blog it also shouldn't be much of a surprise that Music is an important part of my life. Recently a colleague from Debian though asked me in said IRC channel about whether I can recommend some female artists or bands. Which got me looking through my recommendations so far, and actually, there weren't many of those in here, unfortunately. So I definitely want to work on that because there are so many female singers, songwriters and bands out there that I totally would like to share with the broader audience.
I want to start out with a strong female voice who was introduced to me by another strong woman—thanks for that! Fiona Apple definitely has her own style and is something special, she stands out. Here are my suggestions:
Hot Knife: This was the song I was introduced to her with. And I love the kettledrum rhythm and sound.
Criminal: Definitely a different sound, but it was the song that won her a Grammy.
Not About Love: Such a lovely composition. I do love the way she plays the piano.
Actually I was working already on a different music blog entry, but I want to get this one out. I was invited to join the Organic Dancefloor last thursday. And it was a really great experience. A lot of nice people enjoying a dance evening of sort of improvisational traditional folk dancing with influences from different parts of europe. Three bands playing throughout the evening. I definitely plan to go there again. :)
Which brings me to the band I want to present you now. They also play sort-of traditional songs, or at least with traditional instruments, and are also quite danceable to. This is about The Pogues. And these are the songs that I do enjoy listening to every now and then:
Medley: Don't meddle with the Medley. Rather dance to it.
If someone would have told me that I would visit three feminist events this year I would have slowly nodded at them and responded with "yeah, sure..." not believing it. But sometimes things take their own turns.
It all started with the Debian Women Mini-Debconf in Barcelona. The organizers did ask me how they have to word the call for papers so that I would feel invited to give a speech, which felt very welcoming and nice. So we settled for "people who identify themselves as female". Due to private circumstances I didn't prepare well for my talk, but I hope it was still worth it. The next interesting part though happened later when there were lightning talks. Someone on IRC asked why there are male people in the lightning talks, which was explicitly allowed for them only. This also felt very very nice, to be honest, that my talk wasn't questioned. Those are amongst the reasons why I wrote My place is here, my home is Debconf.
Second event I went to was the FemCamp Wien. It was my first event that was a barcamp, I didn't know what to expect organization wise. Topic-wise it was set about Queer Feminism. And it was the first event that I went to which had a policy. Granted, there was an extremely silly written part in it, which naturally ended up in a shit storm on twitter (which people from both sides did manage very badly, which disappointed me). Denying that there is sexism against cis-males is just a bad idea, but the background of it was that this wasn't the topic of this event. The background of the policy was that usually barcamps but events in general aren't considered that save of a place for certain people, and that this barcamp wanted to make it clear that people usually shying away from such events in the fear of harassment can feel at home there.
And what can I say, this absolutely was the right thing to do. I never felt any more welcomed and included in any event, including Debian events—sorry to say that so frankly. Making it clear through the policy that everyone is on the same boat with addressing each other respectfully totally managed to do exactly that. The first session of the event about dominant talk patterns and how to work around or against them also made sure that the rest of the event was giving shy people a chance to speak up and feel comfortable, too. And the range of the sessions that were held was simply great. This was the event that I came up with the pattern that I have to define the quality of an event on the sessions that I'm unable to attend. The thing that hurt me most in the afterthought was that I couldn't attend the session about minorities within minorities. :/
Last but not least I attended AdaCamp Berlin. This was a small unconference/barcamp dedicated to increase women's participation in open technology and culture named after Ada Lovelace who is considered the first programmer. It was a small event with only 50 slots for people who identify as women. So I was totally hyper when I received the mail that was accepted. It was another event with a policy, and at first reading it looked strange. But given that there are people who are allergic to ingredients of scents, it made sense to raise awareness of that topic. And given that women are facing a fair amount of harassment in the IT and at events, it also makes sense to remind people to behave. After all it was a general policy for all AdaCamps, not for this specific one with only women.
I enjoyed the event. Totally. And that's not only because I was able to meet up with a dear friend who I haven't talked to in years, literally. I enjoyed the environment, and the sessions that were going on. And quite similar to the FemCamp, it started off with a session that helped a lot for the rest of the event. This time it was about the Impostor Syndrome which is extremely common for women in IT. And what can I say, I found myself in one of the slides, given that I just tweeted the day before that I doubted to belong there. Frankly spoken, it even crossed my mind that I was only accepted so that at least one trans person is there. Which is pretty much what the impostor syndrome is all about, isn't it. But when I was there, it did feel right. And we had great sessions that I truly enjoyed. And I have to thank one lady once again for her great definition on feminism that she brought up during one session, which is roughly that feminism for her isn't about gender but equality of all people regardless their sexes or gender definition. It's about dropping this whole binary thinking. I couldn't agree more.
All in all, I totally enjoyed these events, and hope that I'll be able to attend more next year. From what I grasped all three of them think of doing it again, the FemCamp Vienna already has the date announced at the end of this year's event, so I am looking forward to meet most of these fine ladies again, if faith permits. And keep in mind, there will always be critics and haters out there, but given that thy wouldn't think of attending such an event anyway in the first place, don't get wound up about it. They just try to talk you down.
P.S.: Ah, almost forgot about one thing to mention, which also helps a lot to reduce some barrier for people to attend: The catering during the day and for lunch both at FemCamp and AdaCamp (there was no organized catering at the Debian Women Mini-Debconf) did take off the need for people to ask about whether there could be food without meat and dairy products by offering mostly Vegan food in the first place, even without having to query the participants. Often enough people otherwise choose to go out of the event or bring their own food instead of asking for it, so this is an extremely welcoming move, too. Way to go!
Yesterday I managed to get the last ticket from the waitinglist for the premiere of Trans Gender Moves. It is a play about the lives of three people: A transman, a transwoman and an intersexual person. They tell stories from their life, their process of finding their own identity over time. With in parts amusing anecdotes and ones that gets you thinking I can just wholeheartly encourage you to watch it if you have the chance to. It will still be shown the next few days, potentially extending depending on the requests for tickets, from what I've been told by one of the actors.
The most funny moment for me though was when I was talking with one of the actors about that it really touched me that I was told that one of them will be moving into into the same building I will be moving into in two year's time. Unfortunately that will be delayed a bit because they found me thinks field hamster or the likes in the ground and have to wait until spring for them to move. :/
After a long time a new irssi upstream release hit the archive. While the most notable change in 0.8.16 was DNSSEC DANE support which is enabled (for linux, src:dnsval has issues to get compiled on kFreeBSD), the most visible change in 0.8.17 was addition of support for both 256 colors and truecolor. While the former can be used directly, for the later you have to explicitly switch the setting colors_ansi_24bit to on. A terminal support it is needed for that though. To test the 256 color support, your terminal has to support it, your TERM environment variable has to be properly set, and you can test it with the newly added /cubes alias. If you have an existing configuration, look at the Testing new Irssi wiki page which helps you get that alias amongst giving other useful tipps, too.
The package currently only lives in unstable, but once it did flow over to testing I will update it in wheezy-backports, too.
This year's debconf in portland will happen without me being there. As much as I would love to be at home again, I won't be able to afford it. As much as I'd liked to help to keep portland weird, a discussion led to the feeling that I'm not welcome there and along that lines made me miss the deadline for sponsorship request due to not being very motivated to push for it because of that. And without sponsorship I won't be able to afford it, given that I need to save up for my upcoming move.
This also means I won't be able to host the Poetry Night. I hope that someone will be picking up that ball and continue it. Personally I am more motivated than ever to start writing again, given that there is currently a Bus Bim Slam (Bus Tram Slam) happening over here in Vienna and I try to attend as much stations as possible, and there will be a Diary Slam during this year's FemCamp Vienna.
I'm indifferent on whether the Debconf Poetry Night should be recorded or not. On the one hand it would be great to see people performing, on the other hand it might shy away certain personal poems that one wouldn't want to have out in the wild. Whoever picks it up, think about that part.
I wish everyone luck in Portland, and I'm looking forward to yet another great job by the video team so I can follow a few talks from at home. It sort of breaks my heart to not be able to hug you lot this year, and I wish you a great conference. We'll meet again next year in Heidelberg!
Recently I was wearing my Free Hugs shirt to different Free Software meetings, and I came up with the idea if we are advocating the Free in Software specificly, why not come up with Free Hugging Guidelines, too. So here they are, from now on considered to be named the RFHG.
Your hugs may not restrict any party from passing on the hugs they received from you.
The hugs must be possible to be perceived and understandable in complete. You are not allowed to use any special techniques that can not be perceived.
Your hugs must be allowed to be modified, and must allow the modified forms of your hugs to be distributed under the same terms as they received them.
Integrity of The Author's Source Code
While you are allowed to pass on the hugs in modified form, you are not allowed to modify the DNA of the original person you received the hugs from. Genetic modification is out of the scope of the RFHG.
No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
While we acknowledge that you might not feel willing to hug everyone, you must apply rules that do not distinquish by rules which would violate The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Furthermore, you have the right to not hug a person if you are not in the mood for it. Please refrain from wearing any Free Hugs markers at those times though.
No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The hugs can not be restricted to be used in a specific field of endeavor. For example, you may not restrict the hugs from being passed on only in times of sorrow.
Distribution of Hugs
The rights attached to the hugs must apply to all to whom the hugs are redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
Hugs Must Not Be Specific to Rhonda
The rights attached to the hugs must not depend on the hugs being related to Rhonda. If the hugs are extracted from Rhonda and used or distributed without Rhonda nearby but otherwise within the terms of the hug's permissions, all parties to whom the hugs are distributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with Rhonda.
Hugs Must Not Contaminate Other People
If you are contagious (e.g. got the flu, or worse) you have to apply appropriate counter measures to not transfer your illness with your hugs.
One last note: If you feel like it you don't have to wait until I wear my Free Hugs shirt again. I am fine with receiving (or giving) hugs like almost always. Surprise me. I at least know then that you read the RFHG. :)