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.