Transgender is a transhumanism is a technology

Sunday 2014-03-09 17:00 -07:00

from the silence=death dept.

My partner might be upset with me for writing this post, but that’s the point.

I’m in the awkward position of having broadened the focus of my blog to the point where it necessarily includes topics that are difficult for me to address without at least delineating where I’m coming from. As you have probably worked out from my portfolio and headshot is that I am indeed trans, aka transsexual, aka transgender.

I’ve been avoiding discussing this part of my identity for two reasons. One is obviously that you tend to lose non-trans readers when you bring up trans issues. The second is that I feel I should be able to talk about technology ethics and transhumanism without leaning on personal experience.

However, I’ve discovered that many of my positions on technology are shot through with my personal experience. The metaphors and examples I reach for can only be my own. The only way to remain a writer and stay silent on trans issues would be to indulge in what the powers that be now euphemistically call ‘parallel construction’, i.e. lying. And that turns my stomach even more than the fear.

Moreover, while I am still concerned with what potential employers might think of me, I would want to work for someone that puts the courage to have difficult conversations ahead of both expediency and face-saving. And that’s the choice I make by not covering or lying about my identity.

If you don’t like this, pause and consider the alternative. By partially erasing myself, I’d partially drive myself back into the closet. It would also deny my readership of important insights, and vivid motivations for those insights. There are few things that commit a person to anarchism or libertarianism more intimately than having to go through several hundred ill-intentioned hoops, just to have a body that doesn’t make you crazy.

Of course, there is the other danger too – that in broaching the topic of transness I will never leave, falling forever in a vortex of TMI. But slippery-slope arguments are not good arguments, and between ‘I do not know that of which you speak’ and ‘here is an extreme closeup of my junk’ there are many shades of acceptance and awareness, and a good writer can go to there without getting lost on the way. In a tendentious metaphor, for example.

So this is a formal editorial edict, declaring trans issues are in scope for this blog. While this is not a blog with a specific focus on trans rights, it is a blog by a trans writer – me – and when trans issues come up as technology issues – which they always do – we will be ready to talk about them.

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