I’m Naomi Ceder, and I’ve been involved in Python communities since I first learned Python (at LinuxWorld in a tutorial given by Guido) in 2001. Over those years I’ve taught Python in schools, at meetups, and at conferences, and I’ve been a conference organiser at PyCon US (the poster session, the education summit, the intro to sprinting tutorials, and the Spanish track, Las PyCon Charlas) and at PyCon UK.
What do you do?
I’m a past chair of the Python Software Foundation, the author of The Quick Python Book, and I do Python training for businesses. I’m also the founder of Trans*Code, and I speak internationally about inclusion and diversity in tech communities and enterprises.
What does your community do?
Trans*Code is a hackday centered on the trans and non-binary communities, and we are partnering with EuroPython this year to hold our first in person event since 2019. This will be our 14th event, and our first in Ireland.
What motivates you to organise Trans*Code?
Trans and non-binary folk have come to be one of the chief targets as the culture wars have ratcheted up. Many would deny our rights, our humanity, even the opportunity to experience hope and joy. Trans*Code was founded specifically to bring trans and non-binary folk (and their friends) together to build community and help reclaim that hope and that joy. I believe that optimism is a revolutionary act.
What do you wish non-trans people knew or understood?
Personally I wish they understood that expressing shock, outrage, and sadness at transphobia and discrimination does no one any good. An expression of shock tells me that they have largely been able to ignore the countless other occurrences of transphobia that occur everywhere on a daily basis. Trans folk, like other marginalised groups, are certainly not shocked at discrimination and transphobia - we deal with it every. single. day.
Likewise I’m afraid that sadness or outrage that such cruel things happen is useless to us. Trans and NB folk don’t need pity or outrage, what we need is to be allowed to live our lives without harassment, to be able to get jobs and access needed medical care. In short, what we need is for people to have our backs - not so much as “allies”, but (as I’m fond of saying) as co-conspirators and even friends.
What do you think conferences should know about trans and non-binary people?
It’s not just about toilets. Okay, so yes, we’d very much like to have the same right to use the toilet without harassment as everyone else. But it's just as important to feel safe, welcome, and included at the conference. It doesn’t hurt for a conference to be explicit that trans folk will be respected and their safety ensured. Does the conference have any trans/NB organisers? Any other trans speakers? Does it have a solid code of conduct, with enforcement?
Beyond that trans and non-binary folk want the same conference experience as anyone else - to be welcomed and included as part of a community of shared interests, and not continually called out (explicitly or implicitly) for being different. One of my most wretched conference experiences was a social event where “friends” spent the evening continually bringing up my trans experiences. I suppose they satisfied their curiosity and gained some education, but it left me feeling miserable, exhausted, and totally alone.
Any final words?
I’d like to invite anyone who is interested in technology and who can make it to join us - you can find out more about Trans*Code at https://trans.tech and specifically about our EuroPython event at https://ep2022.europython.eu/trans_code. If you are not trans/NB, you will gain an understanding you didn’t have before. Several people who’ve not had prior contact with trans folk and have attended one of our events, have expressed surprise and delight at the understanding they’ve gained, and the awesome friends that they’ve made.
And if you are trans/non-binary it will be a day to breathe free and just be with others like you, and an opportunity to rekindle hope and reclaim our joy.