Coming out: Hi! I’m a gay non-binary femme, and I’m trans.

National Coming Out DayToday is National Coming Out Day! I thought to myself, “today would be a great day to actually come out.” Then I thought, “But Sina, you’re already out, why would you want to do that?” The answer is quite simple: I can share a bit of my story. No two experiences are the same and there is no “universal” experience for a person to “come out.”

Some people write super eloquently about their experiences. I’m really bad about talking about myself and my own things, so I am just going to ramble through.

So, “hello world”: I am a gay non-binary femme, who happens to be transgender.

One of the most common things I see people ask is, “when did you realize you were trans?”1)As a rule, I never answer this or other questions when a stranger asks, because to me it is quite rude. Generally, I tell people that I never “realized” it. Up until recently, I never really thought too much about gender, gender roles, and all the other things attached to those in our culture. I felt like a girl, so I must be a girl!

In kindergarten, I would often play house with my friends, and I would always be the wife or house cat. I refused to play a boy because that was boring to me. I was already playing at being a boy, because that’s what people wanted me to do, and playing house let me do otherwise. Until the teacher realised what was going on, at least. I was no longer allowed to play house when the teacher noticed me playing wife. He reasoned to us “that’s not what two boys do.”2)This confused me as a child. I grew up around many types of couples and it never looked or seemed wrong to my little brain. Adults made my head hurt when I was a kid, and I guess, still do.

It was from there that I tried my hardest to blend in with what people wanted me to be. The major reason I would hardly talk to anybody throughout my school days was not because I was anti-social by choice, but because I hated how I sounded when words came out of this mouth. I hated how this body was changing. My brain always thought, “this body is mixed and broken.” I constantly dwelled on some very awful thoughts. Coming out wasn’t a concept to my brain at the time, though I had heard and seen some of my gay and bisexual friends do just that.

A picture of Sina wearing a green dress.

“If you felt this way, why didn’t you start a transition sooner?” Medical transition would have started sooner if I could have afforded it, and if I had known where to start. I would have started it if I was sure that I wouldn’t lose friends and family over it. It felt safe in the hell that was pretending to be who I wasn’t, even though safety was really not the word I would use to describe it. It terrified me to talk to doctors about it, for fear that they would think I was unfit to be a human.3)I have fears like this even still, but they are greatly diminishing. This did not stop me from socially changing my name and expression, though, and over the course of several years I basically came out in a super gradual manner.

When I found out that there was insurance in my state that covers it4)Thanks, Obama., I made the plunge. The plunge lost me friends and family. I am no longer able to get most jobs I qualify for. I lost my sense of self, too, however warped it was, because I used working as an escape. To my mind, I lost everything, but also gained everything. The freedom of coming out as myself has been the most thrilling, exciting, horrendous, fascinating, and terrifying thing ever.

“What is this non-binary nonsense?” I’m so glad you asked! Here is a wonderful page on that subject. I see myself as a woman, but not female.

Another thing that has changed drastically is my view of attraction and sexual orientation. I have never really been monogamous, though I have been in monogamous relationships. That part hasn’t changed, though. What has changed is that I think boys can be kinda cute.

I have also realized that attraction can be (and for me, often is) platonic. My life has grown significantly better by embracing my love for and attraction to my friends.

One of the worst (yet inevitable) first questions that strangers often ask is, “Are you going to get ‘The Surgery’?” I usually don’t even give the person an answer, and generally block them5)I have learned that people who ask this question without knowing who I am, are often really, really gross individuals.. A person’s gender identity is not tied to what genitals they have. This is a super, super rude and intrusive question that nobody ever needs to ask, and I will never answer.

Friendly and important reminder:

Please don’t ask personal questions of strangers unless they say it is okay to. And please, never ask about surgeries or genitals.

Whatever you do, do not out someone else. This can and often is super dangerous. There are a lot of people who hurt and murder people like me.

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1. As a rule, I never answer this or other questions when a stranger asks, because to me it is quite rude.
2. This confused me as a child. I grew up around many types of couples and it never looked or seemed wrong to my little brain. Adults made my head hurt when I was a kid, and I guess, still do.
3. I have fears like this even still, but they are greatly diminishing.
4. Thanks, Obama.
5. I have learned that people who ask this question without knowing who I am, are often really, really gross individuals.

Bringing Tracery to Harbinger (and Python)

I’ve been poking away at implementing Tracery in Python, and found that someone else has already done it. This is a great exercise for me, so I am going to continue to implement it in my own way. Originally this was just a silly idea, but I am now doing this to create a Tracery plugin for harbinger.

My harbinger bot plugins are very sparse and their output is dissatisfying. I mean, they work well enough for basic bots, but I don’t want basic bots. The bots are a set of text files, which the plugin is hard-coded to use.1)I know better, yet I still hard code bullshit. It is very much not sustainable or a good use of my time and resources. In the middle of my planning out a system for generating output, I came across Tracery.

Tracery JSON files are much easier to edit for a non-programmer, and by virtue of Tracery, are infinitely more expandable than plain, static text files. To see what Tracery can do, there is an interactive tutorial.

My goal is to make a harbinger plugin that can use the same Tracery JSON as, say, Cheap Bots, Done Quick! or other various projects, without having to use node or any other javascript.

The first bot to benefit from this plugin will be @oppibella‘s @_oppibot. I am also porting unnamed projects to harbinger and Tracery. I’ll put them online in the near future.

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1. I know better, yet I still hard code bullshit.