Conference Firsts

It’s important for me to acknowledge the first times that I do Personally Important Things.

This is part of how I cope with anxiety and keep depression at bay – once I do the thing (what ever it is), I’m a whole lot less afraid of doing it again after that.

Each accomplishment is appended to a mental list which I started in my early 20’s.

Each one gives me more courage to know that I can do the next Important Thing.

… me giving a talk on Bias in Machine Learning …

So… last week, I did two (yes TWO!!) anxiety-producing-but-also-awesome-I’m-really-proud-of-myself things:
– wore my collar at a conference
– said “I’m trans” on stage

Yup. I did that. Go me!

What’s in a Name?

A MAN IN A frock held up his right hand and said a few words, and I got to fill out some paperwork. It is strange that this process makes me feel better about myself. I abhor paperwork.


Rites of Passage have been sociologically and psychologically important to humans for, well, as long as recorded history. As someone who grew up without cultural roots (or rather, with roots in several different major world cultures) and never identified with any specific culture, I’ve often been a little jealous of folks who get to have a bar/batmitzva, a big ol’ denominational wedding, or the like. I never had those. Heck, I didn’t even have a graduation ceremony!

So a few years ago I started making my own sacred rites, celebrating the milestones of life in my own way. Fuck society and fuck your burn — by which I mean, you should make your own rules, too.

In 2017, I threw myself an unwedding (complete with a tiered cake) to mark the end of one era of my life and celebrate the formation of so many new connections to my chosen family.

2017 was also the year I started to come out. To present. To be present.

I wonder how I’ll look back on this day and celebrate it next year….