Reflecting on Boston

The fourth installment of our traveling hackathon and speaker series was held in Boston, MA in partnership with Harvard Innovation Lab, along with support from Everyone HacksInterface FoundryHack/Reduce and Oracle Academy.

The weekend event kicked off with a intimate workshop, “How to Rock Your First Hackathon,” for first time hackathon participants to learn ways to successfully contribute to a team using their skills and have fun.

In keeping with the Harvard i-Lab’s theme of entrepreneurship and innovation, Friday evening featured a panel conversation with transgender founders of tech companies and social enterprises. 

The discussion touched on a range of topics, such as the need for trans people to to hold leadership roles in for-profit entities to expanding diversity in tech conversations to include all types of genders.

Moderator: Dr. Kortney Ziegler. Panelists: Angelica Ross; Lourdes Hunter; Evelyn Rios; Allyson Robinson; Riley Johnson

The next day, the hackers gathered to pitch ideas, form teams, and begin working on their projects.

Ideas ranged from an app to spotlight trans people to an interface that makes REFUGE Restrooms more accessible through mobile platforms.

At the end of the two day hackathon, six teams presented their projects to a panel of esteemed judges ranging from software engineers to Harvard faculty.  

The winning team, pitched the concept for an app called FITTED, which helps trans people (and everyone else) find jeans online according to their body type.

The team drew from their own personal experiences as well as data collected over the weekend to design their prototype.

How To Support Your Transgender Partner Through Transition

Choosing to transition from the gender you were assigned at birth can be a conflicting, emotional, and difficult time, especially for those who are in a relationship.

Some people think that gender transitioning while in a relationship is impossible and that most couples tend to fall apart when this is done. 

This isn’t entirely true. Any transition can be successful as long as you and your partner both have an open mind and heart.

If you’re willing to stay throughout the process, here are the things you can do to support your transgender partner. 

What Does It Mean To Transition?

Transitioning is a process trans people undergo to change their appearance so that people see and treat them as the gender they feel on the inside. 

Most transitions are done through medical intervention and with the use of hormones and surgery. Some also change their names and preferred pronouns.

It can take years to fully transition so it’s very important that the transgenders partner, friends, and family are part of this process. 

What Can You Do To Support Your Transgender Partner? 

Educate Yourself 

Learn more about the transgender community. Trans identity can vary from person to person. Transgender identities can also depend on how they feel inside or the way they express themselves. 

A lot of thing matters during the transition. One of the most talked-about is the right pronouns to use for people undergoing the transition process.

If you’re not sure what pronoun to refer your partner or any trans person you know, you can always ask respectfully. 

If someone you know accidentally says something offensive or uses the wrong pronoun, don’t be too quick to find fault or get angry.

Don’t make a big deal about it and draw unwanted attention to your transgender partner. 

Be There When They Need You 

You don’t always know what your partner needs, but being there for them, emotionally, throughout the journey is important.

Transitioning can be very stressful, even if your partner doesn’t say it to you.

He/she may appear okay on the outside but is feeling unwell on the inside. In order to support your partner, make sure that you communicate with her regularly. Ask them how they feel and what you can do to help. 

Don’t Badger Them With A Lot of Questions

Don’t constantly talk about their transition process and be careful when asking a lot of questions. It’s easy for your partner to feel overwhelmed during this time.

Reminding them about their transitioning every single moment of the day can increase their stress levels.

Only talk about it when they open up or if you want to ask questions do it sparingly.

Another thing you can do is text them sweet messages frequently to worm their hearts. This article from Sociotelligence lists over 100 good morning texts you can send your girlfriend.

It’ll help you get started.

Final Thoughts 

Deciding to transition is a milestone for many trans people. It’s a life-changing moment.

As he/she’s partner, your reaction and support throughout the process can make all the difference for your partner.

At the end of the day, the best way to support your trans partner in his transition is by showering him with respect, love, and loyalty. 

TRANS*H4CK Code of Conduct

Because trans and gender nonconforming people already experience unique forms of discrimination, it is important to us that all Trans*H4CK events are safe and harassment free spaces for everyone involved.

We honor all gender identities, races, sexualities, body types, economic backgrounds, abilities, religious beliefs and overall ways of human being, as we believe that diversity of experiences is key to successful collaborations.

All Trans*H4CK participants, volunteers, mentors, speakers, and team members are expected to follow this code of conduct the entirety of Trans*H4CK events and in all Trans*H4CK virtual spaces.

What is harassment?

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender identity and expression (such as purposefully misgendering someone), sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion, exhibiting sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention, are also forms of harassment.

If any Trans*H4CK participants are asked to stop harassing behavior, they are expected to comply immediately. The Trans*H4CK team may take any action we deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the Trans*H4CK team immediately.

We do not tolerate:

  • Offensive jokes of any sort: None. Zip. Zilch. So don’t try it.
  • Gender assumptions: Do not assume gender. If you are unsure of someones preferred gender pronoun, address them by their name. They might tell you and if they don’t, that is ok, too!
  • Unsolicited Touch: Everyone’s physical space must be respected at all times. No touching of other people without their consent–this includes hugs (but I am sure a lot of people would love a hug if you asked first!).
  • Bathroom Police: As part of creating a gendersafe space, Trans*H4CK events will always have gender neutral bathrooms.  
  • Hate Speech: We do not tolerate any conversations or presentations that involve racist thinking, transphobia, homophobia, classism, and other explicit forms of ignorance.

We expect all participants of Trans*H4CK events to uphold this code of conduct at all times.

What We Have In Store Fo You

1) Trans*H4CK Boston

  • Fri, Nov 14, 20146:00pm  Sun, Nov 16, 20145:00pm
  • Harvard Innovation Lab

We are finally bringing our hackathon and speaker series to the east coast!

In partnership with Harvard Innovation Lab, Trans*H4CK BOSTON will address the conversations on diversity in tech and entrepreneurship that continue to ignore the contributions of trans* people.

Over the course of a weekend, developers, designers, hackers, and social justice advocates of all genders will come together to create technology and celebrate proud trans* leaders who are shaping innovation in tech and social entrepreneurship. 

2) Trans*H4CK Speaker Night

  • Wednesday, October 29, 2014
  • 6:00pm  7:00pm
  • SF LGBT Center

This month we will be joined by Application Developer, Harlan Kellaway. Harlan will join Transcoders and Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler in an interactive discussion.

Everyone is welcome to attend (trans, gender non-conforming, and allies). Open to all experience levels, beginners to coding are encouraged to attend.

Please bring your laptops if you want to work on any projects. Drinks and snacks available. Donations are welcomed and will be used to support Trans*H4CK, and TranscodeSF.

About Harlan: Harlan Kellaway is an application developer most interested in how tech and gender intersect, especially regarding trans communities. He has been involved in a number of projects – including participation in the inaugural Trans*H4CK, creation of the first anthology on trans people and the Internet http://transontheinter.net/submit and social media for projects benefiting trans and queer people. Most recently, he has started work on a Refuge Restrooms app for iPhone.