That Was Trans*Code

I spent most of yesterday at Trans*Code, a meet-up for trans people and allies in the IT industry. It is primarily a hack day, so various interesting projects got started. Here’s a run-down of what we did.

Clothing Exchange – the idea here was to allow trans people who are getting rid of the clothes because of a gender change to donate those clothes to other trans people who might need new clothes but can’t afford them. Doing it online might be useful for people in small towns, though personally I hate all forms of mail order clothes buying.

Funding appeal site – this project sought to provide a venue whereby people could donate money to help trans people with their transition expenses. That could mean anything from paying for an electrolysis course to financing a private medical consultation. Donors would get perks from corporate sponsors. Clearly this needs a proper charity to run it and select beneficiaries, but it could work.

Voice training site – there was a lot of interest in this project, which aimed to provide an online self-help system for trans people seeking to change how they speak. Long term I think people would benefit from professional voice coaching, but that’s not something I’ve ever been able to splash money on and it can be expensive if you don’t live in a big city where such help can be found. Ideally the site would work with one or more professional trainers, but they’d have to be able to charge for what they do because it is their livelihood.

Music synching – this had nothing to do with being trans. Someone just wanted to be able to synch music over several PCs connected via the Internet. I can see it being a cool thing if you are playing an online RPG. Obviously everyone would need a (legal) local copy of the music.

Gender recognition game – Douglas Adams once produced a computer game about trying to persuade a bank to change the name on your account. It was basically a long joke about bureaucracy. This game was all about trying to get a Gender Recognition Certificate, which is way harder than changing your bank account.

Trans*Code directory – somewhere on GitHub where all of this stuff can get stored.

And finally the stuff I was up to. My friend Shaan from the Twilight People project wants to create an app based around the personal histories he has created. We spent a good part of the day brainstorming what that app would look like, and what we needed to do to make it happen. We didn’t actually write much code, partly because I don’t have all of the necessary skills, and partly because some development tools I was expecting to have didn’t turn up on time. More will happen in due course.

Huge thanks are due to Naomi Cedar for organizing the whole thing. Since the inaugural meeting last year she has moved back to Chicago, and she flew in especially for yesterday’s event. Huge thanks also to Emily and everyone from Go Cardless who sponsored the event, in particular by providing a venue. There were several other corporate sponsors as well.

One of these days, BGEN people please note, we must do one of these things in the Bath/Bristol area.

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