About Jer and Gender

TL;DR My name is Jer and I am not a man

My gender is non-binary, which means I am neither male nor female, the two states possible in the gender binary. I identify as agender, which means I do not believe in my own gender and/or don’t have one. Both of these mean I am genderqueer, because they are weird.

I was assigned male at birth (AMAB) with the name Jeremy and the pronouns he/him. I feel like I have been failing my male assignment my whole life and have decided to drop the class.

Jer is my real name. Most people call me that and it makes me happy. Jer is also much more gender neutral than Jeremy so it’s important to me that Jer is considered my full name. 

Please use they/them as my pronouns to talk about me in the third person rather than he/him. Usually you should just say “Jer” instead of he or him and “Jer’s” instead of his like “I say Jer’s name the first time I mention them in a sentence.”

I will not be mad if you forget and I am happy to answer questions if anyone has them. I’m hoping you will accept me as I am and do your best to respect my identity.

This shouldn’t be a huge shock to my friends

If you know me well, this information is probably both news and ancient history. Here are some things that most of my friends take for granted:

  • You should call me “Jer”, it’s shorter, it’s more fun and it’s what I prefer.
  • I don’t fit into masculine stereotypes about most things.
  • I often come off as a gay man and love it when people mistake me for one.
  • I also wish I was a lesbian.
  • I’m a raging feminist and SJW about almost everything.
  • I wish everyone was gender neutral.
  • I’ve never felt like I am a real man, or wanted to be one.

Maybe that last one is a bit heavier than most conversations get, but it’s been true since university, when I learned that gender and sex didn’t have to mean the same thing.

At the time no one told me about non-binary, genderqueer or agender as identities I could have for myself, just the option of being binary-female if I wanted. That option didn’t and doesn’t have much appeal to me, it would just be another kind of drag like the male drag I’ve been doing my whole life.

Recently I’ve been reading about gender and the different labels and definitions people use to describe themselves. The more I read about gender non-conforming people, the more I realized I was reading about myself.

What makes me non-binary?

This list isn’t necessary, but I’m including it for anyone curious what, in particular, being genderqueer means in my own life.

  • When people say “him“, “guy” or even “Jeremy” about me, it reminds me that my internal understanding of myself doesn’t match how people think of me.
  • When people use male language like “handsome” to describe me, it feels inaccurate.
  • When people use female or unspecific language like “beautiful” it makes me feel good.
  • I tried growing my hair so it would look more feminine and I love it.
  • I tried nail polish for a goth party and loved it so much I wear it most of the time now.
  • I tried dresses and skirts and it made me feel really happy.

I don’t know how I will present in the future, but you can expect me to do things that “men shouldn’t do” with my fashion, grooming, behavior and everything else. This is okay both because I’m not a man, and because men can do anything they want whether they are trans or not.

Maybe in the long run I’ll seem “normal” and everyone will assume I’m a man, maybe I’ll be perfect neutral androgynous and everyone will be confused. It seems very unlikely, but maybe I’ll get to a point where people think I’m a woman.

Either way I suspect I will always be non-binary inside, and I plan to live that reality in public.

Thank you for your attention if you’ve read through all of this, and for any understanding and patience you can bring to the challenge of honoring my identity and wishes.

Readings

agender pride flag
Agender pride flag from Wikimedia

Humblenoia: A fear of ironic compliments

If you are truly humble then someone giving you a complement makes you feel a little bit humblenoid.

Humblenoia is that feeling when you hear something nice about yourself, but you don’t believe it.

The humblenoiac is often found refusing compliments and, paradoxically, arguing against their own merits.

Readings

F******k Instant Articles: How do they work?

This is the web version of my WordCamp 2017 talk about Facebook Instant Articles

Here’s the slides embedded from Slideshare.

Continue reading “F******k Instant Articles: How do they work?”

Facebook needs to stop using empty user agents FFS

facebook-downvoteThis is an open letter to Facebook because their feedback system is very limited (no room for detail) and I’d rather have a public place I can link to with full details. If you work for Facebook, please tell me who I can talk to that has the power to change infrastructure details like this. If you don’t work for Facebook but know a good place I can share this important information, please point me in the right direction.

EDIT: In the end I DID find the correct place to post a technical bug to Facebook, and created a ticket about this problem with the empty user agents. I got a decent reply from them where they accepted that the problem is real and stated their intention to fix it in February 2017. As of August 2017, they claim to have fixed the problem, but unfortunately I was able to find more examples of the problem in my logs after they closed the ticket as fixed. Hopefully it will start working soon, and I’ll update this again. Below is the original post, which assumes the problem persists.

Continue reading “Facebook needs to stop using empty user agents FFS”

Say “Romantic Companion” instead of Boyfriend or Girlfriend

TL;DR: Avoid the words “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” because they are inherently gendered and exclude many people’s reality. “Romantic Companion” is a good alternative that works across gender and relationship types. 

In love - Dublin, Ireland - Black and white street photography

Since I got hints of gender theory at university it’s bothered me that there are no great gender-neutral words to describe casual or semi-committed relationships. I wanted to quickly describe my “girlfriend” in relation to myself without referring to her gender or whether I was queer (I like to keep people on their toes).

Continue reading “Say “Romantic Companion” instead of Boyfriend or Girlfriend”

Previewing Local/Dev RSS Feeds on Mac OSX

This post is filed under “I had an obvious need, I searched for it and found nothing, so here comes a blog post for the next searcher.” If you don’t do local web development or don’t know what that means, please watch this video instead, I promise it’s worth your three minutes and sex seconds.

TL;DR: You can preview local RSS feeds on OSX using ViennaRSS, a simple free app.

Continue reading “Previewing Local/Dev RSS Feeds on Mac OSX”

An Ode to Walter, who was afraid of a lot of stuff in Pawnee, Indiana

I finally started watching Parks and Recreation recently and it’s a wonderful show. The humor is goofy but also really subtle and honest. I love the many details they work into the shot or script that reward you for paying close attention.

One such detail is the brief but heartwarming appearance of a character named Walter (Walt) Koypond, played by Brendan Jennings, in Season 5 Episode 12.

Continue reading “An Ode to Walter, who was afraid of a lot of stuff in Pawnee, Indiana”

The time Yahweh tried to Kill Moses, but left him alone in the end.

Exodus

Exodus 4:24-26 (New Century Version):

24 As Moses was on his way to Egypt, he stopped at a resting place for the night. The Lord met him there and tried to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife and circumcised her son. Taking the skin, she touched Moses’ feet with it and said to him, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me.” 26 She said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” because she had to circumcise her son. So the Lord let Moses alone.

A lot happens in these three verses from Exodus 4. Yahweh has just sent Moses to Egypt with his “walking stick of God“, his 3 new miracles and an existential threat for the Egyptians.

Out of nowhere, while Moses is resting for the night God shows up and tries to kill him. The following verses imply that God was angry at Moses for not circumcising his son, but it’s never mentioned before this. His wife Zipporah seems to know that God is killing Moses because their son is uncircumcised, and does impromptu surgery which seems to satisfy Yahweh who leaves them alone and doesn’t kill anyone in the end.

To me the emotional crux of this passage is Zipporah’s reaction, which implies that she had wanted to avoid circumcision for her son, and she’s mad at Moses for forcing her to do it. She calls him “bridegroom of blood” which was probably a sounded better in the original language.

There are a lot of scenes in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy where Yahweh suddenly gets really angry and kills one or many of the Hebrews with little to no explanation or warning, but this is a rare one where he tries to kill the main character. It’s interesting how passages like this were maintained in the Bible despite making God look pretty terrible from just about any vantage point.

Here’s another analysis of this passage that I pretty much agree with (though the author is probably coming from a very different perspective than me).

I kind of wish this scene had made it into the movie.

Slides from my WordCamp Talk: Put A Map On It!

These are the slides for my talk at WordCamp Montreal 2015, about integrating maps and geolocation into your WordPress site with the Geo Mashup plugin. There should be video eventually and I’ll add it here :)

Full talk description

WordPress has built-in support for storing location information on posts, but no real way to make use of it. The Geo Mashup plugin enables deep, powerful geolocation in WordPress, letting you easily add geolocations (coordinates) to almost any content type. It also displays locations on maps you can embed in your theme, posts or widgets, with a dizzying array of options for what to show and how to display it.

This talk will start with the default geolocation system in WordPress and how Geo Mashup integrates with it. We’ll then cover the basics of setup and adding locations on posts, then the different map types and situations where you’d use them. We’ll finish with some dev considerations for displaying maps as elegantly as possible.