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I'm 21, Transgender, and πŸ’œ to code! Happy Pride Month, AMA! πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆπŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

nektro profile image Meghan Denny ・3 min read

Hi all! You may have seen me around as "Sean 🎩" or @nektro if you happen to stumble upon my profile here on DEV.to or Twitter, but I recently came out as transgender to my friends and family so now I'm Meghan!

For some background, I'm 21, and have been coding since I was about 16. I've always been interested in puzzle type games, but didn't officially start programming until about 10th grade in high school when I got really interested in the idea of making a mod for Minecraft. Right around the same time a robotics club started in my high school, and I jumped on board to make the team web site and robot code. And I've been programming ever since! Nowadays, I'm in college for a Computer Science degree, but still do the vast amount of programming on my own. I personally would still say college is helpful because it helped me in a lot of ways unrelated to the classroom that I don't think I would have got staying at home looking for a job. In my free time I'm still a big advocate for the web, making some games and other utilities, but I've run a course through many a language such as Java, C, C#, Go, Rust, PHP, and others.

In regards to me being transgender, I normally wouldn't have made a post like this and didn't even plan to have what happened during Pride Month. I was a bit at odds on whether I should write this, or if I should just change my display name and hope no one notices. Ever since I was a little boy, I've felt that if I had been born a little girl instead everything would have made a lot more sense. However, due to a lot of factors, some known and some unknown, I only recently within the past 4 or 5 months came to terms with the term transgender for myself.

I mentioned earlier that I wouldn't normally make a post about this. This is because my "goal" I guess with transitioning, is to get to a point where if you saw me on the street, you would have no idea I had been born male. This goal of sorts requires that as few people as possible find out I'm transgender. And making a post coming out to the world tells everyone. However, in my early stages when I was finally coming to terms with the idea of giving myself the label of transgender, I found a lot of solace in reading others' stories on a variety of communities on Reddit. It was a very freeing yet, bitter sweet moment to read about all the other people that had grown up and had experiences, that while they were physically so far away, felt like I was reading my own biography at times.

Shortly after, I started talking to a faculty member at my university and slowly but surely started telling my friends that I just love soo much. They've been beyond accepting of me and words can't describe how much I cherish them. More recently, I went to the Boston Pride festival and it was one of the greatest weekends of my life. Just this past Wednesday, I told my older brother and my mom and they were great too. Coincidentally, I'm seeing my doctor for a physical very early next month so I'll be talking with them about my options going forward!

Some of the awesome Reddit communities that I mentioned above are below. Some of them are more memey and some are more discussion based, but they all helped. And there are tons more.
https://www.reddit.com/r/traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns/
https://www.reddit.com/r/MtF/
https://www.reddit.com/r/ftm/
https://www.reddit.com/r/lgbt/
https://www.reddit.com/r/me_irlgbt/
https://www.reddit.com/r/egg_irl/
https://www.reddit.com/r/GaySoundsShitposts/

So here's to sharing my story, in the hope it may help one of you πŸ’œ

I'm Meghan,

AMA!

Posted on by:

nektro profile

Meghan Denny

@nektro

23. Local trans witch who prefers to do magic with a keyboard. she/her. Currently hacking away at making the Web less centralized.

Discussion

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Congrats Meghan! You have been an awesome community member and we on the core team look forward to getting to know you more.

As for a questions:

Are there any transgender folks in code that inspired or helped give you the courage to come out?

 

Awww thanks Ben 😊 I really love dev.to and the community it has become!

Unfortunately no 😬 I didn't really know any prominent trans folks in code before coming out (though I have since realized there are actually quite a few of us :D). Most of my pre-coming out solace came from the Reddit communities I mentioned above, and what really motivated me was this over arching feeling that while the first time I came out was one of the most gut wrenching moments of my life, I've only been happier since πŸ’œ

 

though I have since realized there are actually quite a few of us

Oh yes, definitely. Several prominent open source leaders doing amazing things for code and humanity.

 

Just wanted to say congrats!! I don't really have a question, just...

congratulations Rainbow Gif

 

Thank you πŸ™‚

 

Hell ya! Thanks for sharing your story. I'd love to team and make an interactive map that could be helpful to the Trans community if you have any ideas on what would be most useful!

We just posted a couple of design tips for styling maps for pride here,

dev.to/mapbox/welcome-to-the-mapbo...

 

Hi Erin,

Thanks for reaching out, that sounds awesome! Initial ideas would be to make something similar to your example where you mapped out the parade routes of upcoming events, or also we could put pins on centers like Fenway Health around the country/world. I'll keep thinking and feel free to message me anytime on dev.to/connect or Twitter!

 

Yay, Meghan! Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your story and resources :)

Questions:

  • Do you still do any robotics programming?!
  • What advice do you have for 18-year-old you?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
 

I wanna say I’d tell 18yo me to come out, since the biggest regret of many is that we didn’t come out sooner, but I don’t think my family was ready back then. You could even make the argument now that they still weren’t ready but the thing is, it’s a hard conversation to have at any time and no matter what I’m glad I’ve had it now. The futures finally looking bright in that regard.

 

Thank you Jess 😊 no I don’t still do robotics programming, though I do help mentor on the team now. To 18 me, college has been totally worth it, in a lot of ways especially outside the classroom. In 5 years I hope to be founder/ceo of a startup. I’ve got some ideas cooking and now I’ve just got to actually make them haha πŸ˜„

 

So glad to have you here!! πŸ™Œ

How do you learn so much, all the time?? It's super impressive! Are you exposed to a bunch of different things that draw your interest -- whether from college courses or otherwise -- and you end up digging deeper on your own, chasing that rabbit hole?

 

I'm just fascinated by data and how we store it, so I try to learn as much as possible. I follow lots of great people on Twitter which helps a lot, and I also look up things that relate to things I'm working on. So for instance, if I'm working on a game, I spend some time on the game, but then also some time researching how game engines and graphics formats work. It's very hard to do in a field as broad and far reaching as computer science, but I try to stay focused on very few topics but always dig deeper.

 
 

Congratulations for coming out. That's a tough room. I'm not trans, however coming out as gay was a tough sell for some people. However, I decided never to live my life according to other's expectations of me. I'm glad you've figured out who you are and are proud of it.

Furthermore, I'm glad you came out as trans. I think that LGBTQ+ people should have a larger voice in STEM fields. Congrats to you again, Meghan. I can't wait to see the great work you do.

I was also curious, where do you keep your public code? I wanted to check it out and see what you are working on!

 

Thank you! 😊 and I keep all sorts of projects on my GitHub!
github.com/nektro

 

Congratulations!!! Much love from this side of the pond!! <3

 

Thank you! πŸ’–

 

Congrats Meghan, for your new & happy life😊

What is your biggest achievement?

 

Thank you! Oooo that’s a tough one ☝🏻

Ummm programming wise I’d either say Cat Hop which I linked above because it was the first time I did a big project with a group. My partner didn’t help me code but we talked about features and I had to make the game load the textures in the format he gave me. I also have a project called corgi which I liked because it was the first time I made a parser-compiler-generator (even though it was only an html preprocessor)

Life wise, I’m glad I’m finally out but I’m also an Eagle Scout. That took a lot of work and my time in the Scouts was a lot of fun.

 
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Congrats & good luck out there :)

 

Thank you! πŸ˜ƒ

 

Take things slow, Meghan. You should let more time pass before announcing things lile this, as it gives you time to think about it and (maybe) back out if it's too much for you. Enjoy the rest of your day.