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“What’s in a Name?” Asked the Bard Bass

Hi, I’m Jordan. I was born Jordan, but I wasn’t always Jordan. For a while, I was JT. Then I was Seabass. I actually still have some online handles that reflect that one. I even use a few of them in a professional capacity, like this blog.

Still, even when I was Seabass, I was always Jordan, I just didn’t always go by Jordan. Even when I was going by Jordan, I wasn’t always up front about who that was. I’m still trying to work that out, but I think I’ve figured out the major stings by now. Honestly, some of it is still a bit confusing…

Sorry, let me start over.

Hi, I’m Jordan, and I’m a trans woman.

It’s been a while, yeah?

Since I engaged with the blog, I mean. Well, the pandemic was a wild ride for all of us. The constant specter of my own mortality and forced privacy got me to do some real soul searching. Approaching 40 didn’t help at all either. Also my kid was asking a lot of questions about what makes a girl a girl, and saying she didn’t always feel like a girl. Somehow decades of weird feelings, pointed experiences I’d ignored, and discomfort came to a crescendo. It was a wild ride, but ultimately for the better I think.

There’s a good chance you don’t know anyone like me personally or very well. You’re probably here because you saw me give a talk, or read a technical article I wrote. Maybe you found my old research papers. I’m glad you’re here! I hope you find the technical stuff useful and enriching. It’s why the blog exists.

I’m Not Just an AI Nerd. I Also Julienne Fries!

But the blog also exists to showcase the rest of me too. That means my love of tabletop roleplaying, hobbyist game development, poetry, hiking, and brewing. And, as I said a second ago, I’m a trans woman. Figuring that out was kind of a long road. If you’re interested, I’d like to share it with you.

Why would you do that?

Glad you asked, convenient rhetorical device! I’m hoping to do a couple of things:

  • Early on in my life, I hadn’t seen anyone like myself as a mentor or in a career I wanted to have. Maybe I can be that for someone.
  • Most people I come across in our field don’t have much contact with trans people. I can’t speak for all of us, we aren’t a monolith after all, but maybe I can be n=1 or n+1 for somebody.
  • Even for people that interact with me on the regular, they don’t know a lot about the trans experience. I mostly talk about technology in my professional persona. I’m gonna do the other thing here, in the hopes that you can get some sense for what it’s like to be me.
  • I’ve got a pile of content I’ve wanted to publish, but
    • a) I’ve been too chicken-shit to put it out there
    • ii) It assumes you know I’m trans
    • 3) It assumes you know what that might be like
  • So this lays the groundwork for getting that out there.

What’s Next?

Over the next couple of articles, I’m gonna speak to my experience. Putting it to ‘paper’ has helped me. Maybe reading it will help you. Here’s where we’re headed:

  • When did I know?
  • How did I figure out?
  • How has anti-trans sentiment steered my career?
  • What was coming out like?
  • How’s being out in tech?
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