Looking back at the first Trans*Code

We did it!

It’s now been nearly two months since the first Trans*Code.I’m still a bit in awe of the fact that event happened and went as well as it did. I hope we can serve as a starting point for many more events of this kind. I’d like to take this post to thank some people, and to sum up the good, the bad, and the ugly.


First of all, even though we said so at the time, we owe great thanks to GitHub for sponsoring and to Mike McQuaid for coming down and supporting us and teaching. We also offer our thanks to Salesforce and John Stevenson for hosting the social and to GoCardless and Maria Campbell for hosting the event. Maria also gets special credit for marking all the loos unisex without being asked because “it was just reasonable.”

I’d also like to thank the many mentors who showed up, particularly from the London Python Dojo and Codebar. In particular, thanks to Nicholas Tollervey for his lunchtime demo of the BBC microbit.

Thanks also to Francine Beleyi of  Computer Weekly for documenting the event in her video – you can find the video on Computer Weekly’s site here, and you should go watch it if you haven’t already.

In case you missed them several of the attendees posted blogs of their reactions:

Nicholas Tollervey gives an ally’s view of the day and excellent participant blog posts have been done by Olu Niyi-Awosusi, Iris Ward, and Cheryl Morgan

The Projects

(Links and better names and descriptions will be added if sent to info@trans-code.org.)

    • TransFlare – A “bat signal” or “flare” mobile app for the trans community – if you find yourself in trouble, use this application to call for help.
      Github repo: http://github.com/cmantito/transcode
    • TransAdvisor is a website for trans people to use to review healthcare providers on how trans-friendly they are. Trans people can then use these reviews to locate or avoid local healthcare professionals based on how welcoming and safe they are for trans people.
      Github repo: https://github.com/ApocAlexNow/TransAdvisor
    • Hormone Pal – A tool for helping trans people to understand the results of blood tests for hormone levels.
    • A web comic.
    • loofinder – A website for finding gender neutral toilets (based on OpenStreetMap).
    • A website to help trans people find a personal style that suits their often unconventional body shapes.
    • A tool for analyzing attitudes towards trans people on Twitter.
    • Trans*Code Hackday Resources – collection of resources for helping newcomers to programming.

What we did right

I think we were pretty successful in creating a hack experience that was welcoming and non-threatening for everyone, including newcomers. I wanted to avoid the competitive atmosphere and stress sometimes found in other hack events, and I think we mostly did that.

The project presentations were marked by an impressive level of support and collegiality. Further, a few people actually found the confidence to take the next steps in their journeys thanks to the experience they had at Trans*Code, which is the highest praise I can think of.

What we could do better

A lot of people mentioned the start time as being too early. I can sympathise, since I’m not a morning person myself. I think in future we’ll push that back to something like a 9 am start.

Both allies and even some trans* folk sometimes got tripped up by pronouns and the like. I think in future a brief Trans 101 talk at the beginning of the day would help.

The GitHub talk had universal appeal, but in the future it seems to make more sense to have programming lessons be a separate track.

We also had a hassle with the food, with one shop simply not fulfilling the order placed with them. While that was a hassle for everyone, I want to praise the volunteers who rushed around and pulled together some substitutes while very much under the gun.

The Future

We’re already looking at having more events. We hope to have something in Manchester in July, and we are looking forward to being a part of PyCon UK in Coventry in September. If anyone wants to help with the organisation and planning of etierh event, please let us know at info@trans-code.org!

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