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Brian Bethencourt for The DEV Team

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We coded, together ✨

About Me

Hey everyone. My name is Brian, I'm a Developer Marketing Associate here at DEV Community, and I'm a nonbinary person. More specifically, I would call myself agender, but nonbinary is the quickest way to get my point across. I don't really care about engaging in acts of femininity or masculinity. Retrospectively, I've only ever conformed to the masculine gender roles expected of me to garner praise from others, not because I actually felt connected to those roles. It took a while to realize that building my life around what others expect of me was just leading to anxiety and unhappiness.

I use they/them pronouns because I want any conversation I have to start with others understanding that I don't identify with either binary gender. This isn't to say that there isn't a healthy way to be masculine or be feminine -- I think there definitely is and it's something each person has to carve out for themselves. I'm secure in my agender identity knowing that I have no interest in taking pride in my masculinity or carving out that space for myself. Using he/him pronouns doesn't bother me or give me dysphoria, rather I keep them available to use so people don't feel like they were "wrong" if they didn't use the right pronoun. I want others to take me as I come and judge me on the basis of my character and my actions. We're all people first, and that's how I want others to interact with me: not as a man or a woman, but as a person.

Not everyone is going to be willing to share their reasons with you, and they don't have to. I'm here to share my reasoning so that others who relate can feel empowered to step up and share their experiences. I'm grateful to have colleagues now and in the past who have supported me and who have wanted to get to know me and were willing to drop their baggage or expectations that came with their perceived view of my gender. I’m valued, not only for the material or financial value I provide to the people around me, but also for who I am. I can only hope that everyone eventually gets the same opportunity.

While my main role on DEV Community and at Forem is not as a developer (I'm still on my grind), I interact with developers on a daily basis and I want to do everything I can to advocate for them. It's important to make sure everyone's voices get heard, not just for the sake of productivity or innovation, but because everyone inherently deserves the same level of basic respect.

We all need to get involved if we want things to get better. Collective activism is how we make change, so let's work together to make room for everyone. What is it going to take to make tech a more inclusive space for all?

Posts That Inspired Me

I've had a role in the last three SheCoded events and played a significant role in making WeCoded up to be what it is this year. There's a lot I want to talk about, I could probably write a book or two on all the topics there are to cover in this field. Instead, I want to highlight some folks on DEV that have already covered some of the things I wanted to say. I hope these posts, as well as my own, inspire you to share your story or demonstrate your allyship this International Women's Day.

"5 Things to Keep in Mind for IWD."

Sometimes it's important to go over the fundamentals. I didn't want to repeat advice in this post that folks have probably heard a hundred times by now, but Silvia does a great job at hitting all of the essentials in order to be a good ally.

"Being nonbinary in tech is kind of a weird place."

This was a huge read for me, so big thanks to @memitaru for sharing. I particularly relate with the feeling of not being one of the guys but not fitting in with the girls either. My entire life I've had this alien feeling of not belonging anywhere and it's something I'm still working on to this day. I've found that community typically ends up being the panacea to this kind of feeling. Having a large group of people beyond your close friends and family that you contribute to, have the same goals as, and celebrate wins with is so important to your overall mental health and sense of self.

"Learning to be human through coding and tech"

One of my biggest pulls from this post is the sentiment of " I still feel very much like an impostor in tech, because I don't see enough of people like me in tech events and conferences." This post highlights how important representation is to the motivation and inspiration of marginalized groups. A lot of people are waiting for someone else to speak up or make a mistake so they feel comfortable doing so as well. It takes a lot of courage to be the one to say "it's okay to be imperfect and vulnerable."

"Trans/non-binary inclusive design"

This is sort-of an honorable mention for me, but @fossheim shares so many great resources that it would be a shame not to highlight it here. Not only does the article share tons of resources on what being nonbinary is, it also talks about workplace etiquette and how to be inclusive when designing websites for trans, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people. A must-read for any web designer.

Further Reading

For those who are curious but don't know where to go next, I have some resources for you that can set you on the right path.

If you'd like to learn more specifically about women's legal issues, you can visit the website for the National Women's Law Center, which has resources on abortion, child care, the wage gap, health care discrepancies, and more. Reproductive rights are at risk in the United States. Access to safe and legal abortion and birth control methods are no longer guaranteed nationwide. These resources are important now more than ever. If you have the passion and/or the additional funds, look into how you can help the Center for Reproductive Rights.

One of my favorite libraries for LGBTQ+ topics is the Resources page for the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC covers topics like being an ally, coming out, health equity, parenting, sexual health, and more. Not only does it cover advice for LGBTQ+ people, it also provides a basic understanding of gender theory for those who are unacquainted. If you want to know more about what being gender non-conforming or two-spirit means or what the difference between sex and gender is, this is a great resource.

Those links above are the hors d'oeuvres. If you really want to tackle the heavy reading, I salute you. I highly recommend reading the Sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 67). The primary theme, “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls", should be directly relevant and somewhat actionable to those who are developers or support developers as a career. If you'd like a more general overview of the scale of global gender inequity we're dealing with and the consequences it has on people worldwide, check out the United Nations 2022 Gender Snapshot report.

If you've made it to the bottom of this post, thank you. If you clicked on any of the links on this post, you're the best. Please take some time to reflect on your experiences and how you can make a difference to the people around you. Let me know what you come up with. The DEV Team and I will be in the comments below to moderate any discussion.

If you have a question about any of the above that you'd like to ask privately, I'm open to direct messages on Discord: @quoss#0777.

Top comments (1)

itsahsanmangal profile image
Ahsan Mangal 👨🏻‍💻

The article is well-structured, starting with a clear introduction that sets the stage for the rest of the piece.

It then delves into the author's personal experience with pair programming and Hacktoberfest, providing concrete examples of how working with others has helped them develop new skills and gain fresh insights.

One of the strengths of this article is its emphasis on the importance of community events like Hacktoberfest.

By highlighting the value of these events, the article encourages readers to seek out opportunities to connect with other developers and build relationships that can be beneficial throughout their careers.