The Red Shoes

Just been watching the video for Kate Bush “The Red Shoes” (I have actually seen the 1948 film). I came to a strange realisation. Activism, especially LGBTQ activism, is like the Red Shoes. When you put them on, you dance their dance, and you can never take them off.

I wonder how many other people have had this happen to them, and understand.

Diversity and Inclusion, Debian Redux

So, today at Cambridge MiniDebConf, I was scheduled to do a Birds of a Feather (BoF) about Diversity and Inclusion within Debian. I was expecting a handful of people in the breakout room. Instead it was a full blown workshop in the lecture theatre with me nominally facilitating. It went far, far better than I hoped (although a couple of other and myself people had to wrench us back on topic a few times).
There were lots of good ideas, and productive friendly debate (although we were pretty much all coming from the same ball park). There are three points I have taken away from it (others may have different views):
  1. We are damned good at Inclusion, but have a long way to go on the Diversity (which is a problem of the entire tech sector).
  2. Debian is a social project as well as a technical one – our immediately accessible documentation does not reflect this.
  3. We are currently too reactive and passive when it comes to social issues and getting people involved. It is essential that we become more proactive.

Combined with the recent Diversity drive from Debconf 2016, I really believe we can do this. Thank-you all you who attended, contributed, and approached me afterwards.

Edit: Video here – Debian Diversity and Inclusion Workshop

Edit Edit: video link fixed.

Diversity and Inclusion

So this morning, along with a few other members of staff, I was filmed for a Diversity and Inclusion video for Ada Lovelace Day at work. Very positive experience, and I was wearing my rainbow chain mail necklace made by the wonderful Rosemary Warner, and a safety pin, which I had to explain the meaning of to the two peeps doing the filming. We all of us read the same script, and they are going to paste it together with each of us saying one sentence at a time. The script was not just about gender, it also mentioned age, skills, sexual orientation and physical ability among other things (I cannot remember the entire list). I was very happy and proud to take part.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

This is a fusion recipe from a rather bland “just stuff it with ricotta” recipe I saw, David Scott’s “The Peniless Vegetarian”, and my own mutations on those themes.

I can’t give you exact quantities, just make a little more than you will make the hollowed mound (grin), and the rest will make an excellent pasta sauce.


For an average sized butternut squash, you will need:
1 onion (I prefer red)
3 cloves of garlic
1 capsicum pepper (I prefer green, my ex- preferred red)
Some red lentils
Optional green or brown lentils for texture and flavour. I used some puy
The lentil quantity is hard to estimate, but I ratio 4 red to 1 optional.
Roughly one handful of chopped mushrooms – i.e. when chopped, it is one handful
1 tin tinned tomatoes
Some tomato puree
A generous amout of garam masala – garam masala is what brings out the flavout in lentils
Some paprike
Optional chilli – if using chilli, I recommend fresh of course.
Optional Balsamic vinegar
Optional Marmite

Preperation of the Squash
1. Cut the butternut squash in half, length ways. This is very hard, you will need a good large knife, and may require you jumping up and down into the air. This is the second most hard of the procedure.

2. For each half, scoop out the seeds, and pare back the bowl till it is no longer overly fibrous. Discard this, or find a use for the seeds.

3. For each half, scoop a channel of the softer flesh up from the baisin up near the top. This has to be done by feel, is hard and thankless work. Also experimentation required. Reserve this flesh.

Preperation of the Filling

This is just basically a nice lentil sauce that can be used with pasta, rice, toast etc.

Important: this is not a stir fry, but a largish, heavy bottom pan is recommended.

1. Finely peel then chop the onions and the garlic. Chop the chillis if used (I am a chilli gal). Please observe Chilli Protocol[0]

2. Wash and chop the pepper and mushrooms. Not finely diced, but not crudite-sized slices. Remember that peppers shrivel down a little, mushrooms a lot.

3. Start frying the onions for a while in some oil (I prefer olive, but others are acceptible), until they just about to go translucent. Then add the garlic and optional chillis until the garlic is just cooking nicely.

4. Add the spices, turn over until all the containts of the pan are covered, and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Then add the tinned tomato, and then add half a can of cold water water which rinsed the tin out with. Stir this around, and make sure it is now at just at a simmer or pre-simmer.

5. Add the lentils. You want 0.5-1 cm of water above the lentils when you have added and stirred. Let these cook and expand for about 5 mins, stirring all the while, all the lentils will stick to the bottom.

6. Add the pepper, mushroom, reserved squash flesh, and optional dash of balsamic vinegar, and half a tea spoon of marmite. Cook and stir until the pepper goes soft. This is the hard part. Add boiling water if really too thick, or some tomato puree if too thin. There is no hard science to this, you want at the end of 10 minutes or so something resembling the thickness in texture of a stiff bolognaise sauce.

1. Have a baking tray. Whether you prefer to grease, line with foil, or line with baking parchment is up to you. I prefer baking parchment.

2. Stuff those two halves of butternut squash with that sauce you made. It should make a mound of about 1cm about the level. If you feel extravagent, and are not vegan, sprinkle a little grated cheese on top.

3. Place in a pre-heated oven of 200oC. Cooking time should be about 20 mins, but larger ones take longer. The “acid test” is to briefly take them out, and prod the lower side with a fork. It should go through the skin with little resistance.

When ready, serve. It’s really a dish in itself, but some people might like a bit of salad, or maybe a light green risotto.


[0] Chilli Protocol: Declare to all present that chillies are being chopped. After chopping chillies, immediately wash hands thoroughly. Do not touch in the area of eyes or genitals until hands are washed. Declare to all present the chilli protocol is finished.

Differences bring us together

On the 13th of May this year, I legally became Lucy Wayland. I’d been living as a woman full time a couple of months before that, but that is when two dear friends witnessed my name change. I am going to post about the whole experience when it is finally into the completion zone.

However, this last weekend just gone, I was helping out with the Cambridge (UK) MiniDebConf. I was mostly gophering and front-desk-helpering, with side orders of beverages, so I missed most of the talks. Which is not the point.

I met nearly everybody at the conference. Many of them knew me as Jon, a goateed man. I was there as Lucy, a woman. And nobody batted an eyelid.

  • Not a single person used my old name
  • Not a single person mis-gendered me
  • Not a single person referred to my transition

The only time I had to produce my Deed Poll out was for keysigning, as I still do not have photo ID with my new name on. I proffered it along with my passport, so there was no embarrassment.

I know other people within Debian have gone through the same process. However, I just have to say how wonderful it is, to be accepted just that way.

And hence the title of my article. Our differences bring us together. So many different people from so many different cultures came together, wanted to create, and my change of gender was just irrelevant.

And that’s how it should be.

Hear me Germaine Greer

I am a transgender woman. I am open about this.
Hear me Germaine Greer.
I want that smelly, hairy vagina.
I would have that transplant if I could.
I don’t want to procreate, which is why I got vasectomied.
But don’t deny me my rights.
I want that hairy, smelly vagina.
I would actually take the agony of period pain.
You are an out-dated dinosaur.
I am a woman.
You deny us.
Sod you.
You don’t know us.

The deed is done, the die is cast

So, gentle readers, remember this blog post?

Well, this New Year, I made the decision. I am going to transition. I have a sympathetic GP, a massively understanding employer (ref: Sophie Wilson), a large number of friends at various stages. Now was the time.

I will still be Aardvark of Fnord. I will still be the same person. Just the physical aspects and the real-life name I answer to will change. For the moment, I am still Jon in public, but when I have certain things in place, I will be Lucy full time.