Google+ users, do you ever pay attention to the list of “suggestions” on the right side of the screen? I have precious few real life friends, so I check often. The growing number of people in my circles endows me with the illusion of popularity, and that’s good enough for Al.
Last week, Maya Posch was just another illusion suggested to me by a soulless algorithm. I added her to “Following” and promptly forgot about her.
This morning, a video shows up in the Stream. Check it out. Maya is like an onion, with the layers and all.
She is a geek for sure–with serious game programming skills, a deep love of all things Trek, and (not that I approve) mastery of the emoticon. Maya also happens to have been born intersex–a hermaphrodite. Raised as a boy, she has identified as female for the past seven years.
All of this is a little too inconvenient for the Netherlands government, which seems willing to recognize her gender identity, but not the fact that she possesses both male and female reproductive organs; they call it a “birth defect.” Since identifying as female, her government has made her life hell as constant persecution, bigotry, and bureaucratic bullshit have kept her trapped in an intolerant country that she wishes, more than anything, to leave.
I chatted with Maya from halfway around the world using this Internet thing the papers are always talking about. Presented more or less verbatim.
Maya: Hi :)
Al: Oi! You’re here!
Maya: I generally am :) Got 1-2 hours until dinner time here
Al: What is the cuisine like there? I don’t travel much, so I live vicariously through the cuisine of foreigners.
Maya: Heh, Dutch cuisine? Lots of mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables. I’m no big fan of it :D
Al: No wonder marijuana is legal.
Maya: Yeah, only way to make it bearable ;)
Al: I moved my family from Boston to the Atlanta area. That means no more decent seafood, but DAMN is the barbecue awesome down here!
Maya: :) they BBQ a lot around here but I don’t like it too much. Can’t eat meat or fish :)
Al: Please clarify “can’t.”
Maya: Intolerance for animal proteins, apparently. Had issues with it as a child. After I stopped eating both, I reacted very strongly to even small amounts.
Al: The gods are indeed cruel. By the way, there is no way you are anything but a female. You use too many emoticons to be a guy.
Maya: Thanks. I hear that a lot. I’m terrible at being a guy :D
Al: If you ever need to pretend, just scratch your crotch a lot and pretend not to listen to women. And here’s our best trick of all: If someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, do a really shitty job at it the first time so they’ll never ask you again. Bonus points if you injure yourself. Double bonus points for blood.
Maya: I see, very informative :D
Al: I’m an encyclopedia of idiocy. As of today, where do things stand with your country’s official view of your gender identity?
Maya: They see me as male. As far as I know, I am the first person to make use of the intersex law in the dutch civil code. If the judge approves the gender change based on this law it’d mean quite a serious change. Even after that I very much doubt they will change their stance on the medical side, though.
In part 2, I stop making everything about me.
If you are aware of any job openings (preferably in Norway or Canada) for a talented programmer, contact Maya Posch.