My team makes their own buttons/pins for competition. I don't have any buttons/pins indicating pronouns (I go by they/them), but it would be pretty cool if I could make an FRC/team design button for pronouns. Thinking about doing that when we pull out the press, actually
Of course! We don’t own the right to be LGBTQ+ and proud at competitions. We’d love to see your pins! They definitely sound like they’d make scouting easier since you’d know which pronouns to use.
~Staff: Sean 5113
Being Trans at Comps
For a trans person, a robotics competition can be extremely nerve-wracking. FIRST doesn’t know much about being trans, you don’t know about room arrangements, it’s hot and stuffy, and you don’t have the opportunity to take off your binder, gaff, compression shorts, or any other items you wear. Not to mention the usual issues of passing and others’ tolerance. Combined with all of the non-trans anxiety involved in comps, it’s a lot to handle. This being my third season in FIRST, I have a few tips from experience.
During the day
This topic is… difficult. Most teams are affiliated with a school, and, as such, it’s often difficult to be placed in the correct room for a lot of political reasons. As such, I’m going to be talking about ways to deal with having to be in the wrong gendered room.
Good luck to all the trans kids out there. If anyone needs anything to talk to or needs more advice, I’m always available to DM on the Discord!
- Maddox 2197
So you’ve made it to Bag Day! It’s the stressful end of build season when you’re forced to shove your 100+lbs creation into a giant plastic bag. But congratulations! You’ve made it this far, and everyone here on the blog is proud of what you and your teams have accomplished over the last six weeks. With competitions right around the corner, we thought we should finally let you know where to find us to get official blog pins/swag, find out more about us, and offer your input for the direction this platform will take in the future. Attached is a spreadsheet with which events we’ll be attending and the reps who will be present at them. (It’s color coded because we’re dweebs.) We included brief descriptions so you can find us, but if you want to know more, feel free to contact us. Congrats again for all your hard work and successes during build, and good luck as you compete this season!
Event Attendence Info:
I’m a bit of a nerd *gasp* so this is a poem I wrote about dysphoria and gender queries.
“Going Up in Flames”
a moment frozen in time
a piece of my soul.
There’s a box in my closet,
filled with pictures of the person I used to be.
The life and times of a ghost.
Jigsaw puzzle pieces,
forced together in ways that don’t fit–
A mismatch of stories,
spliced to form a never-ending reel:
a documentary of my life.
I keep my shadow locked away,
in hopes you’ll never see what was.
I ripped apart the stitches
that held us together,
because there is nothing but pain for me there.
keeping me shackled to the past
when I should be looking towards the future.
A constant game of
before and after,
and I can’t help but feel like I never measure up.
From the time that I was born,
my mother started making scrapbooks.
Page after page
of baby photos and memorabilia.
First days of school
and piano recitals,
little pink dresses
and frilly easter bonnets.
I should feel touched
that my mother spent so much of her time
trying to make me a time capsule,
but I wish it would stay buried.
I don’t want something to remember my childhood by.
The person I was then,
doesn’t even share a body
with the person I am now.
They’re something that should be cherished,
but I don’t even want to look at them.
They’re nothing but kindling
for a forest fire of questions
that I’m not ready for.
So I’m taking the initiative.
Bonfire at my place-
nostalgia not welcome.
FIRST and foremost, coming out is entirely up to you. Coming out doesn’t make you more LGBTQ+. If you are closeted, you are not lying to anyone. You don’t owe the details of your sexuality or gender or sex to anyone.
So, how you do know if you should come out? First, you should make sure coming out is safe for you. Will you be kicked out of home? Will you be in physical or psychological danger? If so, you have to weigh the pros and cons of coming out. Is the joy of finally being free worth the possible harm? If you’re having trouble, try looking at a physical representation of the pros and cons through a t chart. Mine looked a little like this:
If your chart as an equal amount of pros and cons, you can assign numbers for how likely each pro or con is to happen. Pros are positive numbers 1 to 5 and cons are negative numbers -1 to -5. Something like “I wouldn’t feel like I was hiding something” would be (in my situation) a +5 but a “My parents might be mad at me” (in my situation) would be a -4. If you add up your list and end with a net positive, then you should consider coming out. If you end up with a net negative, you should further consider the safety of coming out. Make sure to also take the value of each situation into account. How much do you care about your parents being mad at you? Could you handle the negatives? Even if you end in a net positive, make sure to think about whether or not you could handle the negative outcomes.
Of course, you don’t have to come out to everyone at once, but remember, the more people who know, the more likely the information is to spread. If you aren’t completely out, make sure you are only coming out to trustworthy people who will not “out” you to others.
Finally, no matter if you end with a positive or negative number, make sure you make a plan for the worst case scenario. If you are kicked out, do you have a place to stay? If you are forced into therapy, do you have the help of a reputable psychologist to convince your parents the idea is unsafe? If you would face physical violence, are you prepared to defend yourself? Your personal safety comes FIRST, and neither choice is wrong. Coming out is difficult and potentially dangerous, but it can also lead to so much happiness and joy. The decision is entirely up to you, so stay safe and good luck!
Anon - Unsupportive Mentors
Hi, I'm an openly trans individual on my team but I got a new coach who isn't so accepting of me, my name, and my pronouns. What should I do?
I’m sorry to hear about that. If possible, could you talk with mentors who were on the team before? Maybe you could ask them to talk to this new mentor. If that doesn’t work, you could try to talk with the mentor one on one and just ask that even if they don’t respect your identity, that they at least use the correct name and pronouns as not to confuse the team. I really hope that this helps. You deserve happiness and respect from everyone.
-Staff: Sean 5113
Anon - Personal Story
I’m a lesbian member on our FRC team, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one, nobody has said otherwise. But despite me being the odd one out, my team has been great with being accepting of my sexuality.
When I came out, it was just to a couple of friends and it wasn’t a big deal or anything. I just went “i’m gay btw haha so how about that water game being confirmed am i right?” and they were cool with it. After that everyone just sort of figured it out. The rookies even figured it out despite me not telling them, they don’t mind at all! My team is so comfortable with me being gay we casually joke about it. They make it clear that they mean no offense and they 100% support me.
The one issue I did have was outing, they did this a lot. I consider myself comfortable with my sexuality, but I want to tell people I’m gay when I’m ready (unless they just figure it out). I don’t want random people knowing this. I’m not trying to say it’s a bad thing you should hide, but it’s just not other people’s business for me personally. They’re getting better at this after I communicated I didn’t like this.
That’s the big key for this: communication. If you are gay, the FIRST community is very welcoming of you and you will almost definitely be accepted. However, you have to communicate with your team the do’s and don'ts. I am more than comfortable with letting my team joke around and even let them say “fag” and “queer”, I say it around them and it’s only fair they do too. But some people are not and that’s fine. Communicate with your team about these kinds of things.
If people don’t support gay rights, that’s honestly fine. We had someone like that on my team. I didn’t bash him, despite my team wanting to for my sake (which was sweet!) and instead just let him get used to my presence. I’m gay and he knows it. By the beginning of the year he 100% did not support gay people, and now he’s saying he does. Even if they don’t end up supporting it, that’s ok. As long as they treat you like a human and don’t be a dick about it.
-Much love from 3735!
Hey! Thanks for sharing your story!
-Kiran L. 2826
I’ve already posted an eighteen minute video, so I figure you probably don’t want to read another three hundred page essay about my TEDx talk. It was an insane opportunity to receive, to prepare for, and finally, to perform.
If you don’t have the time to watch the entire video, that’s okay! Here’s a short breakdown!
Thank you for making the world a better place with me,
Kiran L. 2826
P.S. This was the first and only time I’ve worn make-up. How do people that wear it everyday do things like drink water?!
-Kiran L. 2826
In honor of valentines day approaching….
-Kiran L. 2826
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is a student run organization that advocates awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ students, mentors, and volunteers of FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST reaches out to over 1000 members across the FIRST regions and fronts multiple outreach endeavors.