The Women in Dynamics Mentorship Program

You have probably heard of the Women in Dynamics initiative that launched last year at Directions EMEA. Roughly a year ago and roughly around the same time I started my transition.

When my brother and I were driving to BCTechDays together last Thursday I was wondering in my head if they would be represented at this event too.

After we arrived at the event and watched the crowd I quickly realized that this must not be the case. This is a male-only event with hamburgers and beer. You could smell the testosterone going around. My guess would be that less than 5 percent of the attendees was female.

Why is this a problem?

Everybody is equal is what we have been thought for the last decades. But that does not mean that we are all the same.

Apart from the looks, there are fundamental differences between man and women that will always make us different and one of them are hormones. And I’ve learned a lot about those in the last year.

Another part of our body that is different is how the brains are developed and they say that brains of transgender woman show the same behavior as cis women.

I’ve been on testosterone blockers for 9 months now and I started to take estrogen since last may. For me this felt like coming home. My body starts to change, fat distribution is different, but most of all it feels as if everything finally makes sense now. As if my brain, body and feelings are finally aligned.

How the guys behaved…

Attending BCTechdays for me was nerve wrecking. How would everyone react to me finally being able to be myself.

To make a long answer short… it was very disappointing. Most people, give or take a few exceptions, had no idea how to behave. Some of them clearly did their best to avoid me or try to make a conversation as short as they could possibly can.

There were people staring at me longer than they should and I am not sure why. Maybe they recognized me and they were curious, or maybe they did not and think its normal to look at women that way. (Which it is not).

It’s more than pronouns and a name

A lot of people seem to think that simply calling by my new name and use she/her is all it takes to make me feel comfortable. They simply assume that everything else stays the same.

Gender dysphoria is not exactly easy to deal with and everyone develops different coping mechanisms to deal with it. Part of my coping mechanisms was the community activities that I did. Traveling around the world and speaking at all the events was one of the ways I could distract myself from my problems.

You can only guess that now that most of my dysphoria is under control and I can be myself this changes the whole way that I look at my community activities.

DON’T MENTION THE DEADNAME!!!!

Let me teach you some transgender 101 rules and start with the most important one. NEVER EVER MENTION THE DEADNAME!!

A deadname is the old name that was used before the transition and for 99.9% of transgender people they become the symbol of everything that was wrong in their former lives.

I tried to prepare myself for hearing my deadname a few times in Antwerp but after it happened two times I realized that I could not deal with it.

There was no other option for me than to leave.

Another thing that is important if you ever deal with someone in transition is all they want to be is recognized. I’m a girl, I want a hug, but I also love to hear that I look nice or how much I have changed. It’s ok to compliment me that my voice has changed because I spent hundreds of hours practicing it.

Back to Woman in Dynamics…

Attending TechDays in Antwerp made me realize how much work we have to do.

One of the girls manning a booth obviously realized very well that most of the attendees would be male. Her boobs almost popped out of her way to tight dress and my first reaction was jealousy but my immediate second reaction was why this could still be happening in 2022!

Someone a few months ago told me that if woman want better representation as speakers at events they should simply step forward and present themselves.

I would like to challenge this person to try testosterone blockers for about 6 months or so.

It’s unfair to ask women to behave like men just to get the same opportunities. Let’s try the other way around.

I signed up as a mentor for Women in Dynamics and I was thrilled to be accepted. I hope that my unique view can help improve diversity in our community. After all I did try for 25 years to behave like one of the guys and trust me, I don’t want to ever do that again.

LGBTQ+ in Dynamics

You may wonder if I am the only transgender in our community.

I am most definitely not. I know about at least two other transwomen in our community. They are “stealth” and you would never know it.

For me this will never be an option and because of that I may as well use the fact that everyone knows me to speak up and share my thoughts.

On Reddit I am active in the Dutch LGBTQ+ subreddit and a few weeks ago I was surprised that a young person stepped up and thank me for that.

The fact that I came out last year and I was accepted without questions asked makes it easier for others to say they are gay, bisexual, queer or any other letter you feel comfortable of having.

Thank you Luc!

This post is in no way an attempt to criticize Luc van Dyck. In fact we did have a very good conversation about this very topic and he shared with me that when he allowed people to say that they are non-binary in the event feedback he got people complaining about the fact that this option existed.

Luc reacted by removing the question all together.

It does make me realize how much work has to be done!

Give me a hug!

Next time you see me at an event. Please give me a hug. I need it. It’s wonderful to be accepted with compliments when I write something on LinkedIn but it means the world to me to be treated like the woman I am when you meet me in person.

With lots and lots of love to the Business Central community.

Marije

6 Comments

  1. Andrew Good says:

    Women in Dynamics was at DynamicsCon Live last week. The event was still skewed towards male attendees. There are many amazing women in the community, it would be great to have more. A balanced work environment is a great place to work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I realized I was at the wrong event when I saw some pictures. Pity that I can no longer afford to fly across the globe. But honestly I also know that I don’t want that anymore. Not now at least and not in the same way like I used to. Women in Dynamics should attend BCTechDays next year and there should be some brainstorming to make it more attractive for women in general.

      Like

      1. Vicky says:

        Can we talk please?
        We have so much work to do don’t we!

        Like

  2. Kateryna says:

    Hi Marije,
    I suppose you did not see the closing session, because you, sadly, left earlier.
    I felt like it also was quite sexist (also quite offensive for the managers as a profession), but did not see any discussion about that on twitter. So probably the majority was OK with this 😦
    Just as an example: “should I talk about female managers? If I don’t, I get complaints. If I do, I get complaints as well – chuckles”.
    Last time the closing session was about art, I was really looking forward to the one this time.
    Hopefully next time it will be great again 🙂

    Like

  3. Natalie says:

    I agree that it was sexist. Especially when talking about the graph married/children. Still a long way to go…

    Like

  4. Carol says:

    Well done, I’m so proud of you and keep up 🙂

    Like

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