• Ivan A. Kirchgaesser

A bug in the system

As a trans person, I realise on a daily basis that 'the system' has not been made to accommodate my existence (gendered toilets, rigid and exclusive bureaucracy, lack of representation in media, etc.). Being different or part of a marginalised group has a way of bringing out the bugs - bugs that remain invisible for those who fit in with the norm. Whilst I am blessed with many supportive and kind people in my life, I keep on running into those that just can't see my issues with society. Well, here is an example of an (unintended) micro-aggression that has been bothering me for years. And today I decided to try and do something about it by writing a letter.

Dear Apple,

It is LGBTQIA+ pride season and I’ve noticed that your company has diversity and inclusion high on its agenda. To help you make the world a better place, I would like to draw your attention to a bug in your system that creates a lot of frustration for trans people in their everyday life.

When I came out as trans, I took on a new name. After I tried to change my name on my MacBook Air, the bug manifested. For reasons unknown to me, I have no longer been able to pursue any actions requiring my administrator name and password – for example installing or deinstalling applications. Also, every time I log in, my old name shows up. After doing some online research and posting about this issue on social media, I realised that there are other people out there with similar problems. Customer service has not been able to help us out. Employees at a store can’t seem do any better than help reset the administrator’s name to its previous version.

The point of transitioning and changing one’s name is to move beyond a painful past. This bug is a constant confrontation with that past. It’s not only that I don’t want to see my old name, I also don’t want others to see it as they look over my shoulder because we are working on my laptop together. Moreover, not being able to perform any administrator tasks makes my computer basically dysfunctional. A small bug in my personal life, but a sign of a bug in the larger system that I and Apple are both tied into. It is called heteronormativity.

Forgive this rant, but know that it is fuelled by a slowly and steadily increasing desperation. This bug has caused me many anxiety attacks, including sweating, trembling, and brain shutdown when I really need it. Every time it has manifested over a period of 2 years now, the connection between “Apple” and “what I don’t want the world to be like” grows closer.

You make great promises:

“Across Apple, we’ve strengthened our long-standing commitment to making our company more inclusive and the world more just. Where every great idea can be heard. And everybody belongs.”

Please live up to them do something about this.

Kind regards,

Dr. Ivan Kirchgaesser

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