People keep mentioning gay travellers; someone even said to shut up
and not flaunt it and the gays will be fine. Besides that being very,
very, very offensive... (ask any gay person what their feelings are
when someone says they are "flaunting" their orientation, it is an
I realize that GLB people can remain celibate while in Egypt and they
are likely to be fine. The fact that they may be safer pretending to
be something they are not is a bit disconcerting, but that is not my
My primary concern is the safety of potential transgendered and
transsexual conference attendees.
Someone earlier asked me if I have a study about the number of people
who will or who will not attend Wikimania due to such concerns...
well... we have voluntary listings and we have userboxes for gay,
lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Wikimedians. My guess is that
there will be few to no transgendered and transsexual attendees, not
because there are no T people who wish to attend but because there are
not many T people who feel comfortable in El Iskandariyyah.
I'm not naming names here because it is their own business, but I do
know of several prominent T Wikimedians and I have seen in blog
comments and the like that they are not planning to go because they
fear for their safety. That we have a whole demographic of people who
are not going to go because they fear for their safety is appalling to
me. What is even more appalling is that really, nobody seems to care.
Lots of you have said you have had LGBT/GLBT friends go to Egypt and be fine.
My guess is that your friends have only been gay, lesbian, and
bisexual... have you had trans friends go to Egypt and say they felt
safe there? I think I already know the answer.
On 11/10/2007, Mark Ryan <ultrablue(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On 11/10/2007, Ray Saintonge
He should say whatever he damn well wants to say.
Making a big fuss
that prejudges what he is going to say could be more damaging than his
actually saying it. That would bring on undue attention. Getting
approval from the authorities for a speech against censorship strikes me
as somewhat antithetical. I don't know the circumstances of the
investigative journalists you mention, but there is more to
investigation than simply giving a speech to a gathering of mostly
foreigners. Arresting Jimbo for giving such a speech or out of
anticipation of such a speech would likely be counterproductive for the
Egyptian, given the reverberation that would follow in the blogosphere.
Jimbo is a well-seasoned traveller. I'm sure that he knows how to weigh
the options for his personal safety..
I was only making a suggestion based upon what I have read in relation
to Egypt's actions in relation to this sort of thing. I believe it
would be in bad conscience not to pass on information like that which
comes to my attention. Would you not agree? Or would you keep it to
yourself? I'm confused.
The response to the people complaining about the anti-GLBT atmosphere
in Egypt has been generally "gay people are fine, so long as you don't
flaunt it; this is not a political event, it's a wiki event, so don't
come here with a view to gay rights campaigning and you'll be
But then along come Florence and Jimbo and tell us that it *is* a
political event, that it was chosen because it can be used to campaign
for human rights in Egypt; that it can bring positive change to the
people of Egypt. Assuming that GLBT rights is included under the broad
heading of "human rights", then where does that leave us? With a
conference that is within that political, activist-zone which
apparently isn't such a safe topic area, according to Human Rights
Watch and the Alexandria Bid Team ("You will be in risk however if you
try to hold a gay rights session").
Make of it all what you will; I just assumed that the logical strategy
now that Wikimania is going to be in Alexandria would be to "shut up
and smile", and not do anything inflammatory during the course of the
conference. The last thing we want is Wikimedians detained or hurt.
foundation-l mailing list
Refije dirije lanmè yo paske nou posede pwòp bato.