[Foundation-l] Reply to Mark

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 21:07:56 UTC 2008

I have to agree, it seems a broad net is being cast here for trolls.

Saying that Egypt may be / is unsafe for LGBTQQA populations is not
trolling. Saying it over and over is not necessarily trolling if one
genuinely feels one is being ignored. If you feel your voice is being
heard, but you say it over and over anyhow, that would certainly be
trolling after a point, but I am going to assume good faith (although
in real life, I often see my fellow gay men provoke drama seemingly on
purpose, we are all Wikimedians and I would have to hope that we would
adhere to a higher standard of conduct here), and guess that people
who repeat themselves and their arguments are feeling that they have
not been heard.

As citizens of our countries, LGBTQ people (not Questioning or Allies,
at least not usually I would think) are used to being treated like
second-class citizens in many ways. What ways, depends on the country:

1 (worst) In <s>some</s>many countries, those of us who are sexually
active, whether or not it is within a committed relationship, are
actively or passively sought out and imprisioned or put to death by
the very governments that are supposed to protect our rights.
2 In <s>some</s>most countries, including those with some of the
highest rates of HIV and STIs in the entire world, health programs and
promotions pretend that we do not exist. This is not only
irresponsible in a public health arena where bisexual men who are
active MSMs may, have, and will continue to spread infection to women
and the "heterosexual community", but it is against the rights of the
LGBTQ population to receive equal treatment by their governments.
3 In almost every country on this planet, it is legal for our
employers to fire us, and for prospective employers to decide not to
hire us because of our sexual orientation or gender identity. Many
people assume that this would apply mostly to people who are
"obvious", or who "shout it out", but even people who are careful and
discreet may be, have been, and will be fired over simple rumors with
no legal or other recourse.
4 Only a handful of countries worldwide allow same-sex couples to get
the same benefits (tax breaks, insurance coverage, hospital visitation
rights, coparenting, property rights) as opposite-sex couples. That we
should be able to marry any one legal adult we want, with full
informed consent from both parties, is a fundamental human right.
5 In many countries, we can be imprisoned for perceived behaviors such
as a glance, hitting on someone, or flirting, although this is rarely
written into the legal code.
6 In many countries, the majority heterosexual community has formed
mobs and committed various acts of violence against members of our
communities while the government turns a blind eye or even encourages
it. Again, public safety should cover all individuals, not just
heterosexual and cisgendered individuals. Public safety is a basic
right that governments are to provide to all citizens on an equal
basis, as much as possible.
7 Our rights have only universally been protected historically in
communities where we form the majority or a very significantly large
minority, such as the American state of Vermont, the cities of West
Hollywood, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, West Palm Beach, and the
Québecois city of Montréal.

Now, in this organization, the Wikimedia foundation, we have large
numbers. We are significant numerically, not just as human beings. If
you go to the page on Meta that lists which Wikimedians are GLBTQQA,
you will find that some of your most respected Wikimedians are gay,
lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, and allied.

These people have had employment positions within the Foundation
itself, if there haven't been any on the board.

I am not going to name names as I personally believe that to be
disrespectful even though we are talking about "out" people here, I
will leave it to you to check for yourself who our Queer Wikimedians
are, or for them to come out of the woodwork to discuss it here.

Here, Gatto Nero, one of the most respected Italian Wikimedians, has
come forward to stand up for our rights. I have found many people in
this thread who said they were gay, that I didn't know to be gay.

It has come as a shock to us that such a decision as the one about the
location of this Wikimania could be passed down with such little
consideration of our safety.

As I have said, this seems unlikely to change now, and as we say in my
family there is no use crying over spilt milk.

That does not mean that we can't have a useful dialogue. In fact, that
is something we MUST do if we want to keep the respect of our GLBTQQA
Wikimedians (myself included, and I would hope that most Wikimedians
include themselves in the Allies category represented by the "A" - it
is important to recognize that statistically, nearly every person on
this planet has a friend or family member who is attracted primarily
to same-gendered individuals, no matter what culture they belong to).

The dialog should use an outline something like this:

1) Is Al-Iskandariyya safe for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered,
queer, questioning, and allied Wikimedians?
a) Will they be safe if they "don't flaunt it"?
i) Is the suggestion that they are flaunting it disrespectful? (answer is yes)
ii) Is it reasonable to ask that people pretend to be someone they are
not so that they may attend this conference?
b) How can we ensure that GLBTQQA participants are safe, happy, and
allowed to be themselves in the conference and in the city?
i) Are there any behaviors in which they will be unable to engage that
they could reasonably be allowed to engage in in their home countries
related to their sexual orientation?
ii) What are some possible warnings that should be circulated to
GLBTQQA individuals who plan on attending?
2) What are some issues with the planning process that we must address
before next year?
a) Planning process problems and solutions
b) Selection process problems and solutions
3) How can we make sure that GLBTQQA Wikimedians are not just
"tolerated", but accepted and welcomed with open arms, and protected
as they deserve as human beings at conferences, and all other
Wikimedia-related events and in every Wikimedia arena?
4) Review who within our organization identifies as other than
heterosexual and cisgendered, and what the probable consequences would
be if we were to lose them from the organization. This would be to
demonstrate that GLBTQQA Wikimedians form a very important part of
this organization and that we cannot operate reasonably without them
on any level.
5) How do GLBTQQA persons relate to our mission of knowledge? How are
the fundamental rights to knowledge different from and similar to the
fundamental rights to being ourselves?
a) The right to knowledge differs from the right to self expression
and the right to safety and liberty...
b) The rights are similar in that...
6) How are the struggles of the WMF for disemination of knowledge
similar to the struggles of GLBTQQA individuals and groups around the
world for recognition as human beings, as well as for the struggles of
other subordinate groups around the world for similar recognition
(women in patriarchal societies, African Americans in the US, Ainu in
Northern Japan, minorities in Spain, pretos in Brazil, Copts in
post-Conquest Egypt, Aboriginal Australians in Australia... one from
each continent there)
7) Would it be a good idea to have some sort of GLBTQQA advisory
committee within the framework of the foundation? Even having a single
individual who identifies as LGBTQ to be able to observe all
foundation decisions and to comment when they feel the discussion is
relevant to our community would be sufficient. If we do this, similar
problems could be avoided in the future.


On 27/02/2008, Gatto Nero <gattonero at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 2:13 PM, Michael Bimmler <mbimmler at gmail.com> wrote:
>  >  >  I'll repeat it again: is this respect?
>  >  >  The answer is "no".
>  >  >
>  >  >  Wikimedia, freedom of opinion? Nope: freedom to have the Board's
>  >  >  opinion (it seems).
>  >
>  >  This is a baseless insinuation.
> This is a fact. Some of us expressed some concerns.
>  We've been defined:
>  * troll
>  * illogic
>  Just to repeat the first two adjectives we've been called. All has
>  been said is: "If you have problem, just don't come".
>  And then moderation (without telling it before, if I remember).
>  It's a baseless insinuation? I think it's a sad picture.
>  >  Foundation-l is a open forum, where everyone, including the board and
>  >  its critics can utter their opinion.
> Until they're not "illogic" or "troll" (translation: every time they
>  have a different or problematic opinion).
>  >  Our job is to moderate the
>  >  discussion when it gets offtopic or incivil.
> The problem is the definition of "incivil". It's a "Whatever" as an
>  answer to some concerns "incivility"? I think so.
>  But maybe I'm talking too much,
> Gatto Nero
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Refije dirije lanmè yo paske nou posede pwòp bato.

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