Facing the unlikely-but-perhaps-possible emotion
In my lightning talk at the end of YAPC, I had mentioned a few details about roommates I've had. This included weird/funny/surprising/scary details.
I'd first like to express (and I tried doing it in the lightning talk even though I was running out of time doing two talks in under 5 minutes) that these are people I respect, and had pleasure meeting and spending time with. Please do not assume for one second that if I could do it again I would do it differently. I wouldn't.
More importantly, I was told that perhaps one of my comments (relating to the sexual preference of a person) might have came off not as I intended. I've asked a few people about that and no one said they misunderstood. However, for the record, I must make this clear: I have no business whatsoever to declare one sexual preference or another as anything other than that person's choice. That is, I would like to say that any sexual preference is great, but it's none of my fucking business who or what you are attracted to. It is your decision and yours alone. There is no "good" or "bad", there is only your decision. I always support people's rights (in this case the LGBT community), but I also know you don't need (and shouldn't wait) for anyone approval for whatever lifestyle you have.
My comment was to stress the amusement of the puzzlement of a person who cannot understand (though not because they're ignorant or a bad person) how far people can go while hiding their true feelings. It's sad, but personally I can still chuckle at it sometimes. A person who had created an entire life while wanting something else, and a person on the sidelines clearly not understand how that goes. "What do you mean you're a lesbian? We have 6 kids!" - it just made me laugh... :)
I hope I hadn't hurt anyone in this regard, and if I did, I do honestly and truly apologize. No one had told me this was taken differently, but I'm not assuming people who did will step up, so I'm offering in advance my explanation and heart-felt apologies.
Also, on a side-note that I did want to make at the conference but hadn't gotten the chance: as an extending of Schwern's keynote, you should read the geek-feminist wikia timeline of incidents. It takes a pretty long time (I know since I've read the whole thing right before coming to YAPC::NA) but it's worth it. In the words of Schwern: "depressing, isn't it?" - yes, it is, but I think we cannot truly understand how often and how easily we make others feel uncomfortable or out-right offended about their gender without listening to them and seeing what people have done. This extends to the understand of racial bias as well, and our misunderstanding and complete oversight of it.
These are not "a bunch of girls bitching" - but rather your colleagues and peers trying to say "you're pushing me out! Oh, you want examples? Sure! Here they are." - note these examples, listen to your peers and try to understand what they're saying.
Thanks to Schwern for the keynote and to the GeekFeminist Wikia contributors.
For the record, I understood what you meant. Great meeting you finally and I hope to see you again sometime soon! Until then happy Perling.
Thanks Joel, happy to hear it.
It was good meeting you too, after all this net-time, and we will definitely see each other again!
Thanks for the XS talk! It was interesting and more importantly: understandable. :)
You're a good speaker.
For those who didn't see it, he is talking about this talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A6ZRZj_ME4&list=PLE3F888A650339DDF&index=24&feature=plpp_video
It is thoughtful and kind for you to clarify!
I too understood what you meant.
It is a terrible tragedy when a family is broken apart, regardless of the gender identities involved, especially when six other people (children, whether minors or adults) are so obviously intimately affected. I would call such a decision selfish and black-hearted on its face. Is there no commitment any more? Honor? Duty? So sad.
Sometimes all one can do is laugh along with the hurt person who's been left behind, to ease the pain and console in a light-hearted but sincere way. Sounds like that's what he was inviting you to do, and how it was taken, so I say good for you. Enjoyed your lightning talk.
Thanks for taking the time to respond.
I did note later on to Michael Schwern that Donald had let me film some of his story. He was quite the celebrity in Madison and had various articles written about him and his past and what he had to overcome with time. He showed me some of these articles and I've taken pictures of them but decided not to include them in the talk, out of respect. I do believe he had no problem with me sharing some of the details. He was very open about it.
I want to emphasize that I can't see myself criticizing his ex-wife. Living a life that you don't feel comfortable with (especially when it comes to your sexual preference which is a crucial part of your life and who you are) is something I personally can only imagine how hard it might be.
My meager opinion is that you should not stay in a life that isn't yours, where you aren't who you are. This means breaking homes sometimes, but being true. This isn't about flexibility (such as not eating meat because your significant other has - or you have - a problem with it, or quit smoking even though you enjoy it) but a complete existential suicide, and I'd be hard-pressed to support it for anyone.
Sometimes it leads to blossom, sometimes to decay. We can't always control it, nor am I sure we should try.
I did my best to lend a supportive ear to Don, and I enjoyed speaking to him and listening to him. He's a fascinating man. I wish a good life for him, his ex-wife and all of his children.
Re "timeline of incidents". I especially like that a Debian leaders response that joining to Debian developers group is based only on meritocracy was considered an incident. I'd say that the original question (by female) that included statement that Debian OS is scarcely suitable for females is rather sexist.