Pride Essay for Amethyst community

Published on Jun 6th 2019 by Fletcher Haynes

There’s been some contention about supporting Pride month in the Amethyst community, and I want to address a few topics I’ve heard brought up.

I’m going to preface this by saying I’m super gay. I even have a tea cabinet!

Super Gay!

Fear of Speaking

A couple people have mentioned they don’t feel safe voicing a minority opinion, such as saying that we shouldn’t support Pride month. 

Please take this heart: If you follow the code of conduct, you will not be banned.

Your opinion may be in the minority, but honest questions and concerns will be treated with respect. You may be asked to wait for one of us that is best able to answer your question to get online to address it, and you may not get the answer and/or outcome you want, but you won’t be ignored, denigrated, or banned.

Will it affect your relationships with team members? Probably. Welcome to our world. =P

We Are Not Robots

As programmers, we like to call ourselves engineers (even though most of the shit we write is broken in some way or another), we like to think we’re emotionless robots driven solely by logic (and yet tabs vs spaces can shatter relationships), but we aren’t. We are a group, made up of individuals, with our own identities and feelings.

It is not possible for a human to ignore all ideological aspects of their work. The software development community and gaming community are rife with beliefs and attitudes that have actively killed and harmed people. We all participate in that community, and everything we do in that community ties into that.

Rejected a PR by a woman for not being good enough, then accepted a shittier version written by a man? You just supported an ideology.

Made a joke about someone’s furry avatar on GitHub when they reported a bug? You just supported an ideology.

The community we try to foster is one where people are not harmed. No one is harmed by a Pride month, or by our logo suddenly being a rainbow. You may personally dislike it, but you are free to ignore it.

(If you can make a data-driven argument on how Pride month hurts someone personally, I’d love to hear it)

Fairness

Another argument I’ve heard is that one group shouldn’t be favored over another. That is, if we support Pride month, we have to support every other minority group.

This is a false choice, and speaks to the polarizing nature of the Internet. Humans can only care about so much; our emotional bandwidth is limited. No person is obligated to support any cause. There is no ethical or legal requirement that if you support Group A, you suddenly have to support every other group.

As a community, we have chosen causes we want to support. If someone in Amethyst wants to support Black History month, or National Hispanic-Latino Heritage month, we can do that. 

Pride is one that is relevant to a lot of us in the Rust and Amethyst communities, because a lot of us have found a home here, and feel safe (thanks, borrowck!) in this corner of the Internet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t, or won’t, support other causes.

Cis Het Men

(Non-CHMs can skip this part)

Sometimes we have a contentious relationship with ya’ll. So let me start off by saying that sometimes the LGBTQ community is pretty hard on you. We often have an unrealistic expectation that you understand the difficulties and complexities of our lives, and when you ask well-meaning questions, or even questions rooted in a lack of knowledge, we tear into you, demonize you, and ostracize you.

This is not ok. It is not how to gain allies in you, and it isn’t how we’ll tear down the misconceptions and stereotypes that fuel a lot of these interactions.

Please understand that a lot of us in the LGBTQ community suffer from question exhaustion. Imagine being bombarded every day with the same questions: who’s the man in your relationship? what do your genitals look like? how do you even have sex? how do you have children? Oh, fuck, are you in love with me? How do you shower in gym class?

A lot of us feel obligated to try to answer them, and we overestimate our capacity to do so for the day. No one likes being treated like a science experiment, so please be a little patient if we get snappy.

Your Masculinity is not Threatened

[Author's Addition: Not all Cis Het Men are bad people, and not all have their masculinity threatened by fabulosity. If you are one of those, you can skip this part.]

When June rolls around and cis het males start complaining, I will usually dig into why with some people. Inevitably, it almost always boils down to personal distaste for “gay shit”, which is usually code for “I’m not super secure in my identity”.

You’re fine.

To paraphrase Chris Kluwe: watching a Pride Parade isn’t going to make you start lusting after your best same-sex friend. If anything, it might give you a better fashion sense.

A Challenge

The last thing I’m going to address is the sentiment that Pride month isn’t needed anymore. Rather than waste paragraphs explaining why this is not true, here’s a challenge for you dudes that say this:

Live as a transgender woman for a month.

I promise you, you will understand the need for it by the end.

Regards,

Fletcher

Additional Reading

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/obituaries/alan-turing-overlooked.html