Diversity and Inclusion, Debian Redux

So, today at Cambridge MiniDebConf, I was scheduled to do a Birds of a Feather (BoF) about Diversity and Inclusion within Debian. I was expecting a handful of people in the breakout room. Instead it was a full blown workshop in the lecture theatre with me nominally facilitating. It went far, far better than I hoped (although a couple of other and myself people had to wrench us back on topic a few times).
There were lots of good ideas, and productive friendly debate (although we were pretty much all coming from the same ball park). There are three points I have taken away from it (others may have different views):
  1. We are damned good at Inclusion, but have a long way to go on the Diversity (which is a problem of the entire tech sector).
  2. Debian is a social project as well as a technical one – our immediately accessible documentation does not reflect this.
  3. We are currently too reactive and passive when it comes to social issues and getting people involved. It is essential that we become more proactive.

Combined with the recent Diversity drive from Debconf 2016, I really believe we can do this. Thank-you all you who attended, contributed, and approached me afterwards.

Edit: Video here – Debian Diversity and Inclusion Workshop

Edit Edit: video link fixed.

Differences bring us together

On the 13th of May this year, I legally became Lucy Wayland. I’d been living as a woman full time a couple of months before that, but that is when two dear friends witnessed my name change. I am going to post about the whole experience when it is finally into the completion zone.

However, this last weekend just gone, I was helping out with the Cambridge (UK) MiniDebConf. I was mostly gophering and front-desk-helpering, with side orders of beverages, so I missed most of the talks. Which is not the point.

I met nearly everybody at the conference. Many of them knew me as Jon, a goateed man. I was there as Lucy, a woman. And nobody batted an eyelid.

  • Not a single person used my old name
  • Not a single person mis-gendered me
  • Not a single person referred to my transition

The only time I had to produce my Deed Poll out was for keysigning, as I still do not have photo ID with my new name on. I proffered it along with my passport, so there was no embarrassment.

I know other people within Debian have gone through the same process. However, I just have to say how wonderful it is, to be accepted just that way.

And hence the title of my article. Our differences bring us together. So many different people from so many different cultures came together, wanted to create, and my change of gender was just irrelevant.

And that’s how it should be.