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xsawyerx (8978)

xsawyerx
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Journal of xsawyerx (8978)

Tuesday August 04, 2009
04:40 AM

Looking Beyond Gender and Sexual Preference

[ #39402 ]

A few days ago (Saturday August 1st), there was a shooting at a GLBT (gay, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders) center. The shooter is probably a religious fanatic[1] that decided to show what religion is really good at, justifying senseless killing[2]. Two dead, ten wounded, and no shooter found so far. The place was famous for being a safe haven for troubled teenagers. Some people suggested it was random shooting. First of all, Tel Aviv [Israel] doesn't have "random shootings". Secondly, it's pretty hard to randomly go down a specific street at a specific time and enter a specific building, go one floor down, open a specific door and blast at ... random people.

This has made me think a bit about the communities we work in. In my private life, I know a lot of homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals and hell, even a few heterosexuals, ya know? In the programming community... they are all (including women) a scarce minority.

Why is it that way? Programming is a puzzle, not a gender-exclusive or "straight-only" thing. It's thinking, exploring, trying stuff, being meticulous and thorough while many a times inventing and implementing technologies. It's exciting and rewarding, and it seems almost reserved to certain people, but not others. I fail to understand why.

Does anyone think it's a matter of how we project our coding world to others and probably, the overall tone computers and IT has towards women? Is it something else? I have no idea, really, but I'm sure sentences like "relieving them of their virginity" (as RMS put it) when talking about [specifically] women who do not use EMACS doesn't help a bit to encourage brilliant minds to work with us and let us work with them.

The only gesture I've noticed on this issue from someone in the common category of programmers was Andy Lester's decision to include a statement in each module/distro he will be releasing, that says everyone (and iterates over different types of people) are welcome to join in the party and help out. It truly gives a fuzzy warm feeling to something that seems so tilted.

I just wish it wasn't tilted at all.

[1] The major disapproval of homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals comes from religion, under the guise of "not natural" or "not what god has intended". The rest are usually people who grow in these dumb environments. In Israel, the religious public (and this should include the religious parties) is very anti-GLBT, which results in numerous threats and even a stabbing.

[2] Sorry if this offends anyone.

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  • because they are about half of the population and so naively I would expect them to be about half the programming population.

    The lack of homosexuals does not bother me unless you can provide information that homosexuals are in programming at disproportionately low rates compared to their incidence [wikipedia.org] in the general population. Given that homosexuals, transgenders, etc tend to cluster, a large fraction of your friends may fall in those groups, but unless you can convince me that under 1-2% of programmers are g

    • Even though I started with the GLTB piece, I guess my main concern is the involvement of women. As you put it, the percentage of bisexuals, homosexuals and transgenders in a society is a relative small fraction which could explain not noticing that fraction in programming communities. Also, there's the whole "not going around asking people for their sexual orientation" which I couldn't agree more on.

      I was surprised to hear that there's a share of homophobes in the Perl community. I don't know a lot of peopl

  • Does anyone think it's a matter of how we project our coding world to others and probably, the overall tone computers and IT has towards women? Is it something else?

    What "overall tone"?

    Maybe it's just we who are stupid to spend our precious time alive sitting in front of a flat screen tapping on plastic thinking about puzzles? (Or puzzling over WTF the puzzle is not working as it should..)

    And, sorry, I can't resist...

    It's thinking, exploring, trying stuff, being matriculate and thorough

    I think you mean

    • I'm not sure if there were any insinuated insults (hell, maybe obvious ones) I missed, so I might actually reply to stuff I shouldn't (because they're suppose to be insults).

      • Overall tone of "this is where the boys play" or something like that. The recent stream of lectures that make women feel outsiders (there were a lot of discussions on them lately, I hope you caught some and know what I'm talking about) are a good example of how we're setting that tone.
      • Yes, I think of programming as puzzles. I find