Any consensual activity allowed, even at a professional event?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

As a point of comparison, if a straight married couple shows up at a convention, and has a public and messy fight, they should assume that will affect how people think of them in the future. What’s odd is that this should be totally okay, even at a professional event:

Larry Garfield, a Drupal core contributor, was demoted and no-platformed from all Drupal events, ostensibly due to his participation in “Gor”, a sci-fi subculture which features consensual slavery (it’s not real slavery, of course—the “slave” can stop at any time).

The triggering incident was when he brought his alleged girlfriend to a conference; she was autistic and awkwardness of the situation (she refused to talk to anyone there, for example) made other people around her feel very uncomfortable (especially those who knew Larry practiced “Gor”), which led to complaints and the eventual cascade of actions against Larry Garfield.

A friend of mine from Drupal asked me to support his effort to defend Larry by collecting confessions from people with unusual habits or views. I helped him early on, mainly by calling out false accusations and rhetoric on Twitter or copyediting for him.

I ceased my involvement at some point when it became clear that Drupal management (who had been caught changing their story several times and omitting inconvenient facts) was not going to give an official explanation for the demoting and no-platforming (the above picture was painstakingly pieced together over months by many people and one interview with the alleged girlfriend).

The Drupal Confessions “team” (an ad hoc chat room filled with disgruntled Drupal developers) had a shared Twitter account that many posted from. Eventually that become a problem for them because the account started attacking people. Actually, I can’t remember if it was that account or a different one, eventually there were 3-4 different Twitter accounts all posting Drupal drama and increasingly weird things like pictures of Larry with horns and creepy dancing videos.

I’m open to being persuaded otherwise, but my view is that all legal consensual behavior between adults should be accepted and not judged, and that includes Gor. I think this is true even when the master/slave relationship is male/female (as it typically is in Gor). Additionally, the ways in which Larry’s alleged girlfriend were treated were considered ableist by some; indeed, I had several autistic friends who were extremely disturbed by what people were saying about this woman.

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