TMI About me

Submitted by Larry on 22 March 2017 - 4:49pm

Recently, I've become aware of a whisper campaign going around the Drupal world, discussing details about my personal life. I do not know where it started or who all has been part of it. However, it's become apparent that it's not going to settle down, and has now had a major, direct impact on me and my professional career. Only a few people have bothered to speak to me directly, but there's been enough back-chatter that I feel I have no choice but to clarify some private details about me, in public, and address the actions of some fellow members of the Drupal community.

Yep, this is one of those "self-outing" posts. I'm sorry that they still need to exist.

About Drupal

One of the things I've always liked about the Drupal community is its openness to diversity. The tech world in general has a well-documented problem with diversity and Drupal is by no means immune to that, but the Drupal community at least makes a strong effort to buck that trend, very much to its credit and benefit.

There are gays and lesbians in Drupal, many of whom are open and out about it. There are transgender people involved in Drupal. If event attendance is a guide the community is about 20% women, far lower than most would like but far higher than is typical for Open Source projects. There are people who are polyamorous and people who are asexual. There are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, and probably a few others I've not met personally yet. While the community as a whole definitely skews liberal, I know there are plenty of people far to the right of me politically on various topics, as well as far to the left.

That eclectic background of our community is an asset. Every study shows that teams of mixed backgrounds, along many axes, do better. Even if that mixed environment makes people a bit uncomfortable at times, that's a benefit. There's even a session on the topic at DrupalCon Baltimore (that you should all go to).

In short, "ignorance", "prejudice", and "bigotry" are words I never thought I would apply to Drupal.

What I don't bring to work

While western culture has grown dramatically more tolerant of diverse practices and lifestyles in the past few decades, there is still much work to be done. In particular, there is still an enormous stigma around those who practice alternative sexuality lifestyles, such as the BDSM community, Leather community, and so on. Why there is still so much bigotry about what consenting adults do in their private lives I don't know (and speculating on that would be off topic at this time), but it's definitely prevalent. Even the mention of practicing a Dominant/submissive relationship, despite being consensual and healthy, can be enough for over-active courts to take children away from their parents. The mere mention of an unequal power dynamic, or finding enjoyment in mixing pain and pleasure, makes people assume it must be abusive, despite there being no scientific evidence to back that up at all, and at least some interest in unconventional sexuality is extremely prevalent. That's why I generally avoid talking about my personal life with people I know professionally, and until now none of my employers have been aware of any of this.

Yes, I am one of those people.

There are as many variations on "hierarchical relationships" (the generic, academic name) as there are people in them, and there are tens of thousands of people in them. The level of in-relationship inequality varies, as does the terminology used. Sometimes they're limited to certain times or places, while other relationship dynamics are all-encompassing and part and parcel of someone's life and relationship. Some people like being in control in a relationship, while others like someone else having control.

The broadest terms are Dominant and submissive (or Dom/sub, or D/s), but other terms used include Daddy and little (for those who enjoy roleplaying with age), Goddess and servant, Sir and sub, or Master and slave (or M/s), depending on the couple and their emotional approach. Despite the terminology being similar to the (rightly) illegal practice of treating people as legal property, that is not even remotely how people and communities involved in such relationship choices act. First and foremost, such relationships must always be based on informed, active consent.

I am involved in two such communities, specifically the BDSM community and the Gorean (Gor) community. The former is by far the larger of the two and more varied, although I spend more of my time and activity in the Gorean community. It's a small community, and sadly much of what is found online about it is utter crap, just as most in the BDSM community find the "50 Shades" representation of BDSM to be harmfully misleading. The Gorean subculture is inspired by a science-fiction book series written from the 1960s onward to today, and predicated on a strong sense of personal honor, integrity, and community. It also practices consensual Master/slave relationships, and has a strong gender bias toward male-Dom/female-sub relationships, but that is not the cornerstone of Gorean culture. There are other groups that are biased the other way, or have no gender bias. There are even groups in Chicago (where I live) that have regular "fem-dom" parties. To each their own.

The idea of consenting to give your significant other outsized control over your life may seem strange or uncomfortable to some. That's fine; it's not for everyone, nor does anyone claim it is, nor should anyone ever be forced into such a relationship. It may seem like it flies in the face of the progress that has been made in recent decades in allowing women to choose their own path in life rather than being forced into a box, a change that is still a struggle and a work-in-progress. But that's the whole point: Everyone, men and women, should be able to choose the life, role, and relationships they prefer and that they find fulfilling. If someone finds a life, role, or relationship fulfilling that you do not, who are we to tell them they're wrong, whatever it is? If being submissive (or dominant) in a relationship is what makes someone happy, then as long as it's consensual what right does anyone else have to tell them no?

Yes, I have been involved in several consensual Master/slave relationships with women. I will continue to do so, but only with those who are also interested in such relationships. I discuss the social and personal dynamics of such relationships on private forums set up for people with similar interests. I know many people who are happily coupled in such relationships (Male/female, Female/male, Male/male, Female/female, and other combinations), many of them married with kids who are perfectly well-adjusted.

I also have adopted a few minor "cultural quirks" derived from the Gorean novels, as have many (but by no means all) Goreans. For instance, I often applaud single-handed, which is a cultural quirk from the book series, or say "be well" or "I wish you well" to end a conversation. These are aspects of a culture, albeit a small one, that harm no one. They're about as significant as showing a Vulcan salute and saying "Live long and prosper".

Do such D/s relationships offer a potential for abuse? Certainly, yes. But potential is not actual. Unfortunately, any intimate relationship can be abused by malicious people. It's disgraceful and abhorrent that so many women are forced to flee abusive relationships in this day and age, and I’m speaking entirely outside the context the D/s or Gorean communities. If anything, the D/s and Gorean community in general places a heavy emphasis on explicit, active, informed consent and constant communication precisely to help avoid abusive situations. The few studies that have been done have found that people involved in BDSM or D/s are not any more likely to have been in abusive situations than the general public; they're just more honest about it with themselves and each other, which is something I appreciate as someone who has been a victim of an abusive relationship.

Yes, that's right. My very first romantic relationship was, in hindsight, emotionally abusive, with me on the receiving end. I am acutely aware of what that's like. It took me years to recover. I would not wish that on anyone, which is why I frequently work to help those I am intimate with to be stronger and more self-aware people so that they can recognize and avoid such situations. I've even worked to pull friends out of abusive relationships when they needed someone to have their back.

Recent events

Despite the total lack of evidence that alternative lifestyle cultures offer any harm to anyone, there is still a great deal of prejudice and bigotry regarding it. It is for that reason that I rarely discuss my personal life, and am generally not "out" in the Drupal community, although there are a handful of people I have opened up to over the past decade when I felt safe. I even know a handful of people in Drupal who are also interested in unconventional relationships or sexuality, who are also not "out" about it (for, seemingly, very good reasons).

Nonetheless, in recent months knowledge of my personal life has "leaked", and turned into a FUD campaign against me that has now reached Drupal's leadership. Therefore, I feel I have no alternative but to lay out who and what I am, and express my utter disgust with the way many in this community have behaved toward me .

From what I've been able to piece together, it seems that last October someone, I do not know who, stumbled across my profile on a private, registration-required website for alternative-lifestyle people, with some 5 million members, on which they apparently had an account as well. They were Offended(tm) and took screenshots of a post I'd made 7 years ago at a D/s friends' wedding I attended, to pass around and show what a terrible person I am. It should be noted that such behavior is a direct violation of that site's Terms of Service (duh).

Eventually that information made it to the Community Working Group (CWG), who concluded "there was no code of conduct violation present for [them] to take any action on". While it should have stopped there, the gossip campaign continued (apparently with even more excerpts of stuff I'd written) and the CWG informed me of the situation, in broad strokes. I made it clear that if anyone wanted to speak to me privately to better understand my personal life I was open to doing so.

The only person who did so was Klaus Purer, who seems to have set himself up as the primary antagonist. Klaus pulled me aside to talk at Drupal Iron Camp in Prague, although by "talk" he apparently meant berate me and stumble over declarations of how terrible a person I am without any details or any apparent desire to ask me questions or hear me say anything. He ended the conversation by stating that he was going to "distance himself from me", and I ended it with an offer of a handshake.

It didn't end there, though. Apparently, Klaus took it upon himself to sign up for the site for the express purpose of going spelunking through my posting history to find the worst-sounding things he could, out of context. (Once again, a gross violation of that site's Terms of Service, not to mention my privacy.) Apparently he also had someone forward him excerpts from my profile on a dating site, too. Since the CWG still held that I had never violated the Code of Conduct they recommended that he contact me to "work it out between yourselves", which he did.

Klaus and I had a single Google Hangout conversation in January, although again "conversation" is a generous word. It's hard to call an exchange a conversation when it begins with one party berating the other for their private life, calling them an abuser (of whom? No one), and demanding that they resign from all positions within Drupal and excommunicate themselves. He strongly implied that he was speaking on behalf of other, anonymous individuals as well. It's also not a "conversation" when Klaus informed me that I need to do so or he will bring in more "others" to help pressure Drupal's leadership to throw me out. I informed him that his statements constituted blackmail, with which he partially agreed.

I do not suffer threats and bullying lightly. I immediately referred the matter back to the CWG, who tried to set up a mediation that consisted of a single conversation with each of Klaus and I and concluded once again that I had in no way violated the Code of Conduct.

Apparently, during this time, Klaus continued to "monitor" my posting on the private forum and share further excerpts from there with the CWG, at least, in a continued effort to get them to kickban me. (See previous statement about their Terms of Service.)

Then on 24 February I got a phone call from Drupal project lead Dries Buytaert. Apparently Klaus was insisting that I be removed from DrupalCon (where I have been a track chair for many years, and was selected as a speaker) before speakers were announced the following Monday (the 27th). It seems Dries and Drupal Association Executive Director Megan Sanicki had been informed of the situation weeks earlier, but neither had reached out to me once about it. Now, in my first contact with Dries, he asked me "to step down from Drupal", including as a Drupal advocate for the PHP community, "in the best interest of the project".

I informed him how impossible that was, given that Drupal has been the cornerstone of my career for the past nearly 12 years. (My work to grow the community in that time, and to build bridges with other communities, and to mentor newcomers in Drupal, and the utter lack of any indication that I had treated anyone with less than dignity and respect didn't seem to be relevant.) Simply abandoning Drupal would be direct material harm to me and my career, not to mention Drupal. (Telling the PHP world "Sorry, I can't say nice things about Drupal anymore, they don't like me" would reflect very poorly on the project and community.) It would also be giving in to bullying and blackmail from another Drupal member.

We talked further, but Dries wouldn't budge on me leaving, including making it clear that it wasn't an option, but an instruction. The conversation ended with Dries saying "think about it, let's talk again, maybe soon", and indicating that he needed "time to process".

I should note that the Drupal Code of Conduct says:

We expect individuals to first try to resolve conflicts between themselves in a constructive manner

Bullying, blackmail, and ultimatums do not constitute a "constructive manner", yet is exactly what I was receiving.

The next communication I received from the Association was an email from Megan on Monday 27 February, informing me that I'd been summarily dismissed from my position as track chair and as a speaker at DrupalCon, "per [my] conversation with Dries".

I do not know if "per my conversation with Dries" means I'm unwelcome in Drupal because of my sex life, I'm unwelcome in Drupal because Dries was afraid Klaus would go public and embarrass the project otherwise, or something else. I have been given no further information than that and still have not been.

I never expected to be subject to prejudice and discrimination in Drupal, least of all from Drupal's leadership. I therefore referred the matter to the Board of Directors, as I didn't think they would approve of discrimination within the community. The Board's only available time to meet was while I was presenting at a conference and thus was unable to attend, instead submitting my case in writing, at length, detailing the same information as I've presented here and then some. They sent me no questions in advance of the meeting. I know nothing of the Board's internal deliberations. I only know that their response came back "The board has voted to affirm Megan’s decision to revoke the session for DrupalCon Baltimore and end the track chair term."

To say I am disappointed in Drupal's leadership is a gross understatement.

Wait, what?

In summary, then, a group of people decided that they didn't like my personal life. They don't approve of Gor, and so feel it appropriate to talk about me behind my back, violate my privacy, threaten me, bully me, and run me out of the project. And they may have succeeded.

Now take that paragraph, replace the word "Gor" with "being gay", and go back in time 15 years. Maybe even 10. Imagine being told that you need to leave Drupal before people find out that you're gay and it embarasses the project.

Now try replacing "Gor" with "Muslims", and think about it today.

Bigotry and prejudice are directly against Drupal's stated values. Against anyone. From the Drupal Code of Conduct:

We expect members of the Drupal community to be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Drupal project and with users of Drupal.

And the DrupalCon Code of Conduct:

Sponsors, volunteers, speakers, attendees, and other participants should strive to treat all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their culture, religion, physical appearance, disability, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

Gor is a culture. D/s is a sexual orientation. No one in this matter has even claimed, much less shown, that I have treated anyone in Drupal or elsewhere with anything less than "dignity and respect".

We will not tolerate bullying or harassment of any member of the Drupal community.

And yet here I am, being bullied, harassed, and excluded because of my personal activities, which I don't even publicize much less advocate for in tech circles.

Does Gorean culture have things to say about sex and gender? Yes it does. You know what else has things to say about sex and gender? All abrahamic religions.

Yet no one would even think to exclude someone from Drupal because they were Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. Some (although certainly not all) practitioners of those religions have cultural traditions and practices that others find distasteful, but no one would tolerate a "religious test" for Drupal participation or Drupal leadership. If someone suggested that certain "religious symbols" from Judaism or Islam were unwelcome at Drupal events there would justifiably be a riot. Hell, I'd join it.

Are we not now already engaged in a cultural and social battle against excluding people because of their religion or culture? Just what side of that fight are you on? (I'm on the "refugees welcome, #NoWallNoBan" side myself.)

And yet here I am, being bullied, harassed, and excluded because of my personal activities, which I don't even publicize much less advocate for in tech circles.

This is not the Drupal I know. The Drupal I know wouldn't excommunicate people because of the books they read or what they do in their private lives. The Drupal I know doesn't force people to bare their personal lives to the world as their only recourse to a gossip and bullying campaign.

The "charges"

So what have I said or done to drive people in Drupal, up to and including the project lead, to try and ostracize me? Putting aside the "he must have deserved it" implications of that way of thinking, here's what's filtered back to me (which is apparently not everything, since not everything the gossip chain has access to has been shared with me).

Larry gave a speech at a wedding saying all women are slaves

False. Seven years ago, friends of mine in the BDSM community were already in a consensual M/s relationship and were getting married, and asked me to officiate a small informal after-event the next day for the power dynamic side of their relationship. Who am I to say no? I worked with them to design a brief ceremony that was meaningful for them, including a speech by me (because this is me; I give great speeches). In it, I referred to the voluntary act of submission they were showing (remember, they just got married the day before) as an act of love.

Several of the other attendees really liked my speech and asked me to post it on my profile, which I did. When posting it on my profile's journal I noted "I do believe that", in reference to the ceremony being an act of love, not of debasement. Which... is true. A healthy D/s relationship (yep, that's a thing) can and should be very loving, caring, and supportive. I have no interest in demeaning or debasing anyone, regardless of the relationship dynamic, and no one else should, either.

It was apparently a screenshot of this post that started all the hullabaloo. Why a private ceremony for two loving people that talks about love and community is offensive to people I cannot fathom. Why a private ceremony posted on a private forum is anyone else's business I do not know. Is some of the language in it rather flowery? Of course. It's a wedding speech! I've also been part of the wedding party for Catholic friends, which had overly flowery language about submission to God, too.

Larry run a Meetup group for Goreans in the Chicago area

... Yes. I run a book club, which meets at a public library that knows the sci-fi book series we're talking about. I also have friends over for dinner from time to time. Why anyone should give a damn is beyond me.

Larry promotes Gorean symbols at Drupal events

If by "promote" you mean "has a few cultural quirks that are meaningful to him derived from the books that inspire his culture", then yes. Try telling a Jew they're not allowed to say "Shalom" at a Drupal event. Imagine what would happen if a Muslim woman was berated for wearing a hijab at DrupalCon (or for not wearing one). You'd get sued even faster than you were fired (and rightly so).

I've been advised that I need to stop... applauding, or telling people to "be well", because somehow that is offensive. True story. What's offensive is the cultural intolerance that even cares, and yes, I do find that statement offensive and discriminatory.

Larry is going to abuse his positions in Drupal to force women to be his slaves

... Because any man with any kind of position is of course going to use it to abuse any woman he's around. Yes, there are people who have abused their positions like that. This line of thinking implies that any man with any power will somehow use it to abuse any woman he's around. That is nonsense. As far as I'm aware there have been no actual complaints about my behavior toward anyone, woman or otherwise, or of any abuse of any kind. Judge me by my actions, not by what some fear without cause that I might do.

In the nine years that I've been a core subsystem maintainer, I have never once been accused of using that position to pressure anyone into, well, anything. That's because I haven't. Frankly the idea that I could leverage my role in Drupal into pressuring people for sexual favors is laughable, even if I wanted to (I don't).

If we let Larry speak at DrupalCon, he could influence others to become Gorean!

I've been speaking at DrupalCon for a decade without that happening, so yeah...

That aside, "if we let a homosexual present at DrupalCon, other people there might catch the gay!"

Really? Are we as a community still at the level of ignorance of "catch gay"? Is that really the discussion we're having? I hope your stomach is turning at that thought, because mine is. The only thing anyone "catches" at DrupalCon is... Drupal. Which is the point.

(And possibly Drupal Flu, but that doesn't discriminate at all.)

Larry is a proponent for the enslavement of women!

Patently absurd and absolutely false. I have never, ever advocated for treating women, as a class, with anything other than dignity and respect. I am a proponent of honorable behavior, strength of character, community building, teaching, explicit clarity and honesty in relationships of all kinds, and of allowing people to practice whatever sort of personal, cultural, romantic, and sexual relationships they like as long as it's consensual. That anyone in Drupal would disagree with that position is disturbing.

The kind you like may not be the kind I like, and vice versa. S'ok. That's the whole diversity thing. I don't judge you or force you into anything you don't want and you return the favor. That's kind of what diversity and tolerance means.

I spent ten years working at one of the most women- and family-friendly companies you can imagine (although again, I never discussed my private life with my employer). Some of the best projects I have worked on, I was the only guy on the team.

I have actively encouraged places I've worked to hire more diversely.

I've been a DrupalCon track chair since 2011. For most of that time I was the global chair for the Core Conversations track, and I'm happy to say that it generally beat-the-average in terms of getting women up on stage. The conference selection team, though, always felt unbalanced, and I pushed hard to get the Drupal Association content lead (Steph El-hajj and after her Amanda Gonser) to select women to be the co-chair on my tracks. (I don't recall if I ever outright threatened to step down if they didn't, but I know I implied it.)

Later on I switched to chairing the PHP track, which has had a challenge getting session submissions from women. My co-chairs and I have debated how to improve that, and have tried to reach out to more women in the community. This is an area we're still working on, or rather were until I was summarily dismissed.

I've informally mentored a number of people in Drupal and elsewhere, but on balance I think I've spent more time mentoring women. That includes actively pushing some to take more risks, be more outspoken, get up on stage and speak, helping them with ideas for presentations when asked, and otherwise doing my best to encourage everyone to take steps to succeed.

These are not the actions of someone who wants to "put women down".

So here we are

I've been working in Drupal for more than a decade, personally and professionally, working to teach, educate, and build bridges. I have treated everyone I've worked with, men and women, with respect as peers and equals. But now because a few people are squeamish about my private sex life and what I say on private forums I am being attacked as an abuser, excluded from the project, and my career actively undermined. These actions have already caused me direct, material, professional harm.

When prejudice, bigotry, and bullying became accepted behavior in Drupal, I don't know. Maybe they aren't, except for a few people. I would like to think so. Unfortunately it takes only a few people to cause massive personal damage.

The only way to combat this sort of coercion and behind-the-scenes abuse is to short-circuit it with transparency; I am left with no alternative but to share my personal life with the world, for I will not slink away into the night just because some bully decides to feed the rumor mill.

So, here I am. This is me. I will not deny or hide who I am or what I do, though I will protect and respect the privacy of those with whom I associate even as mine was not. I am not ashamed of the relationship-styles I prefer, and I reject the idea that there should be any stigma associated with anything consenting adults freely choose to do. I will not back down from my beliefs or my nature because of a few bigots. I am the exact same person I was yesterday, and will continue to be the same person tomorrow, despite what a few bullies may want.

I will continue to do what I do: Write good code; teach others to do so; try to inspire people to do good in the world (technically or otherwise), regardless of their background; and encourage everyone to do the same for others. I will continue to build bridges, help, and teach. Because that is simply who I am.

If all this is far more information than you ever wanted to know about Larry's personal life, well, I agree, and I am sorry that the situation called for this. If you still have questions, then as I have stated since the beginning of this matter I am willing to talk to people one-on-one if they want to better understand where I'm coming from.

But I will not be bullied.

(Comments on this post are allowed but for obvious reasons will be moderated.)

bobmagicii (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 2:36pm

After meeting Larry and listening to him speak about how they were finally making Drupal modern inside, I was finally able to hear the word Drupal without my blood pressure blowing out the roof. Guess I'm back to square one on that front.

has been so influential in modernizing the behemoth that Drupal has become is likely the real reason for the witch hunt when it comes down to it.

It's weird that in 2017 we have to publicly write to justify our sexual and private life. I'm somehow into the lifestyle and I can assure you there's no such thing as respectful and consensual as bdsm. Bdsm is a choice, and I speak from the submissive point of view. In fact I see myself as a slave, and this never affect my everyday life, my social and professional behaviour and the way I interact with people I know.
The only disrespect I see in all the matter is toward Mr. Garfield. Only toward him.
Sorry for my English, I'm Italian.

Chuck (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 2:36pm

Hello Drupal Community,

Reading this post makes me profoundly sad to hear that we have YET ANOTHER abhorrent example of the gross discrimination present in any open community. I am worried, sickened, and completely at a loss as to why so many people believe that it is their "duty" to spread their personal views & beliefs onto the masses. I am also SUPREMELY DISAPPOINTED to hear that Dries is on the WRONG side of things here. In complete violation of the Drupal Community Code of Conduct, of which I believe Dries should be a shining example of. If you can't live by your own standards, how can you as others to?
For many years I have had friends in many alternative lifestyles, co-workers struggling with degrees of comfort in their own sexuality and family members who had to make the difficult decision to tell the world who they really are. Our family has loved and supported them through this, although we got to witness the extreme bigotry that is present in the LGBT community from outside forces. I was so sad to see how many people hated/disrespected/thought less of someone they have never spoken with, someone who is not like them so they must be BAD.
I was hoping to find that the Drupal Community at large had the standard issues, how to get more minority & female developers involved. I have to ask the Drupal Contributors at large, if this is how we treat a Caucasian Affluent Male in the Tech industry, how can anyone on the outside edges of society ever believe that they can find a home here? How can we ask them to get involved, if there is the looming fear that something done for religious or family reasons will be taken incorrectly and used against them. To force them to remove themselves & their contributions from our "inclusive" project just because someone else is uncomfortable, innovation would never happen.
To wrap this up, I believe that anything less that a full public apology delivered at DrupalCon during the keynote by Dries would be damaging to our community. I truly believe that if the Drupal Community, Drupal Association, and Drupal contributors are actually committed to have a "deserve & inclusive" group of users, we need to address this issue head on & absolutely. Leaving any kind of doubt that this type of behavior is acceptable will leave open a door, that we all want firmly shut.
Again, I am sorry to hear that Larry has to go through such a public mess, but let us all learn from it and follow his example. Let us not let someone bully us into submission, but bring to the forefront issues that will help improve our community, one conversation at a time.

Frank (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 2:48pm

This is terrible and outrageous. This is not what the Drupal Community is about and I am very sorry that it is going down like this. I hope they come to their senses and resend their decision and bring back a great contributor.

cosmicdreams (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 3:16pm

I latched onto The Drupal community at a time when I felt like the rest of the world abandoned me. I have been uplifted at how effortless this community has accepted so many and how the emphasis and encouragement is a perpetual force within this community. I am shocked and frightened to know it's limits.

I shouldn't ignore this issue just because no one has objected to me.

@Crell: This is disgusting, and I think you may have an actionable case. Save your emails and telephone logs. Someone (perhaps many someones) needs to be held accountable for an apology, for reinstatement, and to pay monetary damages to you over this. I've never seen anything but great presentations from you, and I admire and value your contributions to our community.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tort

Cordially, Ray Paseur, McLean, VA

LG (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 3:41pm

Thanks for posting, Larry. If you really haven't been accused by any Drupal member of violating the covenant, then I'd like to think there is a way to undo this banishment. However, I'm also aware that institutions have much more liability than individuals in speaking freely on such 'personnel' matters, and so we are likely to only hear your story and not the Drupal Association's. So while I greatly value Larry's work and freedom of private consensual sexual activity, I'd caution those who are incensed and angry to at least consider that there might be something about this matter that you don't know, that might explain the DA's actions. Also,I know nothing about this actual case, but some of those who are angry and incensed would be angry and incensed even if Larry had, say, committed forcible rape upon a Drupal member - because there are many men who actually think rape should be legal, and Larry you did once Tweet in defense of their public spokesperson (Milo Y). That I didn't appreciate. I have spent 20 years of my life supporting and helping heal a disabled woman who was disabled as result of being violently raped by a doctor in hospital as a child. It took her all those 20 years just to basically recover sanity. I would go to jail for murder before I allowed one person to commit legalized rape. That said, I have no problem with your private choices as long as they involve adult, competent partners who are not coerced in any way. I figured out the first time I saw your girlfriend and you together that you were practicing some kind of dom/sub thing. I has a slight inward wish to be sure it was truly mutually consenual, and so I hovered a bit about your girlfriend (who was practicing being mute) and she gave me a smile and a wink that reassured me on that point. At that same conference, you and I interacted a little bit on technical matters and you were more helpful and open than most men I've dealt with in tech - frankly, you were one of the men who acted normal around me rather than like a blowhard know-it-all who I provably knew more than. So Larry and Dries, and all, be well. Thanks anything you can do to improve the state of relations between men and women in the tech industry, because it is blocking our best work when we argue.

I don't recall ever saying anything in support of Milo Y.  I have on occasion called out people responding to hate with hate, because I think that's counter productive.  Perhaps that's what you mean.

Just to make it crystal clear: Rape is a crime. Rape should be a crime. Rape must be a crime. We as a society need to get a hell of a lot better at holding people responsible for that crime.  I also know women who have been raped.  It's... I can't think of an sufficiently negative adjective. :-(

Consent and communication are core to any healthy relationship, whatever its dynamic.  And as long as those are there, I don't see that it's my place to criticize someone else's decisions.  (If they're not, then there's a big problem.)

As to the "girlfriend' you mention, a few people have commented on her.  She's not my girlfriend.  She's an autistic woman who is mute by choice (due to her autism), pathologically shy and introverted, and whose autistic focus (autistics often fixate on a particular topic) was being in a D/s relationship.  The autism is also why she almost never made eye contact.  That meant there were very few people who were able to care for her. I was one of them when her previous living arrangement became untenable (through no fault of her previous housemate), so I took her in and supported her for over 4 years.  Both of the autism therapists I took her to were fully aware of her situation and had no issue with it.  We also learned some basic ASL so that we could communicate better (and often did).  She wanted to learn about Drupal and programming, so I brought her to a few Drupal and PHP events with me at her request.  

None of her visibly unusual behavior was D/s-related.  It was almost entirely autism-related.  I only wish I had been able to do more to help her acclimate to herself and be able to collaborate with others.  (She had only just recently self-diagnosed as autistic when she moved into my house.)

Larry, thanks for your reply and clarifications. I can't recall the tweet on Milo whatever but I think it was criticising people who were trying to stop him from speaking through disruptive protest. I believe many women, myself included, don't often speak up publicly even for their own basic juman rights for the very real fear of being stalked, raped, murdered, or fired from their jobs in tech or other sectors. And then we have this random guy who publicly advocates for wholesale legalized rape to keep women in their place and gets hundreds of thousands of likes from the men around me. He seems to be at best terrorism advocate who gets away with it because apparently there are not many women willing to go all batshit on his a** like would happen if a woman stood up and argued for the similarly terroristic act of arbitrary castration to keep men submissive. So - it is disheartening at best, depressing on average, and terrorizing at worst to see a man I respect and admire and appreciate for his contributions (you) take time to defend that guy's first amendment rights. I do appreciate your words against rape above, and I would hope that women get to decide what rape is rather than men. I'm not wanting to trivialize rape with the edge cases, but rather make sure that all serious cases are considered that. It used to be there was no such thing as drugged rape, marital rape, rape of men, etc. These can all be very serious and damaging over a lifetime and women (and men) need to be allowed to set the boundaries around our own bodies.

On my other errant comment - sorry to have misinterpreted the situation with your roommate. I stand corrected on that matter. Its very kind of you to care for your friend.

I hope that this rift in community can be an opportunity for healing in some way. I really hate the divisions we are experiencing in the tech world. It definitely seems like its grown worse the longer I've been in the industry. I've never seen as many hateful glares from men as I've experienced in the last five years at tech conferences. I just don't get it because the number of murders, rapes, assaults, thefts, and other crimes is statistically way higher in the male to female direction than the other way around. And I doubt any guy has been told at work that his gender should have "never been allowed to vote." I put up with this kind of crap daily, and still work my butt off for my clients and my company. And as long as your beliefs about relationships do not stray into you trying to take away any woman's right to participate fully in our democracy, our economy, and individual autonomy and dignity, I will defend your rights to your own beliefs and practices with a mutually consenting competent of-age partner.

Thanks for your time - I'll get back to work now!

Mike van Riel (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 3:47pm

Larry,

Although we have met only a few times in the past I have always experienced you as someone with your heart in the right place. You have been friendly, patient and gave 200% for Drupal in all your communication. Be it the FIG, conferences or anywhere else.

That this has happened leaves me completely flabbergasted. The witch hunt that has been held is appalling. Your preferences should not be anyone's business as long as you do not harm anyone by them. And as far as I can discern, based on my personal experiences, your interactions in the Drupal community and the PHP community at large, and the information that was spread during this crazy series of events you have done wronged noone.

I personally hope that this situation will at least bring something good by opening up the discussion and give Drupal a chance to grow even more when it comes to diversity. I also hope that those who have violated your privacy are judged for their actions who, if I understand correctly, are in gross violation of the DCOC.

A big hug, Mike

SAM (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 3:49pm

I'm not a member of the Drupal community, but I'm deeply involved in FOSS. One large project I'm involved in has a fair number of people who are also involved in the many flavors of BDSM, though we dare not mention it for fear of the same sort of reaction.
I intimately understand how difficult, and how terrible this is for you. I deeply admire your resolve to stand up and not be bullied. As the TG community starts to get well deserved respect, I sometimes wonder if we're the last group where open discrimination will be tolerated. This post is a milestone in making the answer to that question "no". I thank you for it.
As grateful as I am for this, I am even more appalled that this has made it as far as Dries without anything but the opposite outcome. My respect for him, and for the Drupal community as a whole, has been severely damaged by these events. I hope they make this right. If not, I hope you sue their asses off.

Kinky nerdy queer female geeky BDSM educator here.

I'm not addressing the entire issue; I'm just addressing a fallacy of logic I see in the thread over on Dries' site.
It's common when "X" lifestyle / hobby / pasttime / relationship pattern is combined with sexuality, and is often ignored when it's *not* regarding sexuality.

We may think more clearly about kink vs real life if we first consider this set of analogies:

- Roller coaster riders don't wish to plunge over a rocky cliff to their deaths in a car.
- CLUE players are unlikely to be plotting how to do in Colonel Mustard in the library.
- Watchers of CSI are unlikely to be storing human bodies in freezers.
- Rugby players are not going to war, even if they collect almost as many injuries.
- SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) players are not advocating a return of the monarchy, even if they do pepper conversations with "my lady" a little too often for my (personal) taste.

The games we play are just that -- we take our bents, our thrills, our desires both wholesome and dark, find willing partners and revel in expressing our joy with them. When we join with a community of folks who love the same things, we do experience it as a culture. But this is the important part: How we play is one thing. How we ACT in the real world is another.

Please, non-kinky folks, when you are thinking about this issue, divorce your personal "ick" feeling about BDSM sexuality from the reality of humans interacting with each other.

There's about the same percentage of jerks, abusers and reprehensible bastards in any given community, whether that's professional chefs or perverts. It's important to address sexism, abuse, consent violations and such behaviours in all communities. But don't take consensual sexualities wildly out of context and apply them as if the kinky folks are attempting to play out their dynamics in the workplace / at conventions / in actual real life.

Otherwise you'll have to feel nervous about carpooling to a Drupal convention with that roller-coaster aficionado.

Anonymous Friend (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 4:56pm

I am not a part of the Drupal community…but I live in Chicago, and Larry has been a close friend for over 2 years. During that time, he has shared with me a great deal about his personal beliefs and values - enough for me to generally understand the subtleties of how he personally interprets the Gorean belief system - and how that does (and does not) impact his actions.

Some quick background: I am a strong woman. I am a feminist. I am successful at my job in IT and quite capable of living my independent life. I am ALSO a submissive (it's how I most strongly define my sexual orientation), and I seek out CONSENSUALLY non-equal relationship dynamics. Therefore, given some of the recent backlash, this comment is anonymous.

Larry and I dated for over a year. It didn't work out for us - but that was for reasons common in many failed relationships, not because of a specific clash with "Gorean beliefs." I found him to be an honorable and good man: At NO TIME during the entire relationship did Larry violate or show any indication that he might even want to violate my consent/stated limits. At NO TIME did Larry pressure, push, or manipulate me into doing something I wasn't comfortable with. At NO TIME did Larry undermine my intelligence or career aspirations - in fact he celebrated and encouraged them both. And at NO TIME during or since that relationship have I seen Larry do (or even suspected him of doing) any of those things to other women.

I've read some of the more negative Twitter comments out there, and I would like to remind folks that the Gor novels are hyperbolic - as Larry himself will regularly remind anyone who is in the know (which is kind of all of you now, I guess) - they're a fiction series, after all! In reality, I have understood his interpretation as: SOME (not all) women feel an inherent desire to be service-oriented and to submit in a relationship. And SOME (not all) men feel more fulfilled in a relationship where they dominate a consensually-submitting woman. In what way is that wrong if everyone is informed, consenting, and happy? In what way is that in any way anti-woman?

Personally, I appreciate that there are men out there who will stand for my long fought-for rights to actually CHOOSE how I live my life, rather than be forced into something that doesn't fit me because of current social standards. In my mind, CHOICE is the whole point of feminism. Larry has always shown me that he is someone who holds up EVERY PERSON'S right to choice and legal equality.

I am saddened by what has happened to him in this community that he obviously cares so much about and has devoted so much effort toward building. I hope that those in Drupal will continue to recognize that actions SHOULD speak louder than words.

Anonymous Acqu… (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 7:36pm

In reply to by Anonymous Friend (not verified)

I think you've touched on a very important part of what is happening. The patriarchy wants dominion over women by default. Larry asks the women he is romantic with what they want. He is open and honest about it. The people judging him are terrified by the idea. They want to avoid talking about it because the cultural default is "Men are dominant when they want to be and get to ignore women otherwise." It is very comfortable for patriarchy. If women talk about what they want and need from a relationship it's all downhill for conservative men in power. Kink culture cares about what everyone gets out of the relationship and it's a lot of work.

I think Larry appearing to be "normal" to the people at the top of Drupal and turning out to be kinky feels like a betrayal. They allowed him all the privileges of a vanilla white cis man. But he wasn't vanilla, and when he got called out for it he didn't slink away in shame like he was supposed to. Instead he said, "This is who I am and I like myself." That's a big slap in the face for the establishment.

I cannot help but wonder if this dictatorially imposed exile was motivated by the direct competition between platform.sh and Acquia Cloud: as with any other crime, it establishes motive.

I've tried to adopt the suggestion of others to include crell as a drupal.org profile mentor, hoping at least that measurement of support would go through the roof, but the system's not accepting it so I fear the dire case of condemnation without trial by a jury of peers: peers who, almost without exception, are standing behind Larry.

For the sake of Drupal's longevity I hope this is the last we will ever have to hear of personal and cultural discrimination in any such high profile "open" source project.

O'Brien (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 5:19pm

I admire the bravery in this post. We all have our quirks, ways in which we're different, things we want to keep private.

To be spied upon, campaigned against and forced into open is disgraceful. No doubt instigated by people who have plenty in their lives they'd like to keep private and not be judged upon.

The Drupal ThoughtPol will write their CoCs and opine about diversity, tolerance and equality. But if you're too diverse, there's no tolerance or equality just ostracism.

Earl (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 5:42pm

I've greatly admired Larry's technical writing, talks, and other contributions since getting into Drupal a couple of years ago. And now I'm just blown away by this very personal revelation. He has been treated horribly, for which I am so very sad. I hope that Dries et al will end up doing the right thing.

Terry B. (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 5:56pm

So much for all those years of dedication and contribution to the project. Some thanks.

Larry has always been nothing but helpful to me in Chicago Drupal and PHP community. He taught, and helped. Learning the tech and getting help when I needed it was why I went to the meetups in the first place. Some central organization's rigid social ideals were not the draw.

I am so disappointed in the DA, Dries, and Megan. They are so wrong.

Larry, please never doubt that there are so many of us who support you and appreciate your efforts on behalf of the Drupal community, both in technology and in diversity.

texan (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 6:49pm

I voted for Trump. Are they coming after me next?

Homer (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 7:00pm

The irony can't be overstated. The community (Drupal) that strives for diversity found a way to thwart it.

Sarah_P (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 7:13pm

After ten years in the community, I have watched similar, more subtle things happen to others, including myself. There is a lack of emotional maturity in the Drupal community and the way that the leadership processes these conflicts is unprofessional and disturbing. Instead of speaking up publicly I have often just reduced my participation as have others I know, voluntarily and involuntarily. And for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry you have faced this ridiculousness Larry and I'm sorry that I wasn't there to do the emotional labor of making everyone calm the fuck down. Because we all know that's mostly left to the women of this community that is SO WORRIED about women being slaves.

John Yunitas (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 8:23pm

I think that this an unfair treatment to Larry and became to be the victim of DA, Klaus Purer, Dries, CWG, and Megan Sanicki.

It's a clear case of discrimination against one of the community members and seems is only based in the idea that his private practices are wrong.

Drupal code of conduct was not affected by him.

No one complained of him on the Drupal community about being unprofessional, or having a detriment behavior with his colleagues male and female.

I don't think that he even had a fair discussion with CWG or DA or anyone.

Out of the blue and because there were some rumors of his private life he was condemned for the leader of the project Dries that does not present or provides any evidences of wrongdoing in the Drupal Community. At least not evidences that weight towards the Drupal Code of conduct or to even harm at any level Drupal project, events or prestige.

DA, CWG and Megan Sanicki, would have a poor role on this matter. Seems that the DA entirely is at the service of Dries.

CWG decisions were dismissed for the leader like a good dictator would do. He gives no chance to hear all the parties involved. He does not cared about the implications.

Finally and worst Klaus Purer, the way that he operated, was bullying, threat people, harass Larry in their private life that does not have anything to do with Drupal Community.

Dries and DA you are destroying a community with theses actions, is shameful and wrong that this happens this way.

Dries you are the one that is violating the Drupal code of conduct by discriminating somebody for his sexual orientation or beliefs. if you have evidence present it otherwise hold your decision, but also hold the disrespect for you and DA which seems obligated to your will.

fiasco (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 8:52pm

Larry has been a personal mentor, leader and friend to me. I respect him greatly. I've found his character and conduct within the Drupal Community amicable. Qualities I'm sure Dries saw also when he appointed Larry over some of the most ambitious core initiatives Drupal has ever faced (IMO).

As community members, we all have perspectives that don't align well with others in our community. But the fact remains that male, female, straight, gay, gorean, celibate, christian, muslim or atheist, we all have worked together to make Drupal what it is. And Larry perhaps more than most in the community.

I choose to believe that Larry is an honest person. In my view, he's certainly conducted himself well during this issue more so than his primary accuser (klausi) who seems rather quiet about all this. I believe Larry truly feels the actions of his private life have not violated the Drupal CoC.

Dries and the DA stand by their decision based on sensitive information not known to us, the public. But is it known to Larry? That he's had a chance to speak to that information? This I've yet to understand. But it would be my expectation that if Larry knew and did believe his actions were wrong, his character would not be to mislead the community and force a bias against Drupal, the association and leadership. I just don't see that in Larry's nature.

Larry said a good developer will look both ways when crossing a one way street. The principle being that your work reflects the habits and values in your life (a good developer considers the possibilities, not just the requirements).

Larry, I sincerely hope that the values in your life haven't abused those in the Drupal Community. I hope they've offended, disgruntled and excited people though. They are the hallmarks of diversity we're defending here. But not abused. I trust that if you have abused someone, you acknowledge it, apologise and seek forgiveness from those you hurt. Whether that is public or not I couldn't care less. I just wish to see the Crell I know restored in the community that is gratefully thankful of the contributions he brings.

LED (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 9:20pm

Larry,
* I'm a huge nerd
* I'm slightly autistic and have done incredible technical work.
* I subscribed to the same "facebook of the kinky community" 6 years ago
* I've been a strong Free Software advocate since 1998
* My first relationship was also emotionally abusing, and you know what ? I healed thanks to the kinky community.

Engineering communities are paradoxically more straining than the BDSM communities because the goals are totally different.
The fact that you receive such a strong support from kinksters and so many comments here proves my point !
Unfortunately, flagship projects (whether engineering or not, free or commercial) are seen as vehicles of power, that bullies are trained to abuse and they will attack any (percieved) weaknesses.

I find Goreans weird, but you know what ? So many things are weird. What matters is your choices, your actions, and you broke no rule. It matters that you are a good person, and you WILL remain so, whatever others say to destabilize you.

I have forwarded this page to several kinky geeks friends, so keep it up.

Don't give up ! Resistance is not futile.

Seven (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 10:09pm

Totally dismayed by this appalling miscarriage of justice. I hope you can take some comfort in the support of so many members of the community, but is there anything we can do? Is there anything that anyone can do? (Petitioning Dries, the CWG, or the DA on change.com? Even a legal challenge?)

In the meantime, I can't continue to support an organisation that preaches inclusion and diversity while acting completely contrary to those values - persecuting long-time contributors for alleged "thoughtcrime". So I'll be looking for a new platform...

Michael (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 10:20pm

Dries need to go. This is a gross failing on his part, and I believe he puts Acquia's commercial interests ahead of the project. I don't see how Drupal can possibly claim The Community as it's biggest draw after this.

Kay (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 10:22pm

As someone who has been in and out of the lifestyle, and female, I can sit here and say this is exactly why I haven't ever gone public with that part of my life. The lack of knowledge and understanding turns to fear, real fast.

I can't believe that the oh-so-tolerant powers that be have acted this way towards you, after everything you've done for Drupal. You've always been a gentleman and if someone like you can get destroyed... Who is next? What will they not understand and go after next?

I am sorry you've had to make your private life this public, Larry. You've been handling this outwardly with Grace and poise. I hope it works out for the best with You.

Be well.

We've met, though I doubt you'd remember. Regardless, whether we had or had not, you'd have my support, whatever it's worth.

I'm not involved with the BDSM culture myself (not my cup of tea), but I had friends who were. They were kind, welcoming, caring, and generally really good people. People you could rely on. People that cared about you. They were friends, and they helped me through some crazy times in my life. And they consented to the roles they played. Some were consistent on one side or the other, another couple mixed it up. I'm not entirely sure, mostly because they kept it private, and it didn't matter! They were good people. They did good things.

I'm not a Drupal community member. But I can already tell that what's happening to you is wrong, and is contrary to any community that is supposedly against bullying.

In the end, you have nothing to be shameful of. You know that, and I hope the outpouring of support is at some level helpful.

John Yunitas (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 11:10pm

They say in some statements from DA and CWG that you had a chance to talk about your case,

Can you let us know what other evidences were added against you?

Did you had the chance to present your side of all this matter with DA or CWG?

Why the secrecy in all this you already have come to talk about this and give transparency to this matter?
They say that trust on them but this creates the opposite feeling.

I still think that you are the victim here and that this is a case of discrimination.

Benjamin Doherty (not verified)

23 March 2017 - 11:38pm

Larry,

While I was involved with Drupal, I developed a great respect for your work and contributions. Your vision for the project became my education in software development. Thank you.

Growing up to be a queer man, the shame and disgust that society tried to impose on me would have been crushing and deadly if I hadn't a community as a source of support. I'm deeply saddened to see this happening here to you.

I've been following your career a few years now and your contribution is (one of) the most important out there. It should not matter what you do in private life and shame on then who are digging to find something that can harm you.

Any publicity is good publicity. So the Drupal project should use this situation to get the word out that we really welcome everyone to the community and it is ok to share your interests in private life - whatever they are.
P.S. I hope you can give your presentations in the future because I like your style!

Arvids (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 5:23am

Reading all that, I can say only one thing: sue their ases for good. That has gone from a Drupal related issue to a outright criminal case around half-way though the article.
Essentially, you are being forced out of work due to religious and sexual reasons, harassment and intimidation. And you will have direct business losses because of that.
Find a lawyer ASAP and let him handle all this crap.

Shank (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 5:45am

Thanks for sharing.

I appreciate all you have given to the community and I don't give two fucks what you do in your consensual sex life.

If people would spend as much time on their own life as they do on other's lives, they might find their own life more fulfilling.

Anonymous (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 9:00am

With big struggle I went beyond my own wall of self-denial a couple of years ago and now I'm actively involved in the BDSM community in private, but I'm also a rather visible individual in another open source community, even if not at your level. This is exactly what I fear of. On one hand I just found more freedom for myself, more clarity and consensual activity in the BDSM community that I ever found outside of it, and yet on the other hand I see the world out there that is ready to condemn any of my private personal choices if it had a chance without even taking time to understand how respectful and empowering they are.

Some days I'm tempted to come out and become an advocate on the subject, but the risk is really high as you mentioned as well.

I'm sorry I'm writing this anonymously, but I'm sure you understand. I just wanted to still leave a small token of "you're not alone" in the form of this comment.

Winston Orwell (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 9:41am

This Klaus Purer person seems like a real go-getter! Glad to know that there's people in the Drupal community that police others' personal and private lives in order to keep the collective "pure". I wouldn't doubt that in Klaus' mind, his intentions are pure and resting on the bedrock of diversity. It's too bad that Klaus thinks he's the one that should be the arbiter of morality for the Drupal community.

I'm pretty sure if you scratched the surface of Klaus' exterior, you'd end up with enough thoughtcrime that he'd be able to convict himself in his own kangaroo court and have to banish himself. Wouldn't it be a shame to find that Klaus has tweeted things that have made me, a woman, uncomfortable? Oh look:

https://twitter.com/_klausi_/status/843752872097562625
"@BartFeenstra yes, our semen will giggle. Or something like that 😂"
5:15 AM - 20 Mar 2017

I find this comment unwarranted and adds a sexual dimension to the public discourse of a Drupal person. I fear thoughtcrime in this circumstance and I, as a woman, feel awkward around this person because they've sexualized a situation in public for no reason. See the slippery slope yet Klaus?

As a woman in the Drupal community for nearly 10 years, and as someone who owns a consulting shop that specializes in Drupal, this situation sours me on dedicating any more resources to the project as one can lose their livelihood, career and potentially a business at the sole discretion of people like Klaus.

I have treated everyone I've worked with, men and women, with respect as peers and equals.

Larry has always treated everyone I know with respect and kindness. Even (especially) the new community members. In fact, his reputation of doing just that, as well as being knowledgable and honest, is what brings people to talks, flock around him, and respect his leadership.

He is a great leader. He should lead. He should be respected. And none of this should be because of his equally consenting sexual life style. I'll gladly stand beside Larry.

Larry,
Thank you for what you have done for this community. I know this is one small voice in the community of thousands... but I will voice your right to not be bullied.

Long Time Drupalist (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 11:23am

Known you for years via Drupal, I only 'discovered' your connection to the kink scene only by accident (and I'm an active involved member myself). I only noticed it due to my specific knowledge about who you are, that overlapped... you didn't draw any undue connections, other than using the same username in multiple places.

I'm disappointed in Dries, and the community, but I'm not shocked. The PC takeover of Drupal has only gotten worse and worse. When MortenDK was removed for his nonPC vocalness (it was long standing and yet he still was elected), I knew the writing was on the wall. I slowly began to withdrew from the Drupal community, despite my continued daily job using/developing it. Why give them ANY of my energy, when they don't value anyone whom they disagree with?
Are Trump supporters unwelcome? If someone does an alt-right website and asks for Drupal support, what then? Social Justice convergence of Drupal is a bad thing for the 'community' and more so for Drupal.

Crell, you are better than them. And many of us know it.

Sean Prunka (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 11:31am

We've never really hung out at any of the conferences we've both attended, but I know you as a great speaker and a marvelous human being. Enjoy your Kalana and I sincerely hope you find peace in the PHP community. (I'll note that I am not a fan of the Gor books or the Gorean lifestyle, but I do have many fond memories of my visits to Gorean chat channels on dalnet back in the 90s.)

Jason Smith (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 12:18pm

Speechless. Thought about moving over to backdrop? JK But really sorry. Unless there was something criminal that was part of the "confidential information" which if there was you would not post this. I think you have grounds to sue on discrimination. Dries is not God of Drupal and really your personal life has nothing to do with contributing PHP code.

Screw them and keep contributing.

kekperson (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 12:54pm

Clearly it was a well planned move exploiting your social weakness for own good by someone. This is nonsense. Please, consider forking drupal to "bdsm-drupal" and i guarantee that it will be more popular and healthy project than this stinky mass. I don't BDSM and just to clarify: in general i share our russian mentality of not being positive towards gay and transgender people as it is, but it is not something that makes a complete subjective perception of the person, considering one is at least around potato IQ level. Proof: most of the russians know who Freddy Mercury is and pfft 0 cks given, "show must go on". It is too late maybe or against your point of view, but ideally such people must stay and make their "wise" cruel asses burn. Keep it up, world is much larger than this, you are much bigger than this.

In the first paragraphs of reading this, I thought, Keep in mind, this is only one side of the story. But the quoted "reasons" the DA gives are bullshit. He's being let go because of "Be well"? THAT's the extent of the public crossover?

If there are better arguments / clear violations, DA, you better bring them. Otherwise this is witch trial. Being tied to the bed, being "taken," being a sex slave — these are all variations of the primary sexual archetype, which is that one being exerts force over another. This is consensual, it's wanted, but it's force. How many perfectly respectable couples enact rape fantasies? How many women in their 40s will put on school girl uniforms so their husband can feel he's fucking a barely-or-not legal adult? What we do in the bedroom is irrational, and much of what we simulate would be illegal in real life. The basic archetype of sex is that one more powerful person forces themselves over another. Anything that's not this is bland and not sex. But in real life we've learned that cooperation works much better than force. Sex ≠ real life. Sex is the opposite of real life; it's the irrational pouring out of pent up instincts. And having the other person be ok with that, being able to be completely vulnerable with another, completely transparent, fully seen, is the foundation of love.
Consent is everything. Which is why the BDSM community, and I'm not a part of it, there are strict rules about consent. But so it is in any sexual relationship. Consent can be withdrawn at any second. And how you react to the withdrawal of consent makes you either a rapist, if you don't comply, or a great lover, if you do. I mean, Cosmo magazine will tell you that much, for goodness sake. Among the several meaningless arguments of the DA, there is no proof Larry has ever forced himself on anyone — outside the workplace or at the workplace, or that he lacks self-control emotionally or professionally. Since clearly he is great at consent and mutual satisfaction — why is a mindful guy being let go? If anything, the supreme self-control required for BDSM must have had a positive influence on his self-discipline and work performance.
There are thousands of people with a diaper fetish. There are millions with a foot fetish. What actions like DA's accomplish is to keep their employees’ productivity down by policing parts of their lives that are nobody's business. Would you rather people felt shame around their fetishes? Let them find people who are into the same thing they’re into. Let them feel accepted and loved. Let them be in fulfilling relationships. You want happy, productive employees? Get the fuck out of the BDSM sites. Unless you're there looking for a lover yourself.

Joël Pittet (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 2:41pm

This decision is plainly awful, wrong and saddens me deeply! This shouldn't have gone as far as it has if the Code of Conduct was followed as you mentioned above. I hope the CWG and DA re-evaluate their thoughts and reconsider their decision.

Sorry you had to share your personal life yourself in this way! Glad you had the courage to do so because this discussion obviously needs to happen.

Anonymous (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 4:47pm

I applaud you (with two hands)! You are an incredibly talented individual, who has nothing to be ashamed of in your private life. I have read your argument and Dries blog, and I will say that Dries isn't looking too good right now, because he didn't side with "tolerance". I am so glad that you know who you are, and you aren't going to be bullied. The usual outcome of pain, is growth. It's time to take all of your experience and work ethic, and do something worthwhile - not Drupal. It's time for a change, because you won't be able to work in Drupal anymore, knowing that the community is intolerant. I love that you can hang with the feminists, and agree to disagree. I love the positive comments made by women you have dated. You win!

How does the line get blurred between personal and business? It seems like Drupal was digging for an excuse...any excuse. I look forward to hearing more about you in the future. Be who you are. Keep doing what you are doing. You will be accepted by the right community, and realize you are valued, even if Drupal doesn't.

Has the Drupal Community come out yet, on the Muslim who practices Sharia Law in their personal life? Is "No Sharia Law Muslims Allowed" in the Drupal Code of Conduct? I would like to know how Dries accepts Sharia Law, but was shocked and concerned with Gorean philosophy.

Tony (not verified)

24 March 2017 - 9:28pm

Reading this reminded me of Malatesta's argument that standing for "freedom for everybody, limited only by equal freedom for others... does not mean... to respect the ‘freedom’ to exploit, to oppress, to command..."

We can only grow in terms of tolerance when people come out of the closet, so I'm grateful you did so... and your points here all make great sense. However, either Dries and Megan are lying, or they feel everything you've written here is beside the point and that they were responding to something other than your Gorean values. Have they provided any justification which you left out?

Joachim Noreiko (not verified)

25 March 2017 - 3:13am

I'm so sorry you're going through this.

You've always been one of the most friendly and welcoming people at DrupalCons, and I'm horrified that you're being booted out after years of being a key member of the community. I'm sorry your private life has been dragged out into the open like this.

I still remember attending your 'This code smells' session at DrupalCon (Paris 2009 probably), and it's been a big influence on how I approach coding.

I really hope this blows over and that I'll see you again at a future DrupalCon.

Withheld to av… (not verified)

25 March 2017 - 9:43am

I'm about as traditional as it comes on sex, exceeded only by my very traditional parents and immigrant in-laws. But when my brother-in-law switched gender identity and came out as being in an M/S, the main reaction in the family was relief to find she had been avoiding us for fear of reprisal, because we all just thought she did not love us anymore. We have family gatherings again. Her "master" has been kind to her at all times. Its so surprising that my ultra traditional family - and by ultra traditional I mean a family with standard power dynamics and lots of female engineers who earn more than their husbands - is more accepting of people with different but consensual practices than the Drupal community.

After being away from Drupal for three years except to maintain existing sites, I am coming back into the community this week only to find this and it makes me want to leave again.

I can't believe this blog post even exists. This is none of my business or anyone else's except Larry's and his partners'. Shameful and I have lost so much respect for Dries.

Dan (not verified)

25 March 2017 - 11:28am

You must have crossed a line somewhere. It seems doubtful that this was kept private seeing that you are deeply involved in the culture. All it would have taken is a few inderect invites that weren't appreciated or maybe someone who felt in danger after a session. Take a harder look man.

It is not Larry's job to guess why he has been banished. It is not Larry's job to rationalize the horrible way he has been treated. It is the job of the people banishing him to explain his infraction to him. AFAIK Larry doesn't even know if he has done what they've banished him for.

They owe everyone else an explanation as well. Have you done the exact same inexcusable thing they think Larry has? You don't know.

Take a hard look at how you became like this Dan. Even the "poor", "frightened" women get it while you're a coward.

Christian Meilinger (not verified)

25 March 2017 - 8:02pm

I'm devastated to hear what you have to go through. Since two years ago, when Mortendk was bullyed out of the DA board, I've been suspicious about the actions of the DA board. Now, it seems, that this is systematic to its actions and now its enough!
I understand that my DA member fees are also used for funding such bullying which forces me to discontinue my membership as soon as it ends in September, unless Dries stops his violation of the Drupal code of conduct.
The Drupal community itself is totally different to its narrow minded leader and a seemingly marionette board without democratic values.
In 2010 I got involved into the community by meeting Austrian Drupalistas during the DrupalCon Copenhagen. It was such a nice welcome by my fellow Austrians that I really felt like "Come for the software, stay for the community". This was a slogan introduced that year by Gabor Hojtsi in a session.
Today I'm so much shocked to learn that the bullying had even started by an Austrian, Klaus Purer. I havn't thought him to be able to commit such actions, just to be now deeply disappointed by him. I have to deeply ask for an apology that this unforgivable bullying started right in my country, I'm so sorry. But there are many Austrians in the community which are really nice and open minded members of the Drupal community. If you can come to the DrupalCon Vienna this September you will be able to see this for yourself.
It is sad that people with great ideas like Dries, while becoming more powerful over time, start to forget their roots and violate their own ideals. There is a slight hope that either Dries may understand that he is wrong or that the Drupal community emanzipates itself over its founder to recreate and keep up its ideals. Otherwise the CMS may have already had its zenit of popularity, despite its current quality.
Now it feels like "Came for the software, had to leave for a few narrow minded self-important community members".
All the best to you, Larry, also from this comment,
Christian.

Victor Kane (not verified)

26 March 2017 - 9:15am

Personally, Larry, first off I have to say, that in the progressive community, we have to spend our energy saying, with Trotsky "onward women and young leaders", saying "Mujer bonita es la que lucha" (A beautiful woman is one who struggles) Long live the female Kurdish freedom fighters, in armed struggle against the fascist Isis. So, no political support for your (personal) cultural choices, I'm afraid. However, that is a conversation (sans blackmail, bullying) between you, one who has done so much for the Drupal community, and me. Nothing to do with the disgraceful and cowardly behavior of the warmonger Dries Buytaert (who openly supports using Drupal for NATO see http://buytaert.net/nato-using-drupal) and others involved in the Mafia style lynching of your membership. It all comes down to the death throes of Drupal, a decadence that is inevitable under capitalism as Big Tech owns and operates open source and free software projects of all kinds.

Jacob (not verified)

26 March 2017 - 12:57pm

I can't stop but to get a weird vibe from Larry getting fired like that. While I don't feel close to his views, I don't see it as a good reason to throw him out altogether. It sounds to me more likely that there was a personal issue and this was used as an excuse.
Speaking of Drupal, I feel like the've lost it anyway. I don't see Drupal as something I would use to make websites for my clients. They'd better focus on making a CMS which is attractive and simple instead of throwing out people whom you don't like.

M (not verified)

26 March 2017 - 2:51pm

This seems like an over-inflated defense of behavior that someone learned at a very young age in some kind of AOL chat room. Well you are certainly at the bleeding edge of the "culture war" that is essentially over, save for newer more exotic cases like this. It seems a little over-dramatic to say that you are disappointed in the Drupal community... To me this essentially boils down to the notion that the expected response from the echo chamber was a different viewpoint you couldn't fathom. Not a healthy sign.

This is the problem with all dilemmas like these. The participating side argues for normality, protection against discrimination and acceptance (aka.. "what i do in my own privacy does not affect you"). The opposing side argues that it is morally wrong and unacceptable(aka. "by us accepting this can be done in private, it affects the meaning of what it is to do something morally acceptable, thus affecting us"). Ultimately what is happening is not a simple "you do what you do in your own home, and I do what I do". I tend to side with the latter viewpoint, though I consider myself much more accepting than this comment may seem. I do believe that in judging these case, we are going through the struggle of determining what is ultimately correct acceptable behavior, though these examples are generally in privacy . Is it ok to bully? No. Do people who practice morally wrong behavior outside of work understandably get backlash at work? Yes. This case is walking that fine line, iterating on definition of "moral". Period. To weigh on one side is to judge that all people, in all circumstances should accept that this dom/sub/gor behavior is ok for everyone to do in private. To weigh on the other side is to say that in no circumstance is the same behavior acceptable. It becomes a philosophical discussion on what is right. Thus you as an employee didn't bring it to work, which is fine, and I agree on that standpoint for all private sexual relations. But then it came to work anyway, and it's here to stay. So now not just you, but your chain of command is under threat of answering this distracting question which is basically "what is a morally acceptable". And determining that is not their job. Their decision to pressure you may simply be a decision to try and eliminate distraction, and though unfortunate, it is understandable from a different viewpoint.

Ultimately, I think that this case, and more to come are a new slew of cases on the bleeding edge of the culture war (we can call it the Culture Empire now, since the war has been won, and is long over save a few battles like these). Many of these battles will have a similar flavor here: Fighting for normalcy in relationships that focus on enforcing a strict imbalance of power. So in this grab bag we have left dom/sub/gor, incest, underage relationship, and forms of polygamy. Argue all day about specific cases. But we are talking about imbalance. A weighted die. Imbalance means that specific cases of these are going to weigh towards abuse, which goes hand in hand with power, unfortunately.

Lastly.. let me add. As a former blue collar worker who is trying to move into the tech world (along with many others). There is an impasse here, as I have highlighted. And many of you will laugh. But in overwhelming numbers in certain flourishing corners of the tech world are these bubbles which glory in this notion of diversity and acceptance. But the reality is that those people are as accepting, until they meet someone who doesn't accept diversity. Because those people are wrong in their eyes. The real discrimination that goes on in those "diverse" corners is that they won't accept someone who honestly struggles with these questions of "what should I believe is moral?" It's easy to mischaracterize these people as bigots who simply hate gays/trans/q/dom/sub etc etc. But this is not the case. What it looks like to me is that there are almost two super-religions governing sub-religions. One super-religion is the diversity crowd, and the other is the traditionalist crowd. And there is no way for one to accept the other, because it means becoming the other.

David Rothstein (not verified)

26 March 2017 - 4:43pm

Larry, the story you tell is shocking, and I'm very concerned that a project which I have been heavily involved with for the past decade may have committed an act of gross injustice against you.

The problem is, it is hard to be sure exactly what happened without additional details (and other people seem to be claiming that additional details do exist, which in itself puts you in an unfair position by inviting nefarious speculation that isn't based on any actual publicly-available facts).

I wonder if you could clarify one point:

I do not know if "per my conversation with Dries" means I'm unwelcome in Drupal because of my sex life, I'm unwelcome in Drupal because Dries was afraid Klaus would go public and embarrass the project otherwise, or something else. I have been given no further information than that and still have not been.

Are you saying here that no one (neither Dries, nor Megan, nor anyone else at the Drupal Association) ever gave you a specific list of things that you are alleged to have done/said that led them to take punitive actions against you?

Mike (not verified)

26 March 2017 - 11:33pm

Yep, the prurient busybodies strike again, poking their nosy little faces into something that is none of their business. This is NO DIFFERENT than the discrimination that until recently was so commonplace against gays and lesbians. I support your right to live as you wish. You're harming no one and I'm sorry these jackasses are making your personal life a public issue for no good reason.

Amazed you had to write this Larry. I'm not part of the Drupal community but you are my closest link to it. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this now. It's tough to read, hard to respond to and an order of magnitude harder to go through it, I'm sure. Carry on being awesome.

Wendy (not verified)

27 March 2017 - 1:34pm

I have no knowledge of Larry Garfield in the professional arena but, as many here and on Dries' page have wondered about his private actions, I feel I must respond. I met Larry in the kink community. I dated him for a time. We entertained the idea of a relationship but it did not go that far because we were, at a fundamental level, incompatible (I am not Gorean). That was seven years ago and we remain friends to this day.

In all interactions I had with Larry on a personal level he was respectful, kind, and compassionate. Many times people get stuck on the words "slave" and "submissive". Culturally speaking these are very charged words and they should be when they are used to refer to a non-consensual situation. But in this context, the context of a consensual, adult relationship, those words hold all the power. The woman in the relationship is there because she chooses to be. There is no abuse in such a relationship. In fact, the woman can walk away at any time or stop any actions with a single word. The relationship is built on trust and mutual understanding.

That, above all, shows the character of Larry Garfield. Women trust him and feel respected enough by him to allow themselves the opportunity to submit to him. Before judging a lifestyle or belief take the time to truly understand it.

And no, Larry has not asked me to write this. In fact he may be very upset with me speaking in his defense but I could not, in good conscience, keep silent.

boombatower (not verified)

27 March 2017 - 10:04pm

Sadly nothing new. Same style of treatment I received by CWG while being ostracized for different reasons and is the reason Drupal does not have sub-minute full test suite runs (instead an hour). Apparently to the SJW crowd that masquerade as tolerant, preaching a world view is more important than the entire reason we are all interacting...to build quality software. I tried to make my situation public, but it never went anywhere. After seeing chx and others I hope for your sake that public outrage makes a difference, but those involved in this sort of thing fundamentally are intolerant of anyone not like them and those at the top seem to share those views even if they are not as vocal to that effect. Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice and those in the DA (and similar) seem to espouse that in spades. The result is the best talent, which tend to focus on the actual task at hand rather then finding things in which to take offense, are all kicked out leaving a dead husk.