“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.” -John Stuart Mill
I used to be involved in Mozilla… In the run up to Firefox 1.0 10 years ago I was responsible for developing the early verson of the Mozilla Add-ons website. Things change.Later, I became responsible for firebot, after the other IRC bots gradually went offline, I took over mozbot development, such as it is, as owner of the most used bot on the platform, it made sense. Again, things change.
I still maintain firebot, but I don’t actively develop it. Now, I’m a student and photographer at my university and my life has moved away from being involved in the tech. community. I still use my technical skills to help where I can, which is why I accepted a position doing web development and technical management for student media this past fall. Its been a challenge balancing a mostly visual medium and a technical one at the same time. Things changed again.
Since my involvement long ago I also became comfortable with being gay and am lucky enough to have been in a relationship with a guy I love and I know loves me. It takes courage to face adversity in society, and that’s not a virtue I possess much of. Though I’ve come to value difference. Though at the same time, its important not to see valuing difference vs. valuing similarity as a dichotomy where you have to choose only one. We’re all similar in so many ways and sometimes, the difference is small. Embracing the difference can over time, create even more difference. Its harder to see how we’re the same as somebody else than it is to see difference.
I’ve also come to realize that change, isn’t always progressive, and what looks like progress can hide other dangers. Progress is self-validating for the thing labeled progressive, and its too easy to dismiss those that seem to stand in its way but that is no more right than any other form of censorship, of devaluing one way of conceiving of an idea, like what it means to be attracted to someone, or how to construct their lives together, as opposed to another.
I’ve seen recently, too many comments that want to devalue people who stand in the way of progress as exactly the thing that they are trying to fight. LGBT issues were marginalized, and oppressed by society. Oppression is wrong, but don’t be too quick to think that marginalized groups can’t marginalize others, pushing views aside because they fail to meet socially acceptable criteria, whether that criteria is progress, equality or religion and heteronormativity. We might just all realize that for all someones faults, combining ideas, and not combating them, might just result in a new idea, a new change for all.