[Noisebridge-discuss] Onward

Andrew Byrne andrew at pachakutech.com
Sun Sep 1 20:11:52 UTC 2013

Dear NoiseBridge list of record,
I received the following message--unsolicited--from Lillian. My response to
her was to please speak to the person who is calling for my murder, but
after the occupy noisebridger who stores their dumpster food in the fridge
began complaining about 'rape culture' months after the shitstorm here, the
continuing absurdity of the situation has clarified, for me, the way
forward; but first, please read:

"...I wanted to address the drama that started this whole thing to begin

While I felt heavily violated after the incident inside the turing
classroom, I still wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. Because
nothing more than you unzipping my pants occurred, I wasn't sure what your
intent was. You seemed a little 'off' that night too, and despite my better
judgement I still asked you to help me with my estrogen shot. That was
definitely a mistake on my part. I thought of multiple ideas as to why you
may have reached in front of my body while I was in a vulnerable position
on the table to unzip my pants, that may have justified your behavior. I
really didn't want to ruin your reputation in a community you seemed more
apt to be in than me. I thought, "maybe he misunderstood what I meant by
shooting my butt?" It's possible I was giving you the wrong idea, though
one would assume that once I showed you the IM needles you would have
realized your mistake. Not to mention the fact that I believe you already
knew I was on an injectable estrogen supplement, though I could easily be
mistaken with that. It's also entirely plausible that you were simply
trying to assist me with my pants, which I think is far more likely and
excusable than the prior theory. The pre-injection anxiety does prevent me
from being clear headed, and I was laying on the table with my pants still
up. Though I still would have prefered that you used your words to remind
me rather than your hands.

The entire situation felt extremely violating regardless of your intent. I
want to make that clear. I have extreme gender dysphoria regarding the
genitals I was born with, and I don't even feel comfortable with partners
placing their hands near them during sexual play, let alone someone who's
assisting me medically. But despite all that, I still wanted to give you
the benefit of the doubt, because you had always seemed like a guy I could
trust. The only tipping point that got me to send out the emails was claims
I had heard from others that led me to believe that you were a potential
threat to others. It was meant as a note of caution to the community,
nothing more.

I've heard recently that you're having trouble finding work because of the
series of emails I had sent to the Noisebridge mailing list. I'm sorry
you're going through that. While my general hunches about you stay the
same, I do think that it's unjust that your losing job opportunities based
on the claims of someone on an internet mailing list. As someone who has
personally had a lot of difficulties finding work, I can only imagine how
much harder an accusation like that can be. I didn't want to take this to
the authorities for three reasons: I didn't have the time to go to court
with this especially considering I was living miles away, I really didn't
think there was enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt, and I kind of
believe the current criminal justice system is heavily corrupt. I wouldn't
want to put people who are guilty of most crimes into that system, let
alone someone I wasn't entirely sure was actually a threat. Even I was
unsure what had occurred or what your intentions were, not to mention the
fact that nothing beyond you unzipping my pants happened.

I want to apologize for some of the things I said later in the discuss
list, that were brought out due to an emotional reaction. I've read
multiple accounts of victims being blamed for their sexual assault that
have left me infuriated. When I saw the same thing happen to me from
members of a community I previously felt part of, I wasn't just angry, I
was extremely upset. No one was taking what I had to say seriously, and I
felt like I was personally being attacked for doing what I thought to be
the right thing. Perhaps bringing up that I felt I could have gotten raped
had I not reacted (which I did feel that way, mind you) was not the best
thing to do, nor was bringing up the fact that I had suspicion (not proof)
that you may have been on cocaine. I apologize for that as well.

I initially wanted to post this as an open email to the noisebridge mailing
list, but decided against it because I wanted to give us a chance to talk
this through before it escalates even further. If you're finding companies
aren't hiring you due to my claims of the incident that occurred, I'm
willing to write a more open letter to the community with a far less biased
point of view, or you can simply forward this letter yourself."

I'm sure Lillian will agree I made no distorting edits.

A quick look at these claims from others. /The/ other claim comes from
someone who became angry that I questioned their gender by saying 'digital
feminine' reminded me of them. So angered, they then said a massage I had
given a month earlier was creepy. Pidgeon, Kim, and Ramone were all present
for that. All of this is in the emails that I sent to Liz when she
represented herself as a mediator, which she then posted to discuss,
characterizing these 6 emails--out of dozens over a year long
correspondence--as gas lighting. The reference is to a '70's

The film was entertaining, but the past 6 months have not been. *deep
breath* As a rape--penetrative rape--survivor (artfully termed 'rape per
se' at a recent meeting) the suggestion and enforced perception that I
could perpetuate that violence on another has been wildly
depressing--nauseating in the extreme; but firstly and always my empathy
lies with the aggrieved parties. I would like a fuller understanding of
why, when the mediator became alternately too ill or busy to consider the
matter, they did not seek out someone else, or at least email those
concerned to tell them that their concerns were being addressed, though the
process was delayed. I can't be angry at Lillian for posting to list; the
affair had been dumped on a meeting some weeks previous, with no attempt
made to bring the concerned parties together and no follow-up.

The damage to my own person from this has been dramatic, but the damage of
this unmediated, public drama to NoiseBridge is incalculable; I here
attempt to enumerate the forms it takes: firstly, to those who judge by
allegation, NoiseBridge becomes seen as a dangerous place for males,
females and intersexed, cis and trans alike; for those who read the text of
the allegations, NoiseBridge becomes a place where sometimes spurious or
subtle claims are likely to be publicly amplified into claims that inspire
murderous intent; lastly, this drama makes a mockery of a valuable
resource; a non-judicial mediation procedure that respects the needs of all
the parties involved.

I think that the first two--examples of both abound--can be addressed by
focusing on the third. I think NoiseBridge could greatly benefit from a
mediation system that respects the need for the claims of the aggrieved to
be taken seriously, and which understands the sometimes delicate or
incendiary nature of disagreements between radicals/hackers. Importantly,
something lacking in my recent limelighting needs to be present: a timely
resolution. Without this, some will see the mediation process as a
underhanded method for de facto banning, and others will see it as a cruel,
invalidating dead-end. Alternatively, meditation can be an affirming
process that educates and provides piece of mind; public kangaroo trials
can be cathartic, but not ultimately satisfying to anyone but the onlookers.

There is so much here that I would have wished stayed amongst the concerned
parties; what would that have looked like? Alex Peake suggested a format
for the more involved issues that I appreciate: a mediator and two
advocates, the docent likely assuming the representation of the initially
aggrieved if the issue is brought to them in that manner and it is seen as
too big for any of those present to mediate. Such a structure could
buttress our mediation process with the trust and respect of the community
and prevent painful public discussions from driving away newcomers and
old-timers alike.

I'd like to close this email by thanking those who have shown their support
for me through words and hugs; knowing that not everyone saw me as a
monster worthy of death backed me down from the ledge a few times over.

Amor y libertad
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