Previously on this blog, we’ve featured female makers and makers of color in an attempt to draw attention to the diversity that exists within maker culture and to encourage more non-white, non-male makers to get involved.
To continue with this theme, I had hoped this month to write a similar post celebrating LGBTQ+ participation in the maker movement. When I started to research, though, I was disappointed to find how sparse this information was, and how little I could find openly connecting those who are not straight or not cis to maker culture.
Of course, this doesn’t mean LGBTQ+ people are not involved, either openly or otherwise. But, at the moment, they aren’t very visible, and the maker movement has yet to clearly demonstrate that it welcomes and encourages this particular minority. Why should we care? As Willow Brugh says in Make Magazine’s “What Does it Mean to be a Woman Hackerspace Member?”, “If you make your space a safe place for queer, transsexual, and other minority groups, you’ll automatically be making it a safe place for women to participate.” In short: welcoming one minority group can make others feel more welcome, as well. Similarly, shutting out one group can chase others away.
Below are the few examples I managed to find, followed by a few thoughts about how the community can be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ makers.
(these are spaces that openly state on their websites a policy of inclusivity)
Double Union – A feminist makerspace in San Francisco, CA that is LGBTQ-supportive and welcomes anyone who identifies as female
Seattle Attic – A feminist makerspace in Seattle, WA that is trans- and queer-inclusive
Liberating Ourselves Locally – Located in Oakland, CA, the space is inclusive of trans and queer people (as well as women and people of color).
Xerocraft – A makerspace in Tucson, AZ that holds WTF night (Women/Trans/Femme) once a week.
Jimmie P Rodgers – an openly bisexual maker/hacker
I know there are more out there! Have any to add, readers?
TransHack – a hackathon and speaker series for trans people
Image Credit: Chi (in Oz)
INCLUSIVITY — WHAT CAN WE DO?
1) Be a safe space with clear policies and/or codes of conduct.
Are you part of a makerspace or an event like a hackathon? Have a policy of inclusivity. State it plainly on your website. You might think you’re being clear enough when you write that everyone is welcome, but not all LGBTQ+ people can afford to assume a space is safe if it’s not explicitly stated. Consider developing and posting a code of conduct detailing what behavior is unacceptable in your space or at your event, as well as how harassment will be dealt with.
2) Educate yourself and others.
Read up on what you might not understand. Talk to LGBTQ+ people who are willing to speak about these issues. Make sure you understand how to act appropriately and how to be respectful.
3) Celebrate diversity.
As I wrote earlier, welcoming one minority group helps open the door for others. If you do know LGBTQ+ makers, help celebrate them and shine a spotlight on their work. Show the community how diverse and wonderful makers can be.
Did I miss something important? Have anything to add? Tweet at us or leave a comment to keep this conversation going!
Image Credit: “resistor tat” by Flickr user Jimmie Rodgers