Re: China

Ted Lemon <mellon@fugue.com> Fri, 08 April 2016 13:54 UTC

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From: Ted Lemon <mellon@fugue.com>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2016 10:53:48 -0300
Message-ID: <CAPt1N1=DVi5MbNVmceX1zA_tTda4jQ=S=zY83ON2U5WQ_AzB_g@mail.gmail.com>
Subject: Re: China
To: Jeffrey Haas <jhaas@pfrc.org>
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There is another side to this, although I don't disagree with either of you
on the China observation.

The other side is this: it's tempting to say that since in the U.S. up
until recently, gay rights weren't a thing, and yet we held meetings in the
U.S., the same should apply elsewhere.   However, consider this: until
fairly recently, in the United States, if your spouse happened to be the
same sex, and got ill, or if a child got ill, there was a very, very real
chance that you would not only be excluded from making decisions about
their health options, you might be prevented from even being in the same
room with them.

This was something we tolerated in meeting venues because we didn't really
have a choice until fairly recently, other than simply restricting our
meetings to Europe and perhaps some parts of Asia.

Now that this is no longer an issue at least legally in the U.S., it would
be a backslide to go to a place where it still is an issue, even though we
tolerated this risk in the past.   I am fortunate enough to be married to
someone for whom this risk does not exist for me at present (although it
would have in the past, since she is from a different religious heritage
than I).   It breaks my heart to hear stories of the horror that gay
couples have gone through because of discrimination of this sort and other
sorts.   I am not okay with being party to that happening in the future.

I agree that engagement is important, but let us bear in mind the risks we
are asking our friends and colleagues to bear when we have this discussion.

On Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 10:39 AM, Jeffrey Haas <jhaas@pfrc.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Apr 08, 2016 at 04:28:18AM -0700, Ole Jacobsen wrote:
> > I will just add that "engagement" is often seen as a better strategy
> > than "boycott" in many circles, but we don't need to have that debate
> > here and now :-)
>
> This also covers much of my opinion.  In the absence of outright impact to
> safety, it's better to engage.  Such engagement might imply an inquiry by
> the IETF (potentially via either IAOC, IAB or whatever portion of IETF
> "management" is deemed appropriate) to the host government as to the
> concerns of the IETF for the welfare of its membership.
>
> Laws and social norms shift at speeds even slower than our RFC process.
> But
> similarly, legal consensus is shaped by participation.  "We're concerned,
> could you please clarify" may help refine the opinion of the host
> government
> while simultaneously clarifying membership welfare issues.
>
> -- Jeff
>
>