Re: Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100

<nalini.elkins@insidethestack.com> Thu, 26 May 2016 14:51 UTC

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Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 14:47:37 +0000 (UTC)
From: <nalini.elkins@insidethestack.com>
To: "Hutton, Andrew" <andrew.hutton@unify.com>, Dhruv Dhody <dhruv.ietf@gmail.com>, Leslie Daigle <ldaigle@thinkingcat.com>
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Subject: Re: Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100
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>However I have become increasingly concerned about what cancelling the Singapore meeting might mean for the IETF and I am thinking that such an action could be disastrous for the IETF and only serve to
>split the fantastic international community that is the IETF. 

>As other have said we have to be very careful as an international organisation not to pick and choose who’s laws and customs we agree and disagree with beyond some very low bar regarding the  safety of
>participants and their ability to participate.   Possibly the choice was not a good one I don’t have much of an opinion on that but cancelling I think would risk hitting the self destruct button.


 I completely agree.   I think that cancelling sends a message to people in Asia and of Asian origin, that their point of view is not to be given the weight in the same way of others.   Maybe this is unintentional.  But, this is very disappointing and will not be quickly forgotten.   

I have a lot of trouble with what seems to me the nearly fact-free investigation of the reality on the ground in Singapore.  I have been to Singapore at least 5 times and it is an extremely, some say overly, westernized country.

I talked last night with a long-time friend of mine who recently retired from the Foreign Service.  His last posting was as Charge d'Affairs (2nd in command after the Ambassador) in Pakistan.  He served in various Asian Embassies for over 20 years.  He said that if there was any concern with Singapore, it would be noted in the State department pages: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html


He said that he doubted that there would be any problem at all in Singapore.  He also suggested that I contact the Singapore Consulate General in San Francisco.  (Which I will do once they open)

I will ask them the following questions:

1.  If two gay men with a baby (or child) come in to Singapore customs together, will there be a problem?

2.  If two gay men with a baby (or child) walk the streets of Singapore together, will there be a problem?  Will they be harassed or arrested?

3. If two gay men with a baby (or child) check into a hotel in Singapore together, will there be a problem?  Will they be harassed or arrested?
 
4. If two gay men with a baby (or child) need to go to a hospital or a doctor because the baby (child) is ill, will there be a problem? Will they be prevented in any way from being with the child? Will they be harassed or arrested?


I do not know what the answers will be.  I will report back.  I suspect that this discussion has gotten to the point that no matter what "facts" are presented, that some people will not believe them.  This is a very unfortunate state of events.  I hope the answers will be that there is no or little problem.  But, I do not know.  Certainly there are other countries in the world where it would absolutely be a problem. (That is a different discussion)  I suspect that Singapore is not one of them.  As far as I recall, they are much more concerned about litter (which I support, BTW!).


I completely support the rights of LGBT individuals but there are many other issues to be considered. I sincerely hope that we can work out a compromise that works for everyone.  I believe very much in the mission of the IETF and I have deep respect and affection for many of the people at the IETF.

Nalini 
 
From:ietf [mailto:ietf-bounces@ietf.org] On Behalf Of Dhruv Dhody
Sent: 26 May 2016 14:12
To: Leslie Daigle
Cc: mtgvenue@ietf.org; ietf@ietf.org Discussion
Subject: Re: Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100
 
Hi,
 
I am gay, I live in India, which has a similar sec 377 law on its books. 
 
I hate these laws, I yearn for these laws to change. 
 
I feel the pain of my fellow LGBTQ IETFers.... We do need to worry about things that others can take for granted. 
 
But pulling out of Singapore, and setting a precedent, would also mean that we would limit ourselves to a small pool of venues and basically let go of 1-1-1*, that is unacceptable. 
 
There are many of us LGBT folks, who reside in countries that have these homophobic laws, but we keep the fight on, we live openly, we work, we play, we pay our taxes, we protest, and we hope to change minds along the way..... some even attend IETF :)
 
Adding to Jordi's suggestion, we should support the local Singapore LGBT community, partner with them and organize something where we take a clear stand that laws must change. I feel this would be much more productive. 
 
Dhruv
 
  
 
On Thu, May 26, 2016 at 3:53 PM, Leslie Daigle <ldaigle@thinkingcat.com> wrote:

Hi Tom,

As I indicated in my personal mail earlier this week, there was thinking that this message would be accompanied by a survey or some way to collected some structured feedback from the community.

In the end, the IAOC decided there was no way to do that properly (the challenges of constructing surveys so that they don’t bias for or against minorities, etc).

Hearing peoples’ desire to “see the data”, this message was sent.  The IAOC is still collecting data, including from this discussion.  In laying out the various elements (the obvious and the hidden costs (staff time and reprioritization), the restricted range
of available alternative sites that mean we (the IAOC) don’t see how we can find a good alternate for a meeting in 18 months, I think we’re hoping that the context of our business choices is clearer, and maybe some other person in this discussion will have
an insight that has so far escaped us as to how to have an acceptable IETF 100.

Speaking only for myself, I am deeply worried that, with only this discussion to hear, we are missing the quieter voices, the people who haven’t waded into the free-for-all, etc.  Those types of voices are more readily solicited/heard in a working group environment
where there is time to consider multiple angles and from a more abstracted or objective perspective.  A working group is where we’ll ultimately come to conclusion on what broader set of of characteristics this community requires going forward.

Leslie.

-- 

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Leslie Daigle
Principal, ThinkingCat Enterprises LLC
ldaigle@thinkingcat.com
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On 26 May 2016, at 3:57, tom p. wrote:
Leslie

I am unclear what, if any, action is expected as a result of this
message.

I understand that the IAOC has to make a decision and yes, I can provide
more input via venue-selection if I wish to, but is that all?  Will the
IAOC now decide?  If not, what is it waiting for (and how long is it
waiting)?

Tom Petch

----- Original Message -----
From: "IAOC Chair" <iaoc-chair@ietf.org>
To: "IETF Announcement List" <ietf-announce@ietf.org>
Cc: <recentattendees@ietf.org>rg>; <ietf@ietf.org>
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 11:08 PM
All,

In the IAOC's previous message on this topic we stated that the IAOC
believed that it is possible to hold a successful meeting in Singapore,
and that meeting in Singapore is the best option for IETF 100.  This
statement was based on several factors, including evaluation of the site
based on the requirements and process now being updated and tracked in
draft-baker-mtgvenue-iaoc-venue-selection-process-02.  In particular,
this included consulting with the additional information sources
identified in the document (specialty travel services, etc), and no
specific issues were identified as to actual situation in Singapore.
More detail on the information we have to hand is provided below.

Additional arguments have come forward since our earlier messages,
which leads us to continue exploring.  The IETF Chair has been in touch
with the meeting host, which is obviously another factor in whether we
can/should move.   But we need to make a decision, so this message
contains such information as we have at present.  We understand that it
is difficult to express a view about what to do in the absence of known
alternatives; but we do not know what the alternatives are now, and we
need urgently to make a decision, so we are sharing the incomplete
information we have in the interests of transparency.


Laying this out in a pro/con format:


Not Singapore:
--------------

If we cancel the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the
onward positive impacts include:

. We might have the opportunity to establish the meeting in a venue
that permits more IETF participants to be comfortable being present and
engaging in a celebration of this milestone meeting, which is important
to some.



If we cancel the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the
onward negative impacts include:

. Losing approximately $80,000 (USD) hotel agreement cancellation
fee[1]

. Losing up to approximately $150,000 (USD) in Singapore government
incentives [2]

. Re-prioritizing people time to find a new location (the IAD,
Secretariat staff) who have full plates for lining up other future
meetings; there’s an unknown amount of impact in terms of how that
impacts *other* meetings (N.B.:  some of this effort is already underway
to obtain the information on possible alternatives and outline the
pros/cons outlined here).

. Likelihood of IETF 100 in Asia is very small — we have few prospects
and it takes us months to get all the pieces aligned to get to a signed
contract in Asia (Singapore took over a year).  This would create
additional challenges for our Asian community members (travel distance,
visas).

. Possible shift of dates — to be able to find a venue elsewhere that
works

We have some wiggle room in the point about time to find a new venue
insofar as it would be easiest to use a North American site that we have
used before.   If we have to consider non-North American, and/or new
venues where a site visit is needed, effort and cost will be higher.

Note, we should only cancel the Singapore contract once we know that
an alternative venue, that is acceptable to community, is ready to put
under contract.   The cost of cancellation ($80k now) goes up to $192k
if we don’t cancel before November 2016 (i.e., a few months from now).


We do have to give the hotel a reason for canceling our contract:

Reasons for Cancellation of IETF 100 Meeting in Singapore, and the
IAOC understands that to be:

“    Singapore laws against same-sex relationships between men and
    preventing the recognition of same-sex marriages could create
    difficulties for same-sex partners and their children; these have
    discouraged affected members of our community from participating
    at the IETF meeting in November of 2017 and have also influenced
    others to decline to attend in principled solidarity with them.


    Accordingly, the IETF has decided to postpone indefinitely the
meeting
    in Singapore and is pursuing alternative venues.”



If we stick with Singapore for IETF 100:
----------------------------------------

If we keep the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward
positive impacts include:

. we have a functional meeting venue set for our 3rd meeting of 2017

. meeting site research resources can remain focused on filling in the
remaining gaps in the 3-4 year timeframe

. we don’t have the financial hit of the cancellation fee, and
possible loss of government incentives

If we keep the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward
negative impacts include:

. we have a meeting at a location where some community members will
perceive themselves as unwelcome and unsafe, unable to bring family

. possibly fewer attendees than we might otherwise expect — which is a
consideration for both getting work done and financial reasons
(registration fees per person)







The above is the practical information as we can best scope it.


If you would like to provide some considered feedback on this matter,
please feel free to send it to venue-selection@ietf.org .  Please note
that mailing list is a PUBLICLY archived “drop box” [3].


Leslie Daigle, for the IAOC.


[1] The cancellation fee can be recovered if it is used as a deposit
at a later meeting with those hotels in Singapore, if it is before 2020;
for this discussion, it’s perhaps best to consider it gone.

[2] Government business incentives are not unusual; we might obtain
these in another country hosting IETF 100, but we are late to be
expecting incentives and opportunities for good deals, and are unlikely
to get this in a North America venue.

[3] The venue-selection mailing list is not open for subscription, and
it is not intended to archive dynamic conversations (i.e., don’t cc it
on an e-mail discussion thread, because there will be too many
addressees and your mail won’t go through).

--

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Leslie Daigle
Principal, ThinkingCat Enterprises LLC
ldaigle@thinkingcat.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------