I'm issuing a general retraction of this update. I regret writing it, given many intervening events. This note is now deeply misleading as to my thoughts and their interaction with what's happened since it was written. I'm not in the mood to rehash specific changes in my mindset and outlook, especially since those thoughts and shifts don't deserve to be put into a public light. There are many parts of this letter I still agree with, but there are enough parts of this letter I disagree with to warrant clarification -- and I disagree with them strongly enough that I feel the need to edit. More for my own integrity than the public eye, truthfully.
I'd placed more specific retractions on this post, which are visible in the history but should be ignored, as I recognize they were potentially misleading and don't convey the subtler nature of what has changed and why. The only way I could convey that is by writing a new note, which I won't do.
As promised, I'm on my way out. I am unsustainably exhausted after the past few weeks, and... it's time for me to go. I don't see another way. But I have some final thoughts, and I can't leave in peace without writing them down. This post is not about me.
I will perform a magic act: to cut a gnarled root cleanly in two. I know the anger about this topic is real, but for this post, outrage will hurt far more than usual. So please, for the sake of dialogue, I would ask that you set it aside for a moment.
You'll also have to forgive me for writing this in a question on Meta, especially a post this long. It's important that I put it somewhere it will be seen.
If you believe my resignation is directly linked to Monica's termination, I have a few things to say.
First, I acknowledge that my resignation was vague. I didn't want to break a trust relationship with the moderator team. Even now, I am getting questions about it that I refuse to answer. If I'd included too many details, said too much that could be construed to veer towards individual condemnation, it would have been reckless and rendered my action pointless. But there are many more public details now than when I submitted my letter. There's still a lot I can't say -- sickening things I have heard and seen that I do not want to publicize. But for you all, I want to connect as many dots as I can, because my vagueness has left room for injury to Monica.
Anything I say here is already public knowledge, published by others before me. I will go no further than what is available, but thankfully, this time I don't think I need to.
The 'single incident' I refer to in my resignation is the days-long sequence of events culminating in the closure of the Teachers' Lounge. Multiple events that betrayed disregard have occurred in the past, though usually with specific individuals. None carried sweeping breadth. Each case example I listed in my resignation is an allusion to one or more real events that took place. This time, however, was unique. I stepped in when TL was already embroiled in discussing the legitimacy of trans people, by proxy of a pronoun issue. It was the closure of the TL that pushed me over the edge into resignation. That act killed a discussion already severely weighted against queer members. It was no relief. Silence signals an end to action. So I quit, and in quitting made my thoughts known, so that the general population might have an inkling of awareness for the depth of the problem. I sincerely believed Stack Exchange would not act, as they rarely do, outside words and postures.
For this reason, Monica's termination came as a shock to me. I had no advance knowledge that she would be flat-out removed. That was not what I asked for, and not what I wanted. To be clear: Monica did make a post that I still sincerely believe reflected a misconception about queer justice, but the post she wrote does not in my eyes warrant vilification. From what I've read, I believe Monica understands this pain now, and I see no reason to believe it was her intent to cause pain. We live, we share, we learn. Hers is a positive story, and I sincerely hope to see her vocal in support, when the opportunity arises in the future. But even if she does not agree with my assessment, the reaction against her has been incommensurate. Even if her post inadvertently started that discussion, people whose views are intentionally degrading came out of the woodwork and to my knowledge are still here, often vocal, always consequence-free. There is a deep hypocrisy in this process, and one that has recklessly harmed someone who means well.
The actions taken to date are not justice, not for her, not for us. Any eye for justice must also know the foibles of imperfection, and moderation is always an imperfect act. With Monica, clarity of expectation was warranted. Open and honest dialogue about the process for managing those expectations was warranted. With the moderator community, taking a clear stand with actionable guidance was warranted. Immediate removal was not. Absolute silence was not. The public statements we saw, implicating her in an act of bigotry, were not. And the severity of this stain on her personal reputation is not; this, especially, does lasting damage.
Even the people who are enraged by her removal would do well to remember that systems of power are in play. Protracted fighting over her and her reputation, without an eye for the system that caused these problems, is misplaced and can easily wound her further. In truth, this issue will always, always be a much larger issue than any single person, even while systems are created and reinforced by those who own them.
With people, seek compassion. Against systems, be relentless.
If you believe my resignation is not linked to Monica's termination, I have a few things to say.
I've been explicitly reassured by Stack Exchange that my resignation did not cause Monica's termination, but it's naive to believe I had no part to play.
Voices seeking justice create pressure. When we're heard, which is rare, it's often difficult to predict the impact our voices will have. I'm not seeking to dismiss culpability by saying that. While minoritized people are not responsible for the actions that systems of power take in response to our vocality, we would be remiss not to be careful about how we are heard. A lack of clarity on my part contributed to her enduring harm.
More importantly, I have to date been unsure how to approach talking about this issue, and in my uncertainty, I have stayed silent. I have harbored a fear that, given the way public discourse has aligned, speaking out for Monica would lump me in with those who are against queer justice. But there are actions I could have taken that work both toward queer justice and to mitigate a harm to Monica. Others have grouped her with people who fight against queer justice, and my quiet has contributed.
For my silence, for my trepidation, for the effects of my opaqueness, I am deeply sorry.
That's all I have to say. I am tired, so please let me rest.