Open Letter from LGBTQIA+ Contributors to Wikipedia

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A Contested Vote on Deadnaming

Recently, Friction Magazine published an open letter written by LGBTQIA+ contributors of Wikipedia, following widespread media coverage on the treatment of transgender individuals in the encyclopedia. From February 12 to 25, a poll was conducted among French-speaking Wikipedia contributors to gather their views on the inclusion of deadnames in the biographies of transgender people. Despite a clear agreement among members of Wikipedia’s LGBT and transgender identity projects, a slight majority of the community voted in favor of this mention, thus placing minority voices at a disadvantage, a phenomenon also observable in institutions like the National Assembly.

Lack of Diversity and Reactions to the Decision

The contributors, coming from a predominantly homogeneous and undiversified group, made a decision on an issue that affects only 0.2% of the biographies. This approach has been criticized for its lack of sensitivity towards those whose identity is directly targeted. This decision led to strong reactions, including severe sanctions like the blocking of accounts, thus enhancing the perception of a biased and less legitimate contribution from transgender people and their allies.

Conflicts and Preservation of Identity

The survey also raised controversial proposals, such as preventing a transgender contributor from writing about transgender identity for her supposed well-being. Actions like these are perceived not only as personal attacks but also as a denial of the sincere commitment of LGBTQIA+ members to the encyclopedia.

Defending the Founding Principles of Wikipedia

Faced with these challenges, LGBTQIA+ contributors affirm their attachment to the founding principles of Wikipedia, such as the free sharing of knowledge. They express their desire to actively contribute to the encyclopedia, while preserving both their identity and integrity. They reject the false dichotomy that would force them to choose between their legitimacy to contribute and their solidarity towards the LGBTQIA+ community.

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Impact of the Open Letter from LGBTQIA+ Contributors to Wikipedia on the Community and Call to Action

The open letter from LGBTQIA+ contributors to Wikipedia also highlights the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ structures to maintain their presence and influence. It mentions important projects like the LGBTQIA+ archives in Paris and the difficulties encountered by specialized bookstores. Finally, it invites those who feel marginalized by such debates to turn to more inclusive spaces or to create new ones, while reaffirming the signatories’ commitment to enrich Wikipedia according to its mission of universal knowledge sharing.


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