Drupal Contributors Threaten to Quit After a Developer is Banned for His Private Sex Life

Drupal developers are threatening to quit unless Larry Garfield, a developer who was summarily removed from the development community for his unconventional sex life, is reinstated. Garfield, a long-time contributor to Drupal and PHP communities, was banned after he was outed for his private interest in BDSM and the Gorean “lifestyle.”

Gorean living is a form of consensual role-play, based on a series of science fiction novels by John Norman. It’s a sexual subjugation fantasy, in which male participants take on the role of master, and women role play as slaves.  It’s everything feminists hate.

Acquia CTO and Drupal trademark owner Dries Buytaert claims he asked Garfield to leave “because it came to my attention that he holds views that are in opposition to the values of the Drupal project.”

Explaining his decision in a post, Buytaert says he expressed “varying degrees of shock and concern” that someone he worked with held such private kinks. He added that he believes “all people are created equally,” and that he “cannot in good faith support someone who actively promotes a philosophy that is contrary to this.”

After being outed, Garfield wrote a self-deprecating post called “TMI about me” to elaborate on his alternative lifestyle, and Buytaert’s response to finding out about it.

“Dries wouldn’t budge on me leaving, including making it clear that it wasn’t an option, but an instruction […] informing me that I’d been summarily dismissed from my position as track chair and as a speaker at DrupalCon,” he said.

Referring to Drupal’s Code of Conduct on bullying, which was cited against him, Garfield says, ironically, that he is “being bullied, harassed, and excluded because of my personal activities, which I don’t even publicize much less advocate for in tech circles.”

The community of Drupal developers, committers, and funders is furious about the actions taken against Garfield, and banded together in an open letter directed to Dries Buytaert,  to threaten their support of the project unless Garfield is reinstated.

The letter rejects the discrimination Garfield is facing and says that the community has for years welcomed participants with alternative lifestyles and private sexual kinks like BDSM.

“Our concerns do not make us pro-Larry — we do not endorse his beliefs or his personal life — but we are passionately committed to openness, transparency, due process, fairness, inclusivity, diversity, having personal lives that are none of Drupal’s business, and professionalism in tech; and we are vehemently opposed to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, doxxing, secret trials, and digging up information on member’s personal lives.

So on this day, and because of our concerns, we stand together to affirm that the abusive behavior we have witnessed has no place in the Drupal community. We stand to demand with one voice that the Drupal community conduct itself as a professional community, which does not discriminate against people for who they are on the outside, for what they believe, for what they value, or for how they lawfully, consensually, and peacefully live their personal lives—even and especially in cases where people’s personal lives might be outside the mainstream or even offensive to some people.”

The Drupal contributors promise that unless Garfield is reinstated, they will abandon the project.

“If you will not fight for us and restore our faith in the professionalism of the Drupal community, then a number of us will be permanently leaving the Drupal community, ceasing all contributions to the official, Drupal-branded branch of the codebase, and ceasing participation in all Drupal communities This is not our first choice, but we cannot and will not participate in a community that encourages abusers to totally destroy people’s careers for personal or ideological reasons.”

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.