So about a million people have asked me about @lesbiantech and the issue re: speakers fees and tickets.

Here's a thread, and prepare yourself for it to be a classic Aubrey Middle Way Response.
First, I do think when possible that events should pay speakers. I also believe that it is absolutely fine for people to agree to speak for no payment (I do this often, and yes I get the privilege I enjoy for being able to do so).
Other things:
-Public speaking is work
-Companies and individuals get value from being on stage and/or sponsoring events (this includes the value to individual employees who get to attend / participate)

I have spoken at LWT SF multiple times, and Atlassian has covered my tix.
Based on my conversations with the team, they don't disagree with any of these principles, and are working to align their intent (to create access) with impact people have pointed out (concerns raised over speakers being asked to purchase a ticket).
Now, here's where I'm going to point out something the critics have missed (even if I'm very understanding, and in many ways in agreement with those critiques).

Advocacy is messy af. For folks who are doing the implementation, they must CONSTANTLY make difficult tradeoffs.
I call that practical radicalism. The flip of the coin is philosophical radicalism. Both are necessary, but philosophical radicalism is "perfection" and practical radicalism is *always* "never enough".
I know that about 10% of LWT attendees are speakers, and that it's a significant source of revenue for the org. Many speakers have their companies pay for their tickets (meaning it's not asking marginalized people to pay out of pocket).
LWT also strives to keep tix cheaper than many peers, and provide free / reduced price tix + travel stipends to folks in areas that don't have access to the event. Speaker tix subsidize that.
What we're looking at is a trade off of WHO to give access to, imho. Not "whether we're giving access".

It looks to me like the org is prioritizing giving access to those who 1) don't have a company that could cover and/or 2) don't have financial access to attend b/c distance.
Now, I *don't know* whether that's the right tradeoff to make.

I do know that they could make it MUCH clearer that folks can ask for free tix, and provide more supportive resources to help folks make requests of their employers. I *believe* they're already remedying this.
I also know that that even has been an incredible safe haven and career opportunity for me as a #queer #woc in ways I can barely articulate.
It helped form my ride or die squad. It has given me the opportunity to speak on areas of tech that no other conference would let me. That turned into other speaking ops, op eds, and even additional paid work.
I'm absolutely not telling anyone what choices *they* should make. But I *am* 100% confident that @lepitts and the team are taking the feedback seriously, actively working on finding a positive, impactful way forward.
The world is a fucking trash fire right now, especially for #qtpoc (among many, many other groups).

Our philosophies shouldn't kill something that's WORTH improving because it's not perfect.
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