AI & futurism

React JS conference to return in November — LGBTQ not invited

You ain't got to go home, but you can't be queer here


React JS conference to return in November — LGBTQ not invited
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him

The React Eurasia (formerly React Europe) conference is finally returning to its in-person roots this November after two years of online-only events.

Good news for bigots: If you hate the LGBTQPIA+ community and don’t want to attend STEM events with queer people, golly gee are you in luck!

The event is being held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Conference organizers announced the venue earlier today alongside a glowing recommendation for its host city of Dubai:

Greetings, humanoids

Subscribe to our newsletter now for a weekly recap of our favorite AI stories in your inbox.

Here’s the text of the thread:

We are excited to announce that ReactEurope, now @ReactEurasia will be back in person this November 2022!

ReactEurope has always had a very diverse audience from both Europe and Asia who have been requesting us for years to move the conference closer to home.

We have been looking for a place for this 8th edition that would be close to both Europe, Asia and North Africa and we found an amazing location that is at the heart of these 3 regions, the beautiful city of Dubai in the UAE, tech hub of the region with a cosmopolitan lifestyle mixed with local culture.

November offers the best weather of the year at Dubai, not too hot nor too cold with pristine beaches, desert adventures and food scene

ReactEurope has always attracted a passionate audience from all around the world, however, Western Europe visa system makes it hard for some passport holders to get in, specially for people from Africa, Middle East, Asia and South America who are under-represented.

Dubai is one of the easiest country to get in with no visa requirement for most countries and an online straight-forward quick procedure for countries that require an entry visa.

It also offers modern infrastructure while remaining accessible, allowing us to offer a bigger and high quality venue and side events to make sure you have a good time.

Why can’t queer people attend? “Homosexuality” and “cross-dressing” are illegal in the UAE. This means trans persons cannot attend unless they mask their gender identity. It also means that any conduct or contact which could be considered “homosexual” is illegal.

A Scottish man was arrested in Dubai in 2017 after he accidentally placed his hand on another man’s hip in an attempt to avoid spilling his drink in a crowded bar.

What’s the worst that could happen? Death. Death is the worst that could happen. The UAE not only follows Sharia law, but also has codified laws against “homosexuality” with penalties ranging from fines, forced anal examinations, forced hormone injections, flogging and torture, to life in prison and even the death penalty.

Who normally attends the conference? It’s a technology conference. In the modern era, that typically means that professionals and journalists working in the field are welcome regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

According to the event’s own code of conduct, everyone should be welcome to obtain a ticket and attend:

Our conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices.

Who is responsible for this? React is a free and open-source library for JS, it’s maintained by a community of developers and Meta.

Wait, Meta? That Meta? Yes, that Meta. The one that used to be called Facebook.

So Meta supports holding a STEM conference in a city where queer attendees would have to risk death in order to attend? Apparently. We reached out to the React conference organizers and Meta‘s press department to ask that very question. We’ll let you know if they respond.

What can I do? If you’re an ally to the LGBTQPIA+ community, don’t attend or support this conference. And be sure to spread the word, so that we can let React, Meta, and every other STEM event organizer know that we deserve to be included.  

Get the Neural newsletter

Greetings Humanoids! Did you know we have a newsletter all about AI? You can subscribe to it right here.