Le Reset is a feminist hackerspace that actively welcomes people who usually do not feel safe or included in many hackerspaces. It takes place once a week, on sundays, in a queer bar in Paris. The place is a relevant aspect of what we do : it is already a welcoming place for women and queers.
Le RESET was created in 2016 by a small group of queer & feminist hackers and hacktivists. Our goal was to create a space at the intersection of communities that often remain apart. In our current political context, it is important to keep to mind who has access to technology, knowledge and expertise, and to make sure that we do not reproduce oppressive behaviors and structures in our activism. Marginalized people rarely feel like they belong in hackerspace communities, and it can be hard to break this statu quo. Wishing for better spaces is not enough, and we must strive to enforce better behaviors and be more inclusive in our communities through constant efforts on our end.
It is our responsibility to build spaces more accessible, so how do we do better and what tools can hackerspaces have to ensure they actually welcome everyone? As a feminist hackerspace, Le RESET constantly highlights the importance of uniting communities from different background: feminists, queers, geeks… Questions surrounding the feasibility of such reunions, and how minorities can access knowledge and have their voices heard in those communities are one of our major preoccupations.
Because marginalized people are often kept apart, their specific threat models and needs are disregarded and not addressed unless we consciously include them in our processes. Sharing our knowledge and expertise to everyone is important, but so is listening to others. This is why we heavily rely on mutual learning so that we can benefit from a diversity of experiences. Additionally, providing a space where minorities can feel welcomed allows a diversity of approach and therefore new opportunities to create differently. Within our Queer Games workshops for instance, participants were able to build an arcade machine using 3D printed clitoris as controllers with a Space-Invader like video game that address themes of medical violence.
The hackerspace had to be the safer possible space, so we wrote a code of conduct which includes respect of people’s boundaries, respect of pronouns, no transphobic, homophobic or racist behaviour allowed, etc. But writing that down doesn't actually change anything. We make sure people feel welcomed, so we dedicate a large part of our time around the workshops to talk to people, make sure they are able to speak out if needed, and also observe dynamics around the place. We practice attentiveness
Every sunday, we organize workshops hosted by women and queers. We use twitter a lot and receive many questions of women who did not dare to come to a hackerspace before, and of course, a lot of mansplaining too… We are not here to teach things to our fellow mansplainers, we keep our time and energy for the people we want to come to our hackerspace. We apply our code of conduct online. So we let women and queer people know before they come that we will do whatever it takes to keep the place the safer we can. And it works pretty well.