I’m weirdly enamoured with the Disney Plus teen musical movie, “Zombies 3.”

Mostly though, it’s not the movie itself. It’s this interview with the Asian, non-binary, queer actor Terry Hu who portrays a non-binary alien main character in the movie:

In the interview, Terry says:

“Holistic representation or true representation of a group or community requires, in my opinion, two types of stories:

1. Stories that revolve around the specific struggle that comes with being that minority.

2. Stories that just include characters that happen to be from underrepresented communities, but their plot doesn’t revolve around that. We’re here. It’s not a phase, trend, or fad. Let’s just integrate and keep going.”

In other words, we need stories where characters from marginalized groups get to live their lives as fully realized human beings, rather than just as symbols for specific social issues.

What does that have to do with PHP?

Well, it’s no secret that I’m passionate about helping to make speaker lineups at conferences more diverse.

A question I get from new speakers is if people should only be speaking about being underrepresented. What if we don’t want to focus on that? What if we want to talk about a tech passion? Like, say, something to do with PHP?

I see it like Terry sees it. We need both kinds of tech talks. So yes, while talking about our experiences as members of underrepresented groups is important, we definitely also need more of us talking about our tech passions: doing what we do, being who we are, sharing what we love. By nature of having different life experiences and cultural history, we naturally see things with a different perspective which will bring added value to the tech event.

Why it matters:

  • Having a mix of people who don’t all look alike and come from the same background makes it a better conference
  • Having different perspectives brings in fresh ideas that benefit everybody!

Actions Steps:

If you identify as a person from a marginalized or underrepresented identity: Consider talking about your PHP passion at a PHP event.

If you are organizing a PHP event: Keep an eye on having a mix of voices in your speaker lineup. Hint: This becomes easier if you also have a mix of voices on your organizing team.

And if you’re in the WordPress community: come join our #diverse-speaker-support channel on the WordPress Slack chat!