"We have to overcome sexism, stereotypes . . ."
With the disclaimer that sexual harassment is not excusable, the take away from this article, beyond the obvious, is that males in IT are particularly sexist/creepy/touchy/inappropriate.
Males in IT already have to overcome the stereotypes of being vindictive and petty at work and awkward and socially-inept outside of it - of being little 'Napoleons' or 'Nazis', ruling our little empire and deriding all those we consider beneath us professionally to make up for being so low on the pecking order socially. We have bad dress sense and nerdy humour (often combined) and are scruffy and spend our free time reading sci-fi/fantasy novels, dressing up like elves/mutants/knights and reinstalling overnight builds of linux distributions while playing online games in dark rooms littered with cola cans.
So why not add "sexist" to the mix? We're all indifferent to criticism and don't pay attention to what other people think so another stereotype won't make much difference.
Now, the author is simply speaking from her own experience but one can't help feeling she is, herself, applying this stereotype to men in the IT industry.
After all, if her point was that all similar groupings - where there is a massive imbalance between men and women (in EITHER direction) - are subject to a percentage of individuals in the dominant group behaving without due consideration or respect for the minority group, then I think we could all agree that this is lamentably typical but would have to question why IT comes up for special note.
Again, the author is speaking from personal experience so I am not in any way doubting those experiences. Of course not.
However, negative experiences and proximity to them (whether they happen personally or to close friends/family) tend to have a far stronger effect than positive or neutral ones. Just think, after all, how many thousands of male IT workers were utterly decent? How many bad eggs does it take to warrant singling out one industry as abnormally populated with 'asses'?
The author does make a point that her experiences have been positive "for the most part". But I am not sure how to take that statement. Why then the article? In some ways, this statement has the ring of "some of my best friends are Muslims . . ." in that the author is making a negative generalisation about a group of people but disclaiming that with a fairly hollow throw-away line.
I suppose the headline: "Vast majority of IT bods are decent, normal folks who treat others with respect and civility" isn't really a very interesting one.
We know that some people are jerks. It's sad but true. We also know that some otherwise agreeable people become less some under the influence of alcohol. We also know that some people are IT workers. So guess what? Some IT workers turn into jerks when they've had a few drinks and some wake up as jerks. Is it the author's contention that IT is disproportionately populated with such people?
She certainly implies that it is a male phenomenon. If so, the higher the proportion of men in an industry or profession, the higher the proportion of such people. What that means is that, should our assertion prove correct, there is nothing specifically in IT that engenders this behavior and jerks are not not overrepresented in this profession.
"I make it a habit of going to conference parties with a group of men that I trust because I don’t want to go alone to a party full of inebriated, touchy-feely male strangers."
I believe that to be a fine strategy but hardly specific to IT. If you were in sales or recruitment (maybe you have been) then you would see similar same behavior. Hell, I've been volunteered for that service when some friends go out to clubs.
I would also ask the author to consider her headline:
"IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman."
First, I very much have heard a male IT worker say that a technical presentation has aroused him. It's a rather crude way to convey excitement but there it is. I get it that it's not the same thing as telling a woman she is giving you a 'hard on' by talking tech but that is just a crude way of conveying the message that what is enticing is not your looks but your knowledge.
And anyway, are we to condemn flirting? Yes it can be unwelcome and yes, again, the example given was particularly unsubtle and confronting but I met a previous partner through an industry event and my parents met at a (non-IT) conference. I would not be here if they hadn't flirted* (inappropriately for all I know) at just such an event as you are describing. Likewise a cousin of mine and a friend, who met their partners after flirting at an 'after-party'. (One in insurance, another in events.)
Leaving that aside and getting back to the title of the article, I would ask the author if she would make similar generalisations about, say, a racial/ethnic/religious group? If not, then don't make it about an industry and don't make it about a gender group.
You're also making the serious mistake of lumping non-heterosexual IT males in here. And no, I am not being facetious. Actually, you're also making the mistake of thinking that everyone at an IT event is in 'IT'. Many of them - depending on the event - are in sales or are managers. Indeed, one reason I attend fewer events than I used to is that I found the technical content just wasn't there and very few presenters could answer direct, to-the-point, technical questions.
* - Talking about "creepy" guys eying you, one thing I have found is that the creepiness of someone ogling a woman tends to be inversely proportional the the attractiveness of the one doing the ogling.