Celebrating Pride: Voices from the LGBTQ Tech Community

Celebrating Pride: Voices from the LGBTQ Tech Community

In honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month we are celebrating the LGBTQ tech community! At 42 Silicon Valley, everyone is welcome. 42 is passionate about creating an inclusive environment and making tech education more accessible to a diverse community of students.

A CEO of a social enterprise that empowers the tech trans community, a product manager lead for a major software company, a system architect for a top bank, and a strategic communications professional/tech ally recently shared their stories with us about their experiences as LGBTQ in tech.

Angelica Ross, President at Miss Ross, Inc. / Founding CEO at TransTech 

Tell us more about where you are from and what shaped you:

I’m from a very small town called Racine, Wisconsin. What shaped me most was growing up in the church and listening to gospel music. Even though I no longer practice, it gave me a good foundation and a hopeful outlook on life.

How did you get involved in tech?

I went a very unconventional route. I was in the process of being sex trafficked in the adult industry when the website owner recognized that I was tech savvy. She asked me to work on the site instead of posing for it. From there, I expanded my skills and learned HTML, CSS, and how to build websites through content management systems.

What have been some highlights from your tech career?

To see major brands like PayPal and Groupon stand with me to provide spaces for our community to teach and to support one another, through the first and second annual TransTech Summits was definitely a highlight.  I hope to be able to scale up and do more of that.

What have been some challenges you have faced in tech?

One of the earliest challenges I faced in tech was not having access to high priced hardware and software. That is why part of TransTech’s mission is to create more access for our members.  

Who in the LGBT tech community inspires you?

I am inspired by the trans and non-binary people who go to work every day in tech companies where they have been part of the change, and now have the opportunity to show just how talented trans people are when given the chance.

What do you think companies and individuals should be doing to expand on the number of LGBTQ working in tech?

Invest in educating, mentoring and consistently supporting LGBTQ+ youth and inspiring them to learn about various roles in the tech industry.

Do you have any advice for anyone in the LGBTQ community who wants to pursue a career in tech?

Join TransTechSocial.org and get involved with the network. Be open to learning a new skill. Whether you are employed or not, you should make sure that you are up to date with the latest technology and techniques.

What are you looking forward to most during Pride Month?

I’m looking forward to our Pride tech talk event with Metis Data Science. And I’m going to be one of the Grand Marshals in the Pride Parade with the cast of Pose! I love seeing so many people celebrating and freely expressing themselves.

Brendyn Alexander, Senior PM Lead at Microsoft

Tell Us More About Where You Are From and What Shaped You:

I grew up in the fingerlakes region of upstate New York in a small town called Groton. My youth was a mix of ideal childish frivolity and situations unbefitting of my age. 

I lived a corn-field away from my best friends, spent long summer days on my grandparent’s horse farm or at the town pool, and played video games and sports and participated in as many school and church activities as I could.

Behind that picturesque facade was a darker parallel reality: I struggled through abusive relationships at home and alienation from the religious community I was a part of–most significantly because of a growing awareness of being gay. These struggles applied a dark patina to all I experienced, even the good, and resulted in behavioral and developmental challenges.

These polarizing forces have most directly shaped who I’ve become. I value Christian ideals of honesty, integrity, and love–yet am not religious. I have many fond memories of childhood, and many experiences which have set me up for success, yet struggle with the side effects of society’s inability in the 80s and 90s to grasp and tackle abusive family dynamics.

At this point, I wouldn’t change a thing–my hunger to flee my childhood plus my passion for activity and accomplishment instilled in me a work ethic and drive necessary to succeed as an adult. And the empathy I’ve gained for others being on the receiving end of dysfunction has enabled me to be compassionate and caring. These are invaluable skills as a product management professional in technology where listening to and understanding customers correlates with building great products.

How Did You Get Involved in Tech?

I first got started with tech in high school when I took a Microsoft Office and intro to HTML course. I fell in love with the ability to create and be able to undo and redo my creations in the digital world without having to throw resources away. For example, if you draw a picture and screw up you have to throw that paper out, you’ve wasted paint, etc. So I love that that doesn’t happen with software.

From there, I created sites for fun and for local businesses in my hometown. When I found the Information Technology program at RIT during my senior year in high school I knew I wanted to pursue that intersectional field of study. I was then lucky enough to have a career advisor who believed enough in me to persuade me to apply to Microsoft for an internship and the rest is history.

What Have Been Some Highlights From Your Tech Career?

I’ve had the chance to work on some awesome projects in my time at Microsoft, including the first version of Office Online, the Azure user interface, and now the Edge browser on Windows as a lead. I’ve received 10 patents for my work on those projects. Also, I’m now at 11 years at Microsoft which, in the world of millennials, feels like forever.

Outside of Microsoft I had a chance to work with Emory University and MTV on a campaign to improve AIDS awareness and access to testing centers.

I’ve also had the opportunity at Microsoft to mentor dozens of high school, college, and peer employees to help them develop and progress in their careers.

What Have Been Some Challenges You Have Faced in Tech?

The tech world, especially at some of the more in-demand companies, can be fiercely competitive. I started off doing tech for fun purely and it was a painful adjustment at times to learn how to play corporate games and navigate a competitive corporate culture.

The tech world also changes constantly and it can be a challenge to keep up with the pace of change in order to stay relevant and innovative at one of the world’s most influential companies that attracts the most relevant and innovative people.

Lastly, especially at the beginning and before tech evolved to be more inclusive, it was quite hard to fit into the “boy’s club” as a gay man with a tendency toward an emotional and empathetic approach to others. I was afraid of being myself at first as I didn’t want to alienate others and diminish career opportunities.

Who in the LGBTQ Tech Community Inspires You?

I tend to view being gay as one aspect of myself, and of others, versus as a reason to be inspired by someone else. In that vein, I am inspired by all the people who are collectively open and willing to be their whole selves every day including expressing their LGBTQ identity in whatever way is right for them. When someone is courageous enough to be their whole self I find that courage contagious. And in tech, which is a heterosexual, male-dominated industry, it often does take courage.

What Do You Think Companies and/or Individuals Should Be Doing to Expand on the Number of LGBTQ Working in Tech?

I think more companies need to focus on infusing empathy, curiosity, and authenticity into their cultures. In technology, especially in some of the most competitive companies like Microsoft, there’s often a demographic homogeneity that smooths away the aspects of us that stand out and make us a complete picture. Society has a history of doing that to LGBTQ people, forcing us to fit a mold to belong and be accepted. If technology companies were safe spaces for LGBTQ people to not only be free to be themselves but be embraced for the diversity they bring, that would go a long way to attract more of that population into the field.

LGBTQ are some of the most capable and creative people I’ve ever met. It’d benefit the tech industry to appeal to us more.

Do You Have Any Advice for Anyone in the LGBTQ Community Who Wants to Pursue a Career in Tech?

Be yourself. Tech companies build products for everyone, and their workforce should reflect the customers they build for. There’s no one better to ensure technology reflects the needs of the LGBTQ population than those within the community–and there aren’t nearly enough of us in tech yet to ensure we’re represented. I’d encourage you to be courageous. You may not find all tech companies yet reflect the level of inclusivity you imagine for the world. But be the change from within if you’re passionate about improving people’s lives through technology.

What Are You Looking Forward to Most During Pride Month?

I enjoy seeing the support from allies and the broader social celebration of LGBTQ people and our contributions to society throughout history. We’re a group who’s experienced our fair share of painful oppression and alienation. To be so embraced, to be joyfully in the social consciousness for such a prolonged time, helps heal and move on from those experiences and generates hope for an even better future.

Dana Stevenson, System Architect for Technology Infrastructure Architecture (TIA-Database) at Wells Fargo

Tell Us More About Where You Are From and What Shaped You:

I’m from Charlotte, North Carolina. While growing up, I was always LGBTQ.  I identify as gender fluid now after learning about this in a Jennifer Brown’s Diversity Leadership Training Program years ago.  In NC, I did not fit into the conservative Christian culture and had challenges with fitting in as my gender expression passed as a boy. So going to the restroom at school often meant that I waited until no one was there and ran into the boys bathroom with a hall pass because I didn’t want my classmates to discover that I was a girl or cis-gender female. It was challenging because I couldn’t talk about it with anyone because even being gay back then was not accepted.

I feel like Nature shaped me too. Being able to play in the woods as a kid, building forts, climbing trees, skiing in the mountains, swimming at beaches, and exploring cotton fields in the countryside provided me with a connection to life that didn’t judge me but made me feel at home so to speak. It was a “safe space” for me to be myself. It was also a space for my inquisitive interest in science which led to me being on the Math Team in high school.

Another big influence on my life was sports. I was very athletic, I played soccer with the guys as there was no girls soccer in NC at that time. Also, I played football and baseball and was the only cis-gender girl on the team. Through playing sports, I was able to express my gender identity and build confidence in playing with teams. 

I was always attracted to the same sex, but LGBTQ awareness was not available in schools at that time. I didn’t know how to explain in language that I liked “girls” to my family & friends.  Unfortunately, my family didn’t accept me or support me, they told me I was an embarrassment. The only one who accepted me was my sister. Later, my parents sent me to conversion therapy and got more involved with church because they wanted to “fix” me. Eventually, I said screw this, I’m out and quit.

I went to college in Charleston, South Carolina. In college, I was a pre-med major, played the French horn, and was not in computer science.  I tried to start an LGBT group with about four friends and could not find any support or funding. So we would just all meet at a coffee shop and plan our Pride events. We had to fight against hate on an almost weekly basis. After dealing with some loss in my family and having challenges being LGBTQ in Charleston, SC – without support from my family while all my friends were going to grad school – I went to where the LGBTQ community was, Atlanta, GA.

I ended up moving to Atlanta because they had a large LGBTQ community. While trying to find my space, I decided not to go to medical school. I had a lot going on with being queer and not being supported or accepted from my family. I found people who were like me, gay. After I moved to Atlanta I got involved with activism. I was involved with  Lesbian Avengers, and with ACT UP, and was very politically active. I was also involved in the first Dyke March in Atlanta. 

So to sum it up, living in the SouthEast shaped me in many ways that brought me to San Francisco.

How Did You Get Involved in Tech?

While in Atlanta, I was interested in clinical psychology. I took prereqs to get accepted into a Master’s program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). That brought me to San Francisco. I was in school and started working at a company called Providian Financial.  I didn’t have any financial or emotional support from family, it was me just making it on my own. So I had to get a job, pay for my rent and school.

I was working as a Telecenter Systems Administrator where I first started working with data systems.  I worked with Informix and had to import data from our call center. Basically, it was call center system analytics. On the job, I learned Visual BASIC, Perl, and networking. That was around ‘95 where I started to learn tech and got immersed in it on the job in San Francisco. When I was doing my practicum, I realized I did not want to be a therapist so I quit school.

A couple of years later during the dot.com boom, some startups started emerging. A colleague from Providian recruited me to work on one of the first online mortgage applications. I got involved with being a SQL Server DBA and Developing Data Transformation Service packages. Working at startups is where I got great hands-on experience. I got to build servers, configure java servlets, automate data feeds, analyze data, help build databases, and continue my learning and development in technology. 

What Have Been Some Highlights From Your Tech Career?

I think having the opportunity to work in these startups and working in technology has been critical to my success. Living in the Bay Area, we are immersed in Silicon Valley’s technocrats where we expect a level of technical innovation.

Moving into infrastructure architecture at Wells Fargo has been a highlight as well. I feel like this role requires a broad set of very difficult skills. This includes engineering (i.e., networking, OS platforms, development, hardware), people skills, compliance knowledge, costs and KPI, and understanding the business strategies. Overall, I find it incredibly challenging and intellectually engaging. Especially working at a company like Wells Fargo which was founded in 1852.  Its institutional legacy, global size, brand and it’s innovation for tomorrow make it an exciting place to be working today.

When I was working on a Cyber Defense project I realized that security was of interest to me.  At that point, I began to search for a Masters program. I was accepted into the University of San Diego’s Master Cyber Security Operations and Leadership Program. In August 2019 I will graduate, later in my career. I hope to empower others that it is never too late to go back to school and grow your career. Not all of us can be Faujah Singh, the 108-year-old marathon runner. But we can inspire others by redefining cultural stereotypes just by being our true selves.

What Have Been Some Challenges You Have Faced in Tech?

First of all, I love being a part of a generation that has seen how the techies are not so homogenous as it was in the ’90s. There are more and more diverse teams that represent the world we live in. Having diversity segments now such as age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, on teams results in an expansion of the types of ideas and work styles that are being delivered. 

Because technology changes so frequently it is challenging to remain an expert in everything. Since it’s a field of continuous learning, it’s critical to determine what area you want to focus on and stick to it. For example languages, platforms, libraries, service-oriented solutions, it is hard. You can’t be an expert in everything, create a network full of people you trust with their professional knowledge and experience and always build your skills.

In What Ways Has Wells Fargo Been Supportive?

Wells Fargo has a history of supporting Diversity, including the LGBTQ community. They were one of the first corporations to have a PRIDE team network and in the ’80s supported non-discrimination based on sexual orientation. They were one of the first companies to offer domestic partner benefits. In addition to having an organization to support LGBTQ, we have a women’s network, a Native American network, and an Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders network. We have an opportunity to volunteer 16 hours per year so we can give back to the community.

I love working at Wells Fargo, they do not discriminate on age, ethnicity, your sexual orientation, or your gender identity. At Wells Fargo, our offices include people from Afghanistan, India, Russia, a lesbian from San Francisco, someone who is 78, and then a recent college grad in their 20’s working on a project together. We have such diversity here it brings so many perspectives to our work and it shapes the reality of the products and services that we build for our customers. 

At Wells Fargo everyone feels safe, you don’t feel bullied or discriminated against for being queer, a woman, or older, or even if English is your second language. You feel welcomed. When you come to work and can be yourself then you are going to drive success to you and people around you. If you do ever encounter these incidents they have a zero tolerance for discrimination policy with a set of procedures to follow immediately to escalate. 

Who in the LGBTQ Tech Community Inspires You?

CEO of Apple Tim Cook, former CTO of the United States Megan Smith under Barack Obama and founder of shift7, Leanne Pittsford who founded Lesbians Who Tech, and Jennifer Brown, founder of inclusive and diversity training in Fortune 500 companies.

What Do You Think Companies and/or Individuals Should Be Doing to Expand on the Number of LGBTQ Working in Tech?

The good thing is companies have identified the issue of discrimination and are talking about it. The next step is to engage with organizations such as Lesbians Who Tech, connect with community groups like Girls Who Code, and have their recruiting agencies go to those events. If you have pride organizations at your company they can outreach to community organizations to include internships for LGBTQ youth.  When I served on the Board of Lesbians Who Tech and the SF PRIDE Team Member Network Board at Wells Fargo I acted as a liaison to HR recruiting LGBTQ.

Do You Have Any Advice for Anyone in the LGBTQ Community Who Wants to Pursue a Career in Tech?

If you want to pursue it, you can find it. Don’t be intimidated, find meetup groups, find online training, find what sector you want to be in. Take a risk, try it, go and do things, and don’t be scared, take courses online for free, go to meetups and meet people.  Find someone who may have a job you want and are interested in, and ask if you can do an informational interview. The culture is important, if you go and interview with someone, and you don’t feel respected or feel uncomfortable, it is okay to walk away and go find a company whose culture makes you feel safe, respected, and inspired.

What Are You Looking Forward to Most During PRIDE Month?

This year is about celebrating marriage equality and the Anniversary of the Stonewall riots, it resonates deeply into our communities history. 

I look forward to going to the Frameline LGBTQ Film Festival, going to events that my company is hosting, and volunteering and reconnecting with our history. It’s also a time to get more politically engaged, particularly under the current administration. I also volunteer at the Pink Triangle, every year to install it in Twin Peaks. It connects you with the history of how LGBTQ  were labeled and mass murdered in World War II.

Globally, we still have a lot of work ahead of us when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Now we see more corporate activism. It is great to work for a company, like Wells Fargo, that continues to stand up for LGBTQ issues at work and in communities. Hopefully, this will inspire other companies to do the same. 

Happy Pride!

Danielle Moodie-Mills, Strategic Communications Professional and Tech Ally 

Tell Us More About Where You Are From and What Shaped You:

I am from Long Island, New York. I grew up pretty far out East on the island in a majority white suburban community. In addition, I am a child of immigrants from Jamaica. My stepdad (whom for all intensive purposes is my father) is white. I have always been interested in politics from a young age. In high school, I took AP Government. In that class I  got the fire that inspired me to go into public service and pursue a career invested in helping others. I wasn’t cynical about government at the time. I thought it could do anything to help support the most marginalized communities if it was run well.

After high school, I attended  Marymount University just outside of Washington, D.C. and studied Political Science and Government. From there, I attended George Mason University and got my Masters of Education in Special Education and Early Childhood. I wanted to work in educational policy. I received  a great education because my mom moved to the best school district she could afford at the time.

That always stuck with me, that she had to literally move to find the best school system and I just thought that shouldn’t be the case. What happens to the kids whose families cannot afford to move to the best school district? Do we just not care about their educations and outcomes in life? I went to Sachem School District; which at the time was the largest  and one of the best public school districts on Long Island. The reason I went into educational policy initially was because I felt that a person’s zip code should not impact their educational opportunities or lifespan.

While attending George Mason I started to look at education in a very different way. The program looked at the cultural competency teachers should have when teaching diverse students. Also, the bias that many of us expose kids to and how that impacts them. I learned about how our own biases and  stereotypes enters into learning. There is so much more that goes into teaching young people than teaching them their ABCs.

We bring a lot of our own biases into the classroom which effects the teacher/child/parent relationship. I appreciated the program I went into, it opened my eyes to the biases I experienced in high school. I graduated from a class of 1,103 kids and was only 1 of about 10 Black kids. There was so much assimilation that occurred in order to fit in, and a lot of denial of self. I didn’t realize the impact of the trade offs I was forced to make until many years later.

There is such a hindrance that happens to young people when they feel unheard and unseen. For me, it was really important to make a difference. After grad school, I taught at a D.C. public charter school. It was bilingual, half Spanish and English. In this school system, we had the ability to create an inclusive social justice class for 1st and 2nd graders in general education and those with special needs. I taught for two years. While I was there I realized I wanted to affect more than the 23 kids that were in my class and their families at a time.

Wanting a greater impact, I set my sights on Capitol Hill. I was able to find an incredible opportunity with the Congressional Black Caucus as a CBCF Fellow. When you are a congressional intern or fellow, you are being paid very little money, which is a hindrance to Black and brown people as well as low-income folks. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation created a program to provide a stipend for people who didn’t have the resources while working hard to pursue their goals. I was fortunate to be awarded the fellowship, and I worked on the hill for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. She was the only House member from NYC serving on the House Education and Labor committee. Which was incredibly important as NYC is the largest school district in the country. In the early 2000’s it was representing over a million kids.

When I left the classroom, the purpose for me was to have a bigger impact.  I worked to draft legislation, meet with constituents, meet with organizations and various public schools around the city. It was exceptional and opened my eyes to a lot of things. I made several transitions after following the end of my fellowship program. I became a lobbyist under Mayor Bloomberg in his office of Federal Affairs working as one of the team’s leads on education policy for the city. After a few years with the mayor, I left and went to work as a lobbyist for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and led the organization’s environmental education work.

While transitioning from the Mayor’s office to NWF my wife, Aisha, and I got engaged. I am telling you this story because marriage was only available in 5 or 6 states at the time. It was then that my wife Aisha and I became very vocal advocates for the marriage equality movement and key national spokespeople. I realized there were two things with the ability to shift the public’s perspective and acceptance of same-sex marriage and that was policy/politics and media. So I began to use the intersection of those two areas to effect great change. I told the story of inequality and why discrimination of LGBTQ people mattered.

Currently, I wear a couple of different hats in media, policy, and advocacy. Ultimately, I see myself as a storyteller. I tell stories for clients through my public relations firm Moodie-Mills Strategies, or on-air through my radio show WokeAF on SiriusXM. I am telling the stories of marginalized communities and helping people connect the dots. In addition to that, I also work as a political pundit on cable news.

How would you describe your role in tech?

I am what I refer to as tech adjacent. I use technology and use social media to spread truth and progressive values on a day to day basis and I live on Twitter. Without technology, I wouldn’t be able to message and connect with millions of people. As a media personality, pundit, and talk show host, social media and tech gives me the ability to be in the palm of people’s hands. Through this, I am able to spread messages of hope and activism so that others can get involved and stay connected. I am not a coder or engineer, but I do use tech tools to its utmost to really connect. 

How did you get involved as a tech ally?

I got involved with tech through my advocacy as an LGBTQ advocate. When Leanne Pittsford launched her company, Lesbians Who Tech, and started the summits she hosts twice a year, she asked me if I would co-host. I said, “Are you sure?” because I am not a tech person. But she said you are queer, you are an advocate,  and you work in media. She explained to me that her goal of creating Lesbians Who Tech was about creating a community of empowered queer women and their allies. It was also about making people feel like they weren’t alone in a very white, straight, male-dominated industry. That is how I got involved with Lesbians Who Tech, and now half of my friends are in tech and are lesbians. It wasn’t my world but now it is. 

What have been some highlights from your career?

I am really proud of the work I did with my wife Aisha. After we got married we launched a 4-year initiative in 2010 through the Center for American Progress called the FIRE initiative or Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality. We looked at the intersection of LGBTQ equality and racial justice, and how discriminatory policies affect those that live at the intersections of multiple identities. 

I also launched Polintini, a political podcast where I discussed the intersection of politics and pop culture.  During that time I wrote and produced 100 shows, which was a huge achievement. I connected with Emmy award-winning actress, Lena Waithe, through the show and so many amazing folks that are now crushing it in Hollywood. Through my work on Politini I was able to launch my own show WokeAF through SiriusXM in 2016. I have done a lot of things, with each iteration of my career, people have asked how I went from a teacher to a lobbyist, to the media. It was always about education and my job will always be as an educator with whatever platform I have. 

What have been some challenges you have faced? 

The two initial challenges I faced was being taken seriously and recognizing I had something to say as a black woman in the policy space. I always asserted myself in spaces. If I didn’t have a strong sense of self I would have never thought I belonged in those spaces. I was raised by a very strong and brilliant black Jamaican woman who always told me I belong everywhere and anywhere I want to be. If there isn’t a table I am included in, build another one. Yes, there have been obstacles, but thanks to my strong foundation of family and close friends, I have been able to face them head-on.

Who in the LGBTQ tech community inspires you?

The late Edie Windsor. She became an LGBT icon through the Supreme Court case for marriage equality. Her work as a tech entrepreneur as a woman in the 1960s was incredible. I had the honor of interviewing her a couple of times before she passed away and that woman was a firecracker. I thought if I can live into my late 80’s as vibrant and sharp and purposeful until the day that I die I would have done something. At Lesbians Who Tech, Leanne named a scholarship after her and that was one of her proudest moments. She never thought she would see a room of 1,500 lesbians in tech during her entire life. It was so powerful for her, I can imagine when she started out, she was the only one. And at the end of her life, connecting with an organization that built community was extraordinary.

What do you think companies and/or individuals should be doing to expand on the number of LGBTQ working in tech?

I think they need to create quota systems, in a good way. We should commit to having 20% representation or 15% representation of marginalized groups. Also, committing to a workforce that is not just white or Asian men. You need to set goals for your company, reach out to organizations like Lesbians Who Tech and Black Girls Code, whose purpose is to diversify the industry. If you don’t set goals, you end up hiring within networks, for a lot of men their networks look just like them. You need to break that cycle through setting goals and partnering with organizations.

Do you have any advice for anyone in the LGBTQ community who wants to pursue a career in tech?

I would tell them to connect with Lesbians Who Tech right away. You can find a place where you can bring your whole self to work and not have to parse and parcel yourself in order to have a job. There are places and spaces where you can be yourself, and no one can ask you to leave a part of yourself at home in order to do your job.

What are you looking forward to most during Pride Month? 

I just love seeing the celebration of what it means to be out. For so many people around the country and world, PRIDE is the only time, maybe only the one day, they can celebrate and sing and show up and show out.  It is great to see people at their first PRIDE. It is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots when black trans people said we are not going to be bullied by the police anymore or be shoved in closets.

Marking this Pride month, it is extraordinary to be part of it. I will be speaking at Stonewall on the 28th of June and I was just honored by the mayor of NYC and the borough of Brooklyn for LGBT advocacy. I was honored by Logo TV’s trailblazers in different industries who have been out and proud. This is an extraordinary PRIDE for me because I spent the last 9-10 years of my life committed to LGBTQ equality and justice.  Although we are living in dangerous times, I have hope in the work we have done and will continue to do. Progress is not won and done, it is a continuous fight to hold onto it.

The Importance of LGBTQ Representation in Tech

At 42 Silicon Valley, we know firsthand that diverse representation helps to create teams that are able to solve challenges in tech. Research shows that groups that are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, are more innovative.

42 Silicon Valley’s Chief Academic Officer, Gaetan Juvin, shared, “When everybody is treated as equal, no matter where they came from, who they are, or whom they love, we have more freedom to make an impact and to have our voices be heard.”

There are challenges that LGBTQ community members face in the tech industry, including bullying, and wage inequality. In response to these obstacles, LGBTQ tech workers have established supportive communities. Organizations like Lesbians Who Tech, Trans Tech Social, and Out in Tech, provide support to LGBTQ individuals who work in tech.

It is important to have LGBTQ representation in tech not only because diversity leads to innovation, but also because it has an impact on the LGBTQ community’s civil rights movement. Using tech to expand LGBTQ community and further advocacy is especially important when so many LGBTQ individuals still have no voice. These connections, whether behind the scenes or in front of your screens, is an important part of making sure that everyone in the LGBTQ community has equal rights and access to opportunities.

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published by admin – June 28, 2019