FEATURED IMAGE | Source: Charlie Nguyen, CC BY 2.0
Diversity is an ongoing discussion in tech. It’s not a secret that certain groups are represented in very small numbers in the industry. Whether you’re a woman, a racial minority, or a queer person in tech, finding a community that will support your career endeavors can be a welcome source of empowerment.
Because it’s June and Pride Month, we decided to create a list of tech groups for the LGBTQ community. Here is a list of organizations that focus on professional networking, visibility, and advocacy for LGBTQ people in tech.
Communities for LGBTQ People in Tech
Start Out is a national nonprofit that empowers LGBT entrepreneurs. It pursues its goals by providing networking resources, expertise, and visibility for more than 15,000 members. The organization holds over 60 events annually. It also provides a mentorship program, an accelerator lab, and opportunities to connect with accredited investors. Chapters are located in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco.
Lesbians Who Tech is self-described as a “Community of Queer Women in or around tech (and the people who love them).” The organization’s goal is to create visibility, industry inclusion, and community for these women. Lesbians Who Tech has an impressive 40,000 members and over 42 chapters worldwide. The group holds summits in various cities and hosts notable speakers, including Sheryl Sandberg who spoke in San Francisco this past March. Also worth noting: The group provides a coding scholarship and organizes Bring a Lesbian to Work Day.
Trans*H4CK launched as a response to the growing social and economic barriers that plague the trans community. The organization tackles these problems by developing open source tech products that empower trans and gender-nonconforming people, including products that improve access to social services. The group’s additional impacts include organizing hackathons, securing tech employment for trans people, and helping to create several startups.
Out in Tech is a nonprofit that has built a community of 20,000 LGBTQ+ tech professionals. Like many other organizations, Out in Tech holds networking events and showcases accomplished speakers to empower the LGBTQ+ community. What sets Out in Tech apart is its commitment to mentoring young LGBTQ+ people who aspire to work in tech. It also organizes a volunteer program to provide web services for LGBTQ+ activists worldwide.
LGBTQ in Technology is a Slack group for anybody who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, or gender-nonconforming. You must get an invite to join. The aim is to provide a safe online space for LGBTQ people to chat and find support.
Queer Coders is another online community, specifically for LGBTQ programmers. The site allows you to meet other LGBTQ coders, chat with users on its forum, and even hire programming consultants (or become one too).
In addition to the larger groups listed above, you can also find local meetups in many major cities. Here are just a few that have recently held an event or has one coming up:
Another place to find a group is at your company. Some tech companies have internal LGBTQ networks, whether it’s an informal group created by workers or one that’s sponsored by the company. Microsoft’s GLEAM is just one example. An internal community can be a powerful support. If your company doesn’t have a group, maybe take the initiative to start one!