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Diversity in Tech: Where Are We Now? An LGBT History Month Feature

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What’s LGBT History Month?

LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK is a yearly observance in February that celebrates the history, culture, and achievements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

It was founded in the UK in 2005 by Schools Out UK and is now celebrated globally.

The month is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to society, as well as raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues and promote equality and inclusion.

Throughout the month, events and activities take place in schools, communities, and other organisations to commemorate LGBTQ+ history and promote a greater understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Relationship Between Tech & Queer Culture

As technology continues to shape the way we live and work, it's important to recognize the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and the tech industry.

The tech industry has a long history of being a supportive and inclusive space for the LGBTQ+ community.

Companies like Apple and Google have been publicly supporting LGBTQ+ rights for many years and have made efforts to create inclusive and accepting work environments.

However, it wasn't always this way. In the early days of the tech industry, being openly LGBTQ+ could be a career liability.

It wasn't until the 1990s and 2000s that the industry began to openly embrace diversity and inclusion.

Diversity in Tech: How Inclusive Is The Tech Industry Today?

There are many ways in which tech companies are supporting LGBTQ+ rights and equality such as:

  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Many tech companies have established ERGs specifically for LGBT employees to provide support, resources, and advocacy.

  • Diversity and Inclusion Programs: Many tech companies have launched diversity and inclusion initiatives to promote a more welcoming and accepting work environment for LGBT employees.

  • Health Benefits: Tech companies have expanded their health benefits to include gender-affirming surgeries and other medical treatments for transgender employees.

  • Non-Discrimination Policies: Many tech companies have updated their non-discrimination policies to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • All-Gender Restrooms: Many tech companies have implemented all-gender restrooms to provide a safer and more inclusive environment for transgender and gender non-conforming employees.

  • LGBT-Friendly Workplace Culture: Tech companies have made a conscious effort to create a workplace culture that is friendly and accepting of all employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

How Has Tech Changed The LGBTQ+ Experience?

Throughout history, LGBTQ+ individuals have sought ways to connect with one another, often resorting to secret codes and symbols, such as Polari and green carnations, to express themselves.

Today, technology provides a platform for LGBT+ people to connect and discover each other safely through dating apps like Her and online communities like Meetup.

When Tinder surveyed 1000+ members of the LGBT+ Community, 80 percent of people said dating apps had a positive impact on their community, 46 percent said it had provided more diversity in people they could date. 36 percent said it had provided them with the opportunity to date more people of other races and cultures.

The Rainbow Campaign, a global LGBT+ crowdfunding network, provides a platform for growth by supporting businesses and individuals looking to empower the community.

In addition to facilitating connections, technology also provides safety for LGBT+ individuals, especially in dangerous circumstances.

Virtual Private Networks like Express VPN protect their identity online, travel apps like Misterbnb reduce the risk of homophobic abuse while traveling, and interactive maps like Gaycities show safe places for LGBT+ individuals to visit.

The LGBT token, a form of cryptocurrency, empowers LGBT+ individuals in countries where they face economic persecution.

Summary

While there is still work to be done, the tech industry has become a supportive and inclusive space for the LGBTQ+ community.

This LGBTQ+ History Month, let's take a moment to celebrate the progress that has been made and look forward to a future where all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with dignity and respect.

Some links to help you learn more about communities for LGBT in tech:

LGBT Youth Tech Community | Lesbians in Tech | Gay Geeks London | Tech London Advocates | LGBT Technology | LGBT Tech | oSTEM | Out In Tech | Pride In STEM | Queer Code | Queer Tech Club | Trans Tech Social

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