#Interview #LGBT #Tech

With technology constantly changing and the industry itself being so diverse in career paths it is hard to see why the Tech Industry struggles with adopting further diversity from the LGBTQ+ community. ComputerWorld reached out to the experts at LGBT Tech to hear their views and most importantly advice for the industry going forward.

 First, who is LGBT Tech?

LGBT Tech works towards positive diversity, by conducting research, developing programmes and creating resources for companies, policy makers and other non-profits to adopt. From their research and outreach they build programmes focused on LGBTQ+ primarily within the U.S. but have been making smaller investments internationally, to continue building ways LGBTQ+ community members can begin finding their way into tech and STEM fields.

Founder of LGBT tech, Chris Wood, started by explaining how the technology industry still is very siloed when it comes to its diversity reach. His mission through LGBT Tech is to encourage and engage technology and policy leaders to start a strategic discussion about the LGBTQ+ community with technology. Although during his early life he was raised in a military household and coming out was not the easiest, Chris still recognizes his privilege as a gay white cis male over others in his community that face multiple layers of marginalization and acts as an advocate for them. You see, though Chris is a homosexual man, he still recognises his privilege compared to other queer identities within the community who face higher levels of discrimination such as trans people, or those with intersecting marginalized identities.

Ways forward and advice:

Be an advocate for change

Even if you identify as heterosexual or cisgender, you can still support the LGBTQ+ community . In order to be an  ally to those in the LGBTQ+ community, one of the best things you can do with your privilege is stand up for them. At work this might look like correcting your colleagues when they misgender another co-worker, or advocating for gender neutral bathrooms in the office.. Place people forward, give them a platform to grow and succeed and correct the behaviours/words of others.

Drive equality from the top of your organisation

Ensuring privacy in the workspace still ensures that those in the LGBTQ+ community still have autonomy over whom they share their sensitive information with. While it is important to create safe spaces for employees to be out at work, this also means letting employees disclose their identities at their own discretion.

Blind hiring (the process used to block out a job candidate’s personal information that could influence or “bias” a hiring decision) can be the way forward to diversify your workforce. Subconscious  prejudice exists in all of us, so removing names and personal details from an applicant’s submission can help curve this and remove the element of tokenism (making a small symbolic effort rather than implementing true effort in an attempt to be perceived as a place of equal opportunity).

Create a positive company culture from the beginning of inductions, where people are advised on the candidate’s pronouns, creating a place for people to voice their concerns, and ensuring everyone can do more than just exist safely and anonymously within your company.

Sharing your journey

The power of representation – if there is more visibility of marginalised individuals in different jobs, then more people can picture themselves in those positions. More people need a platform to tell their stories, so then others can listen and take in the stories of others.

LGBT In Tech have a programme to help this. PATHS programme aims to inspire youth into STEAM fields by hosting a platform for professionals to share their story. It’s a great way to celebrate unique diversity and differences whilst connecting people together.

Every story is important so don’t fall subject to imposter syndrome. It is easy after hearing the struggles and heart-breaking stories of others to dismiss your own journey, but every journey is important to hear. The more stories that are shared, the more likely it will strike a chord with someone in a similar predicament as you were in.



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ahmedaljanahy Creative Designer @al.janahy Founder of @inkhost I hope to stay passionate in what I doing

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