In the ever-evolving tech industry, the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals are vital and invaluable.
However, despite significant progress in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual individuals' rights, there has been a recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and backlash against several brands expressing LGBTQ+ support, undermining progress toward inclusivity.
These challenges and barriers manifest themselves at work. Most full-time workers do not come out to their colleagues at work, according to a survey from Indeed.com. Forty-three percent of those surveyed cited discrimination fears, 35% cited fear of being harassed and 24% cited career advancement concerns. This lack of inclusivity is also causing young people to steer clear of the tech industry when choosing a career.
There are a growing number of organizations emerging to champion the rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ tech workers, striving to create inclusive and equitable workplaces where everyone can thrive.
Lesbians Who Tech
Lesbians Who Tech is a community of LGBTQ+ women, non-binary people, transgender people and allies in the tech industry. Lesbians Who Tech offers networking events, mentoring and scholarships to support LGBTQ+ individuals in tech. It works with companies to create inclusive workplaces and provide diversity and inclusion training. The organization also hosts a job board platform named Squad Jobs that gives applicants access to direct referrals and helps companies find diverse talent based on values, skills and experience.
The 10th annual Lesbians Who Tech summit takes place virtually Oct. 16-18 and in person in San Francisco from Oct. 18-20.
LGBTQ in Technology Slack
LGBTQ.technology is a Slack space for LGBTQ+ people in technology to connect, share resources and offer support. Those who want to join can fill out a form with their contact information to request an invitation from a moderator. Upon joining, members are included in three channels: #announcements, #introductions and #chat.
Maven Youth partners with LGBTQ+ youth-serving organizations and LGBTQ+ tech professionals to provide free tech camps for LGBTQ+ youth. The organization also offers virtual workshops, a tech-career-readiness program and a youth-leadership program to help aspiring techies explore careers in the sector. Programs are designed for youth ages 14-24.
Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (OSTEM)
The organization hosts professional development events and an annual conference, and it provides scholarships and graduate school application assistance. It also hosts a job board where recruiters can post jobs and members can search for them. OSTEM regularly publishes a newsletter with announcements of programs and events. The organization also has an active Discord community. The 13th annual OSTEM conference takes place Nov. 9-12, 2023, in Anaheim, Calif. Working professionals can join OSTEM to develop broad professional skills, establish a social network and share their technical knowledge.
Out in Tech
Out in Tech is a nonprofit organization that creating opportunities for LGBTQ+ individuals in the tech industry. It offers mentorship programs, professional development events and leadership training. Out In Tech unites more than 40,000 members in its network and provides access to information, resources and job opportunities.
The Out in Tech Digital Corps division directs the efforts of hundreds of volunteer developers, designers and copywriters to publish WordPress websites for LGBTQ+ organizations that need one. It has built 200 WordPress.com sites for more than 100 LGBTQ+ organizations in over 60 countries. Membership to Out in Tech is free. The organization also offers the Out in Tech U mentorship program to educate aspiring tech workers; it has chapters across the U.S.
Out to Innovate
Out to Innovate is a professional society and global community of LGBTQ+ students and professionals in STEM. The organization empowers LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM by providing education, advocacy, professional development, peer support and networking. The organization runs LinkedIn and Facebook groups, a quarterly newsletter and a mentorship program. Membership dues are between $10-$45 per year, depending on the membership.
Queer Code is a community of queer coders. The community lets members build together, share ideas at local meetups and provide support to peers in the tech space. Queer Code advertises local meetups in Berlin, London, Scotland and Yorkshire.
Queer Tech Club
Queer Tech Club is a 501(c)7 organization that provides professional development and networking opportunities to LGBTQ+ technologists. The organization posts events and other information through the Meetup platform. Queer Tech Club is mainly based in the Chicago area.
StartOut is a nonprofit organization that aims to empower LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. It offers resources, support and networking opportunities to help LGBTQ+ founders grow their businesses. The organization offers several programs and hosts events such as the StartOut Growth Lab startup accelerator. It also hosts educational seminars and networking events. StartOut offers avenues to become a mentor, investor, partner, volunteer, sponsor or donor to support members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Tech Inclusion, or Tech Inc., is a nonprofit organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. It offers virtual training and workshops to companies to help create inclusive workplaces and promote diversity and inclusivity. The Tech Inclusion Facebook group shares resources and job opportunities daily.
TransTech Social is a nonprofit organization that provides training and employment opportunities to transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. Some of the training provided includes biweekly virtual workshops, where members teach each other new skills, and a library of educational video content from past summits and skill share presentations. Some of the video topics include cybersecurity, virtual public speaking, project management and accessibility design. The organization also offers the GROW program (Gaining Real Opportunities) -- a 12-week virtual job readiness program where members can sign up as well.
TransTech Social also works with businesses to provide diverse talent and help create inclusive workplaces through its corporate partnership program. Membership to TransTech Social is free, but members can elect to make one-time or recurring donations to TransTech Social to receive additional benefits.
While these organizations help LGBTQ+ workers in their careers at large, employers also have a role to play in creating a more equitable working environment. Learn how tech leaders can create a more positive work environment for LGBTQ+ workers in the enterprise.