Why LGBTQ Inclusivity in Tech is a Welcome Trend

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Why LGBTQ Inclusivity in Tech is a Welcome Trend

Queer women in tech

There have been milestones made and setbacks experienced in the LGBTQ community in the last decade, both politically and socially. While the Obama administration set to protect gender identity and trans people from discrimination, the Trump administration sought to preclude them from servicing their country. As it became accepted for prominent individuals in the media to be open about their sexual orientation, more cases questioning the legality of businesses seeking to discriminate against gay people for religious reasons came to the Supreme Court. It has been an era of progress and backsliding, but technology seems to have created its own trend. Questioning sexual orientation and identity is not up for debate in tech. Instead, LGBTQ inclusivity is the ideal in technology, and the sentiment is growing.

Education and Entry Barriers

LGBTQ inclusion in technology first boils down to two things. First, it is illegal for public universities, colleges, or trade schools to discriminate based on sexual identity or gender expression. More gay and lesbian educators and administrators have entered higher education. Students cannot be barred from being accepted to or attending a public college or university. This has opened a direct pathway to higher education in technology concentrations, greatly advancing the number of LGBTQ community members becoming knowledgeable and trained in these fields. Anyone who has the credentials is able to apply for a job in the technology field without fear of discrimination. With more gay, queer, bisexual, and lesbian individuals working at technology companies, new hires can find mentors and get practical insight into how to advance their careers.

Seeing the LGBTQ Community in Leadership Roles

The support of inclusivity in technology has led to their being many prominent members of the LGBTQ community working in leadership positions. Tim Cook is the current CEO of Apple, perhaps the biggest company in the technology world today. Mr. Cook has been open about his sexual orientation since 2014, and has continued to talk about his experiences at Apple and in the industry in general. Megan Smith formerly served as the Vice President of Google, then went on to work as the US CTO during the Obama administration. Just 20 years ago, this would have been unheard of, and yet some of the most prominent executive positions in technology are held by open members of the LGBTQ world.

Advances in Consumer Electronics That Benefit the LGBTQ Community At Large

The world of consumer electronics includes innovations designed to better detect cancer, add a layer of security to businesses, and of course, provide new forms of entertainment. LGBTQ community members are responsible for the early development of well-known and cult classic video game consoles and titles, such as M.U.L.E. by Danielle Berry, and Dragon Age by David Gaider. New advancements in consumer electronics related to driving, transportation, and logistics also fall under the consumer electronics category. You can find out more about new consumer electronic innovations and how they are changing road travel by visiting this site. Chances are, a member of the LGBTQ community in the technology field has played a big role in the development of these kinds of products.

Succeeding in Technology Doesn’t Hinge on Your Sexual Orientation

As seen in the abovementioned examples, it is obvious that the technology sector does not consider sexual orientation when offering opportunities for advancement. Pure determination, hard work, perseverance, and natural skill is recognized and rewarded in tech. With the number of international companies dominating the field, and with there being a diverse group of leaders in the tech field, knowing a person’s sexual orientation is not of much importance. Additionally, individuals can choose to disclose whatever information they wish. Tim Cook worked in technology for more than 25 years without coming out, but his career did not diminish as a result of his disclosure.

Tech Workplace Culture

At any major technology company, you will find some of the same traits present within the overall company culture. Collaborative work spaces are favored over cubicles and cramped offices, so people from different departments are more likely to get to know each other and become friendly. Many tech leaders offer amenities such as gyms and impressive cafeterias, that are free to all full-time employees. Some even have on-site daycare centers and mental health professionals available for counseling on an at-need basis. This is not common in virtually any other industry, but it is a regular occurrence in technology. As such, technology tends to attract new hires who have a more liberal and progressive mindset. New hires are told upfront that they are coming to work for inclusive companies, and that they will have co-workers of all backgrounds. This makes technology a very inviting field for individuals belonging to the LGBTQ community.

Start-ups and Entrepreneurs

Technology is an extremely fast-growing industry, and there is a lot of room for even more companies to join it. There is no shortage of investors looking to support any tech-based start-up that shows promise. It is not difficult for a tech-based start-up to receive funding in the millions of dollars for an idea, invention, or new idea that has potential. Therefore, it has been fairly smooth sailing for LGBTQ individuals to come onto the scene and run well-known companies in tech. Whether these start-ups and entrepreneurs are starting up websites, creating apps, unveiling social networks, or launching companies, they have not been stopped by the usual barriers. They have been free to create brands that represent their communities and themselves as individuals.

Technology Hubs All Around the Country

The biggest technology hub in the nation is located in Silicon Valley, but there are also other cities where technology is highly present. For instance, New York City is home to a high concentration of technology employers and employees. Many workers live just outside NYC, in New Jersey, and Northern New Jersey is also developing a high concentration of tech start-ups. In Houston and Austin, Texas, a large number of existing companies and start-ups have come to call the Lone Star state home. In Denver, Colorado, low real estate costs and taxes have attracted an entire community of technology workers. With tech hubs on both coasts as well as more centrally located cities in the US, LGBTQ community members have many places to go for work. NYC has always been open and accepting of people of all walks of life, and California has a similar reputation. New technology hubs are becoming apparent and growing by the day, so there will be additional locations for diverse groups interested in the tech field to look for employment.

Progressiveness and Politics in Technology

Despite the fact that there are many gay and lesbian religious leaders, is it still difficult for LGBTQ community members to find their place within organized religious organizations. These organizations tend to lean conservative. In addition, religious non-profits and private religious organizations are not covered under many federal employment discrimination rules. This has precluded LGBTQ community members from becoming bishops or the president of their local Christian groups. In technology, politics lean a bit more to the left. No religion is right or wrong, and in fact, all are welcome. The same goes for race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other federally protected classes. While working at your average technology-based company, you will not encounter much religious dogma or political debate.

Changes in Law and Discrimination Protections

It is illegal for companies operating in the US to discriminate individuals for either sexual orientation or gender expression. Many state laws have gone further, forcing companies across industries to offer workers in same-sex unions healthcare coverage as well as childcare subsidies. Employees that suspect they have been turned down for a raise or promotion because of their sexual orientation are encouraged to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to make a formal complaint. These types of violations can lead to lawsuits by employees as well as the federal government. In short, it has become very costly for employers that exhibit openly bigoted and discriminatory traits. Any act that can be deemed as discrimination, from failing to hire qualified employees all the way up to firing them based on sexual orientation, can lead to a very expensive lawsuit and federal fines.

Organizations Dedicated to Equality

Even though there are many federal protections for members of the LGBTQ community in the workplace, not everyone knows what they should do when they face discrimination. It can be frightening to actually be in that position, so there are a lot of organizations that have been founded to help bridge the gap. The American Civil Liberties Union is still one of the foremost legal organizations in the US that investigates claims of discrimination, and brings lawsuits on behalf of marginalized groups of all backgrounds. The Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is another legally-based organization that helps to fight on behalf of lesbian, gay, trans, and queer persons. None of these groups work exclusively in technology, but they are open to assisting all gay and lesbian people who are having trouble with an employment dispute. The work of various legal and human rights organizations in the LGBTQ community has absolutely helped to make inclusivity in technology a reality.

Not all fields are as inclusive as technology, but this lucrative industry is open to hiring higher numbers of underrepresented groups in the future. There is no worry about what your personal background is, so long as you are professional, skilled, and can pass a background check. Technology is not just about developing new ideas; the idea behind it is to improve lives. A smartphone makes communication easier, while an advanced pacemaker keeps patients alive. Apps are being designed to track vitals and help people to get healthier. Cars and trucks are being made safer for travel and commercial transportation purposes. Anyone who brings more advancements to this field are supported, celebrated, and welcome.

 

 

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Eboné Bell
Eboné is the Editor-in-Chief of Tagg Magazine. She is the illegitimate child of Oprah and Ellen...so it's only right that she continues their legacy in the media world.