Are you a woman? Queer? Do you work in tech? If so, I hope you’re able to go to the Lesbians Who Tech (LWT) summit that is taking place in San Francisco, CA February 28 to March 2nd. This conference will the first held by the Lesbian Who Tech group, which calls itself ”a community of queer women in or around tech (and the people who love them).” Looking around a room and feeling like the only one from your community can be really rough. Lesbians Who Tech exists to combat the negative effects of that type of isolation and now there’s a chance to connect with other women from all over the world.
The tech community has a diversity problem. Women count for one in 15 folks in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, and queer women are even more underrepresented. We’ve seen the impact of this male dominance through instances like the very high profile firing and online attacks of Adria Richards. Lesbians Who Tech is a group that aims to combat the negative effects of being a queer woman in the tech community by not just connect queer women, but to increase their visibility in the field and hopefully get more queer women into it.
One of the biggest barriers that underrepresented people in a field face is lack of access. LWT works to lessen that by helping people of all incomes attend the event. LWT has scholarships available for discounted tickets to the event. Developer Kronda Adair, who wrote ’Dear Marginalized People Coming Into Tech‘ started an Indiegogo to cover expenses. Thanks to the support of the community, (LWT even posted about it on their Facebook page!) she was able to surpass her goal. To make the situation even sweeter, Facebook offered to cover her flight ticket, so the extra funds went into LWT’s scholarship fund to help other people who need financial assistance to attend.
Another interesting tidbit: the summit is taking place in the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco (pictured above). The surrounding neighborhood has historically been a male enclave (just like the tech scene), but the conference is going to disrupt the status quo with crowds queer women from across the world flying in that weekend.
Are you attending? Are you interested in attending? Or maybe you’re already familiar with the group? Please share your experiences below. I’m sure this will be the first of many summits by Lesbians Who Tech and I hope I can attend the next one!
Wagatwe was once deemed an “exceptionally articulate African-American student” by an Obama administration member.