Leanne Pittsford founded Lesbians Who Tech after the tragic passing of her brother in 2010. The pair both worked on the ‘No on Prop 8’ campaign together and taught themselves how to code in their spare time. After his death, Pittsford got even more involved in the field as a way of connecting with her brother and his passions even after he was gone.
She combined her love of technology with her decade long dedication to LGBT+ activism to create Lesbians Who Tech – an organisation that provides a community and series of tech summits that focus on “increasing the visibility of LGBT+ women, trans and gender-nonconforming individuals, LGBT+ people of colour, and demographics that are underrepresented in the tech sector and LGBT+ spaces”.
The group’s goals are to create visibility both within the community and beyond, to get more women and lesbians working in technology and to connect Lesbians Who Tech to other LGBT+ and women’s organisations for the benefit of the community.
Pittsford took issue with the predominantly white, cishet male-dominated tech industry and decided to do something to make the field more diverse. Pittsford explained that when she organised the first summit she thought it would fail, but to her surprise, 800 LGBT+ women showed up and now the organisation has grown to include over 50,000 LGBT+ women, non-binary, and trans people in over 40 cities worldwide.
Lesbians Who Tech is dedicated to creating a vibrant and inclusive community for queer women and people from backgrounds which are under-represented in technology to come together and support one another. Pittsford wants to encourage and help queer women interested in STEM careers to achieve their goals and even invites those on the fence about working in technology to email her for advice and help.
She said that “[she] can help if there are any barriers to making that (entering a STEM career) happen. [Her] promise has always been to make sure every person who wants to attend, can.”
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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