The US has made big strides in LGBT rights, particularly with the recent Supreme Court ruling that states must allow same-sex marriage, and now this week’s federal bill that should protect all LGBT Americans from workplace discrimination (previously, 29 states did not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity).
Because the tech industry has so much influence on our society, executives have been stepping out to show their support and raise awareness about LGBT rights. For example, earlier this year, 39 tech leaders and top executives at companies like Twitter, Ebay, AirBnB, Cisco, and Salesforce issued a joint statement supporting the expansion of LGBT employee protection laws.
But often times, the LGBT community is lost in the shuffle of conversations that revolve around the lack of women and minorities in technology. Yes, we’ve made strides, but there’s a long way to go. And the first step is to raise awareness about leaders in the space who advocate for equality.
So with that in mind, here are eight strong LGBT voices in technology to follow on Twitter.
The founder of Lesbians Who Tech, a company that organizes meetups, summits, mentor and educational programs focused on supporting queer women in technology. It is a global network of 10,000 LGBTQ women worldwide, with chapters in 25 cities. Pittsford tweets about the organization and her life. Her Twitter bio states “I make shit happen.” True.
Angelica Ross is the founder of TransTechSocial, a creative design agency and training academy that offers employment solutions to empower those facing barriers in the workplace. She has a website, Miss Ross, where she blogs and schedules speaking engagements about the company and transgender issues in the workplace, especially. She has a lot of energy, and it comes through on Twitter.
Aliya Rahman has been covered by TechRepublic before, and for good reason. She’s a leader for women in tech, and a huge social justice activist. Formerly, she was the Code For Progress director. She has a lot to say, so follow her here.
Kara Swisher is a force of nature. The founder of Recode, investigative journalist, and incessant tweeter, Swisher has an opinion on just about everything in technology, and she’s often the first one on the scene. Her feed is worth a gander. Sample tweet: “At party for @SiliconHBO Silicon writing staff, where there is a disturbing amount of flannel but very few lesbians.”
Megan Smith is the US CTO, and was formerly at Google. She’s bringing some of the better characteristics of Silicon Valley to the White House by bringing top tech talent to government. She tweets great stories and resources for women, especially.
Obviously had to include Tim Cook. The CEO of Apple, Cook came out as gay last year, and has since made strides in raising awareness about LGBT rights in the tech industry. And, he’s pretty active on Twitter with more than a million followers. Sample tweet: “Great to celebrate with over 8,000 Apple employees, friends and families. Happy Pride everyone! #applepride.”
The founder of ThinkUp, a popular social analytics tool, and the founding editor of Lifehacker, Gina Trapani is a great voice in the tech industry. She lives in New York with her wife and daughter, and often provides rational, thought-provoking commentary on tech’s biggest problems.
Formerly of Cisco, Chris Sinton is the former executive chair of StartOut.org, which connects LGBT entrepreneurs with one another. It has chapters in several US cities and is growing. He is also the founder of Network for Good, a giving platform for fundraising events.