Pride 2022: 6 LGBTQIA+ Tech Industry Icons

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Pride 2022: 6 LGBTQIA+ Tech Industry Icons

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Celebrating LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

Happy Pride Month to all the readers out there! Pride month celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community past, present and future. It brings people together to be proud of who they are, highlighting how far LGBT rights have come and where work is still to be done. Pride month takes place in June to honour the work of LGBT activists at the Stonewall riots in 1969: although the annual celebration only began in 1972. 2022 is a special Pride Month because it marks the 50th anniversary since the tradition began.   

Throughout history, members of the LGBTQIA+ community have shaped the technology industry – one of the most notable is Alan Turing. During WW2, he led the team that cracked the Enigma code and also invented the Universal Turing Machine, which formed the basis of the first computer. Despite the legal restrictions, Turing was a proud gay man who never hid his identity – even in the face of charges of “indecency” after a relationship with another man. Turing is just one of the many queer faces that have moulded history. He is still celebrated for his work, and pride, to this very day.   

To celebrate the great work of LGBTQIA+ people and the impact they’ve had universally in the technology industry, we’ve compiled a list of 6 inspirational LGBTQIA+ people that currently work within the technology industry.   

6 LGBTQIA+ Tech Icons

 

LGBTQIA+ icon Ana Arriola

Ana Arriola  

Ana currently works at Microsoft where she/they currently leads the research and design of their Physical Operations Cloud. Her resumé is a star-studded lineup, including Samsung, Facebook, Adobe and Apple. After being part of the team that designed the first iPhone, she was poached by Theranos. However, she describes Theranos as “Altruism through Corrupt Unethical Science-Fiction” within her LinkedIn description of the role.   

Recently, Ana Arriola was portrayed by Nicky Endres in the TV series The Dropout – detailing the story of the rise and fall of Theranos – one for the watchlist, we think!   

Arriola is of trans and nonbinary experience and a passionate advocate for the LGBT community, both in and outside the tech industry. She/they is also a mentor to businesses spearheaded by fellow LGBT people.   

 

Leanne Pitsford  

Leanne Pittsford is a queer tech entrepreneur whose resume is almost solely dedicated to advocation for the LGBT community. She has been instrumental in developing avenues that aim to increase tech opportunities for the queer community.   

She is the founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech, an initiative that “is committed to visibility, intersectionality, and changing the face of technology”. Lesbians Who Tech has a variety of initiatives, including the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship, a scholarship for non-binary and LGBTQIA+ people and #SQUAD a leadership program that supports “members as they move into leadership roles”.   

Pitsford has also founded other significant groups such as include and Tech Jobs Tour which has helped recruit underrepresented groups in tech.  

 

Jon ‘maddog’ Hall 

Jon ‘maddog’ Hall has 50 years of experience within the tech industry and is acclaimed for his role as Executive Director at Linux International, and his position as chairman of the board at Linux Professional Institute.   

Linux is a family of open-source operating systems; it is a bit like Marmite – you either love it, hate it or are too scared to try it. Meanwhile, the Linux Professional Institute aims to encourage more people to use open-source operating systems by supporting the people who work with it. Maddog currently sits on the board at Linux Professional Institute.  

In 2012, in an open letter to Alan Turing, he came out publicly as gay. This piece of writing is inspiring, heart-breaking and honest – highlighting the prejudice the queer community has faced across history while celebrating achievements they have made. However, Hall does mention that the “computer science community and companies have been more accepting… than others”.   

 

Ann Mei Chang 

Ann Mei Chang is an openly gay and leading expert in the technology industry. Her resumé includes: being the CEO of Candid, author of Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good, CIO at Pete for America and CIO/CEO for USAID. Before the switch to the public sector, Chang has an impressive line-up on her CV, including Google, Apple and Intuit.  

Currently, Chang leads Candid, a non-profit that provides comprehensive data about the social sector. Her focus throughout her career has been innovation, transparency and elevation of other women and queer aspiring techies. In addition, she works with WeTech, an initiative that aims to build a “healthy pipeline of girls and women in tech fields”. WeTech is a global organisation that helps boost gender diversity in the tech industry. 

 

Peter Arvai 

Prezi is cloud-based presentation software that encourages virtual collaboration through shareable online documents. Peter Arvai is a co-founder and former CEO that has always been a champion for creativity and open about his sexuality. In 2010, Arvai led Prezi to become the first company to march at Pride Budapest. Furthermore, in 2018, he was 3rd in the Financial Times Top LGBT Business Execs in the World.  

Arvai has been described by many as an inspiring mentor that encourages vulnerability and believes it is a trait that is key to success. He has been a prolific advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community through his fearless commitment to freedom of self-expression.  

 

 

Angelica Ross  

Angelica Ross is an American transgender actress, activist and businesswoman, alongside being a self-taught programmer. She really does it all! Ross is the founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, an organisation created to help trans and gender non-conforming people find and prepare for career paths within the tech industry.  

She is described as “blazing a trail, kicking open doors, and building a table with ample open seats” in her bio on the Transtech Social Enterprises website. It is empowering to see an initiative with a goal to bring economic power to marginalised communities. The firm is backed by giants in the tech industry such as Google.org, The Linux Foundation and Lesbians Who Tech.   

 

Happy Pride!

“The most effective thing anyone can do to encourage openness is being open with their own personal identity and being open to meeting people with other identities.”  

Peter Arvai

Happy Pride month to all LGBTQIA+ individuals and the community scattered in the software industry. This pride month we celebrate not only the accomplishments you’ve made in the tech world, but the challenges you’ve faced along the way with great pride. Imaginative Software supports you and wishes you all a great month of celebrations. 

If you want to discover more about any of the enterprises mentioned in this blog, here is a handy list of links to explore.   

Lesbian Who Tech
Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship
WeTech
Transtech Social Enterprises 

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