This summit is perhaps the most literal real-life expression of “queer your tech” that ever existed. Lesbians Who Tech was founded in 2012 by Leanne Pittsford out of a desire to increase the visibility of queer women in technology and technology-related fields, and to increase the network. They’re also really into welcoming more women of all stripes into the tech industry (something y’all know I have a lot of feelings about) and they want to connect LGBT women in tech with advocates working on their behalf. This year, from February 27th to March 2nd, Lesbians Who Tech is hosting the first ever summit for queer women in tech fields (and the people who love them) at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco.
And we’ll be there.
That’s right, Alex and I are gonna be there. And why? Well, because Lesbians Who Tech has, frankly, a kickass speaker lineup and y’all should absolutely hear everything about it ever. Their speakers include Megan Smith, Google[X] Vice President; Lisa Sherman, Logo TV Executive Vice President; Kathy Levinson, E*Trade’s former Chief Operating Officer; Ann Mei Chang, the U.S. State Department’s former Senior Advisor for Women and Technology; and many more. Like, a lot more. And I’ve only listed from the speakers—if you take a look at the list of other attendees, it seems like half of Facebook will be there (that is a hyperbole).
The summit kicks off with a welcome and a happy hour on the 27th, goes all day on the 28th with keynote speakers and break out sessions and a demo session where esteemed techies present projects they’re working on to be judged by a panel. On March 1st and 2nd, there will be a bunch of satellite events and—drum-roll, please—a hackathon. A hackathon made entirely out of gay women in tech and the people who love them. I’M SO EXCITED, PEOPLE.
“Every meet-up I go to for the tech industry – even of LGBT people in tech – is predominately male, and we hear the same from our community members,” says Leanne Pittsford, Founder of Lesbians Who Tech and also Start Somewhere, an online-design-and-support company for social-good organizations. Which would make sense, considering the male-dominated nature of the tech industry, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. That’s what makes Lesbians Who Tech so great—I went to their New York meet-up and it was both meaningful and great fun. Meaningful in the sense that it can be easy to forget about the giant gap and the lack of representation until you gather in a room with a metric ton of other lesbians in tech. Great fun in the sense that I had many jolly conversations about Chris Christie’s recent idiocy and my favorite cocktails.
So will I see you?
Tickets are $249 until January 31st and then they jump up from there, so head on over to the Lesbians Who Tech website to register. If that sounds a little steep for ya, you’re in luck! Leanne and the Lesbians Who Tech team provided us with a 25% discount code for our readers and friends of Autostraddle: type LWTAUTOSTRADDLE into the promotion code box! If that’s still a bit pricey, don’t worry! You can apply for a scholarship. And if you can’t make it for whatever reason, Lesbians Who Tech has chapters in New York City, Austin, Berlin, Boston, Washington DC, London, LA, Mountain View, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto. All of those chapters host meet-ups! If you don’t see a chapter and you would like one, you could always start one! HUZZAH FOR NETWORKING AND VISIBILITY. And huzzah for Lesbians in Tech (and the people who love them).
This has been the sixty-third installment of Queer Your Tech with Fun, Autostraddle’s nerdy tech column. Not everything we cover is queer per se, but we talk about customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to web sites you have to favorite to any other fun shit we can do with technology.
Header by Rory Midhani