LGBTQ in Computer Science

Image: kent.ac.uk

With the large number of computer sites dedicated to the LGBTQ community, one would expect an equally large number of software programmers and developers to come from the community.

A recent survey by Overflow showed that, of the 36,939 respondents in the field, 5.2 per cent identified as LGBTQ, and 0.9 per cent identified as transgender. The same study finds that development firms that employ LGBTQ individuals report 19 per cent higher revenues than those that are monolothic.

Organisations for LGBTQ individuals in software development include oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Gay Geeks, QueerCoders, Out in Tech, Out To Innovate, Pride in STEM, Queer Tech Club, LGBTQ Tech, TransTech Social Enterprises, and Out4Undergrad. Many of these organisations exist to support the community of LGBTQ programmers, from the often homophobic and sexist workplace in the profession.

It is a profession that struggles with diversity issues. However, there is an improving trend – The Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index reports 47 tech companies achieved a perfect score when it came to supporting LGBT employees.

Many of the individuals in the industry are well-known and highly-regarded for their contributions. American Bruce Bastian co-founded WordPerfect, transgender Taiwanese Audrey Tang is now a government minister, Barbadian Alan Emtage created the first internet search engine, while American software programmer Edith Windsor was a notable LGBTQ activist.

Several individuals have been honoured through their induction into the Internet Hall of Fame.

Queerbio have identified notable software programmers and developers from the LGBTQ communities in Barbados, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States.

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