LGBTQIA+ People Who've Done Incredible Things In Tech
The tech industry is amazing, it drives innovation, it leads from the front and it is helping revolutionise the world! BUT, the tech workforce doesn’t reflect the diversity and inclusion we’re striving to build. For Pride 2022 we want to celebrate people in the LGBTQIA+ community who’ve done incredible things within the sector and are transforming the way we look at the tech industry.
In celebration of all the diverse people within the technology sector, we’ve put together a list of some of the incredible LGBTQIA+ people in tech.
Ana Arriola - GM of Design & Research, AI + Industrial Metaverse at Microsoft
You may know the name Ana Arriola from the Disney+ documentary called “The Dropout”, where Ana Arriola was poached from Apple to work for Theranos. On the show, she was played by Nicky Endres, an Asian-American non-binary transfeminine queer. In real life, Ana is a Queer Latinx Woman of Trans and Non-binary Experience, according to her LinkedIn profile.
But did you know, Ana works for Microsoft as the general manager for the company’s work in artificial intelligence and research and since July 2018, she’s worked on human-centric and ethical design of products.
Before her work at Microsoft, she was the Director of Product Design for AI working across Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research/FAIR, Applied Machine Learning/AML, and Society & AI Lab/SAIL.
“Don’t be told how or what you should be doing in your life,” Arriola said at the 2016 Tech Inclusion conference. “You define it yourself.”
Leanne Pittsford - Founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech
Leanne Pittsford is the founder of behind Lesbians Who Tech, one of the largest LGBTQ+ professional communities in the world. She’s made it her mission to change the face of technology with 100,000 non-binary, LGBTQ+, queer women of colour in tech and over 40+ city chapters worldwide.
She also launched a mentoring and recruiting platform to help fight against the bias in the tech sector by creating access to referrals for underrepresented candidates.
Sally Ride - Astronaut
Sally Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 she became the first American woman and the third woman in the world to go into space.
During her time on the space shuttle mission, she was responsible for controlling the robotic arm, which assisted in launching satellites into space. After she retired from NASA, she spent her days advocating to get more women in STEM by creating books for students and teachers to read.
Lynn Conway - Computer Scientist
Lynn Conway is an American computer scientist, transgender activist and was a pioneer of microelectronics chip design. She attended both Columbia University and MIT and found a career at IBM. While at IBM she invented generalised dynamic instruction handling, a key advance used in out-of-order execution, used by most modern computer processors.
However, during her time there, she transitioned from male to female and was fired by the company in 1968 after speaking about her intention to live as a woman. Conway was left to rebuild her career from scratch and has done incredible work at organisations such as Xerox Parc and DARPA.
Sophie Wilson - Computer Scientist
In the 80s, Wilson worked on developing the programming language for Acorns system 1. Her work at Acorn helped secure a contract with the BBC to create BBC Basic, the programming language of the BBC Micro. The BBC Micro was a home computer developed as part of the BBC’s computer literacy project in the 1980s.
She is also known for her development of the Acorn RISC Machine (ARM) processer, which is still being used today in smartphones.