How to navigate the tech world as a queer person

Insights, tips, and tricks to help LGBTQI+ people thrive in an often unwelcoming sector


Callum Booth
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Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

Although times have definitely improved, it’s still not easy being a queer person in the technology industry.

There’s still rampant discrimination in the sector, and a “bro” culture that permeates many companies and teams. This can make the tech industry intimidating to any LGBTI+ people looking to break in.

Thankfully though, there are a raft of experienced people who can help out. And one of those is Tracy Benson, CEO and co-founder of Obsesh.

If you want to get her advice in full, then you should watch the video embedded at the top of this article. Or, alternatively, you can click right here to watch it.

We caught up with Benson at TNW 2022 and got her take on the struggles queer people face in tech, why this is the case, and how the community can help.

One of the first things she pointed out was the fact that “86% of investments” go to white cisgender men. And why does Benson believe this happens? That’s because “80% of the venture community” consists of white men.

“We need more people to stand up and use their dollars,” Benson told us when we asked her how this can be fixed. She believes that the queer community in particular needs to put its money where its mouth is and launch more accelerators for LGBTQI+ founders.

When we moved onto to discussing how queer people can enter the tech world, Benson gave us three main pointers. The first was to know your story, own it, and be confident. The second was to work with investors who share your values. And finally, Benson’s third tip, was to hustle and never give up.

Yes, the world has moved on in the past few years and the tech community is a more accepting place than it was previously — but that doesn’t mean all its issues are fixed. Far from it. There’s still a lot more work to be done, but, thankfully, there are people out there trying to make a difference.

Head over here to watch the interview.

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