LGBT COMMUNITY CHALLENGES IN THE IT INDUSTRY
“It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected, all over the world.”– Quote by Ms. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, former Icelandic Prime Minister.
What do the following people have in common: Tim Cook of Apple, Chris Hughes of Facebook, Joel Simkhai of Grindr dating app and Peter Thiel of Paypal. Guess??? Well they are all successful leaders in the tech industry and also happen to belong to the LGBT community. LGBT = Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders. In this blog, we are examining the challenges faced by LGBT techies that are trying to make a living and being true to themselves at the same time. Let’s see their challenges in a predominantly heterosexual men environment.
The challenges faced by this small community include:
Hiring. Techies who are openly queer especially in conservative or emerging markets like India face the challenge of being recruited. With many doors being slammed on their face for their sexuality or lifestyle, being true to yourself comes at a heavy price. Even if the techie is richly qualified or talented, they still may be left out of the hiring process for a candidate who is heterosexual.
Office bitching and gossiping. The toxic work environments that we hear about women facing are also being faced by the LGBT community in the tech industry. Snide or rude remarks, hostility, and bullying are commonplace. With predominantly heterosexual men ruling the roost in the tech world, the LGBT community has been under a lot of pressure with many opting out instead of carrying on in toxic companies. It’s imperative for company owners/leaders to create the right work culture and embody the same. Trickle down effort and enforcement is the mandate of the hot. No form of abuse (physical, mental, verbal, or social) is to be tolerated. Period.
Promotion. Techies performing as well or even better maybe cast aside for promotions just as women have been for decades. This discrimination is applicable to all industries across the board. The HR or diversity panels in companies need to be active and alert on all such matters.
The technology industry has been trying to be inclusive and diverse for years. Many companies are trying to fill the gaps by hiring talented members from marginalized communities such as women, minorities, LGBT, differently-abled, etc for decades but honestly, progress is very slow, including India. It’s tough but good days are around the corner. We at Codleo Consulting and Foundation believe in an open, warm, and inclusive space for all. We are working on our diversity challenges and welcome techies from the community who wish to make a difference in the lives of our customers.