This article was published on June 2, 2021

Studies show tech is still dangerous, unwelcoming for LGBTQ employees

Same old input, same old output

Studies show tech is still dangerous, unwelcoming for LGBTQ employees

It’s Pride month, and that means it’s time for us to see how things are going for LGBTQ people in tech.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a helpful infographic that sums things up:

That might seem a bit hyperbolic, but the good news is that it actually shows a little progress. The flames were a tiny bit higher last year.

But we’ve got more to back up claim that tech is a dumpster fire for queer people than just images and anecdotes.

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Despite the fact that more people in the US identify as LGBT than ever before, we’re not seeing much progress in the tech sector.

Research published by a pair of scientists from the University of Michigan and Temple University earlier this year shows clear and persistent discrimination and inequality against LGBT people in tech.

The duo analyzed representative data across five domains from 21 different STEM societies totaling more than 25,000 people, of which approximately 4 percent identified as LGBT.

Per the researcher’s paper:

LGBTQ STEM professionals were more likely to experience career limitations, harassment, and professional devaluation than their non-LGBTQ peers. They also reported more frequent health difficulties and were more likely to intend to leave STEM.

The researchers determined that LGBTQ STEM workers were more likely to receive harassment and experience discrimination while simultaneously being less likely to report such incidents.

This seems to indicate tech is a hostile environment for queer people whether they’re job seekers or currently employed, with a disproportionate number of LGBTQ workers leaving the sector over their non-queer counterparts.

Quick take: nearly half of all LGBTQ workers in STEM have witnessed workplace discrimination. I doubt any queer people will be surprised to learn that the deck is systemically stacked against us.

Social media is, as GLAAD recently determined, “effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users.” Artificial intelligence is inherently biased against queers. And big tech hiring practices directly discriminate against us.

The question is: What can be done about it?

According to the researchers:

STEM workplaces need to include LGBTQ status in their broad efforts toward diversity and inclusion, provide LGBTQ employees with opportunities to network and seek support from one another and from organizational leadership (e.g., through LGBTQ Employee Resource Groups), and ensure that LGBTQ persons have access to the full suite of formal and informal benefits enjoyed by their non-LGBTQ colleagues. These interventions should take into account the experiences of persons who occupy multiple marginalized identities simultaneously.

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