This is the Year to be Queer: Even in Tech


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Last September, NYC Mayor Bill De de Blasio announced the appointment of the city’s first ever chief technology officer, Minerva Tantoco. Tantoco began her tech career while in college, and by the time she was 21, she had already formed and sold her first startup.

Not only is Tantoco the face of a movement for women in technology, but she also an advocate for LGBTQ women in the tech space. This month, she was a featured speaker at an event for Lesbians Who Tech, an organization dedicated to empowering and connecting queer women in the tech industry.

In a Q&A with Lesbians Who Tech CEO and Founder Leanne Pittsford, Tantoco spoke about her appointment as CTO and Mayor de Blasio’s dedication to the New York tech ecosystem. She noted that while the Mayor himself is not a “techie,” he has a great appreciation for the value of technology and its ability to positively impact the residents of New York City and the world at large.

Even more importantly for Tantoco, Mayor de Blasio sees the opportunities for tech to bring equality and democracy to New York City. Tantoco shared that the Office of the Mayor has been working on plans to install WiFi hotspots in every payphone booth around the city to create equal technology for all. On an even broader scale, she said that the Mayor has plans to close the gender and minority divide in New York City; as a reflection of that, 50% of his senior advisory board is composed of women.

Tantoco expressed that New York City is pushing itself to become the most technologically advanced city in the world, and that this can only happen through an appreciation and utilization of its diverse citizens, their talents and perspectives. For a glimpse at the impact the LGBTQ community is having on NYC tech today, check out these three organizations that participated in a lightning round at the Lesbians Who Tech event:

Open Finance – Women’s Initiative

A 1000 member-strong organization that connects the 150 LGBTQ leaders across major financial firms, such as JP Morgan and Deloitte by hosting women-only events and pushing for equity and respect among all employees in the financial industry.

LGBTQ Center

As the go-to resource for NYC’s LGBTQ community, the Center offers college and career readiness programs to provide LGBTQ youth with the resources to open doors to and networks to careers, such as those in tech, they may have never imagined. The Center is also equipped with mental health support and will soon provide drug treatment in the coming months.

Hillary for America

Behind every campaign is a strong team of engineers looking for new and creative ways to get voters to the polls. As a campaign team that represents equality for women and people of all genders and sexual orientations, Hillary for America prides itself on its goal to become the most diverse team of engineers a political campaign has ever seen.

About the author: Makena Owens

Makena Owens is an English Literature major at Yeshiva University. Her mission is to somehow combine her interests in history, tech, literature and design into one jam-packed career, but for now she’s satisfied with their exclusivity. Hailing from the not-so-rainy city of Seattle, Washington, Makena has a love-hate relationship with New York City, but right now it’s verging more towards love.

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