Me, thinking to myself late last week – “Pride Month might be over, but it remains so important that we acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to our internet. I think that’s what I’ll do in my next Ask Trish post!”
Hi there, and welcome back to Ask Trish (and the first Ask Trish of July)! (Can you believe how quickly the time goes?)
As I’m sure many of you know, last month – June – was Pride Month, a time to honor the global movement for LGBTQ+ rights and a chance to acknowledge, celebrate, and recognize LGBTQ+ culture and the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to our society. You might have seen Pride Month parades in your hometown or seen celebratory, affirming content on social media. But too often, these conversations – and this celebration of the LGBTQ+ community – promptly conclude on July 1st, not to be revived until the following June. This, I’ve always felt, is a shame – because honoring and acknowledging the LGBTQ+ community is so important to do year-round…not just in June. It was in that spirit, then, that I decided that Ask Trish’s first post of July would spotlight 3 incredible LGBTQ+ tech/internet pioneers. In this week’s post, I introduce you all to these three incredible people in the hopes that 1) we can keep the conversation going, 2) you can learn about some absolutely amazing humans, and 3) you can spread the word – so these folks (and their contributions!) continue to receive the recognition they deserve.
With that said, let’s get into it:
First up is Kara Swisher, a prominent American tech journalist. Kara has covered the business of the internet since 1994 – that’s nearly 30 years of reporting on technology and the internet (amazing, right?)! To date, her writing has appeared in everything from The Wall Street Journal to The Washington Post to The New York Times’ opinion columns (those columns are some of my favorites)! Today, she remains a contributing editor at New York Magazine and host of the immensely popular podcast, Sway. Kara is known as “Silicon Valley’s most feared and well-liked journalist.” She has covered everything from new technologies (like generative AI) to technology company scandals (like The Facebook Files) to the people behind the technology (like Elon Musk). Back in 2014, she actually founded Recode, a technology news website now integrated into Vox; the site ultimately gained a reputation for breaking important technology news. All that’s to say: throughout her career, Kara has given us – the public – an inside look at the entities, products, and people that influence so much of our lives. We wouldn’t have the same understanding of technology and the internet that we do without her.
Next up is Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. Tim is actually the first openly gay CEO of any Fortune 500 company! Under his leadership, Apple’s market value surpassed $1 trillion; today, it is the world’s largest company by market capitalization and continues to deliver cutting-edge, innovative products. (If you haven’t had a chance, take a look at the VisionPro, which will be available in the US early next year…I don’t know about you, but I think it looks super cool.) Tim has also led the charge to push for privacy-preserving technologies and services in Silicon Valley, principles that he has championed at Apple. But it’s not just Tim’s tech leadership that has made him such an inspiring, impactful leadership. Tim first came out as gay in 2014 in an op-ed; he noted later that part of what inspired his decision was wanting to show other kids that it was okay to be gay, and indeed, they should be proud of being who they are. One might say, then, that Tim’s leadership has not only helped deliver amazing technologies, but broken down barriers.
Last – but certainly not least – is Arlan Hamilton, co-founder and CEO of Backstage Capital, a VC firm that invests in underrepresented founders (among them, women, people of color, and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community), including plenty of tech founders. To date, Arlan has invested in over 150 start-ups via Backstage! (Isn’t that amazing?) Arlan’s leadership in creating and launching Backstage means that she is not only diversifying tech entrepreneurship, but the VC world, too. It’s no wonder that in 2019, she was named among one of Business Insider’s 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ individuals in tech. I’ve written repeatedly on Ask Trish about the importance of having diverse populations create the technologies we use, both because of the innovative, creative ideas they have and because their perspectives can help us minimize harm. Arlan is contributing to that vision – something we should celebrate and be grateful for.
Thank you all so much for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed learning about these incredible LGBTQ+ tech/internet pioneers. Remember, it’s incredibly important that we continue to spotlight, acknowledge, and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community’s many contributions to our society (including our digital experience!) after Pride Month. In that spirit, take ~5 seconds right now and go share this week’s TikTok video! And then, after that, do me another huge favor, and keep the #AskTrish conversation going by sharing any Internet-related questions, thoughts, or perspectives here. Your question just might be featured in an upcoming TikTok/blog post! Remember, anything you’re wondering about is fair game – you might be wondering about a hashtag that’s trending or struggling with a serious digital challenge. No matter the topic, know that I’m ALWAYS here for you! Whatever’s on your mind, Ask Trish will always be a helpful, empowering resource for you as you navigate the digital world. 💙
See you all again next week! Until then,