Investor couple waves the rainbow flag by funding innovative LGBTQ tech orgs

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There has been a recent push to diversify the tech world. In the face of the United States’ declaring national marriage equality, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s and his wife Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen collectively gave $250,000 to LGBT tech groups who aim to make the tech world a place that welcomes all genders and sexualities.

The Andreessen’s chose two organizations for their donation, Trans*H4CK and Lesbians Who Tech. Trans*H4CK was launched in 2013 in response to the growing rates of unemployment, reduced income, homelessness, lack of health care, legal services and housing that trans face due to discrimination. Trans*H4CK’s tangible goal is to develop “open source tech products” that benefit the marginalized trans and gender nonconforming communities. It even seeks to find solutions for trans individuals who are incarcerated or homeless and resort to prostitution to support themselves. The money received from the Andreessen’s will assist in building a workplace for the creation of Trans*H4CK products and to fund initiatives like instating gender neutral bathrooms in the workplace. Kortney Ryan Ziegler, founder of Trans*H4CK, is eager to find other innovative solutions to embrace transgenders in their workplaces.

Lesbians Who Tech is an inclusive organization with a national reach (there are offices in not only NYC and Los Angeles but also in Cleveland and Burlington, VT) and global reach, particularly in Europe where they hold an annual summit. The mission of the Lesbians Who Tech is a four-part formula: “to be more visible to each other, to be more visible to others, to get more women and lesbians into technology and to connect lesbians who tech to LGBTQ and women’s organizations who are doing incredible work for the community” as stated on their website. The money received from the Andreessen’s will assist in launching “Bring a Lesbian to Work Day.” This event pairs lesbians in a sponsored community who are considering a career in tech with a mentor. It will also assist in funding the “Coding Scholarship Fund” which will provide stipends for those who need financial aid to attend coding academies.

Lesbians Who Tech seeks to include not only queer women but also any woman interested in a tech-related career. This inclusiveness has only broadened their reach and helped them toward the evening of the gender playing field in Silicon Valley.

Speaking on behalf of Trans*H4CK, Ziegler expressed spivak gratitude and explained how money is the key to creating greater visibility for the organization’s mission. And more importantly, this donation will bring the often anonymous trans community out of the discriminatory dark and into the luminous tech world.

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