The Conference Where Diversity in Tech Is Celebrated

Black Futures Lab principal and #BlackLivesMatter cofounder Alicia Garza (left) and TransTech Social Enterprises founder and Pose actress Angelica Ross were both speakers at this year’s Lesbians Who Tech summit.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki (right) takes a selfie with journalist and Recode cofounder Kara Swisher.

This was the sixth year of Lesbians Who Tech’s annual summit, and 80 percent of the speakers were queer women, 50 percent were women of color (25 percent black and Latinx), and 15 percent were transgender or gender nonconforming.

Staff and volunteers checking in attendees at the Castro Theater for the sixth annual Lesbians Who Tech summit in San Francisco.

San Francisco mayor London Breed shaking hands with journalist and Recode cofounder Kara Swisher.

This year, the summit’s 6,000 attendees gathered at the Castro Theatre, a historic landmark in San Francisco.

Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president of the Emerson Collective, was a panelist during the second day of the summit.

The back of speaker Alexandria Butler’s camo jacket reads, “Queen. Don’t be afraid to rule like a king.”

Photographer Samantha Cooper’s favorite part about photographing the summit was capturing all of the little details.

Leanne Pittsford is the founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech.

These “Queer, Inclusive, Badass” koozies were just some of the swag that attendees could get at the Lesbians Who Tech summit.

Stacey Abrams is the founder of Fair Fight, an organization advocating for free and fair elections, as well as a former candidate for governor of Georgia.

San Francisco mayor London Breed, after her keynote on San Francisco and the tech industry, during the summit’s second day.

US senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin (left) spoke on the morning of the second day of the conference. “Big tech has to do a better job of data privacy, cybersecurity, and vetting out foreign influence in our democracy,” she said. “Congress has to do a better job understanding the technology. We need to foster more fellowships and have the innovators and the big tech representatives at the beginning of the conversation.”

According to photographer Samantha Cooper, the diversity of the Lesbians Who Tech summit is a rarity. “Being in San Francisco, the Bay Area, there are queer events,” she says, “but queer events in tech are harder to come by. Also, when you think of tech, you don’t think of … inclusive and diverse gatherings.”

Ashleigh Shackelford, creator and executive director of the body liberation organization Free Figure Revolution, spoke on grassroots technology, consent culture, and Afrofuturism on the third day of the summit.

As Cooper puts it, “As a queer woman myself, being able to photograph a queer event in San Francisco—and not just a queer event, but a diverse queer event—was really special.”

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