Last year, a poll of 7,000 LGBTQ tech employees in Silicon Valley asked if they'd experienced homophobic harassment at work. 40% said yes.
But while that number is disheartening, the report made no mention of what the makeup of that percentile was.
Leanne Pittsford has an idea on how to address that.
After getting her master's in equity and social justice, Pittsford wanted to continue her work in LGBTQ activism. She began that work with Equality California. While there, she helped overturn the same-sex marriage ban in California but saw the win as bittersweet:
"I was managing the data in the campaign. I had a front-row to the sexism and the inequality that was even happening in the LGBTQ space everywhere I went. I worked in the Castro every day and I saw very few women. We did events and we tried to get women to be a part of the campaign. And not to say there weren't some incredible women, but every time you'd go to an event, every time we hosted our event, it would be somewhere between 80 and 90% male."
The LGBTQ tech industry's preferential treatment of gay men motivated Pittsford to organize. She founded Lesbians Who Tech, "a community of LGBTQ women, nonbinary, and trans individuals in and around tech (and the people who support them)."
"I felt like queer women specifically, and nonbinary folks were missing from the conversation."
A Common Theme
Andrea Breanna—wife, mother, and transgender lesbian—feels the same way.
Breanna is the founder and CEO of RebelMouse, "a creative agency with the best [content management system] in the world." RebelMouse arms its users with the tools it takes to grow and publicize online content.
"We're really excited about how we help media companies and brands that are genuine about their content really grow organic reach," Breanna says of her system.
Genuineness is the lynchpin of Breanna and RebelMouse's success story.
In 2017, Breanna began coming out as trans to her family and, a year later, her employees and clients.
"It's really hard to do," Breanna says. "But it's been really beautiful. I've thought about trying to understand how I could be helpful [for] people who want to come out and how it could go well."
She decided the best way was by setting an example in being her authentic self.
"Trans people need hope right now more than ever. They need to know that they can be successful if they're very good at their job. They need to know that people will follow a trans leader, sign deals with them, and allow them to grow their businesses," Breanna says.
A Common Hope
Pittsford agrees. And both see hope in numbers. Lesbians Who Tech now has over 50,000 members and dozens of chapters worldwide. RebelMouse has over 55 employees across 26 countries.
"I'd love to see us get to 100,000 people," Pittsford says. "I'd love to see us have more presence in some of the countries that need us the most. And I'd love to see, you know, more CTOs or CEOs who are LGBTQ women."
Breanna acknowledges her unique story. "I very much hope that the story of RebelMouse will not just be about how we helped the open web build a better product, but also about how we showed a different way to build an organization that cares about itself. What if Google and Facebook realized that three in 50 of its employees were trans?"
We're all still waiting on that answer.
Baby Gets Fitted For His Very First Hearing Device, And His Precious Reaction Is Lighting Up The Internet
A man shared a video of a baby being fitted for his first hearing aid and being able to hear his parents' voices for the first time.
Because of the baby's sweet reaction, the baby's first adventure with hearing sounds to go viral for the second time since 2014.
In the original video, we first see the hands of an audiologist, fitting the seven-week-old baby, named Lochlan, with a hearing aid. The baby cries at first, which audiologist deems as normal, since wearing the device can be uncomfortable and takes some getting used to.
But almost immediately, as a result of hearing the audiologist explaining this, and hearing his parents' reactions to the hearing aid, Lochlan visibly pauses and processes the new stimuli.
Then, somewhat hesitantly at first, the baby smiles, probably realizing this is what his parents sound like.
You can watch the video here:
The video is an extremely sweet moment of a baby's totally wholesome reaction to what surely felt to him like a whole new world.
And the internet clearly was not upset to see this sweet content reemerge.
@buitengebieden_ I'm not crying, I just have something in my eye 😭 https://t.co/CFhbrBSBEf— Grizzly's Lab (@Grizzly's Lab) 1582182807
@RexChapman @thenehaabalodhi Wow , this is really cool. His faces were precious. He went from being angry that some… https://t.co/7is7Z5kTia— Judd Davis Conspiracy Analyst (@Judd Davis Conspiracy Analyst) 1582221476
@RexChapman https://t.co/4WP8DqLuCh— CA_Rider 🇺🇸 🇨🇦🌊🏳️🌈 (@CA_Rider 🇺🇸 🇨🇦🌊🏳️🌈) 1582219004
But February 20 was not the first time we were able to see this special moment, as it actually premiered back in 2014. While the video from this year has nearly 8,000 retweets, it had over 26,000 retweets back in 2014.
When it went viral that year, shortly after the baby had actually been fitted with his hearing aid, BBC News and other media streams contacted his parents for comment.
You can watch the BBC News coverage here:
It's a heartwarming video to watch, as these parents have clearly found comfort in being able to provide a special tool for their child. They acknowledged the possibility of using sign language with their child but clearly preferred the use of hearing aids.
Lochlan was previously diagnosed with a severe hearing impairment in both ears, which not only meant he would not be able to perceive sound, but he was also extremely unlikely to be able to develop his speaking skills without some form of intervention.
Lochlan's parents, Michelle and Toby, shared their feelings surrounding that first moment of witnessing their son hearing sound with BBC News.
"We were completely overwhelmed and so emotional when the hearing aids were turned on. We were crying from happiness. Our baby not only smiled for the first time but more importantly, he heard, and his whole world just opened up."
"His future changed. Being able to hear, the opportunities in life now have grown a lot more. We chose to go the hearing way. There's other parents who choose more sign language, but we thought Lochlan would have better opportunity in life to be in the hearing world."
Though some may disagree with Michelle and Toby's assessment of being successful or not via hearing aids or sign language, surely everyone can agree that Lochlan's reaction in the video is adorable.
New Footage Of Whitney Houston's Hologram That Will Tour The World Is Giving Everyone The Major Creeps
Our greatest love of all, Whitney Houston, is being resurrected in the form of a hologram and people are getting goosebumps.
The music industry was devasted when fans learned that the legendary singer died on February 11, 2012 after paramedics found her unconscious in a hotel bathtub from an accidental drowning.
She was 48.
No other singer has come close to matching her soul-stirring vocals since her death.
But last year, Houston's estate had some exciting news for fans. At least they thought they did.
Eight years later, the singer will be making a comeback in a way fans never expected.
It appears the deceased R&B diva is going to "run to you" and perform in arenas around the world.
Video footage from a preview of An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour made the rounds on the internet ahead of its Sheffield, England premiere on February 25.
@PopCraveMusic @PopCrave and a lot of people will be scared...— ♒︎ (@♒︎) 1582141347.0
The posthumous concert tour is a partnership with Whitney Houston's estate and BASE Hologram and will feature Houston as a three-dimensional image accompanied by a live band and backup dancers choreographed by Fatima Robinson.
Last year, Houston's former manager and sister-in-law Pat Houston said she was excited to reunite audiences with the iconic singer.
"(Whitney) adored her audiences and that's why we know she would have loved this holographic theatrical concept."
"An event at this level is something special. . . . This upcoming tour will allow audiences to experience Whitney's amazing voice and passion for music for a long time to come and help them share that magic with future generations."
However, ghost Whitney is already creeping people out.
@PopCraveMusic This makes me feel So weird. Sooo weird.— abby (@abby) 1582141926.0
@PopCraveMusic @PopCrave What episode of Black mirror is this— miguel (@miguel) 1582141238.0
@PopCraveMusic @PopCrave It’s not even Whitney 💀 I’ve seen better Whitney performances at drag shows— Monte 🦖 (@Monte 🦖) 1582143538.0
This user saw her as a Sims video game character.
@PopCraveMusic she looks like a sims— remy 🍒 (@remy 🍒) 1582141417.0
Some fans were offended.
@PopCraveMusic The disrespect— My Name Is James (@My Name Is James) 1582141314.0
@_JamesGtfo @PopCraveMusic Exactly. I know for a fact that she wouldn't want this.— Better Than God (@Better Than God) 1582141460.0
Many expressed we should let the singer rest in peace.
@PopCraveMusic Y’all should have appreciated her when she lived. But, to many were making jokes. I disapprove of th… https://t.co/m7fcSwq3fq— ᎷᏗᎴᏋᏝᎥᏁᏋ (🅻🅸🅽🅰) (@ᎷᏗᎴᏋᏝᎥᏁᏋ (🅻🅸🅽🅰)) 1582159690.0
@PopCraveMusic let her rest! https://t.co/Ey4NAxLQJ5— #1 half of me stan (@#1 half of me stan) 1582143505.0
@PopCraveMusic They need to leave my girl whitney alone! https://t.co/2y0gstroqo— 𝓢𝓹𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓰. (@𝓢𝓹𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓰.) 1582141092.0
@PopCraveMusic This.... is disturbing. Why not just be respectful and let her rest? This seems wrong— 𝘼𝙃𝙎 🅂🅆🄴🄴🅃🄴🄽🄴🅁 (fan account) (@𝘼𝙃𝙎 🅂🅆🄴🄴🅃🄴🄽🄴🅁 (fan account)) 1582152665.0
@PopCraveMusic Whitney looking down on this like.... https://t.co/ovVFuKtG7H— GeminiOC (@GeminiOC) 1582160054.0
Her concert from beyond the grave will never be as close as seeing her performing in the flesh.
@PopCraveMusic imagine buying tickets to a computer show— angel (@angel) 1582141098.0
@PopCraveMusic Chile she's stiff this ain't Whitney and will never be— @Mariah_ Army (@@Mariah_ Army) 1582156132.0
@PopCraveMusic So they expect people to pay (which I’m guessing will be hundreds) to see basically a video of her sing.— Brand ❌ (@Brand ❌) 1582145801.0
@PopCraveMusic What a sad and beautiful ghost— Kalben (@Kalben) 1582237933.0
Last September, Pat Houston told Hot 96.9 Boston:
"Whitney is not with us, but her music will live with us forever. We know we made the right decision partnering with BASE because they understand how important it is to produce a phenomenal hologram."
"They also know that engaging her fans with an authentic Whitney experience would resonate worldwide because of the iconic status that she created over three decades. Her fans deserve nothing less because she gave nothing less than her best."
Some fans think "it's not right," but is it okay?
@PopCraveMusic This ain’t right 😳 RIP— b❁ (@b❁) 1582141329.0
@PopCraveMusic I loved Whitney and I respect the technology, but ... ew 😱— ⭐ 🇩avid 🇦ppleby ⭐ (@⭐ 🇩avid 🇦ppleby ⭐) 1582153466.0
There are no North American dates announced but the tour is expected to arrive in the U.S. sometime in late 2020.
Will you stay? Or will you run awaaaay?
Mom Goes Viral After Conquering Her Fears By Absolutely Crushing A Gymnastics Move That She Was Afraid To Do As A Teen
There's nothing like living your childhood dreams as an adult.
That's what Nicole Clemens, 37, did when she executed a perfect roundoff back layout—a gymnastics move she wasn't quite able to conquer in her competitive days.
Clemens, mother-of-two from Missouri, works as an English teacher full-time. But she also moonlights as a part-time gymnastics coach—mostly to offset the costs of her daughter's investment in the sport.
Despite referring to herself as a "mediocre competitive gymnast" as a child, Clemens was able to perfectly land a move that she couldn't master back then. And she's darn proud of it.
In the spirit of being freaking proud of myself and also knowing I'm about to be fat shamed on the Internet, I pres… https://t.co/L1NY00T5H4— Nicole (@Nicole) 1581996845.0
Clemens spoke to Buzzfeed News about her accomplishment, after her video went viral on Twitter.
"I put my daughter in a recreational gymnastics class to just keep her busy. She took off in the sport and is now a level 9 out of 10," she said. "But that means my life has been consumed by gymnastics in new ways."
"I'm always in and out of the gym as a mom. Gymnastics is also such an expensive sport so I started coaching a bit at the gym to offset costs. I now coach a small competitive team."
In addition to coaching, she began getting more involved herself. Clemens joined a class with a fellow mom friend, who was also both a former gymnast and a parent of one.
"I've stuck with it for over a year now because it's just fun. There's no pressure, no anxiety, just reliving the glory days I never really had and learning to fly. That's the best part. The simultaneous in-control and out-of-control moment where I get to show gravity who is the boss."
And boy, did she.
The video sparked a huge response on Twitter, with many amazed at what this mom could do.
@Nicolemens @CandiceAiston Total props to you!!! Going after our dreams and working hard for them is what counts, n… https://t.co/AeZGN7gThK— Paige Carita (@Paige Carita) 1582059498.0
@waltshaub @Nicolemens This is amazing. I have been watching kids doing gymnastics and I'm super impressed. I wish… https://t.co/mMucreYCAH— Nicole #CovidisAirborne #BetterMasks #ZeroCovid (@Nicole #CovidisAirborne #BetterMasks #ZeroCovid) 1582076563.0
@Nicolemens Well done!🙌🙌 https://t.co/J8JIkktpuA— Renzo (@Renzo) 1582062151.0
@Nicolemens Amazing!! And here I am, 31 and struggling just to walk around without falling down. https://t.co/yoyD79JdmE— Ida Skibenes (@Ida Skibenes) 1582071823.0
@Nicolemens @Jamie91893384 That's excellent. Don't listen to the creeps that try to fat shame you. You've just done… https://t.co/gJGULLEFlb— Joe Kapler Good Trouble Collective🌊🌊 (@Joe Kapler Good Trouble Collective🌊🌊) 1582176970.0
@Nicolemens I am in awe of powerful you, Nicole.— Connie Schultz (@Connie Schultz) 1582062576.0
@Nicolemens @CandiceAiston That’s rad!! Well done!— Patricia Arquette (@Patricia Arquette) 1582059807.0
You go, Nicole!
Transgender Man's Emotional Reaction After Seeing His Chest For The First Time Following Top Surgery Has The Internet Cheering
A transgender man from Australia shared a huge catharsis with the internet following his top surgery.
Sol (@capritran) shared a video of himself immediately post-surgery when he saw his chest for the first time.
"Been waiting for this for a long time?" asks the nurse, as sol gets visibly emotional about the completion of his top surgery.
"I'd like to share my very personal chest reveal moment with the world, to hopefully show that despite the endless negative experiences we trans people have, we also get to experience some of the best feelings in the world. use this video to manifest your own future if you need to."
The biggest thing people took away from this video?
The trans struggle for gender confirmation and the emotions surrounding it are real.
@capritran So happy for you!!! I’ve officially scheduled my surgery for April of this year and I’m still in disbeli… https://t.co/3cT9xYfFy6— Owen Shepard (@Owen Shepard) 1581966344
@capritran I’ve been feeling this way a lot - deep down I know I’m not a girl, but I don’t want to admit it just ye… https://t.co/XDjJgqnYcs— Anna • アンナ (@Anna • アンナ) 1582007000
@capritran I can't imagine how awful it is to see your own body & know it doesn't reflect your identity and the ide… https://t.co/3CJVRMuJNh— beegsf🌊🌊🌊 (@beegsf🌊🌊🌊) 1582133179
@capritran @DamianAsia I didn't draw the scars right, I think, but... thank you for sharing this. I hope I'm there… https://t.co/3vCMyhkLMb— 🏳️⚧️Cake🍰 (@🏳️⚧️Cake🍰) 1582011358
@capritran I don’t know you and I’ve got a LONG way to go before I understand how to be a proper ally but this vide… https://t.co/UVgQMgxRA8— Katie Tunn 🇺🇦 (@Katie Tunn 🇺🇦) 1581974643
Despite the fact that transphobia around the world has skyrocketed, plenty of folks were very supportive.
@capritran @Nefermira This is why I support. You can see the relief in your face. How dare somebody even judge peop… https://t.co/Tc7Djcii8Z— Curry Goat (@Curry Goat) 1581982651
@capritran Thank you so much for sharing this.— Dara Does Deep State (@Dara Does Deep State) 1582123308
@capritran I love seeing these videos. They are so revealing of the actual joy and emotions of my trans sibs. Well… https://t.co/jAsoQ1QQnx— Charlie (@Charlie) 1581960279
The HRC reports that violence against trans people is going strong this year, with a death already reported in 2020, and 26 deaths due to transphobic violence in 2019.
While the numbers sound small, with the tiny size of the openly transgender community, the percentage of deaths makes trans people one of the groups most targeted for murder.
@capritran I’m so happy for you 💙— Ida Skibenes (@Ida Skibenes) 1582024442
@capritran Oh goodness. The visible *Relief* when you look. I'm so, so happy for you!— Perrin Caristi (@Perrin Caristi) 1581960301
@capritran Please, how do you share this to Facebook? Would like to show my son— ankicat (@ankicat) 1581974879
@capritran This is the Type of energy we need in 2020, love that for you!!— tosh 🔜 AC(?) (@tosh 🔜 AC(?)) 1581963993
@capritran This 65-year-old grandma is very happy for you. I am sending you my strength to heal quickly and very be… https://t.co/EhHo1YDH69— Build Back Better (@Build Back Better) 1582034648
Let's hope the 2020s are the years of the trans community quickly becoming more accepted.