One of my goals for 2019 was to start a meetup locally for people in tech who are members of any underrepresented and/or marginalized gender (people who are trans, non-binary, genderqueer, etc.). Last year I organized a one-time brunch at my house with a similar goal in mind, and it went great! Once 2019 came around, and I started trying to put together the details for a more “official” meetup, I quickly became overwhelmed and decided to continue having brunch at my house until the group grows a bit more.
I just added a Meetup page so people can sign up for the mailing list and get notified when I’m in the process of organizing a new brunch meetup. I’m planning on organizing another one really soon (probably in March), so definitely sign up if you’re interested!
Why organize a meetup? Well, when I first got into tech around 2014, I still identified as a cis woman. Even though I knew I was part of an underrepresented group, I also knew there were a ton of resources for me as a woman in tech. There were meetups, conferences, and all kinds of scholarships and opportunities for me. Once I came out as transmasculine and non-binary in 2017, despite being the same person with the same background and experiences, all of those opportunities and all of that community dried up. I struggled a lot trying to find my footing in some kind of community after that, so I decided to at least take a small step in creating that community myself.
It’s true that a lot of “women in tech” groups and opportunities qualify themselves as being for women and non-binary people, but usually there is an implication that they don’t really mean all non-binary people. They usually mean people assigned female at birth (AFAB) who are not using testosterone and identify as non-binary. There are many, many non-binary people who don’t fit that description, and it also does not include trans men, who are a marginalized group that is frequently forgotten or dismissed in discussions of marginalized or underrepresented groups in tech. I wanted to have a more inclusive group that was not focused on any one particular gender, but rather a group to unite all marginalized and/or underrepresented genders.
People like me still don’t have as many resources and opportunities as we should, but I’m taking one small step towards creating a community that can lead to more resources and opportunities for all marginalized genders in our community. If you’re local to Portland, OR and you’re interested, head here to get on the mailing list!