The White House played host to the first LGBT Innovation Summit this week, which addressed how technology can help alleviate workplace discrimination for LGBT employees.
The Office of Public Engagement and Science and Technology Policy hosted nearly 200 entrepreneurs, technologists and community leaders at the White House this week, for the first ever LGBT Innovation Summit. The goal of the meeting was to discuss ways to use technology to alleviate poverty and workplace discrimination for LGBT workers.
Thomas McAffee attended the summit with his partner, Michael Belkin. (photo left) Together, they founded Distinc.tt, which produces an "app that brings together everyone in the LGBT community in a clean, social, and fun way".
"The Obama administration has done great things to help end discrimination faced by LGBT people. I'm very grateful to have the chance to work with this administration. Even more so, I'm happy that they have reached out to so many diverse people in our community to not only understand our issues, but to take action on them."
The Wall Street Journal reported that one of the results of the summit was an agreement that more data is needed about LGBT communities, since data can be instrumental in getting grants and making political decisions. Explained one unidentified summit attendee:
"Everyone is collecting data for their populations, but in most spaces LGBT questions are absent. And data is required for the advancement of any population."
Attendees also had the chance to participate in an "armchair conversation" with Megan Smith, the lesbian vice president of Google (x), which is the experimental division of the company that is working on driverless cars and produced Google Glass. They were also able to offer "elevator pitches" to the group to introduce people to their product, or to ask for resources or advice.
According to FrontiersLA.com, those who attended "seemed very positive about the event, praising it for the quality of the programme and the diversity of attendees and speakers."
Thomas McAfee of Distinct.tt seemed to echo that conclusion on his Facebook page posting:
“To have the White House hold a summit on LGBT innovation and technology is truly remarkable. Today we came together as a community to address our challenges and work with the White House on how technology can be used to end discrimination, as well as the discrimination that members of our community face in the tech sector.”
With the success of the first LGBT tech gathering, expect the White House LGBT Innovation Summit to become an annual event.