Key insights from "What it means to be queer in tech", a This Week in Testing chat with Callum Akehurst-Ryan

@cakehurstryan and I had a really interesting chat during a This Week in Testing LinkedIn live audio event. Callum shared what it means to be queer in the tech industry.

Here are my key takeaways. A disclaimer: I’m a white straight CIS male in my 40s. I’m not qualified nor do I have the authority to speak on this topic. I describe myself as an ally – I know there’s more I can do. I’ve also likely missed some things about our conversation yet here’s my interpretation:

  1. Companies are shifting their focus to more engineering-focused testing roles. This makes it harder for LGBTQIA+ folks as it’s more likely that engineering falls into the “hiring like me” mindset. LGBTQIA+ folks are less likely to apply to these roles due to a fear of rejection.
  2. An engineering mono-culture unconsciously (or consciously) excludes LGBTQIA+ folks. A view that one way is the only way that nobody questions is problematic. Plus a focus on logic and engineering in decision-making rather than human factors can put people off.
  3. The LGBTQIA+ community is very well placed to introduce new ideas and question things. For example, they may spot design flaws not obvious to their colleagues. Being someone from a group that’s different to another group is helpful.
  4. If you are queer and thinking of blogging, please do blog. You will inspire others to be out, and vocal and to amplify others.
  5. Having empathy for LGBTQIA+ folks will make you a better tester. You’ll develop your empathy skills to get a better understanding of the diversity of your users/customers.
  6. While coming out to your team can be tough, doing so allows you to be authentic with your team. They get to work with the real you.
  7. Folks and places amplifying queer and trans inclusivity: Anna Lytical, Max Siegel, Pink News.

Discover more on Callum’s blog:

If you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community Ministry of Testing would love to support you if you would like us to. We’d love to share and amplify what you’re sharing wherever that may be. Blog posts, videos, articles on other sites, that you’re doing a talk, etc. Send me a message and let’s make it happen.