February 20, 2024

LGBTQ+ History Month Spotlight: The Black Trailblazers Transforming The Tech World

LGBTQ History Month is an annual month-long observance of the community and related civil rights movements, founded in 1994.

To celebrate the achievements of Black LGBTQ+ individuals in the tech industry, we are highlighting some figures who have used their platforms to advocate for diversity, equality, and social change.

Mia Cooley

Mia Cooley

Cooley’s creation of xHood marks a significant contribution to the Black queer community.  xHood is the first organization dedicated to supporting Black queer family building and nurturing journeys. 

The platform offers various resources, including forums, virtual baby showers, and informational sessions with experts in fertility and legal matters.

With a growing community of over 3,000 members, Cooley’s initiative is a testament to the power of technology in creating supportive networks and resources for marginalized communities.

Arlan Hamilton

Arlan Hamilton

Hamilton is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital.

Hamilton has risen from homelessness to leading a venture capital firm that has invested in over 200 companies led by people of color, women, and LGBTQ entrepreneurs. 

Her firm has raised over $15 million, and her personal story of overcoming adversity as a Black gay woman from the South is a powerful narrative of resilience. 

Hamilton’s latest book, “Your First Million,” reflects her philosophy of radical self-belief and her goal to create 1,000 new millionaires in the coming decade.

Angelica Ross

Angelica Ross

Ross is renowned for her roles in television and her impactful work as the CEO and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises

The non-profit organization is committed to empowering, educating, and employing individuals facing barriers in education and the workplace, focusing on trans and gender non-conforming individuals.

Ross, known for her roles in “Pose” and “American Horror Story,” is an activist and leader in the transgender and racial equity movement dedicated to bringing economic empowerment to marginalized communities.

Chris Witherspoon

Chris Witherspoon

Witherspoon, the founder and CEO of PopViewers, is revolutionizing how consumers interact with media. 

His app, PopViewers, assists users in discovering new TV shows and movies, fostering a community of shared experiences among diverse viewers. 

Witherspoon’s career as an entrepreneur, entertainment journalist, and film producer is marked by his commitment to addressing the lack of representation in media decision-making.

Brandon Greer

Greer, the Director of Corporate Development at HubSpot, is a prominent figure in the tech industry. 

Since joining HubSpot in 2018, he has impacted the company by launching a $100 million fund aimed at supporting SaaS founders. 

Greer has more than 30 investments in various companies like Hightouch, Descript, ClickUp, and Vanta.

Greer, who is proudly Black and gay, has recently taken his commitment to inclusivity a step further by joining the board of Fenway Health, a healthcare organization dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Tiana Tukes

Tukes, a co-founder of LGBT+ VC alongside Jackson Block, is a trailblazing figure in the venture capital sector. 

LGBT+ VC, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to advancing LGBTQ prosperity through venture capital. 

Under their leadership, the organization has educated and trained over 1,000 limited partners, venture capitalists, family offices, and startup founders, with an ambitious goal to increase this number tenfold by 2030. 

Tukes’ journey includes her role at Colorful Capital and personal investments in innovative companies like Mate Fertility and Both&Apparel.

Tukes also stands as the first transgender woman to hold a position in a VC firm with over $1 billion in assets, marking a historic moment in the industry.

Geri Johnson

Johnson has over 25 years of experience in technology and operations, earning the title of the “Olivia Pope of Next PR.” 

Her journey wasn’t easy; as she shared with Fast Company, she initially conformed to the heteronormative standards of the IT world. 

Married to a man and working amidst straight, white male colleagues, Johnson initially dressed and acted in ways that hid her true identity.

However, a turning point came when she embraced her authentic self, moved across the country, and started working at a woman-led tech PR firm. 

Today, Johnson is openly proud of her identity, known for her unique style, and challenges traditional notions of what a COO should look like.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.