Why we need more queer and trans representation in AI (The Balance Sheet: October 26, 2023)

Enjoy our round-up of the best of LGBTQ+ business news, including a recap of the Lesbians Who Tech Summit, exciting news for FOLX Health, and more.

Why we need more queer and trans representation in AI (The Balance Sheet: October 26, 2023)

Can you believe it's already the end of October? This year seems to be moving at warp speed, and we can't believe we're already in Q4, affectionately known by some as the Friday of the year.

Last week, I attended the Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Summit in San Francisco and joined 15,000 tech professionals — most were lesbian, queer, or trans, and some were allies — looking to hold big tech accountable for the potential evils of artificial intelligence.

The keynote speeches, panel discussions, and networking opportunities left many attendees hopeful for the future of tech. If you want to learn more about the future of AI, why LGBTQ+ folx love working in tech, and the possibilities in climate careers, read the full article here.

Finally, if you find value in our work, we would really appreciate your financial support to sustain and grow Queerency. This is a labor of love, with labor being a keyword. Please help us grow by becoming a supporter or making a one-time donation.

Enjoy our round-up of the best of LGBTQ+ business news.

Until next week,


Top Line

Stories with Main Character Energy

LGBTQ Palestinians used Queering the Map, an online platform created by nonbinary designer and researcher Lucas LaRochelle

As news broke of the continued genocide of Palestine, a tender message from an LGBTQ+ Palestinian was documented by Queering the Map. The post was originally shared on Instagram in June 2022, and was recently shared widely on Instagram by users who support Palestinian freedom. Read the full article by Reckon News.

Lucas LaRochelle is a designer and researcher who created Queering the Map in 2017. According to their website, LaRochelle designed the platform to "collaboratively archive the cartography of queer memory... in order to preserve our histories and unfolding realities."

FOLX Health now accepts health insurance

Anti-trans legislation across the country has made it harder for trans people to access gender-affirming healthcare, like hormone replacement therapy. Health startup FOLX, founded in 2019, just made accessing HRT even easier. FOLX is now in-network with Cigna, Evernorth, and Blue Shield of California. Other partners include Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Texas, and Optum for behavioral health service in Colorado and Florida.

Read the full article by Fast Company.

San Diego lesbian bar Gossip Grill targeted by suspected arsonist

On October 20, San Diego lesbian bar Gossip Grill caught fire overnight, causing $10,000 in damages. There were no injuries reported to staff, patrons, or fire crews as a result of the fire, but police have a man in custody suspected of arson. Gossip Grill is one of the few nightclubs left in the county that puts queer and transgender women at the center of its business.

Read the full article by Fox 5 San Diego.

Read about what it takes to keep a queer bar safe

Writer Rax Will interviewed nightlife organizers Mack Boyle, security at Friends & Family bar in Oakland, DJ Guerilla Pump of the Oakland creative collective We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For, and Cory Klink, security at Akbar in Los Angeles. Each community member's background in anti-police trainings, kink, and de-escalation shows how difficult and nuanced it is to keep our communities safe in the current political climate.

Read the full article by Punch.

NHL lifts its ban on Pride tape after backlash

NHL players will be allowed to use Pride tape this season after the league reversed their controversial ban that sparked backlash. Major league sports still remains a battleground for LGBTQ+ representation.

Read the full article by AP News.


Queer-Owned and -Allied Businesses In the News

A list of 25 queer-owned bookstores across the US, including A Room of One's Own in Madison, Wiconsin

Advocate released a list of 25 queer-owned bookstores across the country, including A Room of One's Own. The bookstore's social media administrator, Fawzy Taylor, recently organized an arts fundraiser that raised $54,000 for medics and hospitals in Palestine. Artists like adrienne maree brown, Yumi Sakugawa, and Reparations Book Club offered free products, personalized notes, and tattoo sessions. Those who wanted to donate could buy tickets to a giveaway, and all the proceeds went to grassroots organizations in Palestine.

Read Advocate's full list of queer-owned bookstores here, and follow Fawzy Taylor on Instagram for more ways to support Palestine.

It’s Not Just for Throuples Anymore
Feeld, the kink- and queer-friendly dating app, has carved out a niche for customers looking for something unusual in potential romantic partners — honesty.
13 Reasons’ Tommy Dorfman Plots Second Act: Queer Media Mogul
Dorfman, one of our Advocates of the Year, launched and curated a space for and by LGBTQ+ creatives.
China’s biggest gay dating app wants to beat Grindr
Facing censorship and competition at home, Blued has plans to build the world’s largest gay social platform.
Monroe farm helps queer farmers find their joyful entry to the industry
The farm offers an opportunity for queer people to find kinship and security while learning how to grow flowers and a multitude of crops.
Trans healthcare startup Plume lays off dozens of workers
Plume, a startup founded to offer essential online healthcare services to trans people across the U.S., laid off more than two dozen workers in October, several sources close to the company told TechCrunch. Transphobia is rife within the healthcare industry; it’s one reason why transgender patients…

In partnership with Sonara.AI

Sonara is a new tool that uses AI to automate your job search and take the work out of finding a position. Job hunting is a numbers game, so the more applications you submit, the more interviews you’ll get.

All you have to do is upload your resume and it applies to hundreds of relevant job openings for you. This gives you your time back and allows you to be more selective about which interviews you take.

There’s a free trial to start using Sonara, and then it switches to a monthly subscription. But as a member of the Queerency community, you can save 20% off your first month using this link: bit.ly/46vDsNm


Good News in Queer Business, Politics, and More

HBCU Out Loud Day Celebrates Being Black And Queer On Campus - Blavity
October marks LGBTQ+ History Month, which celebrates the community’s notable contributions to the country and observes the fight for equal rights. Historically Black colleges and universities took part in the celebrations through their own HBCU Out Loud Day, held on the third Wednesday of the month.…
How and when to learn about the new Iowa LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce
The Iowa LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce is holding a kickoff event Wednesday evening. Here’s what the group aims to accomplish.
Che Flores becomes NBA’s first out nonbinary and transgender ref, revealing identity in GQ article
Che Flores is the NBA’s first out nonbinary and transgender referee, making that revelation in a story published by GQ on Monday
His KC theater shines spotlight on queer voices; How one playwright is giving stage time to a new wave of talent
Kansas City’s theater scene should be a safe and comfortable space, said Kevin King, detailing his effort to specifically provide a place where queer voices can not only feel heard, but celebrated.
A Hong Kong court upholds a ruling in favor of equal inheritance rights for same-sex couples
A Hong Kong court has upheld a ruling that favored the granting of equal inheritance rights to same-sex couples

Facts & Figures

Data to Digest

FBI report shows dramatic spike in anti-Jewish, anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes
Civil rights groups are calling the hate-crime data “alarming.”
LGBTQ Youth Struggle with Mental Health Challenges, but Resilience Remains
News, events, features, entertainment, interviews, Pride, nightlife, organizations, families, marriage
A college LGBTQ center disappeared. It wasn’t the only one.
At some colleges and universities in Texas and Florida, LGBTQ resource centers are disappearing. Students and staff are starting to notice.
Nearly 100,000 transgender minors live in anti-trans states, research finds
A new report has found that over 100,000 transgender minors aged 13 to 17 are living in states that have passed anti-trans legislation.


Challenges to Overcome

Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs ban on inclusive language
Arkansas’ Republican governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed an executive order banning inclusive language in state documents.
US warns businesses of risks in Uganda, citing anti-LGBTQ law
The United States on Monday issued a business advisory for Uganda, saying that businesses faced potential risks in the African country, citing an anti-LGBTQ law condemned by many countries and the United Nations.
Abortion bans and anti-LGBTQ laws are complicating business travel
Some corporate travel planners and HR leaders are quietly working to address a growing set of risks to employees as post-pandemic business trips pick up.
Scholastic criticized for optional diverse book section
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — The decision by children’s book publisher Scholastic to create a separate, optional section for its elementary school book fairs for titles written predominantly by and about people of color and LGBTQ people is meeting resistance from groups that oppose book bans.
Conservatives Are Spending Millions To Build A ‘Parallel Economy’ Of Anti-Woke Businesses
Omeed Malik’s firm 1789 Capital is investing millions in anti-“woke” companies to build an alternate “patriot” economy.
Changing name at work as a trans and non-binary person couldn’t have gone better
Thea Bardot, the “Thunder” and chief executive at Lightning Travel Recruitment, tells PinkNews about their recent experience of changing their name and

Future Outlook

Opportunities & Events to Know About

The Queer 26 Presents: emPower Hour

Join The Queer 26 on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 pm for an inspiring night with top Film & TV Writers discussing everything you need to know about the industry, including breaking into the industry, the process of finding representation, insights into pitching, development and staffing, and more! Tickets available here.

Oakland LGBTQ CommunityCenter is hosting their annual fundraising gala on October 28

Join the Oakland LGBTQ CommunityCenter for their 6th annual fundraising gala on Saturday, October 28 from 6-11pm at Bloc15, hosted by Legendary MC Dashaun Wesley. The Center provides educational, social, and health-related programs in Oakland. Tickets are available here.