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Trans*, gender non-conforming and non-binary people face a higher risk of dropping out of school and often become homeless after being estranged from their family. Discrimination like this leads to missed education and a lack of employability skills; something TransTech wants to change.

Angelica Ross is the CEO of TransTech, a Chicago-based nonprofit set up to “empower, educate, and employee those facing barriers in education and in the workplace”. During her transition, she was fired from her job, disavowed by her family, and forced into sex work, so Angelica taught herself to code. While freelancing Angelica worked with nonprofits that served the trans* community but she found their services less than helpful.

“I discovered most programs to be inadequate, as well as re-traumatizing and re-triggering for our population, as many of the programs just undervalue, underestimate and pigeonhole our community into very low expectation positions — you know, food service and manual labour without any sort of development for us to reach for anything else beyond that.” Angelica told TechCrunch.

We’ve spoken before about diversity in the tech industry and we love that there are others out there that want to make the industry as creative as possible, particularly to those in a disadvantaged position. Even with people like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox bringing trans issues to the mainstream there is obviously still a huge disparity between the opportunities of cis and trans individuals. I mean just look at the comments section of a news article about trans identity; even the most ‘liberal’ papers feature discriminative and ignorant comments. Gender identity is still a very new concept for a mainstream audience, but TransTech is helping promote awareness to more niche issues non-binary people face.

As tech skills become more in-demand Angelica wants to provide set candidates up for ‘economic improvement’. But there’s a problem: currently TransTech can only afford to enrol two candidates in the first sessions they have available.

“We have received roughly 30 applications and they are still pouring in; my email and phone are bombarded by hopeful apprentices, but we can only afford to enrol 2 people, which breaks my heart.” Angelica speaking to Advocate.

If you want to find out more about TransTech or wish to donate to their great cause visit their website. All the best to TransTech.

“We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity life would be very boring.” — Catherine Pulsifer

More news like this: Can diverse hiring ever be considered positive discrimination?

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