Entrepreneurship for Black, marginalized, people are often birthed from necessity and survival. Creating avenues of access for people who are often denied opportunities is a selfless act that is as a result of having been on the receiving end of closed minds, closed doors, and an extremely minuscule range of what it is to truly be “diverse” and “inclusive”. For the trans actress, activist, and entrepreneur Angelica Ross, TransTech Social became her passion project to “empower trans and gender non-conforming people through on-the-job training in leadership and workplace skills”.
For many, the name of Angelica Ross would be synonymous with hit television shows such as POSE and American Horror Story, or her activism for trans and racial equality, however, Ross is also a self-taught tech expert. Ross’s TransTech Social is a platform centered around the upliftment for trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people with a grander purpose of providing tech education and employment–aiding in the reduction of discrimination.
“Tech, for me, turned into a mode of survival. As I began on the discovery of my trans identity and started to experience all of the challenges of employment and finding resources, I found myself being trafficked into the sex industry–like so many other trans women. That industry comes with a high level of coercion that centers ideas like ‘what else are you going to do?’ or ‘who is really going to hire you?’ But it was through that journey that pushed me into not being exposed on a particular website but actually becoming the site’s webmaster,” she said.
With a harrowing rising number of Black trans and gender non-conforming people being harmed and disregarded in society, TransTech Social establishes a community and corporate culture that provides tools and grows skills that transcend beyond the knowing and implementation of information, but also bestowing income opportunities–allowing members to support themselves.
This weekend, Ross and TransTech Social will be hosting their TransTech Summit on November 14th and 15th. The Summit is at no cost to attendees and will offer members an array of expert speakers spanning across the world of technology. Attendees can expect to receive information on business and career development, web/app design, breaking into media, freelancing, filmmaking, and so much more. Ross is set to deliver the keynote address, featuring her resignation letter from a tech company whose limited vision and tokenization of her as a trans woman, sparked the immediate idea to create TransTech Social, back in 2014.
“TransTech is about discovering a new way. It’s completely free because the burden always falls on Black and brown people and with COVID, so many have been just trying to figure it out. But in addition to that, we are paying our facilitators for their time. That’s a new way. We want these companies and sponsors to be responsible for helping to further create the space. We are going to be talking about an app that was created envisioning a world without police and harm against us. We are going to have insiders of the beauty industry so that we can get trans people in the know of what it takes to take their careers to the next level. So when I say tech, there is no limit to what that means. Tech is at the intersection of your dreams and your abilities,” Ross affirmed.