July 3, 2021

The Out In Tech Digital Corps

Read time Min.

2020 pride came and went and I didn’t do much of anything. For starters, in the part of Sweden I live in, it’s celebrated in August and not June, so there really wasn’t much going on around here these days, other than all the Midsommar excitement.

And then with the pandemic happening, the city held the celebrations virtually, which I applaud from an intellectual place, but my emotional side can’t help but feel bummed out. The virtual event looked great, tons of speaking events and workshops (in Swedish) and online spaces and initiatives to celebrate, but when you don’t know the language, it’s very difficult to join in.

I wallowed and felt sad and did nothing. So this year I decided I couldn’t let it be the same, pride isn’t about changing your social media avatar and going to a parade, pride is about sharing with your community, loving yourself and people around you and showing the world that there is pride and joy in being who we are.

Nothing works better to kick me out of feeling sorry for myself and into a place of gratitude like acts of service, which is why I was over the moon to find out that within a community I recently joined called Out in Tech had open calls for an event called Digital Corps. When I read through the information, I couldn’t believe how much of a perfect fit it was for me.

The goal of the Digital Corps is to help organizations all over the world, particularly in countries where it is illegal or unsafe to be LGBTQ+ by getting together as a group of Out in Tech volunteers and building them their first website with the help of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

Immediately I sent in my application and got accepted to join in on the event this past 5th of June. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the day was amazing. I got to spend a full afternoon working with other LGBTQ+ developers on a website for an organization called the Compassionate Anti Racism project.

Having grown up in Latin America, where there is still significant discrimination against the LGBTQ+ population, where I didn’t feel safe or comfortable being myself the whole time I lived there, and where I see my friends stepping up every day to fight to live their lives with the dignity and respect that every human deserves, I fully understand the need for the mission behind the Digital Corps.

What I loved about this experience was that I got to work with a team of people I hadn’t met before. I networked a little; I had some great laughs with other queer folks; I was having the best time while doing something good for my community.

After having spent so much time in my life volunteering and working with non-profit organizations, I really believe it is only the experiences where you gain as much as you give that are sustainable in the long term. I gave my time; used my skills and experience and I gained new ideas and ways of looking at problems; gained new connections and a joyful day celebrating my community and the pride we take in who we are and what we do. This is what doing well and good is all about, and I can’t wait to apply for the next event in three months.