Tech Classes for Bronx LGBTQ Youth

Joseph Cancel, 20, (left) looks on as Chris Mercado (center) edits the resume of Bejan Merz, 29 (right). (Photo by Carmen Reincide via The Hunts Point Express)

For three hours twice a week, Haus of Code offers technology classes and career support to LGBTQ youth who earn under $50,000 a year. The classes, located at the BankNote Building in Hunts Point, are the first of their kind for the community in the Bronx, writes Carmen Reinicke in The Hunts Point Express.

The LGBTQ group Destination Tomorrow started the free, grant-funded classes in September. Dominique Jackson, the director of programs, explained the need for classes specifically for the community.

Jackson added that LGBTQ face additional barriers to learning, like feeling uncomfortable with applications that only include male and female options. Often, in a class without other LGBTQ students, Jackson says, explaining one’s gender identity or sexual orientation can be exhausting — or even dangerous.

The Hunts Point Express noted that members of the LGBTQ community also face hurdles at work as those in the tech field are more likely to be bullied and leave the company, according to a recent study. Destination Tomorrow also took this into account.

In addition, Destination Tomorrow did sensitivity training for The Knowledge Housestaff, the tech education non-profit that provides instruction, and reworked the intake forms to reflect the experiences of LGBTQ applicants.

Go to The Hunts Point Express for comments from instructors and students who say “it is an atmosphere they don’t get elsewhere.” Also find out, on the other hand, “the biggest problem so far.”

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