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This Alexa Skill Answers The Questions About LGBTQ+ You're Too Shy to Ask

Alexa prideCredit: Stonewall

Why is the Pride Parade important?

What is the difference between gay and queer?

How does it feel to be non-binary?

These are some of the questions people have but aren't sure who or how to ask. You don't want to come off as ignorant or offensive, but you also want to understand the LGBTQ community and engage with them without the looming self-doubt.

While most LGBTQ members are happy to answer your questions (and sometimes thrilled that someone even bothered to ask), not everyone has access to the community or even the resources to find out more about them. Especially those coming from rural areas or strictly religious environments.

With voice assistants popping up in more homes and public spaces than ever, the opportunity to use these devices as a medium for education hasn't gone unnoticed. Here are a couple of Alexa Skills hoping to fill everyone in on the history, challenges, and lingo of the LGBTQ community.

Alexa, come out for LGBT.

Stonewall—an LGBTQ charity—partnered with creative agency, Mr. President, to launch an Alexa Skill that will tell you everything you've wanted (and needed) to know about the community.

The goal? To change the hearts and minds of those who aren't actively supporting the fight for fair treatment of LGBTQ people in society.

With gender and sexual orientation-related hate crimes on the rise and largely unreported, LGBTQ need all the voices they can get. One of those voices is now Alexa, thanks to a skill called Come Out For LGBT.

 

 

The skill includes a sort of "LGBTQ dictionary," which you can ask to define terms that you don't understand. If you have a sudden revelation of your own, you can also ask things like, "am I gay?" and be directed to Stonewall's resources for more information.

To come up with the right content for this Alexa skill, Mr. President put up a website to crowdsource anonymous questions about the LGBTQ community—that people are too embarrassed to ask. Not asking, and therefore not knowing, is one of the main reasons people don't feel confident enough to get actively involved with the community.

In a video for The Drum, Mr President’s chief creative officer Laura Bambach explained, “They feel under-educated, they’re worried about saying the wrong thing. Some of the terminology has changed and, even for people in the community, there’s a lot of confusion over terms—such as non-binary."

Time will tell how good Alexa truly is at rallying LGBTQ support.

Alexa, tell me a Pride fact.

Here's something you probably didn't know: Amazon has an employee LGBTQ group, and it's called Glamazon. (Because of course it is.)

In 2018, Glamazon linked arms with the Human Rights Campaign and the LGBTQ Victory Institute to celebrate Pride month in the U.S. The result of this happy collaboration was an Alexa Skill called Glamazon Pride Facts.

With over 90 fun facts about Pride, this skill will give you a colorful selection of trivia to whip out when no-one asked—from the 80's Pride parade and same-sex marriage laws to which celebrities are out of the closet.

“The partnership is an exciting opportunity to celebrate Pride, honor our LGBTQ history and remember that despite all the recent gains we’ve made, there is still a ways to go on the road to full equality for LGBTQ people,” said the HRC.

It's certainly an exciting time to have Voice on the LGBTQ's side. With HRC and Stonewall leading by example, we can hope to see more apps gracing our voice devices with the ammo to make society more inclusive. 

“It’s exciting that this collaboration with Amazon will help us reach more people and show them we all have a part to play in building a world where LGBT people are accepted without exception." - Holly Christie, Stonewall.

 

Pride at VOICE

As the Summit tiptoes closer, we're turning up our excitement about sharing all the I-heart-VOICE feelings with such an eclectic crowd. From sponsors and speakers to staff and attendees, we eagerly welcome people of all gender identities and sexual orientations to join us at the largest voice tech event of the year.

From groups focused on women and non-binary coders to panels discussing diversity in tech, at the VOICE Summit we plan to highlight LGBTQ+ achievements and also address the industry's shortcomings in their fair and equal treatment. (It's going to be both brilliant and educational.)

Feel like joining us at this huge celebration of cool technology and passionate people? Use the code PRIDE to save $100 on the Main stage+EXPO+Breakouts, VIP, or Super Pass tickets.

See you there.

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Alexa Skills

J. Medeiros

Written by J. Medeiros

Jenny is an engineer turned tech writer. She has hands-on experience in VR, AR, video game development, and UX-focused web design. Nowadays, she partners with tech companies to create content that helps people understand new technologies. In her spare time, she hangs with Netflix and tests her Alexa's patience.

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