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Layshia Clarendon. Photo: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Anitab.org, the group behind the annual Grace Hopper conference, is announcing Monday that among its keynote speakers will be Layshia Clarendon, an out transgender and nonbinary basketball player for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx.

Why it matters: Organizers say it's part of a broader effort by the conference to be both inclusive and intersectional, recognizing that the challenges faced by women in tech are tied to those that other underrepresented groups encounter.

Clarendon will speak at this year's Grace Hopper Celebration, an all-online event taking place Sept. 27 to Oct. 1.

What they're saying: In an interview with Axios, Clarendon acknowledged that they are an unlikely choice to keynote a tech conference, joking they can barely work their iPhone. (Clarendon uses he, she and they pronouns interchangeably.) But Clarendon said they do have some thoughts on how the tech industry could better serve society.

In particular, Clarendon says they would like to see the tech industry do a better job protecting people in underrepresented groups from online harassment.

They note that society is encouraging people to be their authentic selves but then not changing the way online systems work, leaving already vulnerable groups to fend for themselves. Clarendon has basically stopped checking their online mentions on Twitter and other platforms, they say.

"It became so gross and hard," Clarendon said in an interview.

Meanwhile: Clarendon was among the athletes who spoke to Axios about how this year's Tokyo Olympics represent a milestone for transgender and nonbinary representation in sports.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 16, 2021 - Technology

Fixing the pipeline won't solve tech's race problem

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The tech industry likes to cast its failure to include enough people of color and other underrepresented groups as a "pipeline problem" — one that would vanish if only more such people studied tech skills and entered the field.

But there's another reason U.S. tech companies struggle to diversify: work environments that critics say are rife with harassment and discrimination even as companies paint themselves as champions for diversity.

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

1 hour ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.