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The Evolution of Family: Trailblazer Leanne Pittsford

Directed by Roger Erickson for Out and Lexus. 

As a lesbian woman in tech, Leanne Pittsford didn’t see a place for her in the space — so she made one herself. In 2012, she founded Lesbians Who Tech, a community and series of tech summits focusing on helping gay and bisexual women, trans and gender-nonconforming folks, and other underrepresented groups carve a space in the tech world.

These days, the entrepreneur is carving yet another role for herself as a new mom to Luca August Pittsford Carusone, whom she gave birth to last year.

Leanne Pittsford, Evolution of Family

“I grew up never thinking I'd be an entrepreneur,” she tells Out. “When you're in the LGBTQ+ community, building a business specifically for queer women, for lesbians, it's just not something that happens a lot and it's definitely not something that I thought I could ever do. In the gay district of San Francisco, honestly, anywhere in the world, there's a lack of queer women, a lack of lesbians, a lack of nonbinary folks.”

“When you want something bad enough and it doesn't exist, it's your responsibility if you have the privilege to go ahead and try to do that,” she continues.

This year, the pandemic put things into perspective, especially when it comes to raising Luca alongside her wife, Pia.

“It’s been such a joy,” she says. “While it's been incredibly challenging as business owners to get through this crisis, and as humans, the connection and being able to lean on one another and to have a family, I feel grateful every day.”

“Luca is the best part of my day and having that joy, that smile, during a time like now has been everything,” she says. “When I was younger, as a lesbian, I thought that I didn't want kids because looking back I didn't see that many role models. I had a brother at the time and I thought I would be the best aunt in the world. When he passed away suddenly, I remember, I was like, ‘Oh, I actually want to have a kid now.’ I don't know what connection happened there for me, but I didn't really know how to go about it: Would I carry? Will my wife carry?”

Leanne Pittsford, Evolution of Family

Ultimately, the couple decided that Pittsford would be the one to carry. But while the world has come a long way toward equality and acceptance, she says it’s still a slow burn. 

“I think we have some work to do,” she says. “We went to our pediatrician for the first time and she was like, ‘Who's the father?’ And I just couldn't believe that in New York City this is still happening. Forms all the time, say ‘Father.’ We have to get better with gender identity, too. Sometimes there's not a mother or father, you know. I think we have a long way to go on that front, around what family looks like and making sure that we're being inclusive of all types of families.”

Get to know Leanne Pittsford and her adorable child Luca in the video above. Learn more at Out.com/EvolutionOfFamily.

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