Photo by Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash

Cybersecurity: A Gateway for the LGBTQ+ Community

Malaya Mañacop
4 min readOct 3, 2023


Over the past couple of months, I’ve been diving deep into learning about cybersecurity. I recently started a cybersecurity fellowship with Hacking the Workforce and earned my first cybersecurity certificate!

Why Cybersecurity?

I keep finding more reasons why I’m passionate about cybersecurity, but the short and simple answer is to protect myself and my community. My intention to share more context below is not to scare readers (despite the title of this issue), but to inform readers of potential security and safety risks, and how to take necessary precautions to protect sensitive information.

Content warning: mentions of anti-trans violence

Digital Safety

The tech landscape continues to evolve and grow in the age of Big Data, with the emergence of popular chatbots (OpenAI ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft Bing) this past year. Big Tech Giants will only continue to find new ways to use our personal data for profit (see: The Social Dilemma, The Great Hack). With the rise of anti-trans bills and the far-right attacking the human rights of trans and queer communities across the U.S., safety for the trans and queer community looks different.

Several years ago, I learned about the term doxing (or doxxing): when malicious attackers reveal and leak personally identifiable information (PII) to the public, intending to harm a victim. Specifically, this has been done by anti-trans hate groups to violate the privacy of trans individuals, by exposing their legal names, sometimes their deadname(s), phone numbers, home addresses, etc. This puts the victim’s safety, wellbeing, and life at risk, by putting a target on them for harassment, vandalism, incitement to violence, stalking, or bullying.

This past summer, I had a friend who shared about the hateful comments and threats they were receiving on the social media pages of the LGBTQ+ summer camp that they work for. I feared for my friend’s safety and everyone at the summer camp: LGBTQ+ youth campers and staff members. This sparked my curiosity on what action(s) could be taken, to ensure their safety and protection physically and digitally. I started with having conversations with folks in the Out in Tech Slack, and TransTech Discord. Eventually, my search led me to learn about Hacking the Workforce!

Protect Your Data

Last week, a friend told me about this website: TruePeopleSearch

When I searched for my name and record, I was shocked, gagged, and quite literally spooked. The website spooked my Tea by having my deadnames on public record for everyone to see. I can’t tell you how terrible the feeling was. My record shared every apartment address I had lived in over the past 7 years (and yes, I’ve moved around a lot). My record also had information about my family members and information such as how much some of them had bought their homes for.

I encourage you to search for your record to see if your PII is available to the public. I created a quick How-To Guide on How to Remove Your Record:

The Cybersecurity Workforce Gap

In this economic downturn, looming and imminent recession, and seemingly never-ending time of #TechLayoffs, workers must adapt and do what they can to find work — myself included. I had a lot of hesitation in pursuing something new again, after trying UX design and research, customer success, etc. However, it’s been motivating to learn more about the opportunities that come from the cybersecurity workforce gap:

The cyber workforce gap is a global issue, with organizations and governments developing initiatives and strategies to help address it.

The Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) certification I earned was part of a global initiative called One Million Certified in Cybersecurity by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) to help close the cybersecurity workforce gap. ISC2 provides free online self-paced training and exams to one million people worldwide.

Please contact me if you, or someone you know, may be interested in learning more about cybersecurity! I created a resource guide for starters.

Digital Safety Finds

Sharing some gems I’ve found so far along my new adventure into cybersecurity:

I hope that you found value in reading this post. If you do, please share it with your community and network.

I am a trans woman of color and researcher. I write and create content and resources for QTBIPOC+ healing justice.



Malaya Mañacop

Hi, I'm Malaya (she/her) 🏳️‍⚧️ I'm passionate about cybersecurity, trans health research & policy, digital health, HCI, and social impact innovation.