I’m Kestral, a transgender activist, technologist, producer, and writer from the United Kingdom with a passion for performing on the side. I’m currently working to build a better future for higher education, supporting several LGBTQ+ charities, and continuing to drive research around ethics and usability in the field of computing.
Whether at an open mic, poetry recital, or international conference, I have addressed crowds of over 5,000 including at Campus Party, The European Education Policy Summit, and Microsoft TechDays. I have also delivered guest lectures on innovating accessibility and building future technologies at over 50 universities across Europe.
In early 2020, at the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I started to share my expertise in online event delivery as a production director and consultant, taking on the extreme challenge of improving life under lockdown for members of the LGBTQ+ community by delivering DigiFest, DIVA Pride, and Disabled Queer and Hear, events designed to provide a lifeline for LGBTQ+ people and their families stuck at home.
When I saw the crucial need to support isolated trans people during the COVID-19 crisis I created the Validation Station, a text service which sent over 11,000 people an SMS message daily or weekly, affirming their name and pronouns and letting them know that they are not alone. I set this project up in just three days, and following critical acclaim in Forbes, by the HRC, and in LGBTQ+ media, it grew exponentially.
Beyond media and technology I have training in counselling and psychotherapy, youth work, social care, and physical and mental healthcare. I have degree-level qualifications in computer science, healthcare, media, and marketing, I have also released music in various forms and styles, and have a small number of acting credits to my name.
In 2021 I joined a radical team of polymaths and revolutionaries to put my varied, interdisciplinary skillset to good use by building a new university in the UK aiming to disrupt traditional models of higher education and bring radical change to an important yet stagnant institution.
I am a proud trans woman who is not ashamed to speak about my gender identity or life with autism. You can contact me if you need help coding, producing audio or video content, growing your company’s LGBTQ+ policies or communities, or if you want to talk about sourdough. I’ve got a really good starter for you.