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Transgender success stories

Check out this great column over at The Advocate, part of its Transgender 101 series. This one is on computer scientist Lynn Conway.

Lynn invented technology while she was at IBM in the 1960s that is used in most computers today—probably including the machine you’re using right now. But when Lynn announced her plans to transition from male to female, she was fired. How ironic that seems now, because the IBM of today was the first corporation to add gender identity and expression to its global nondiscrimination policy.

Following her transition in 1968, Lynn chose to live “stealth” to preserve her career prospects. She went on to a distinguished research career, pioneering new methods of computer chip design while working at Xerox’s legendary Palo Alto, Calif.., Research Laboratory, and is now professor emerita of engineering at the University of Michigan. She chose to come out as transgender only in 1999, when an author writing on the history of computer science set out to find the person who had developed that technology at IBM.

You can learn more about her (and other transfolk) at

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding