"You’ve likely never heard of 82-year-old computer scientist Lynn Conway, but her discoveries power your smartphones and computers. Her research led to successful startups in Silicon Valley, supported national defense, and powered the internet.

Long before becoming a highly respected elderly professor at the University of Michigan, Conway was a young researcher with IBM IBM . It was there, on August 29, 1968, that IBM’s CEO fired her for [being trans]. Nearly 52 years later, in an act that defines its present-day culture, IBM apologized and sought forgiveness."

@porsupah Good news, but also the biggest ever chinny reckon for “in an act that defines its present-day culture”.

@ghost_bird Heh. That /was/ rather OTT, ne? (And how does a megacorp "seek forgiveness"?) But, definitely a welcome first step.

@porsupah As the old proverb says, it’s easier to seek forgiveness than to pay compensation.

@ghost_bird @porsupah

There are many things wrong with present-day IBM, but I can report that 20 years ago, they realised the number of transgender engineers working there was not representative of the percentage of trans people in the population and began paying a bonus to any member of staff who recruited a trans person to join. At the time, especially, that was pretty incredible.

( My partner's friend kept pestering me about this, both before I came out and while I was trying to quit coding, so it was awks, but you know, she meant well^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hwanted the dosh.)

oblique mention of historical artocity 

@ghost_bird @porsupah

It's ~ s u p e r ~ liberal. They'll sell tech to absolutely anyone who wants it for any reason (genocide is still fine - they've learned nothing), but there will be maybe a trans person coding it.

oblique mention of historical artocity 

@celesteh @porsupah Yeah, I don’t have any illusions about IBM’s corporate values. But it’s a pleasant surprise to hear any kind of commitment to diversity from the archetypal men in grey suits.

@porsupah She's metal AF. Was fired for being trans, left, and then _worked her way back through the company a second time_ as a "coder with no past" (Her words, not mine) before revolutionizing the math behind CPUs.

She's a certified badass.

@cassiabell *Seriously!* I admire her immensely, both for that hard core resilience, but also her sheer inventiveness - that's /quite/ the list of professional accomplishments.

(Not to mention Sophie Wilson, instrumental in the creation of the Acorn RISC Machine, long a hero for designing such a beautiful processor architcture, as well as key in the design of the BBC Micro)

@porsupah What a fantastic article!! Thanks for sharing that!

Sign in to participate in the conversation

We are a Mastodon instance for LGBT+ and allies!