Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Out" with Lynn Conway

If you are relatively new to the transgender culture, perhaps you haven't heard of one the true respected pioneers in our time Lynn Conway. Among other accomplishments Lynn (right) is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita, University of Michigan.

Recently she wrote an article for the HuffPost Gay Voices called "The Many Shades of Out". It's a fabulous look into the recent decades of the transgender movement.  Here's the beginning:

"On a sultry June afternoon, as my husband and I strolled towards the White House East Entrance, I reflected back to the time of my gender transition, in 1968.

 Shamed as a social outcast, I'd lost my family, my friends and all social support. I'd been fired by IBM, and lost a promising computer research career. In many jurisdictions, I could have been arrested and charged as a sex offender -- or, worse yet, institutionalized and forced to undergo electroshock therapy in a mental hospital.

 Evading those fates, I completed my transition and began building a career in a secret new identity, starting at the bottom of the ladder as a contract programmer. Even then, any 'outing' could have led to media exposure, and I'd have become unemployable, out on the streets for good. The resulting fear channeled my life into 'stealth-mode.' I covered my past for over 30 years, always looking over my shoulder, as if a foreign spy in my own country.

 But this was June 13, 2013, and what a contrast it was. My husband Charlie and I, along with many other activists, advocates and allies, were about to join the President's White House Reception in celebration of LGBT Pride Month. The atmosphere was full of joy and hope for the future. As we waited for the President, I reflected further..."

And of course you can go here for more!

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A Life in Gender Flux