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  • Writer's pictureScott J. Swindell

LGBTQ+ Pride in Technology

Whether you realize it or not, individuals from the LGBTQ+ community have a major impact in computer science and technology. Currently over 45% of women and 14% of men, in computer science, self-identify as LGBTQ+. Some of the most famous names in computing, as well as more contemporary names, all have made massive contributions. These must be acknowledged and respected, in order to keep the proud tradition of LGBTQ+ people in technology alive.

Pride parade with sign that says "You belong. I belong. We all belong."

In this article, we'll examine some early pioneers, look at some contemporary technologists, point out some examples of technology specifically meant to empower the LGBTQ+ community, and mention some general LGBTQ+ resources. All of which, is meant to raise awareness and support of LGBTQ+ individuals and causes in technology.

Pioneering LGTBQ+ Computer Scientists

There are dozens of lists online, of famous LGBTQ+ computer scientists, so I won't try to reinvent the wheel. However, I would be remiss, if I didn't acknowledge a few early pioneers.

Alan Turing

Alan Touring

The first person that comes to mind, for many people, when they think about the LGBTQ+ impact in computing, is Alan Turing. He was an English mathematician and computer scientist, who lived from 1912 to 1954. He is regarded, by many, as the father of computer science. During the second world war, Turing helped defeat the Nazis and win the war for the allies, by cracking the code to the infamous German Enigma cipher machine.

Additionally, this renowned computer scientist created the Turing Test, which is known as the definitive test to distinguish between a human and a machine. The Turing Test states, that if a computer can mimic human responses under controlled conditions, then that machine possesses artificial intelligence.

Horribly, after World War II, which he helped to win, Turing was prosecuted by his own government for homosexual acts, which were illegal under British law at the time. He was forced to endure chemical castration in order to avoid time in jail. Sadly, two years later, he was found dead by cyanide poisoning. It's still uncertain if this was suicide or accidental. Despite his tragically short life, Turing's legacy can be felt to this day.

Sofia Kovalevskaya

Sofia Kovalevskaya

While Alan Turing may be known as the father of computer science, a woman named Sofia Kovalevskaya was making waves a century before him. She was a pioneer for women in the field of mathematics, who lived from 1850 to 1891.

Kovalevskaya was the first woman in Europe to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, at the young age of 24. She was also the first woman to be a professor in northern Europe. She made major advancements in mechanics, analytics, and differential equations.

Christopher Strachey

Christopher Strachey

An LGBTQ+ individual has the honor of arguably being the first known creator of a video game. Christopher Strachey was a British research physicist and computer scientist who lived from 1916 to 1975. He taught physics and mathematics at a number of prestigious European schools.

Strachey did pioneering work on computer programming languages, which as you may know, are how just about all software is created these days. In addition to developing video games, Strachey further demonstrated his creativity by programming the first computer-generated music. His work led to technologies that now permeate our tech landscape.

Contemporary LGBTQ+ Technologists

While there were some amazing LGBTQ+ pioneers in computing, who laid the foundations of gender diversity in technology, there are those, in our time, who have taken up the torch and continue to fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We'll look at three modern-day LGBTQ+ technologists, currently making an impact.

Lynn Conway

Lynn Conway

Being a transgender woman in computing, Lynn Conway has faced her own set of struggles. She is an American electrical engineer and computer scientist, born in 1938, who revolutionized microchip design.

As a pioneer in transgender rights in technology, Conway has overcome many challenges. After she transitioned in 1968, she was denied access to her two children. She was subsequently fired by IBM, after stating her intention to live as a woman.

Despite these setbacks, Conway continued her career, making numerous major discoveries in microprocessing. Her own experiences led her to pursue an important role as a transgender advocate.

Ann Mei Chang

Ann Mei Chang

Born in 1967, Ann Mei Chang earned her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. She has been employed as a technology expert and executive by Google, Apple, Intuit, and more. She has worked as Senior Engineering Director, Chief Innovation Officer, and a Senior Advisor to the US Department of State.

In addition to being a technology innovator, Chang is an accomplished public speaker, author, and advocate for global development. She has written on innovating for social good and spoken about her experience as a lesbian in a male-dominated world.

When the first openly gay candidate for US President, Pete Buttigieg, recently ran, Chang served as his chief of innovation. While Buttigieg ultimately didn't win the election, together they helped raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues.

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

Best known as the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook came out as gay in 2014. In doing so, he became the first gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out. He is an American industrial engineer and business executive, born in 1960.

Cook earned degrees from Auburn and Duke Universities. Prior to joining Apple in 1988, he worked twelve years at IBM, for their personal computing branch. While there, he worked as a director and later as the chief of operations.

In 2011, shortly before the death of Steve Jobs, the previous CEO, Tim Cook took over as the chief executive officer of Apple. Since becoming CEO of Apple, Cook has championed cybersecurity, environmental conservation, and government surveillance reform,

Technology for the LGBTQ+ Community

With constant advancements in computing, there is more and more technology, meant to empower the LGBTQ+ community. From social networking, to travel, streaming, and dating, these apps have you covered.

Moovz Social Network

Moovz logo

If you're looking for supportive socialization, Moovz has it, as a social network dedicated to LGBTQ+ people, without the hook-up culture found on other sites. Thanks to Moovz, you don't have to worry about the bias found on different social networks. Furthermore, they have people watching for toxic messages and replies, to ensure that you have a safe environment.

Mister B&B

Mister B&B logo

Think of your favorite lodging app, but without the homophobia and bigotry, that you may have encountered in the past. Mister B&B has locations in over 125 countries, where the LGBTQ+ community is embraced. It can be used to find lodging, as well as getting paid, to offer a welcoming, safe place to stay, for LGBTQ+ individuals.


OUTtv logo

If you're looking for entertainment geared towards the LGBTQ+ community, look no further than OUTtv. With it, you can stream LGBTQ+ movies, TV shows, news, and documentaries. With the other big streaming services always raising their rates, it might save you some money, too.

Grindr, Her, Trans

If you're looking for love (or something more casual) in the LGBTQ+ community, Grindr, Her, and Trans offer a world of possibilities. Grindr caters to gay and bisexual men, whereas Her is meant for lesbian and bisexual women. For transgender members of the community, there is the Trans dating app.

LGBTQ+ Resources

Finally, I would like to wrap up our look at LGBTQ+ in technology, by offering a few general resource, that may help you, or someone you know.

LGBTQ+ Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) offers help and resources for those in the LGBTQ+ community, with a strong focus on harm reduction. It also has resources for LGBTQ+ allies, to help those outside the community understand how they can offer support.

Trans Lifeline

Trans Lifeline logo

For the transgender community, the Trans Lifeline ( 1-877-565-8860) offers transgender peer support, a suicide prevention hotline, and resources, including microgrants. It is help for the transgender community, from people in the community themselves.

Trevor Project

Trevor Project Logo

For LGBTQ+ youths, there is the Trevor Project, which provides counseling, harm reduction, and other resources. In addition, it offers a safe, online space to meet friends. LGBTQ+ youths can also be connected with a counselor, or explore topics about sexual orientation and gender identity.

VA LGBTQ+ Patient Care

We serve all who served

Finally, for LGBTQ+ veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers specialized patient care for LGBTQ+ people, who served their country. There is an LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator (LGBTQ+ VCC) at every VA facility. You can get healthcare that is affirmative, inclusive, and respectful of your identity.

Wrapping Up

That concludes our look at LGBTQ+ pride in the technology world. If you're a member of the community, I hope this offers something useful and maybe increased your own pride. If you're outside the community, I hope this has raised awareness of the contributions, of a significant portion of our population. After all, some of the technology you use today, was made possible by LGBTQ+ individuals.



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