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SXSW Interactive 2015

Transgender in Tech: Past, Present, Future

This panel brings together three figures who have helped make history advancing transgender inclusion in tech spaces. Lynn Conway was fired by IBM and nearly ended up on the streets when she transitioned in 1968, then went on to achieve international fame as a pioneering researcher in computing and VLSI microelectronics. Brielle Harrison, a user interface engineer at Facebook, helped create and implement that platform's industry-leading custom gender options. Dr. Kortney Ziegler envisioned and built Trans*H4CK, a hackathon and speaker series that spotlights transgender created tech and entrepreneurship.

Allyson Robinson, Vice President for Knowledge and Impact at the LGBT Technology Partnership in Washington, D.C. and a transgender pioneer in her own right, will facilitate a conversation among these trailblazers about the trajectory of transgender inclusion in tech and what it might mean for the future of diversity in the industry.

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  1. What is it like to have experienced working in a tech company as both a man and a woman? What insights can be gained through the differences between the two experiences?
  2. What is the early history of transgender inclusion (and, more broadly, LGBT inclusion) in the tech industry?
  3. How did Facebook's industry-leading gender customization options come about, and how did gender diversity within the company help lead to this groundbreaking change?
  4. How has the experience of transgender people in tech companies changed from the 1960's to today? What challenges remain?
  5. What are the benefits of transgender inclusion for tech companies and other organizations, and how can they position themselves to reap those benefits?



Allyson Dylan Robinson, Vice President, Knowledge and Impact, LGBT Technology Partnership and Institute

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Diversity and Emerging Markets
  • Level: Intermediate
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