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Transgender Scientists Everyone Should Know

Amanda Valentine Dela Cruz
This post was last updated on .

While there are trans individuals who are in the movement to provide transgender individuals equality, there are other trans individuals who are more focused on the field of science and getting recognized for the amazing work that they’re doing.

Not because these names aren’t prominent in politics or social issues means that they are not part of the trans movement. Them coming out and being openly trans is already a sign that they care. Their wins are also every trans person’s wins

Without further ado, let’s proceed with the first transgender scientist you must know and follow!

Lynn Conway

Born on January 2, 1938, Lynn Ann Conway is one of the most names in the technology industry. In 1960, she worked at IBM and invented generalized dynamic instruction handling. Most modern computer processors use it today to achieve improved performance.

Lynn Conway
Facebook – lynn.conway

She also started the Mead-Conway VLSI chip design revolution in very large-scale integrated (VLSI) microchip design. Research universities and computing industries in the 80s were all about it.

The design became a standard and was used by many high-tech startups. Because of her work, many of them achieved success in the 80s and the 90s. In a Forbes interview, she commented

From the 1970s to 1999 I was recognized as breaking the gender barrier in the computer science field as a woman, but in 2000 it became the transgender barrier I was breaking.

Ben Barres

Barres was born on September 13, 1954. He worked as a neurobiologist at Standford University. He transitioned in 1997 and became the National Academy of Sciences’ first openly transgender scientist in 2013. His work focused on the interaction between neurons and glial cells in the nervous system.

Youtube – iBiology

A lot of his work was published under his assigned name at birth, Barbara, instead of his name Ben A. Barres. Some of these papers were Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Science, and Cell, and more.

At an early age, he experienced gender discrimination. He was denied by schools in their science and mathematics courses because of him being a woman. In MIT, he was accused of cheating and having his boyfriend answer the questions for him when he solved a difficult math problem.

In a seminar in 2012, he shared,

When I decided to change sex 15 years ago I didn’t have role models to point to. I thought that I had to decide between identity and career. I changed sex thinking my career might be over. The alternative choice I seriously contemplated at the time was suicide, as I could not go on as Barbara.

Julia Serano

She is an author, musician, activist, spoken-word performer, and among many other things, a transgender scientist. She obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University.

Julia Serano
Facebook – juliaserano

Her education was followed by a 17-year-long career as a researcher of genetics and developmental and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her legacy as an author was so impactful that it birthed 3 multi-awarded books:

Her books were recognized by the Lambda Literary Awards, Publishing Triangle, and Independent Publisher Book Awards. Her works also appeared in various magazines such as Clamor, Kitchen Sink, Bitch, and Transgender Tapestry.

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Kate Craig-Wood

She’s best known for promoting women in IT, green IT, and trans-inclusion. Born on February 1, 1977, Kate Helen Craig-Wood studied at the Royal Grammar School in England. She furthered her study by attending the University of Southampton. In it, she garnered a 2:1 in Biomedical Sciences and a Master’s Degree in the same field.

Kate Craig-Wood
flickr – Kevin Shockey

Her education didn’t finish at school because she continued studying by teaching herself various programming languages. Her career started as an IT consultant at Arthur Andersen. Her success led her to become Easyspace LTD’s head of business development which is part of the UK’s largest web hosting companies.

She came out in 2008 of March through The Sunday Times Magazine. She did it to inspire young trans women because she never had role models such as herself growing up. She was passionate about improving the medical care for trans people in her country.

Apart from her trans advocacy, she was also an advocate for energy-efficient computing. In 2008, the BlackBerry Women and Technology Awards made her a finalist for their “best use of technology by a woman in a small to medium business” category.

Sophie Wilson

Sophie’s not only a transgender scientist, she’s also Maximum PC’s 8th placer in their The 15 Most Important Women in Tech History issue. What made her become a prominent name in the tech industry is she helped design the BBC Micro and ARM architecture. Both are heavily used in building modern computers today.

Youtube – Charbax

She was born on 1957 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Her parents were both teachers and she studied Mathematical Tripos and computer science at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. At her university, she was also a member of the Microprocessor society.

Her success started during an Easter break from the university when she designed a microcomputer with a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor. It was used to feed cows electronically.

One of her most successful designs was the ARM1. It was delivered on April 26, 1985. By 2012, it was being used in 95% of smartphones because this processor type is one of the most powerful ones available in the industry.

Christa Muth

Christa was born on November 24, 1949, in Rheydt, Germany. She’s best known for coining the term Human Systems Engineering. She studied at Geneva University and took the Economic History and Sociology course.

Christa Muth
Youtube – Périgaud Laurence

Some of her schoolmates were notable names such as:

Her work as a transgender scientist was not only impactful for trans people. She shaped the Swiss and overall engineering educational system for the better. In 1999, she was assigned to create a Master’s Program for extended education focused on intangible factors in organizations.

This is now the famously known Human Systems Engineering. It combines engineering and psychology to design systems consistent with human capabilities and limitations.

Rachael Padman

She is a physicist and researcher who has made important contributions to the study of stellar evolution. She is known for her work on the physics of stars and their lifecycle, and has published numerous papers in this area. Her research has helped to deepen our understanding of how stars are formed, how they age and eventually die, and how they contribute to the overall evolution of the universe.

Rachael Padman
Youtube – @Gay_Times

Padman received her PhD in physics from Cambridge University, and where she works as a professor. Her studies were also pubished in several reputable science publications. She’s highly interested in Millimetre wave optics and receiver systems; Low-mass star formation, specifically, jets and outflows from young stars; Spectral-line data reduction software.

Other Notable Transgender Scientists

  • Karl Rutlidge
  • Karen Fields
  • Angela Clayton
  • Miles Ott
  • Jayasinghe

We hope that you enjoyed this list of transgender scientists. If we missed any of your favorites, please write their names in the comments section below! Share this on your timeline to let the world know that there’s more to transgender people than their gender identity!

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About the author

Amanda Valentine Dela Cruz
Amanda Valentine is a transgender woman who has written about trans topics for over 10 years for My Transgender Date. She is an author who made it on Amazon’s best-seller list by writing 5 books on trans women’s relationships. Her book “Dating Transgender Women for Gentlemen” peaked at #3 in the Transgender Studies category on Amazon. She started writing at the age of 10 and won a poetry contest in 4th grade which convinced her to pursue a career in literature. Her personal experiences as a transgender woman give her a unique perspective on trans topics.

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