The rules of the challenge are as follows:
- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Publish a quote on 3 consecutive days on your blog. The quote can be one of your own, from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
- Nominate 3 more bloggers each day to carry on this endeavor.
Today’s quote is from an article by the engineer Lynn Conway, one of my personal role models:
Lynn Conway has the distinction of twice having directly affected my life for the better. First, she laid much of the groundwork for the development of modern silicon chips through her work in the 70’s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. It’s no exaggeration to say that without her pioneering work in this field we would not have the wealth of powerful, affordable computing devices that are so ubiquitous in today’s world, and I would not discovered the love of software development that has formed my chosen career.
Second, and in some ways even more important to me than her work in electronic engineering, is that like me she is transgender. She was the first trans woman I read about to whom I could relate, with her strong engineering background and the respect she earned has in her field (she was elected a Fellow of the IEEE and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering). Reading her story gave me confidence that I could be accepted and successful as a woman in a male-dominated, technical industry.
When I came out and started my transition I had a lot of fears about being rejected by those around me, about losing my job, home, security. But I realized, thanks to her story, that if it came down to it I could start over and build a new life for myself. I’m good at what I do: the opportunities would present themselves in time.
If I wanted a better future for myself it was clear that I had to burn those bridges, step off that well-worn path and strike out in my own direction. I had to start living my honest, authentic life and trust that eventually others would see me as I see myself.
It is in large part due to the decades of advocacy work by Lynn and many others that more and more trans people today are able to be open about their situation and not face almost universal prejudice and hatred. While we’re not there yet and many trans people still suffer harassment, discrimination and violence, there have been concrete steps toward legal recognition and protection in many jurisdictions as well as much greater awareness and acceptance among people at large.