You Should Know These 8 LGBTQ+ Tech and Programming Language Pioneers

In recognition of Pride Month 2022, we would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions made by numerous LGBTQ+ pioneers in the fields of technology and programming language. These individuals played key roles in the development of today’s computers, and their groundbreaking work deserves to be duly recognised.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, so please bear with us. Put your ideas in the comments and we’ll see if we can use them.

The time has come to begin.

  1. Chef Tim Donald Cook (popularly known as Tim Cook)

    United States IT Chief Executive Officer and engineer, Tim Cook, is also the CEO of Apple, Inc. Since assuming the role of CEO of Apple in 2011, Cook has made considerable progress in the areas of cybersecurity, American manufacturing, domestic surveillance, and environmental conservation. His leadership has been instrumental in improving numerous aspects of Apple’s operations and has undoubtedly had a positive impact on the overall industry.
    Cook is highly esteemed in the LGBTQ+ division of the Information Technology industry. His mark in history is indelible, having been the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Despite his own personal desire for privacy concerning his sexuality, he still chose to use his position of influence to help young people who are struggling to come to terms with their identity.
  2. Author: Chris Hughes

    Chris is a founding member of Facebook (now Meta). Hughes advocated for the social media platform and worked on Obama’s presidential campaign.

    From 2012 to 2016, Chris Hughes served as the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic, an American magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on politics, the arts, and modern society. In 2016, Hughes established the Economic Security Initiative, a project that aimed to help low-income and working-class Americans.

    Chris Hughes is renowned for his philanthropic activities, having been wed to his same-sex spouse, Sean Eldridge, since 2012. As an exceptionally talented entrepreneur, Hughes has served as an inspiration to millions of individuals within the technology industry.
  3. In the Words of Megan Smith

    Megan Smith is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ Information Technology realm, having made significant contributions which have led to a major change in the industry. In 2003, she held the position of Chief Operating Officer for Planet Out, an online LGBTQ+ hub, and thereafter went on to become the Chair of the Board.

    Since 2003, Smith has held the position of Vice President of New Business Development at Google. In this role, she has been responsible for managing pilot projects and technology licencing for the engineering and product teams of Google on a global scale.

    In 2012, Smith co-hosted and co-created Google’s Solve for X initiative, a project aimed at expediting the process of finding solutions. Under her guidance, Google made its first acquisitions, including Where2Tech (which became Google Maps), Picasa, and Keyhole (which was rebranded as Google Earth).

    In 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Megan Smith to the role of White House Chief Technology Officer, where she has since been responsible for managing and administering all White House IT programs and policy. During her tenure in this role, Megan Smith has been integral in the development of an innovative solution to the Ebola crisis and has encouraged the President to publicly support unrestricted access to the Internet.
  4. Financial Entrepreneur Peter Thiel

    Thiel was a part of some of the most cutting-edge tech startups in the world. In 1999, he helped launch PayPal with his colleagues at Confinity.

    Peter Thiel, along with a group of former PayPal founders and employees, have funded and established a number of renowned internet companies, including LinkedIn, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Yammer, Yelp, and YouTube.
    The Thiel Fellowship and the Thiel Foundation have generously invested millions of dollars into the development of innovative and advanced research technologies. Moreover, they were the first external investor to contribute to Meta, a remarkable testament to their unwavering commitment to furthering the possibilities of technology.

    Thiel wed Washington-based investor and entrepreneur Matt Danzeisen.
  5. A.K.A. Jon “Maddog” Hall

    During his tenure as the Director of the Computer Science Department at Hartford State Technical College, Professor Hall earned the distinguished title of “Professor” from his students.

    Jon Hall has been a part of the Information Technology (IT) sector since 1969, having worked in a variety of roles including programmer, system administrator, system designer, technical marketing manager, product manager, author, and professor. Currently, he is an independent consultant.

    During his tenure at Digital Equipment Corporation, Hall developed an interest in the open-source Linux Operating System. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Linux Professional Institute, a non-profit organisation that advocates for the usage and development of the Linux OS within the open-source community.
  6. Joel Simkhai

    Joel Simkhai, the founder and CEO of Grindr, has revolutionised the LGBTQ+ tech industry with his location-based dating app. By providing a convenient platform for people to meet and start relationships quickly, Grindr has become the largest app specifically for the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, Joel has become an iconic figure in the tech world, making it easier for members of the LGBTQ+ community to connect with each other.

    In addition to Match.com, Harvey created Blendr, a dating platform with over 500 million users, which is welcoming and inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
  7. Conway, Lynn

    John Conway, an American computer scientist, developed Generalised Dynamic Instruction Handling, a critical advancement utilised in out-of-order execution. This groundbreaking development has been employed in almost all processors manufactured in the past several years.

    During her various tenures at Xerox, MIT, DARPA, PARC, and IBM, Dr. Conway made a number of noteworthy accomplishments. Most notably, she developed dimensionless, scalable design guidelines, which revolutionised chip design and design tools, making them simpler and more efficient.
    Despite having experienced moments of success and accomplishment, Conway’s life was marred by her gender dysphoria. Feeling that she was assigned the wrong gender at birth, Conway left the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957, before the medical field had made gender transformation a viable option. Nearly a decade later, in 1968, Conway chose to publicly reveal her transgender identity, only to face the unfortunate consequence of being fired from her job at IBM.

    Later, in 1968, Conway completed her transition, and her work on the VLSI microchip design shook up the computer industry.

Applause for these forward-thinking LGBTQ+ innovators in the technological realm

This collection honours the forerunners of the LGBTQ+ community who, despite facing discrimination, advanced scientific knowledge and technology.

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