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

As we observe Pride Month 2022, it is important to pay homage to the significant accomplishments of numerous LGBTQ+ pioneers in technology and programming languages. These unsung heroes played vital roles in shaping today’s computing landscape, and their innovative work deserves rightful acclaim.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive, so we welcome your input. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section and we will consider them.

It is time to commence.

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

    Tim Cook, a renowned United States IT executive and engineer, currently serves as the CEO of Apple, Inc. He has been instrumental in improving various aspects of Apple’s operations, including cybersecurity, American manufacturing, domestic surveillance, and environmental conservation since assuming the role of CEO in 2011. Cook’s leadership has had a positive impact on the wider industry.
    Additionally, Cook is a highly respected figure in the LGBTQ+ community of the Information Technology sector. He has cemented his place in history as the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 firm. Despite his own desire for privacy regarding his sexuality, Cook has used his position to assist young people struggling with their identity.
  2. Author: Chris Hughes

    Chris Hughes is one of the co-founders of Facebook, now known as Meta, and played a critical role in promoting the social networking platform. He also worked during Obama’s presidency campaign.

    From 2012 to 2016, Hughes served as the Editorial Director and Publisher of The New Republic, a respected American magazine that focuses on politics, arts, and modern society. In 2016, he founded the Economic Security Initiative, which aimed to assist low-income and working-class Americans.

    Chris Hughes is widely known for his philanthropic contributions and has been married to Sean Eldridge, his same-sex spouse, since 2012. He is an exceptionally skilled entrepreneur who has been a source of inspiration for countless individuals in the technology sector.
  3. In the Words of Megan Smith

    Megan Smith is a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ Information Technology sector and has made remarkable strides that have reshaped the industry. In 2003, she held the Chief Operating Officer post for Planet Out, a digital LGBTQ+ community platform, and later became the Chair of the Board.

    Since 2003, Smith has been the Vice President of New Business Development at Google, overseeing pilot projects and technology licensing for Google’s engineering and product teams on a global scale. Under her leadership, Google made its first acquisitions, including Where2Tech (which became Google Maps), Picasa, and Keyhole (which was later renamed Google Earth).

    Smith co-created and co-hosted Google’s Solve for X initiative in 2012, geared towards expediting solutions. In 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Smith as the White House Chief Technology Officer, where she has been responsible for managing and administering all White House IT programs and policy. During her time in this role, Smith has been instrumental in the creation of an innovative solution to the Ebola crisis and has encouraged the President to support unrestricted access to the Internet.
  4. Financial Innovator Peter Thiel

    Thiel has been involved in several trailblazing tech startups worldwide. In 1999, he assisted in the launch of PayPal alongside his colleagues at Confinity.

    Thiel and a group of former PayPal founders and employees have invested in and established a variety of prominent internet businesses, such as LinkedIn, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Yammer, Yelp, and YouTube.
    The Thiel Fellowship and Thiel Foundation have contributed millions of dollars towards the advancement of innovative research technologies. Additionally, they were the first external investors to fund Meta, a clear indication of their unwavering commitment to expanding the possibilities of technology.

    Thiel is legally married to Matt Danzeisen, an investor and entrepreneur based in Washington.
  5. A.K.A. Jon “Maddog” Hall

    Jon Hall earned the respected title of “Professor” from his students during his time as the Director of the Computer Science Department at Hartford State Technical College.

    Having worked in various positions within the Information Technology (IT) sector since 1969 – including programmer, system administrator, system designer, technical marketing manager, product manager, author, and professor – Hall is an independent consultant at present.

    While at Digital Equipment Corporation, Hall developed a keen interest in the open-source Linux Operating System. He is presently Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Linux Professional Institute, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the utilization and progression of Linux OS within the open-source community.
  6. Joel Simkhai

    Joel Simkhai, the founder and CEO of Grindr, has transformed the LGBTQ+ tech landscape with his location-based dating app. Grindr has become the largest app designed exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community, providing a convenient platform for individuals to connect and establish relationships quickly. As a result, Joel has become an iconic figure in the tech sector, driving the ability of LGBTQ+ community members to connect with one another.

    Harvey designed Blendr, a dating website with over 500 million users, in addition to Blendr is an inclusive platform that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
  7. Conway, Lynn

    John Conway, an American computer scientist, made a significant contribution to out-of-order execution via Generalized Dynamic Instruction Handling. This innovative development has been incorporated into most processors produced in recent years.

    During her extensive tenure at Xerox, MIT, DARPA, PARC, and IBM, Dr. Conway achieved several noteworthy milestones. She established dimensionless, scalable design standards that revolutionized chip design and design tools, resulting in substantial simplification and efficiency gains.
    Despite moments of triumph, Conway’s life was impacted by her gender dysphoria. Believing she was assigned the incorrect gender at birth, Conway left the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957 before the medical community developed gender-transition procedures. Conway decided to reveal her transgender status publicly in 1968, but sadly, this resulted in her being let go from her position at IBM.

    In 1968, Conway completed her transition and made waves in the computer industry with her VLSI microchip design work.

Commendation for These Innovators in the LGBTQ+ Tech Industry

This compilation pays tribute to the trailblazers in the LGBTQ+ community who, despite being discriminated against, pushed the boundaries of scientific knowledge and technology.

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