Andrea James

Lynn Conway, 1938–2024

My friend and mentor Lynn Conway died on June 9. This is a tremendous loss for me personally, for the transgender community, for science, and for humanity.

Lynn overcame profound anti-transgender discrimination to become one of history’s greatest scientists. After being fired in 1968 for making a gender transition, Lynn started a revolution in computer chip design that was instrumental in developing the device on which you are reading this.

In keeping with her passion for innovation, Lynn was also a pioneer in online transgender resources. Among her most valuable early contributions were lists of successful trans people that inspired many in their own transitions.

For over 20 years, Lynn and I worked closely to share information and wisdom that made gender transition easier for younger generations. We also worked hard to push back against unscientific and unethical academics engaged in anti-transgender activism.

Lynn and her husband Charlie traveled the world having adventures together after their storybook wedding in 2002. Please keep him in your thoughts.

I encourage you to reflect on Lynn’s remarkable life and find inspiration in her brilliance, her restless curiosity, her deep love of people, and her visionary accomplishments.

I will write a longer reflection at a future date.

Feel free to contact me at to share your own memories or for additional information.

Chicago 2003, working to end academic pathologization of transgender people. Andrea James, Lynn Conway, Calpernia Addams.

Los Angeles 2004, at our first all-transgender production of The Vagina Monologues with playwright Eve Ensler

San Francisco 2018, where Lynn was honored with one of many major scientific awards.

Michigan, 2018

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