It’s taken half a century — but IBM has apologized for its 1968 firing of a young computing pioneer who had shocked the company by revealing herself to be a transgender woman.
“I struggled to hold back tears,” Lynn Conway, 82, told Forbes magazine of the apology, made during an online ceremony last month, as IBM executives presented her with an award for her lifetime of achievement.
Conway’s life story is intertwined with the decades of development that powered the Internet and led to today’s computers and smartphones, Forbes noted.
Born assigned male in Mount Vernon, NY in 1938, Conway was an exceptional child who loved math and science and had a reported IQ of 155 — but who had struggled with gender identity since an early age.
Educated at MIT and Columbia University, Conway was married and had two young daughters when she joined IBM Research in 1964.
In 1967, she learned about the pioneering gender-transition work of