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Comment Bigots who think this is a joke - shame on you! (Score 4, Insightful) 814

This isn't a joke. It's about a tiny but very real group of people being able to live their lives safely and in dignity.

Leaving aside questions of what data is needed in the medical profession to handle biology correctly - which is a completely different issue - the attitude that people deserve to have their secrets outed so that other people can entertain themselves by laughing at them is just... not the geek world I grew up in having programmed computers since the age of 8. My mum got me into it, in a family where everyone writes code.

As a lesbian geek girl, I'm disgusted by a lot of the comments here, and really don't know if I even belong on this forum any more. I don't write much but have been reading on a daily basis since the late 1990s.

The transgender community seems to be under attack these days since they're small enough not to be able to fight back in the way that the gay and lesbian community and various ethnic minorities have. Finally all the bigots and religious fundamentalists have found a group of people who it is "safe" to bully.

But please, not on slashdot!!

Surely, as so called "nerds" you would know something about the history of your industry. Have you heard of Alan Turing (, who developed the model for the general purpose computer, only to be arrested for being homosexual, clinically castrated, and driven to suicide? You probably have, and I assume he's one of the reasons why a lot of IT companies are very good at accepting gay men and lesbian.

What about Lynn Conway, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, who literally wrote the book on VLSI design (Introduction to VLSI systems). She's alive, fortunately, but we all lost a lot of her work when she was forced to start again "at the bottom of the ladder" as a contract programmer in mid-career to hide her gender past from your bigotry and intolerance.

What about Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski who co-produced the Matrix Trilogy? She came close to not surviving the hate growing up, and if she hadn't survived, we would never have gotten to see The Matrix.

And - he might not have been a geek, but - what about Mike Penner, who committed suicide after an unsuccessful attempt at gender transition?

Seriously, wannabe geeks, as tiny a minority as the transgender community is, the IT industry is packed full of transsexuals and transgender people. And many of us here have romantic partners, or parents, or brothers and sisters and friends who are. At least here in Melbourne, Australia, you can't write code and hang out in the industry without getting close to many of them.

It seems that all the gay men and lesbians are too successful and too powerful for you to attack now. So like all bullies, you run off in search of an easier victim.

Getting back to the topic, why exactly do you need databases to say things about people's gender that don't match how they present themselves? To out them and embarrass them because they "deserve" it? How little compassion and caring do you have for other people? Would you want to be treated this way yourselves if you had some type of secret you had to keep from people who would hate you because of it?

If you were in Europe circa World War 2, would you insist that records there included whether or not a person was Jewish, based on genetic testing? With no ability for a person to change their record to say they were, say, Russian, if it could give them a better chance of finding employment or even survival?

In case you think the analogy isn't fair (and yes, I am Jewish, and migrated from Russia with my parents as a three year old), have a look at what the Salvation Army (who the government in Australia got involved in finding jobs for the unemployed a few years ago) are saying and doing:

BREAKING: LGBT People Should Be Put to Death, Says Aussie Salvation Army Major
Andrew Craibe, Salvation Army Official, Implies Gays Should Be Put To Death In Interview
Jennifer Gale Death Caused by Lack of Shelter for Transgender Homeless

So to the hateful bigots here - I just wish there was some way I could license all the code I write to specifically EXCLUDE people like you from using it. I wish some of them Internet System I've created could somehow exclude you from joining. If only I could tell who you are from the publicly available databases out there, perhaps matching your names when you register to some type of marker.

I won't do that, of course, but at least I can daydream. It would make the death of one of my friends (who was transsexual, ran a moderately successful recruitment agency, and ultimately committed suicide a couple of years ago after decades of bad experiences and self-acceptance issues) a bit less painful for me.

P.S. If anyone here with more reputation than me feels that there should be an article on Slashdot about bigotry within the geek community in general, please let me know and I'll be happy to write one.

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"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)