Imagine knowing from an early age that you are different somehow, but can't understand how - or worse, you do know, but can't get anyone else to believe you. Imagine feeling that something is wrong with you, that the person you seem to be on the outside isn't who you are on the inside, and that everything and everyone around tells you that these feelings are wrong, bad, or worse, just plain ridiculous. Imagine coming to hate the body you feel trapped inside of, a body that you know has to be changed or it will drive you insane. Imagine you aren't sure how you can change it, or if changing it will really help, but still knowing that it is Just Plain Wrong the way it is now.

That apparently reflects the experiences of an awful lot of people in the IT field.

Anecdotally, it has long been said that there seemed to be an unusual number of gender-variant people in the computer industry - whether transgendered, androgyne, genderqueer, gender-fluid, or even just genderless. Several prominent programmers and computer scientists such as Dani Berry, Jamie Fenton, Lynn Conway, Mary Ann Horton, Sophie Wilson and Alexia Masselin are or were transsexual women, far more than one would expect.

There may be more to it than just gossip. A recent survey of the computer field indicates that as many as 2% of all people in the IT industry are gender-variant or gender-dysphoric in some way or another. To put this in perspective, the generally cited figure for the populations of the US and Europe at large is between 0.05% and 0.2%, which means that the computer industry is running at at least ten times the average. This is statistically significant, to say the least.

The question becomes, is there a real correlation, and if so, what could be the reason behind it?

Any opinions?

Edited by Schol-R-LEA

3 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by almostbob

Very interesting do you have any links to the studies that have looked at this? I'm actually quite surprised it would be so prevelant given the male-bias in the computer industry, since gender conformity is more socially enforced among men.

Here are my guesses as to what might explain it:

1) diagnosis/awareness/acceptance of gender-variant-ness might be higher among the rich/well-educated and since the current computer industry is biased towards that demographic that might explain it.
2) gender-variant-ness likely leads to social alienation and working with computers (at least in the early stages) is a fairly solitary endeavour so might attract these (and other) 'social misfits'.
3) the cultural association of nerds & geeks (vs 'macho' men) with computers thus a more accepting environment for gender-variant men. -> However I'm not sure how to reconcile this with the rampant misogyny in the computer industry.


"Anedotally it has been said" the IT field is rife with sarcasm, gamesmanship, oneupmanship, juvenile humour, irreverance. I know how I, and many others, would answer that question, extremely tongue in cheek, is ridiculous.

JUDITH: I do feel, Reg, that any Anti-Imperialist group like ours must reflect such a divergence of interests within its power-base.
REG: Agreed. Francis?
FRANCIS: Yeah. I think Judith's point of view is very valid, Reg, provided the Movement never forgets that it is the inalienable right of every man--
STAN: Or woman.
FRANCIS: Or woman... to rid himself--
STAN: Or herself.
FRANCIS: Or herself.
REG: Agreed.
FRANCIS: Thank you, brother.
STAN: Or sister.
FRANCIS: Or sister. Where was I?
REG: I think you'd finished.
FRANCIS: Oh. Right.
REG: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man--
STAN: Or woman.
REG: Why don't you shut up about women, Stan. You're putting us off.
STAN: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.
FRANCIS: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
STAN: I want to be one.
REG: What?
STAN: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me 'Loretta'.
REG: What?!
LORETTA: It's my right as a man.
JUDITH: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
LORETTA: I want to have babies.
REG: You want to have babies?!
LORETTA: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
REG: But... you can't have babies.
LORETTA: Don't you oppress me.
REG: I'm not oppressing you, Stan. You haven't got a womb! -- Where's the fetus going to gestate?! You going to keep it in a box?!
LORETTA: [crying]
JUDITH: Here! I-- I've got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans', but that he can have the right to have babies.
FRANCIS: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry.
REG: What's the point?
REG: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can't have babies?!
FRANCIS: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.
REG: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.

Edited by almostbob

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