Pride Month: Our top 5 favourite queer tech icons

Discover and celebrate the groundbreaking contributions of our favourite queer tech icons this Pride Month. From Tim Cook to Alan Turing, learn about their lasting impact on science and technology.

It’s Pride Month, and we’re celebrating our favourite queer tech icons! Let's honour their groundbreaking contributions to science and technology.

5. Tim Cook

At #5… Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple since 2011, succeeded Steve Jobs and has significantly contributed to the company's growth and innovation. Under his leadership, Apple has introduced products like the Apple Watch, AirPods, and several iterations of the iPhone and Mac. Cook is also a vocal advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, being one of the first major CEOs to publicly come out as gay, which has had a profound impact on workplace inclusion and diversity. His leadership style continues to inspire many in the tech industry and beyond.

4. Chien-Shiung Wu

Chien-Shiung Wu, a renowned Chinese American physicist, made huge contributions to the field of physics. She played a critical role in disproving the law of conservation of parity in the 1950s, a landmark achievement that reshaped our understanding of fundamental forces in nature. Through the Wu Experiment, she provided proof that parity is not conserved in weak nuclear interactions. Her work earned her numerous accolades, including the Wolf Prize in Physics. Wu's achievements not only advanced the field of physics but also paved the way for future generations of scientists, particularly women in science.

3. Lynn Conway

Lynn Conway, a pioneering transgender computer scientist and activist, is celebrated for her significant contributions to the tech industry, particularly in the design and manufacture of complex microchips. In the 1970s, she invented scalable design rules, which revolutionised microchip production and made it more accessible. Conway struggled for a long time with gender dysphoria and lived life as a heterosexual man with a wife and children until deciding to transition. Despite her revolutionary work, Conway was sacked from IBM in 1968 after disclosing her intention to transition. She persevered and went on to achieve remarkable success at Xerox PARC and beyond. Conway's innovations and advocacy have left an enduring legacy in STEM, inspiring future generations.

2. Sally Ride

Sally Ride, born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California, was a pioneering American astronaut and physicist. She became the first American woman in space in 1983, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger during mission STS-7. Ride's journey to becoming an astronaut started with a bachelor's degree in English and physics, and later a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University. Her career at NASA was marked by significant contributions to space exploration and science education. After her historic spaceflight, she flew a second mission on Challenger in 1984 and later served on the Rogers Commission, which investigated the Challenger disaster. Post-NASA, Ride dedicated herself to education, founding Sally Ride Science in 2001 to promote STEM literacy among young people, particularly girls. Her legacy continues to inspire countless individuals in the fields of science and space exploration.

1. Alan Turing

According to our office vote, Learning People’s favourite queer icon in tech is the one and only Alan Turing; and this isn't the first time we've had Alan Turing in one of our top 5 lists! Turing is widely known as the founder of modern computing, having, in 1936, conceptualised the idea of a ‘universal machine’. Turing also played a huge role in WWII by deciphering the Enigma code, significantly contributing to the war effort and shortening the war. 

Although today Turing is lauded as one of the greats and respected worldwide for his academic and professional achievements, he lived in an era where it was illegal in the UK to be gay. As such, he was arrested after the police found out that he was seeing a young man and was sentenced to chemical castration. In 2013, Turing was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II.


Tim Cook, Chien-Shiung Wu, Lynn Conway, Sally Ride, and Alan Turing have each left an indelible mark on the world, pushing boundaries and inspiring countless young people in tech. Their stories of innovation, advocacy, and perseverance in the face of hardship remind us of the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving progress. As we celebrate their achievements, let’s continue to champion the contributions of queer professionals in science and tech, setting ourselves up for a future where everyone can thrive and make history.

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