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Mary Ann Horton  

Transgender Activist, Computer Systems Architect, Internet Pioneer, Entrepreneur & Author

Mary Ann Horton, PhD, is a transgender activist, computer systems architect, Internet pioneer, entrepreneur, author, and speaker. In 1997, she persuaded Lucent Technologies to become the first Fortune 500 company to add transgender-inclusive language to its nondiscrimination policy, and to add coverage for transition care and surgery. Her work, which was soon replicated at Apple and Avaya, led Out & Equal Workplace Associates to present her with the 2001 Trailblazer Outie Award (since renamed the LGBT Corporate Advocate of the Year).

Horton founded several transgender social and activist groups. She conducted a research study that proved the addition of transgender medical coverage would cost companies virtually nothing. She has been featured in the Daily Beast, Out Magazine, Google Arts and Culture, Salon, Diversity Factor, SHRM, L-Mag, Nokia, Faces of Open Source, and Out TV.

Horton earned her PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1981, where she created the first binary email attachment tool and led Usenet, an early social media network. At Bell Labs, she made email easier to use, brought [email protected] email to the have-nots, and published Internet standards for email and Usenet.

She is the author of technical reference books including Portable C Software, and of the viral Internet parody, “How the Grinch Stole Marriage.”

"Trailblazer: Lighting the Path for Transgender Equality in Corporate America," published in 2022, is her debut memoir.

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