Lynn Keiser on The Michelle Meow Show 9/27/18
Our in-studio guest this week: Lynn Keiser
Keiser is a transgender woman who works as a research engineer at Ford Motor Company’s Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto, California. She transitioned on the job in early 2016, after living as a gay man for many years.
Lynn met her husband-to-be, Ken, in 1995 while living in New Jersey. Ken had been living in the United States by way of a temporary work visa, which was set to expire a few years after they met. In those days, the U.S. didn’t recognize same sex relationships for any purpose, and so Ken had to leave the country when his work visa expired.
As the exit date approached, Lynn and Ken scrambled to find a way to stay together. They found out that Canada was welcoming to LGBT people, and in late 1998 settled in Vancouver, becoming Canadian citizens within a few years. After same-sex marriage was legalized across Canada in 2005 they got legally married, ten years from the time they first met.
After living in Canada for a number of years, Lynn began to feel that something wasn’t quite right, that maybe the label of Gay Man didn’t quite fit after all. While watching a movie on television whose main character is a woman, Lynn found herself thinking “I wish I looked like her!” It was at that point the she started trying on women’s jewelry and clothes, and made connections with the local transgender support group in Vancouver.
In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the anti-LGBT laws that prevented Lynn and Ken from being recognized as a couple, and they applied for Ken’s green card. They finally arrived back in the country in 2014, almost 16 years after being forced to leave.
In the meantime, Lynn kept her gender variance to herself and a small group of friends. Finally, though, the stress of hiding her true self from her colleagues became too much to tolerate, and after discussing it with her supervisor and the HR manager at Ford, she set a date to start presenting as Lynn at work. Symbolically, this was to be Leap Day, February 29th, 2016.
With Lynn’s permission, her supervisor announced Lynn’s upcoming transition at an office all-hands meeting, and people clapped and gave her hugs. There wasn’t a single negative comment, only support and friendship. Since then, Lynn has continued working on advanced research projects and become involved with the local technical community, making many connections and taking part in numerous professional events around Silicon Valley. This year she helped to organize Ford’s participation in the San Francisco Pride Parade, and finally realized her life-long dream of waving to an adoring crowd from a Mustang convertible!
Join us as Michelle Meow brings her long-running daily radio show to The Commonwealth Club one day each week. Meet fascinating—and often controversial—people discussing important issues of interest to the LGBTQ community, and have your questions ready.
The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Max Thelen Boardroom
San Francisco, 94105
11:30 a.m. check-in and light lunch