Report on the counter-protest in Edmonton, Canadaagainst the notorious Westboro Baptist Church
By Jan Lukas Buterman
November 14, 2010
The report includes Jan's counter-protest speech: "Live in faith".
See also DarkOceanAdam's video about the counter-protest at:
and the cool blog post about the event at:
From: Jan Lukas Buterman
To: Lynn Conway
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 10:17 PM
Subject: Thank You; copy of speech on 'transsexual technology'
Dear Dr. Conway:
I am an FTM transsexual living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I wanted
to send you a copy of a speech I wrote (and shared) on November 13,
2010, that featured a highly-generalised overview of some of your work.
On that night, one of the largest groups of LGBTQ-positive people to
assemble in Alberta came together to counter-protest an intended
protest of the play The Laramie Project by members of Westboro Baptist
Church. While slightly warmer than typical for our part of the world
at this time of the year (just above freezing rather than below), the
forecast for clear skies turned out to be completely wrong and much of
the day leading up to the counter-protest involved scattered showers
of freezing rain. Additionally, other events associated with a local
queer arts festival, ExposureFest, were already underway--thus, the
turnout for the counter-protest was wonderful.
People came together to mock the absurdity of the WBC's hatred.
Speakers included Linda Duncan, a federal Member of Parliament,
Rachel Notley, a provincial Member of the Legislative Assembly of
Alberta, pro-LGBTQ Nate Phelps (estranged son of the WBC patriarch),
and three others, including myself.
In my four-minute speech, people stood expectantly in the dark and
cold, somewhat befuddled as to where I was going but clearly willing
to give me the benefit of the doubt. When I got to the "big reveal,"
where YOU are revealed as one of the key figures behind two incredibly
important developments in all modern computer tech, the laughter and
cheering was amazing--people were delighted. Afterwards, one chip
designer came up to me and gave me a huge hug, thrilled that the
importance of your work was being recognised in this way; a handful of
other computer geeks likewise gave hugs, high fives, or handshakes.
I apologise if any of my speech is too inaccurate from your
perspective--I'm neither a designer nor a programmer, just a user.
From what I understand of the story of both your work inventing DIS
and your work with Mead to develop VLSI, your work is nothing short of
Thank you for allowing your story--both about technology and your
personal story--to be available to the public.
Jan Lukas Buterman
part of this speech has been edited and loaded to YouTube at
Counter-protest speech: Live in faith
Tonight I want to give thanks for the presence of the Westboro Baptist
Church in the world, because the Westboro Baptist Church is brave
enough to be honest in their hate. They don't hide behind floor-length
gowns and pointy-hatted face masks. They don't hide behind
syrupy-sweet claims of somehow really loving the sinner and only
hating the sin.
And along that vein, we need to give credit where credit is due: the
Westboro Baptist Church is probably one of the most egalitarian and
least discriminatory groups peddling prejudice today--they hate
Bug-fornicating, batcrap crazy [hate] ...
And, incredibly painful though the bug-fornicating craziness can be,
we NEED the batcrappery if only to help remind us how precious our
freedoms to love and live really are, to remind us that totalitarian
fascism is as close as the institution or individual next door--maybe
even the antisocial bonehead hiding in his mum's basement, oozing into
the world occasionally to leave his sticky mucous trail in dark and
unexpected places, his thoughts always full of rot and decay.
But, if I can offer one tiny criticism of the Westboro Baptist Church,
and indeed offer the same criticism to all the hate-peddlars out
there, whether batcrappy or syrupy-sweet ...
... and that criticism is: I expect a lot better of you. You continue
to fail in your pursuit of pure hate, and I have to say, this failure
constantly erodes my ability to take any of you with any degree of
Please, if you're actually serious about this hate-filled existence
you've taken upon yourselves, then please please please PLEASE at
least live in faith to those beliefs.
What do I mean by living in faith to your hate-filled beliefs? Well,
let me give a bit of history here. First, a small caveat: I'm going to
describe a relatively obscure bit of technological history and I'm
going to do so in a highly generalised and possibly somewhat inexact
way, so I apologise to all 12 of you in the audience who are
legitimately geeky enough to know the detailed version of this story.
As Admiral James T. Kirk once said, "I'm from Iowa. I only work in
So, the history is that way back in the 1960s, an amazing new
development emerged in the field of computer processing. This
development--an invention--was called Dynamic Instruction Scheduling,
or DIS. It's safe to say that DIS revolutionised how computer chips
could process information. It was something like a
performance-enhancing drug: a computer chip could now perform its
processing better, faster, and stronger.
Later, in the 1980s, another amazing development came along with
regards to the actual DESIGN of computer chips, making them both more
efficient to design and cheaper to produce. This development is known
as VLSI, or Very Large-Scale Integration, a design method that allowed
tens of thousands of transistor circuits to be able to be placed on a
single chip, opening the way for modern chips where millions upon
millions of circuits are now in a single chip.
DIS and VLSI are both fundamental components of the modern revolution
in communication technology, not to mention the wider application of
computer chips in every imaginable device from automobile engines to
Why am I sharing this bit of deeply-geeky history? Why should you care
about DIS and VLSI? You should care because both the invention of DIS
and the development of VLSI are thanks to the work of Lynn Conway.
And Dr. Lynn Conway is a transsexual.
In very simple terms, every time you use any technology that has a
modern computer chip, you are using a device that functions the way it
does because of the permutations of transsexual technology.
So, if you are a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, or a member of
any group peddling hatred in whatever handbasket you have chosen to
carry, I say unto you:
"Live in faith to your beliefs and STOP using transsexual technology."
[I'm reminded of the old chant we used to do about no more teachers,
no more books, and thought we could filk it into something appropriate
Here we go:
No more smartphones, no ebooks,
Stop using trans technology
You whackadoodle kooks!
LynnConway.com > TS Information > Trans News Updates > Counter Protest against WBC in Edmonton