Report on the counter-protest in Edmonton, Canada

against 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 
h. 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 
approximately 6:29


Counter-protest speech: Live in faith

Jan Buterman

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 
outer space."

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 
cardiac pacemakers.

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 
for tonight.]

Here we go:

No more smartphones, no ebooks,
Stop using trans technology
You whackadoodle kooks!

(Thank you)




LynnConway.comTS InformationTrans News Updates > Counter Protest against WBC in Edmonton