Horton created [forerunner to email attachments] uuencode while completing her computer science doctorate at Berkeley, when she was still going by a male name.
While at Berkeley, she also started working to grow Usenet, a virtual bulletin board that was “really the first social media” and “the Facebook of its day,” as she explains for the benefit of younger readers. Horton says she “kind of waved the flag” for Usenet for seven years after her Ph.D.
But all the while, she tells The Daily Beast, Horton “felt the need that every trans person feels over most of their lives and it was intensifying”—the need to be herself.
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