14 April 2012

Cynthia Conroy (1916 - 2009) scientist, doctor.

Robert Conroy emigrated from England to the US with his parents in 1920. His father beat his wife and children, and served three years for extortion.

Robert did a degree in physics and chemistry. While at college he was arrested while out cross-dressed. He married Margaret, who was of Concow (a California tribe), French and Irish descent.

After World War II he had a job with an electronics film in San Diego that was working with the US Navy in developing sonar. In 1957 the firm found out about his arrest while at college and he was instantly fired.

They moved to Berkeley and Robert became a eye doctor. He had few opportunities for cross dressing, but did so now and then. He was encountered so separately by his daughters, but they separately agreed to keep it secret. Margaret found it hard to deal with and went through a period of drinking.

After her death Robert started transition and as Cynthia was in her seventies when in 1992 she had surgery with Stanley Biber in Trinidad, Colorado.

She died aged 93 after a few year’s of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Janice Gould. “My Father, Cynthia Conroy”. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 2010, 16:19-103.

As mentioned in the article on New York in the 1960s, the authorities intended that  anyone arrested for 'sexual perversion' not be permitted to acquire professional qualifications.  Fortunately, in the pre-computer age, the system was not always thorough.

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