Lea's Home Page

Hi!  I'm Leandra Vicci, but go by Lea just as easily.
I'm on the faculty of the Computer Science Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but deep down inside, I'm really an engineer (that's obvious from the photo, isn't it? :)

That's right, my principal passions are science and technology.  But I'm also passionately fond of the fine and performing arts, particularly music, especially classical.

I live with my partner Ina on a farm in Silk Hope, North Carolina.  I love living in the country.  And in the city.  But suburban life doesn't do much for me.  Most of all, I love the wilderness.  I used to mountaineer and rock climb, but have gotten just a tad too old for that.  Please don't ask how old, it's not polite.

I haven't always been Leandra, you know.  Or female.  I used to be Vern.  Anyway, I'm pleased to be Leandra and have never been happier!

My original coming out document in 1998 was intended to be educational for my peers at work.  In 1999 I wrote a sequel to it describing the wonderful way things had progressed.  Along the way, I also wrote an essay, "Who's this?" which explained how I perceived the evolution of my self identity at the time.

In 2000 I pretty much completed the physical details of my transition and settled into my new life, about which I wrote a "A third year retrospective" in 2002.  In all these pages I have tried to be as open and accurate as I know how in the hopes that visitors to this page may find it informative and educational.  I also hope I may stand as a counterexample to some of the more lurid portrayals which appear from time to time in the public media.

Further towards promoting the acceptance of the likes of myself as (otherwise) normal, productive citizens in society, I provide here links to some web pages of Lynn Conway,
who argues quite persuasively that this condition is far more common than previously believed, and who maintains an extensive page of other wonderful examplesLynn is an awesome example in her own right, having fomented the VLSI design revolution of the 1980s, without which it is doubtful that the computer you are using to read this page would even exist!  And that's only part of her professional story.

Research ([IJT Sep97], [JECM May00]) on the etiology of my condition, known as “gender identity disorder” (GID) shows a strong correlation between self perceived gender identity and the structure of a brain area that is essential in sexual behavior. This should put to rest any notion that the condition is frivolous, as believed by some, or even purely psychological. It has long been known that disparities can occur between genetic gender and development of the genitalia; now we have evidence that similar disparities can occur in the brain. Some argue that GID is purely a matter of personal choice, on the basis that “God does not make mistakes.” I agree with the basis, but the evidence is clear: GID is as physically real as being bald, for example -- in both cases, one choice we do have is surgical intervention. The conclusion I draw is that God presents each of us with a unique set of challenges, and GID is simply a cross some of us are given to bear.

Copyright 7 September 1999, Leandra Vicci

Updated 28 January 2003

In case anyone wonders how my life has progressed, I am still here, still productive, and still happy. In fact, since my transition ten years ago, the gender issues that used to dominate my life have evaporated entirely, while I’m still the techno-geek that I’ve always been. As a snapshot, let me offer the slides of a presentation I made for reappointment to my faculty position this year. Of course one never completely escapes one’s past, but in my day to day life, it’s almost as if having been Vern is but a distant memory. As such, much of the unpleasantness has faded while the fond memories have stuck.

Updated 1 May 2010