LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

SCIENCE

 

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis: Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator

Rachel Levine: COVID 19 Hero

Alan Turing's Face Is Now on a New £50 Note in United Kingdom

LGBTQ STEM Leaders at California Academy of Science

Lynn Conway: Most Successful Transgender Scientist in the World

Nergis Mavalvala: Lesbian Astrophysicist

K. David Harrison: Gay Anthropologist Preserves Dying Languages

Sen. Rand Paul Questions Dr. Rachel Levine at Confirmation Hearing

 

 

UK's New Alan Turing Bank Note Enters Circulation

Queer Science: Coming Out as an LGBTQ Scientist

LGBTQ Scientists Who Changed the World

Pride in Science

Oliver Sacks: Inner Workings of the Human Mind

500 Queer Scientists

Queer Science: From Alan Turing to Sally Ride
Out in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics

Lynn Conway: Most Successful Transgender Scientist in the World

Report: Diversity in the Tech Field

Out in Science

National Organization of Gay & Lesbian Scientists & Technical Professionals
LGBTQ Leaders Reinventing Science and Technology

Nergis Mavalvala: Lesbian Astrophysicist

Report: Diversity in the Tech Field

Queer Science


Gay Mathematician and Codebreaker Alan Turing

 

After over 60 years, British mathematician, Alan Turning, was finally pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II for the crime of being gay.

 

Alan Turing was among the most important Britons of the 20th century.  A developer of the modern computer, the renowned mathematician helped shape the future of technology.  He was also a World War II code breaker who helped crack the most impenetrable Nazi tool of secret communications, the famed Enigma code.

 

 

None of that seemed to matter, however.  In 1952, Turing was convicted of "gross indecency" for homosexuality, then a crime in England.  As part of his sentence, he was chemically castrated and subjected to estrogen treatments.  Two years later, he committed suicide.  He was 41 years old.

 

On December 24, 2013, Alan Turing finally received a posthumous royal pardon from Queen Elizabeth II.  Back in 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology on behalf of the nation.  The story of his life was made into a major motion picture, The Imitation Game.

 

CNN: Queen Pardons Alan Turing

BBC History: Alan Turing

Wikipedia: Alan Turing

IMDB: The Imitation Game

NBC: Alan Turing is First Gay Man on a British Bank Note

 

Alan Turing's Face on £50 Note in United Kingdom

 

Gay Icon Alan Turing's Face Is Now on a New £50 Note in United Kingdom. Bank of England Unveils New £50 Note Featuring Alan Turing. The honor comes after he was arrested and chemically castrated for his sexuality.

The Bank of England in March 2021 unveiled their new £50 note featuring gay mathematician, cryptographer, and biologist Alan Turing. Turing was selected by public nomination in 2019 when the Bank sought to honor a British scientist on the note. Despite his instrumental contributions breaking Nazi Germany’s famed Enigma code during World War II, the heroic cryptopgrapher was later chemically castrated following his 1952 arrest for having a sexual relationship with another man.

 



“Turing is best known for his codebreaking work at Bletchley Park, which helped end the Second World War,” Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement. “However in addition he was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science. He was also gay, and was treated appallingly as a result. By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolizes.”

“Turing was embraced for his brilliance and persecuted for being gay,” echoed GCHG Director, Jeremy Fleming. “His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity, but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive.”

The new £50 polymer note features Turing’s likeness on the back along with other symbolic imagery representing his many achievements. These include images and technical drawings of his early attempt at computers along with a key component of his codebreaking machine, ticker tape depicting his birthdate in binary code, as well as a quote he gave to The Times in 1949 where he said “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”


The Bank of England released a video on YouTube which featured gay author and actor Stephen Fry, who noted Turing “was among the thousands of men who were harried and harangued by the authorities” during the post-war United Kingdom, and that he was filled with delight both with the honoring of Turing but also the manner in which he was selected.

“The choice of Alan Turing and the manner in which it was arrived at by public nomination marks another step in our nation’s long overdue recognition of this very great man,” Fry said in the video.

Turing was a key visionary and pioneer in the fields of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He was instrumental in his efforts at famed Bletchley Park just outside London where he and his team broke Nazi Germany’s Enigma code, which was thought to be unbreakable. Much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act at the time, and so he was never fully recognized for his contributions.

 



He was arrested in 1952 for homosexual activity with a consenting 19-year-old man. Given the choice between prison or chemical castration, he chose the latter. As a result of his conviction, the authorities took away his security clearance and barred him from further cryptography work for the British signals intelligence agency. He died in 1954 at the age of 41, having consumed cyanide. Turing’s life and story were famously portrayed in the 2014 film The Imitation Game staring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Fleming said he sees Turing’s appearance on the note as a “landmark moment” in his country’s history and a cause for both celebration and reflection. “Not only is it a celebration of his scientific genius which helped to shorten the war and influence the technology we still use today, it also confirms his status as one of the most iconic LGBT+ figures in the world.”

[Source: Donald Padgett, Out Magazine, March 2021]

 

Advocate: Britain Unveils Bank Note Honoring Alan Turing

Alan Turing's Face Is Now on a New £50 Note in United Kingdom

CTV: Codebreaker Alan Turing Honored on New UK Bank Note

Bank of England Video: Alan Turing on UK Bank Note

BBC: Alan Turing the Creator of Modern Computing

GLAAD: Alan Turing Inspires Queer Woman of Color in Tech

 

Famous LGBTQ Scientists, Researchers, Philosophers, Historians

 

Within the scientific and technical fields, many talented and noteworthy LGBTQ people can be found.  They are well represented among researchers and professors.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people have made and continue to make great contributions in the fields of physics, astronomy, biology, anthropology, social and behavioral science, mathematics, aviation, engineering, medicine, economics, history, education, philosophy, and more.

 

 

Leonardo da Vinci - Italian Artist, Scientist, Engineer (15th C)

Sir Francis Bacon – English Philosopher of Science (17th C)

Alfred Kinsey  -  Researcher, Father of Sexology (1894-1956)

Magnus Hirschfeld  - German Physician, Sexologist (1868-1935)

Florence Nightingale – British Nurse (19th C)

Alexander von Humboldt - Prussian Naturalist (19th C)

Sonja Kovalevsky - Russian Mathematician (19th C)

Alan Turing  -  British Mathematician (1912-1954)

Margaret Mead – American Anthropologist, Psychologist

Michael Foucault  - French Philosopher, Sociologist, Educator (1926-1984)

Deirdre McCloskey - American Economist, Economic Historian

Oliver Sacks - British Neurologist, Author of "Awakenings"

Joseph Costa - America Physician, ICU Chief, Baltimore Mercy Hospital

Rachel Levine - American Physician, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health

Michael Botticelli - American Public Health Official

Martha May Eliot  -  American Pediatrician, Public Health Specialist

Demetre Daskalakis - American Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator

 

 

Sally Ride  -  American Physicist, Astronaut (1951-2012)

Lynn Conway - American Professor of Engineering, Computer Science

Sam Brinton - Nuclear Science Engineer, US Energy Dept Office of Nuclear Energy

S. Josephine Baker – Physician

Allan Cox – American Geophysicist

Benjamin Banneker - American Mathematician

Neil Divine – American Astrophysicist

Louise Pearce – Pathologist 

Jim Pollack – American Astrophysicist

K. David Harrison - American Anthropologist

Bruce Voeller – American Biologist, AIDS Researcher

Clyde Wahrhaftig   - American Geologist, Environmentalist

Dean Hamer - Geneticist, Chief of Gene Structure & Regulation, National Institutes of Health

Bruce Bagemihl - Canadian Biologist

Simon LeVay – British Neuroscientist

Deirdre Downs - American Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Nergis Mavalvala - Pakistani Astrophysicist

 

 

 

Queer Science: From Alan Turing to Sally Ride

Coming Out in the Sciences (Part 1)
Coming Out in the Sciences (Part 2)
Challenges of LGBTQ Workers in STEM Field

Advocate: Profiles of Queer Scientists

Queer Science

NOGLSTP: Queer Scientists of Historical Note

Out in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics

LGBTQ Scientists Who Changed the World

500 Queer Scientists

Advocate: Profiles of Queer Scientists

Out in Science

Fortune: What It's Like to Be a Lesbian in the Tech Field

 

 

Dr. Rachel Levine: COVID 19 Hero

 

Rachel Levine (born 1957) is a transgender American pediatrician who has served as the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health since 2017. She also serves as Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She was previously Pennsylvania's Physician General. Levine is originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts. She is Jewish, grew up attending Hebrew School, and had a Bar Mitzvah. While growing up, she did not speak to her Rabbi about LGBTQ issues. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine and completed a residency in pediatrics and fellowship in adolescent medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. As the state secretary of health, she led the public health response on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. She worked closely on a daily basis with the FEMA director and led daily press briefings. She is one of only a handful of openly transgender government officials in the United States.

 

Biographical Notes: Rachel Levine

Meet the Transgender Doctor Who is Leading the Fight Against COVID-19

COVID 19 Hero: Dr. Rachel Levine

 

Visibility for LGBTQ STEM Workers

 

Why is visibility for LGBTQ STEM workers so critical?  A variety of studies, reports, and surveys offer a small window into the reality of the professional and academic environments—environments in which LGBTQ STEM workers face higher rates of exclusion, harassment, assault, and more than straight colleagues, and can still be legally discriminated against by employers.

 



​--A 2013 survey of STEM workers found that more than 40% of LGBTQ identified respondents working in STEM fields are not out to their colleagues.

--In 28 states it’s still legal for employers to discriminate against someone for their sexual or gender identity.

--A 2018 study found that undergraduate sexual minority students were 8% less likely to be retained in STEM compared to switching into a non-STEM program, but more likely to have worked in a lab than their heterosexual counterparts (an experience typically associated with retention in STEM the pipeline).
 

--A 2014 study of STEM faculty at universities found that 69.2% of "out" faculty members felt uncomfortable in their university department, and that those who were out were 7.2 times more likely to experience exclusionary behavior by colleagues.

 


 

--According to the Association of American University’s Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (2015), transgender, genderqueer, and gender-non-conforming undergraduate and graduate students reported the highest levels of on-campus sexual assault and misconduct.

--The Association of American University’s Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct reported that 60% of LGBTQ students reported incidences of sexual misconduct and harassment; comparatively, only 45% of their heterosexual classmates did the same.

--A recent report on the LGBTQ climate in physics has drawn attention to some of the major issues faced by sexual minority STEM professionals, including a heterosexist climate that reinforces gender role stereotypes in STEM work environments, a culture that requires, or at least strongly encourages, LGBTQ people to remain closeted at work, and a general lack of awareness about LGBTQ issues among STEM professionals.

--In June 2016, Chemical Engineering and News conducted an informal poll of its readers to look more closely at the experiences of LGBTQ individuals in the chemistry community. Of the 270 who responded, 44% said they had felt excluded, intimidated, or harassed at work in the course of their career.

 

[Source: 500 Queer Scientists]

 


 

500 Queer Scientists

Queer Science: Coming Out as an LGBTQ Scientist

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis: Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator

Challenges of LGBTQ Workers in STEM Field

Pride in Science

Queer Science: From Alan Turing to Sally Ride

Lynn Conway: Most Successful Transgender Scientist in the World

Report: Diversity in the Tech Field

Out in Science

National Organization of Gay & Lesbian Scientists & Technical Professionals

LGBTQ Leaders Reinventing Science and Technology

Queer Science

Nergis Mavalvala: Lesbian Astrophysicist

Coming Out in the Sciences (Part 1)
Coming Out in the Sciences (Part 2)
Oliver Sacks: Inner Workings of the Human Mind

NOGLSTP: Queer Scientists of Historical Note

Advocate: Profiles of Queer Scientists

Out in Science

 

Astronaut Sally Ride Comes Out Posthumously

 

Pioneering astronaut Sally Ride, died on July 23, 2012 from pancreatic cancer, at the age of 61.  Ride, who relished privacy as much as she did adventure, chose an appropriately discreet manner of coming out. At the end of an obituary that she co-wrote with her partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy, they disclosed to the world their relationship of 27 years. That was it.  As details trickled out after Ride's death, it became clear that a circle of family, friends and co-workers had long known of the same-sex relationship and embraced it. For many millions of others, who admired Ride as the first American woman in space, it was a revelation.  And it sparked a spirited discussion about privacy vs. public candor in regard to sexual orientation.

 

 

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who in 2003 became the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican world, noted that both he and Ride were baby boomers who grew up "in a time when coming out was almost unthinkable."  Robinson is 65. Ride was 61 when she died of pancreatic cancer.  "For girls who had an interest in science and wanted to go places women had not been allowed to go, she was a tremendous role model," Robinson said Wednesday. "The fact that she chose to keep her identity as a lesbian private, I honor that choice."  However, Robinson said he had a different standard for younger gays, to the point of insisting that his own clergy in New Hampshire be open about their sexuality if they are gay or lesbian.  "While there is still discrimination and coming out will still have repercussions, the effect of those repercussions are vastly reduced now," Robinson said. "I believe that times have changed."

 

There's no question that gays and lesbians overall are coming out now at a higher rate and an earlier age than those of previous generations. According to the LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project, adults aged 30-54 are 16 times more likely to be closeted than those under 30.  Fred Sainz, the Human Rights Campaign's vice president for communications, said his initial reaction to the revelation about Sally Ride was, "What a shame that we didn't learn this while she was alive."   "However, the fact it was acknowledged in death will be an incredibly powerful message to all Americans about the contributions of their LGBTQ counterparts," Sainz said. "The completeness of her life will be honored correctly."

 

Presidential Honor to be Awarded
EnStarz: Tam O'Shaughnessy Mourns Death of Partner Sally Ride

SheWired: Sally Ride Survived by Lesbian Partner

Wikipedia: Sally Ride

Sally Ride Science

 

 

Remembering Sally Ride

 

Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) was an American physicist and astronaut.  Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became famous as the first American woman to enter space, part of the crew of the space shuttle Challenger.  As of 2012, Ride also remains the youngest American astronaut to be launched into space at the age of 32. In 1987, she left NASA to work at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control.

 

Sally Ride, America's first lady in space, will be remembered as a reluctant celebrity who cared deeply about the nation's space program and devoted her post-NASA career to keeping middle-school kids (especially girls) hooked on science, math, technology and engineering.  Ride, 61, died after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Her death came 29 years and a month after she broke a gender barrier by launching into space aboard shuttle Challenger.

 

 

She is also remembered as a loving partner to Tam O'Shaughnessy, with her for 27 years.  Ride is survived by her partner of more than two decades, Tam O'Shaughnessy; her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin; and nephew, Whitney; as well as her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science.  O'Shaughnessy, at Ride's side during the astronaut's lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, co-authored four books with Ride and is a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University, and chief operating officer and executive vice president of Ride's foundation, Sally Ride Science.

 

 In Ride's death, many are asking: Who is Tam O'Shaughnessy? The answer is someone who closely shared Ride's passion for science and space.  According to sallyridescience.com, O'Shaughnessy "helped found Sally Ride Science because of her long-standing commitment to science education and her recognition of the importance of supporting girls' interests in science. She finds her work with Sally Ride Science irresistible." 

 

"Ride lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love," friends wrote in a statement posted on the website of her business, Sally Ride Science. "Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless."  Ride became a household name when she rocketed into orbit on June 18, 1983. But she never was at ease with fame.  "Sally was a very private person who found herself a very public persona. It was a role in which she was never fully comfortable," said fellow US astronaut Steve Hawley, who was married to Ride from 1982 through 1987.

 

Presidential Honor to be Awarded
EnStarz: Tam O'Shaughnessy Mourns Death of Partner Sally Ride

SheWired: Sally Ride Survived by Lesbian Partner

Wikipedia: Sally Ride

Sally Ride Science

 

 

Big Bang Theory: Gay Connection and Real Science
 

The hugely successful Big Bang Theory television series aired on CBS from 2007 to 2019, having broadcast 279 episodes over 12 seasons. It followed the lives of four nerdy, socially awkward scientists, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj.  It was the most-watched comedy on television and was loved for its oddball characters and geeky references.

 

Sheldon Cooper is often regarded as the show's big break-out character. The character was played by the very talented actor Jim Parsons, who is openly gay. The character of Sheldon was not played as gay, but he was a very well-versed PhD-level scientist known for his social awkwardness, arrogance, and sarcasm. Parsons was so convincing in his role as Sheldon that many viewers believed he was every bit as smart (and quirky) as Sheldon.

 

Viewers of the series were inundated with lots of physics jargon. Most episodes included a whiteboard with scientific equations that could be seen in the background of Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) apartment.

 

And the producers would want you to know that all of the science on The Big Bang Theory TV series is entirely real. UCLA Physics professor Dr. David Saltzberg worked as a science consultant on the show since 2007. Saltzberg did everything from calculating science experiments for the crew to checking the accuracy of jokes on the series. The professor’s job also included reviewing unfinished scripts that contain brackets reading “Insert Science Here.”

Saltzberg says he landed the role after receiving a call from a friend who’s an astrophysicist at University of Hawaii saying sitcom creators were searching for a physicist. “If we’re going to write about geniuses, we better damn well have one around,” said co-creator Chuck Lorre. "He makes sure the whiteboards are correct. For every new episode, they’re covered by a fresh scrawl of formulas dreamed up by Saltzberg and admired by physicists for their scrupulous accuracy.”

 

About Big Bang Theory

IMDB: Big Bang Theory

Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper

Biographical Notes: Jim Parsons

IMDB: Jim Parsons

 

 

Lynn Conway: Computer Scientist and Engineer
 

Lynn Ann Conway (born 1938) is a transgender American computer scientist, electrical engineer, inventor, and activist. Conway is notable for a number of pioneering achievements, including the Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design, which incubated an emerging electronic design automation industry. She worked at IBM in the 1960s and is credited with the invention of generalized dynamic instruction handling, a key advance used in out-of-order execution, used by most modern computer processors to improve performance.

 

Conway grew up in White Plains, New York (dn Robert). Conway was shy and experienced gender dysphoria as a child. She became fascinated and engaged by astronomy (building a 150 mm reflector telescope one summer) and did well in math and science in high school. Conway entered MIT in 1955, earning high grades but ultimately leaving in despair after an attempted gender transition in 1957–58 failed due to the medical climate at the time. After working as an electronics technician for several years, Conway resumed education at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, earning BS and MSEE degrees in 1962 and 1963. After learning of the pioneering research of Harry Benjamin in treating transsexual women and realizing that genital affirmation surgery was now possible, Conway sought his help and became his patient. After suffering from severe depression from gender dysphoria, Conway contacted Benjamin, who agreed to provide counseling and prescribe hormones. Under Benjamin's care, Conway began her medical gender transition.

 

While struggling with life in a male role, Conway had been married to a woman and had two children. Under the legal constraints then in place, after transitioning she was denied access to their children. Although she had hoped to be allowed to transition on the job, IBM fired Conway in 1968 after she revealed her intention to transition to a female gender role. In 1987, Conway met her husband Charles "Charlie" Rogers, a professional engineer who shares her interest in the outdoors, including whitewater canoeing and motocross racing. In August 2002, they were married in Michigan.

 

Biographical Notes: Lynn Conway

IEEE Award: Lynn Conway

Lynn Conway's Webpage

Lynn Conway: Most Successful Transgender Scientist in the World

 

Deirdre Downs: Physician and Miss America Titleholder

 

Deidre Downs is an American physician and former beauty pageant titleholder. Downs was Miss Alabama 2004 and later was crowned Miss America 2005.

After graduating from Pelham High School (Alabama) in 1998, Downs attended the University of Virginia on a volleyball scholarship. While at the University of Virginia, she was an Echols Scholar and a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. After her freshman year of college at the University of Virginia, Downs chose to focus on her studies and aspiration to go to medical school and ultimately transferred to Samford University (Birmingham, Ala). Her transfer resulted in her losing her scholarship, so she began competing in local pageants to earn scholarship money. She graduated magna cum laude in 2002 from Samford University with a degree in history and a double-minor in biology and chemistry. She was also a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2002.

 



Downs was crowned Miss Alabama 2004. She was Alabama's representative at the Miss America 2005 competition held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Her platform was "Curing Childhood Cancer."  She won that pageant and was was crowned Miss America 2005.

 

After completing her stint as Miss America, she began medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. She received her Doctor of Medicine in 2010 and then completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the UAB Medical Center in 2014. She continued her education at the UAB Medical Center and completed her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility in 2017.

Downs married Abbott Jones in 2018 in a private ceremony in Birmingham, Alabama. Her wife is an attorney and writer. Downs is the first former Miss America national titleholder to enter a same-sex marriage.

Downs is a Physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility) and currently employed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center.

 

USA Today: Former Miss America Marries Same Sex Partner

Former Miss America Marries Girlfriend in Alabama

Bio: Deidre Downs

Baptist News Global: Former Miss America Marries Same Sex Partner

 

Sir Isaac Newton: Most Influential Scientist
 

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was an asexual English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author. He was described as a "natural philosopher" who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus. Among many other impressive feats, Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation (observing an apple falling from a tree) that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until it was superseded by the theory of relativity. Newton used his mathematical description of gravity to prove Kepler's laws of planetary motion, account for tides, the trajectories of comets, the precession of the equinoxes and other phenomena.

 

 

Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian. Newton served two brief terms as Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint, and president of the Royal Society.

 

According to popular legend, while on his deathbed, Newton confessed that he had never "known" a woman. This has generally been interpreted that he died a virgin. The general consensus is that Newton was completely asexual, with no sexual interest in women or men, shunning physical affection and preferring to make himself intimate with the workings of the universe than with another human being. While in his later life he received countless awards and much adulation for his scientific discoveries and publications, this didn’t translate into popularity or even love. Newton was famously reclusive and private and did interact with other people, women or men. According to some biographer’s Newton was simply too busy to pursue romantic liaisons. He himself famously remarked: “If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” However, it seems more likely he was simply asexual.

 

Biographical Notes: Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton Institute: Isaac Newton's Life

The Newton Project: Isaac Newton's Personal Life

Biography: Isaac Newton

 

 

Closeted LGBTQ Scientists

 

Many talented lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) scientists feel they must keep their cover to escape overt and covert discrimination. There is still much homophobia and heterosexism in the technical fields. 

 

 While there are many openly gay men and women in the sciences, there are many more that choose to remain in the closet in order to keep their place in the laboratory. We may commonly think of academics as a liberal, open-minded lot, but lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer scientists have had as rocky a road to acceptance in the scientific community as they've had in other segments of society.  Even in modern-day academia, LGBTQ scientists may feel reluctant to come out even to co-workers or superiors, not knowing whether they'll be met with support or scorn.

 

These issues are being increasingly talked about and exposed by authors and researchers and in settings like the Out to Innovate Career Summit in 2010 held by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists & Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP).

 

 

NOGLSTP is an association of scientific and technical professionals who earn their livings in the fields of materials  science, biomedical engineering, geography, archeology, neurobiology, meteorology, oceanography, medical  technology, physics, electrical engineering, biochemistry, zoology, psychobiology, computer science, epidemiology, microbiology, environmental science, linguistics, chemistry, mechanical  engineering, science education, sociology, astronomy, botany, molecular biology, anthropology, law, aerospace engineering, science policy, physiology, ecology, patent law, geology, health professions,  mathematics and more.  Their membership includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer professionals and their allies. They advocate equal employment opportunity, professional networking, role modeling, science education, and scientific freedom and responsibility. They practice science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with pride.

 

National Gay Pilots Association
In the Aviation Industry, the LGBTQ Experience Just Keeps Getting Better
Gay Pilots: Out of the Closet and On to the Runway
American Airlines: Flying With Pride
Alaska Airlines: Celebrating LGBTQ Pride
The Gay-Friendliest Airlines in the Skies

 

LGBTQ Pilots

 

The NGPA is the largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender aviation professionals and enthusiasts from around the world. Since 1990, their mission has been simple: to build, support, and unite the LGBTQ aviation community worldwide.
 

It’s a fair assumption that reprogramming the culture of any trillion-dollar juggernaut industry would be a steep climb. But according to insiders, aviation is one of those industries that continues to make genuine strides toward inclusivity, showing fervid support for the LGBTQ community in particular. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. The aviation landscape has long been dominated by cis-gendered white men, who traditionally valued a consumer base that looked a whole lot like fellow executives perched up in their corporate cockpits.
Luckily it seems as if this insular mindset is running out of fuel.

With the rise of gay rights movements worldwide, aviation companies have stepped up as some of the most vocal supporters of queer causes, promising workspace equality and getting involved with the community to assuaging doubts that’s it’s all just rainbow-washing to profit off Pride Month.

 



Among the most formidable driving forces push for inclusivity in aviation are organizations run by the very people fighting for equality on the ground... and in the air. Since it was founded in 1990, the National Gay Pilot Association has become the largest and most influential group of LGBTQ professionals and enthusiasts in the world. But NGPA is much more than just a tight-knit community of like-minded aviation nerds who also happen to be queer. The nonprofit strives to make a long-lasting difference through its Inclusion Training Team, a volunteer-based brigade that partners with myriad companies around the globe to develop impactful awareness initiatives and facilitate how inclusive themes can be incorporated into existing workplace training programs.

NGPA’s standout work with brands like United Airlines and WheelsUp is a harbinger of a new era in LGBTQ friendly aviation.  “Including a rainbow flag in branding is not enough to engage this consumer,” said Thomas Fry, the director of growth marketing and public relations at Wheels Up, the second-largest private aircraft operator in the US.  Fry contends that members of the LGTBQ community are among the savviest consumers in the marketplace when it comes to corporate social responsibility, and they know authenticity when they see it. “LGBTQ campaigns must support and give back to the community in some way,” he added.

 



Fry, along with the company’s first-ever chief growth officer Stephanie Chung (she was also the first African-American president of a major private aviation company when she landed her previous role at JetSuite, now Superior Air Charter), brought forth numerous unprecedented efforts to spotlight Wheels Up’s commitment to the community, like the first-ever photoshoot that featured LGBTQ talent and a formal partnership with the International LGBTQ Travel Association (IGTLA). “Having the consumer see themselves in an authentic way is so important for building brand preference, trust, and loyalty,” he said. “This is a strong signal that we are creating a safe space and are committed to supporting the community.”

Diversity initiatives at Wheels Up come from the inside out. The company is also amplifying proactive recruiting to diversify its candidate pipeline, teaming up with organizations like the NGPA, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, and Women in Aviation International. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s arguably good for business. Over the last few years, the purchasing power of the LGBTQ community has become so robust that the term “pink money” was created to spotlight the untapped potential of this high-spending demographic.

To better understand the target customer, Fry looks forward to the 2020 United States census results, which was the first census to include a question on LGBTQ identity. “The LGBTQ community spends nearly $100 billion in annual domestic travel and makes up approximately seven to thirteen percent of the population. With the new census, we will have much greater accuracy in terms of data,” Fry explained. “If you include those who identify as a member of the community along with allies, we make up a substantial percentage of the population.”

 

According to Fry, on average, every member of the queer community has three to four straight allies joining them in their efforts to fight for equality and representation. “We know the younger the person, the more likely they are to identify as LGBTQ or consider themselves an ally,” he said. “With the growth of this segment and the impact in the business opportunity, we know that sending a message of inclusion to this community presents a win-win scenario for us all.”

There’s no better way to gain trust from LGBTQ consumers than listening to community members who are proud to work for a progressive aviation company.

Mark Terzano, a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, has been obsessed with aviation ever since he was a young boy when he would zip around his house acting like he was an airplane, pin his sketches of airplanes onto the walls, and pretend to be a pilot with his little sister as the first officer. However, it wasn’t until after he kicked off a job in fashion that he realized an aviation career was really what he desired. After five years with Delta, Terzano can’t imagine doing anything else. He’s even on track to obtain his pilot’s license with the company’s support.

“Who knows what the future holds? All I know for sure is that you’ll find me in the sky for years to come,” he reflected. “What I love about this job is that it is very accepting, no matter who you are. Being gay is not a rarity in this industry. I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, bi, or transgender, just as long as we all get our work done, drama-free.”

Still, there’s always a possibility to encounter homophobic microaggressions or flat-out discrimination from passengers in a service-oriented role. “You see them all, and you deal with them all,” Terzano said. “When you interact with people from different cultural, political, and religious backgrounds, having humor and wit along with an unwavering sense of seriousness helps when you land in an uncomfortable situation.”

 

He recalled a particular experience that began as his crew rushed to close the cabin on the last flight of the day to a Florida city when a passenger muttered “faggot” under his breath as he was boarding. Caught off guard, Terzano collected himself, then approached the unruly man. “I just kindly looked at him and asked where he was going,” he said. “The guy looked a little confused as he answered ‘Florida, duh,’ to which I responded with a smile, ‘Did you still want to go? Because that kind of language is unacceptable on this plane. Unless your behavior changes real quick, you might not make it to Florida tonight.’ He later apologized and kept quiet the whole flight.”

Ultimately, what Terzano most appreciates about his job is the open-minded mentality of his coworkers and the aviation industry as a whole. Whenever uncomfortable situations arise, he knows that his fellow crewmembers will have his back, from the pilots to the gate agents and even the company at large. “I think the LGBTQ community is so large in the aviation industry that it would be wrong for the airlines to not support us,” he said. “That’s what is so great about this industry. You work with so many different types of people: queer people, straight people, transgender people, religious people, people from all over the world, and all different walks of life. The more people you meet, you realize that we really are all more similar than we are different.” It’s an “aha” moment sweeter than a free upgrade to first class.

 

[Source: Paul Jebara, June 2021]
 

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