To round out the end of Pride Month, Those Nerdy Girls would like to use today’s post to celebrate our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Questioning, Two Spirit, Intersex, Agender, and Asexual (LGBTQ2SIA+) brothers, sisters, and siblings in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Wow, that is a mouthful! Thank goodness for acronyms! 😅
~1.2 million couples in the U.S. identified as living in same-sex households in 2021, according to the U.S. Census. 58% are married.
~9.6% of the U.S. population (+/-0.01) identify as LGBTQIA+. 2.1% responded, “I don’t know” That is *38.5 million* people who don’t identify themselves as “straight.”
~1.6-2 million people in the U.S. report being transgender.
These numbers let us know that there are more LGBTQ2SIA+ folks being excellent in all communities, sectors, and fields than we may realize. (Due to prejudice and inequity, many are unsafe being open about who they are to their neighbors, family, co-workers, etc.)
Here are a few folks who were or are fortunate to be in safe enough communities and times in their lives to be able to share their identities with the world.
To start, we are going to highlight two of our Nerdy forebears because, really, who are we without those who came before us?
Sally Ride (1951–2012)
Many of us know Sally Ride as the first American woman to go to space. But did you know she was also a physicist?
Dr. Ride was in the first class of NASA astronauts to ever include women. She founded Sally Ride Science to encourage kids to go into STEM fields. After her travels to space, Dr. Ride became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and director of the California Space Institute (Cal Space).
For 27 years, she was partnered with her beloved, Tam O’Shaughnessy. She didn’t feel comfortable sharing this publicly until she was nearing the end of her life. It became public through her obituary.
Alan Hart (1890–1962)
Have you ever had to have an X-ray to rule out tuberculosis (TB) for an employment or travel requirement?
Well, Dr. Hart was the physician who established the X-ray technique to identify cases, which saved countless lives through early screening. He also raised funds for TB research and for TB patients who couldn’t afford treatment. He was assigned female at birth (AFAB) and had gender-affirming surgery in 1917. He married his wife, Edna Ruddick, in 1925. The two moved to Connecticut, where he earned his master’s degree in public health from Yale, and she became a professor at the University of Hartford. They lived happily as active and respected members of their community for the duration of their lives.
And now, to celebrate a few of our living LGBTQ2SIA+ STEM rockstars!
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a theoretical physicist at the University of New Hampshire. Along with physics, she does research in Science, Technology, and Society studies, with a focus on Black feminism-grounded social epistemology, which explores the impact of the presence of minoritized people in STEM. If you want to know more about particle physics, read her latest book: The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is a pansexual, agender, cissex woman scientist.
Fí Fonseca is a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. They focus on transgender medicine and reproductive psychiatry. They list cultural psychiatry, psychotherapy, medical ethics, physician wellness, and advocacy as special interests. Dr. Fonseca is non-binary/agender and bisexual/demisexual.
Emily Harrington is a neurologist physician-scientist who specializes in caring for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and autoimmune disorders of the central nervous system. Dr. Harrington’s long-term career goals include learning ways of preventing neurodegeneration and developing treatments for progressive MS. Dr. Harrington is gay, androgynous-appearing, and nonbinary.
Shaz Zamore holds a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Z is currently the STEM Outreach Coordinator at the University of Colorado, Boulder’s ATLAS Institute. They merge their neuro-engineering background with social engagement, creating hands-on and visual informal education tools for underserved K-12 students. Dr. Z is queer.
If these stories have piqued your interest in the amazing work being done in STEM today and the possibility of individuals being able to live their authentic selves while changing the world, read more here, and consider advocating for laws and societal norms that keep all of us safe and protected so that we may all grow to be our best Nerdy selves!
Stay proud, stay nerdy.
Those Nerdy Girls
U.S. Census Data