This month I’m seeing Pride 🏳️‍🌈 and Trans 🏳️‍⚧️ flags everywhere. What is that all about?

Social and Racial Justice

June is Pride Month in the U.S. and many countries around the world. (Pride is celebrated during other months in countries such as Denmark.) Pride events serve to celebrate, honor, uplift, educate, and increase understanding and visibility for and among members of Queer communities and their families and loved ones. Visibility is important because it leads to improvements in safety and health.

Those Nerdy Girls would like to use today’s post to shine some light on a few Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Questioning, Two Spirit, Intersex, Agender, and Asexual (LGBTQ2SIA+) and Same Gender Loving (SGL) awesome brothers, sisters, and siblings in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Wow, that is a mouthful! Thank goodness for acronyms! 😅

Here are just 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. (Stay tuned: next week, we will dive more deeply into the civil rights history and health inequities that Queer folks face today.)

To start, we are going to highlight four 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 space travels, 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.

Oliver Sacks (1933-2015)

Have you seen the film “Awakenings” or read the book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”?
Both titles and many more stories and books were written by Dr. Oliver Sacks, a Jewish neurologist, professor, and most of all, a storyteller. He was born in London in 1933 (his mother was one of the first female surgeons in England!) and earned his medical degree at the University of Oxford. He moved to the US for his residency and finally ended up in New York City in 1965. As a young person, Dr. Sacks realized he was gay but did not feel comfortable coming out until late in life. He remained celibate for 35 years until he fell in love with the author Bill Hayes at the age of 75 and embarked on his first real relationship. He officially addressed his sexuality for the first time in the autobiography “On the Move”. Both Oliver and Bill lived together in Greenwich Village until Oliver’s untimely death in 2015.

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 Blackqueer, agender woman.
Fí Fonseca is a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. They focus on transgender medicine and reproductive psychiatry. They list queer, cultural, and integrative psychiatry, psychotherapy, medical ethics, physician wellness, and advocacy as special interests. Dr. Fonseca is non-binary/agender and bisexual/demisexual.

Cole Harrington is a neurologist physician-scientist specializing 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 to prevent neurodegeneration in relapsing and progressive multiple sclerosis. Dr. Harrington is trans and provides gender-affirming care for people with multiple sclerosis.

Shaz Zamore holds a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Z is a teaching assistant professor and the STEAM Outreach Coordinator at the University of Colorado, Boulder’s ATLAS Institute. As co-founder of Craniate, 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 non-binary.

And could we possibly end today’s post without shouting out a few of our very own Queer Nerds?! 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️🤓

Sandy Laping is a physical therapist who, after 20+ years in the profession, decided to change her career path toward public health. She is currently a student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, UK undertaking a Masters in Epidemiology. And for Those Nerdy Girls, she works behind the scenes as our Operations Associate, helping to keep us supported, energized, and organized.

MK Haber is certified as a family nurse practitioner and a lactation consultant with a particular interest in substance use disorder treatment, chronic pain management, sexual health, harm reduction, reproductive health, inclusive breast/chest/body feeding, and working with folks whose intersecting identities place them at risk for experiencing health disparities. At Those Nerdy Girls, they write for the Reproductive Health Squad.

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.

Also, 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


LGBTQ+ scientists in history

500 Queer Scientists

Link to Original FB Post