Bruce Voeller was a Biologist that specialized in research related to sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS. In fact, it was Voeller who coined the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to replace the inaccurate name Gay Related Immune Defense Disorder (GRIDD). Bruce Voeller was born in 1934, a time when understanding of homosexuality was lacking. Despite resistance against his homosexuality from his school counsellor, Voeller went on to earn a Ph.D. in Biology.
Voeller originally became president of the New York Gay Activists Alliance, but feeling that its reach was not far enough, he founded the National Gay Task Force in 1973. It was through this task force that Voeller organized the first-ever meeting between LGBT+ leaders and the president, and the first official discussion of LGBT+ rights in the White House.
Beyond civil rights, Voeller also founded the Mariposa Education and Research Foundation. The chief goal of the Mariposa foundation was to change prevailing attitudes about sexuality and homosexuality. It was through this foundation that Voeller released the first study showing that condoms could prevent STI’s. The Mariposa foundation used this research to spread information about sexuality, especially to those in the LGBT+ community to help fight the spread of STI’s such as AIDS.
Concerned about the legacy of LGBT+ leaders and movements, Voeller and his friend David Goodstein went on to start what would become the Human Sexuality Collection at the Cornell University Library.
Bruce Voeller passed away in 1994 due to complications from AIDS, but his research set the foundation for modern studies on sexuality and STI’s.
Louise Pearce was born on March 5, 1885, in Winchester, Massachusetts. She was the eldest child in her family, and had a younger brother. Pearce was an American pathologist at the Rockefeller Institute who helped develop a treatment for African sleeping sickness – a devastating epidemic which had depopulated whole districts of Africa.Louise received an A.B. degree in physiology and histology from Stanford University in 1907, and attended Boston University from 1907-1909. She was admitted to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1907, and in 1912 she obtained her M.D., graduating third in her class.
The Rockefeller Institute sent Louise to the Belgian Congo in 1920 to test tryparsamide on victims of sleeping sickness, trusting that her enthusiasm for her job would carry her to success. There, she worked with a local hospital and lab to carry out a drug testing protocol for human trials to establish tryparsamide’s safety and effectiveness on patients.
Spending much of her career studying animal models of cancer, Pearce also successfully developed treatment protocols to apply tryparsamide to syphilis. For her efforts, Pearce received the Order of the Crown of Belgium, the King Leopold II prize of $10,000, and the Royal Order of the Lion awards. Louise was also the first elected woman member of American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, an impressive feat in the 1920s.
Pearce was also a member of Heterodoxy, a progressive feminist group, along with her partner, physician Sara Baker. Heterodoxy was a debate group notable for providing a forum for the development of more radical conceptions of feminism, including the acceptance of bisexual and lesbian females such as Pearce.
Pearce passed away August 10, 1959 at age 74 in New York City, leaving behind an impressively progressive legacy to women, scientists and LGBT+ people everywhere.
Alberta Hunter was an influential African American Jazz performer from the 1920s to the 1950s, worked as a nurse from 1956 to 1977, and continued her musical career until her death. She had a tumultuous home life, and when she was eleven, Alberta ran away from home and moved to Chicago. She became fascinated by the city’s night life and began sneaking into clubs to watch the jazz singers. She was sixteen when she performed for the first time at a club in Chicago’s Southside. Alberta spent the next two years there before moving on to a string of nightclubs that catered to the wealthy elite. Only eight years after her first performance, Hunter was a well known celebrity throughout Chicago and had to pay careful attention to her reputation, especially the rumor of her lesbianism. In the early 1900s, there were very few openly gay or lesbian performers, and many tried to conceal their identities. Hunter even went so far as to marry Willard Saxby Townsend, who worked as a waiter at one of the bars she performed at. They were only married for two months before he filed for divorce.
It was around this time that she began recording for Black Swan and Paramount records and performing on Broadway, which prompted her move to New York where she lived with Lottie Tyler, her long term partner. This put her in the middle of the Harlem Renaissance, in both her professional and personal lives. She is regarded as one of the biggest talents to emerge during this era and maintain their popularity through the 20th century. Her talent took her to Europe, performing in England and France where her popularity only soared. As an African American performer, there were more opportunities for her outside of the United States.
Following the end of the Korean War, shifts in popular music made work hard to find. Due to this and the sudden loss of her mother, she changed careers in the 50s. She became a licensed nurse after graduating from the Harlem YWCA nursing school. She worked as a nurse for over two decades, where she was never late for work and never took a sick day, before being forced to retire in 1977 by hospital officials. They thought she was seventy, but she’d lied about her age when applying to medical school and was actually eighty-two at the time of her retirement. After retiring, she continued her musical career as a cabaret singer, leading to a recording contract with Columbia Records and performances at Carnegie Hall and the White House for President Carter.
Florence Nightingale was a nurse during the mid-1800′s to the early-1900′s. Nightingale is regarded as the founder of modern nursing. Through her encouragement of sanitation and cleanliness, she sparked a worldwide healthcare reform. Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy on May 12, 1820 to an affluent family. Throughout her childhood and teenage years, she found solace in caring for the weak and ill. While her parents wanted her to marry rich and elevate the familial social status, she had other plans. Nightingale realized she wanted to pursue a career in nursing. Her parents were dissatisfied when she declined a marriage proposal from a wealthy man to follow her true calling. When faced with familial opposition, Florence Nightingale fell ill and was nursed to health by her aunt. Florence became devoted to said aunt, and described their relationship as “Like two lovers.” Florence Nightingale also was very close to her cousin, Marianne Nicholson. Florence said, “I have never loved but one person with passion in my life, and that was her,” in relation to Nicholson. When Nicholson’s brother proposed to Nightingale and she refused, the two women had a falling out.
After she was back to health, she enrolled as a nursing student at Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserswerth, Germany in 1844. Upon finishing her education in the early 1850′s, she moved to England for a nursing job in Middlesex. Her superiors were impressed by her nursing skills, leading to her promotion to superintendent of the hospital within a year.
In 1853, the Crimean War broke out. Military hospitals began to fill quickly, and were soon overfilled with patients. Due to a bad reputation of women, female nurses were not common in these hospitals. Nightingale, however, was soon asked by the English Secretary of War to lead a nursing corps for the betterment of these hospitals. Nightingale immediately saw the horrid conditions the wounded were being subjected to and made rapid reforms. She called for better sanitation of hospitals and set up a laundry so the patients would have clean linens. She also set up schooling and libraries for the intellectual stimulation of the patients.
After the war, Nightingale went on to write Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration of the British Army, an 830-page report analyzing her experience and proposing reforms for other military hospitals operating under poor conditions. She also funded the establishment of the St. Thomas Hospital, which held the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. Because of the work she did, nursing was no longer frowned upon by the middle class, but seen as an honorable position.
Florence Nightingale passed away of natural causes on Saturday, August 13, 1910 in London. Throughout her life, she never once accepted a marriage proposal from a man, and seemed truly devoted to the women in her life. Even over 100 years after her death, she is still regarded as one of the best nurses of all time.
Dr. Sara Josephine Baker, a well accomplished physician from the late 1800′s to the early 1900′s.
On November 15, 1873 Sara Josephine Baker was born into a well off Quaker family in Poughkeepsie, New York. When Baker was 16 her father passed away from typhoid, which drove her to want to go into the medical field. This was also fueled by wanting to support her family financially.
Baker studied both chemistry and and biology before enrolling at New York Infirmary Medical College, a medical school for women. She graduated in 1898 and began interning at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. After her internship she focused on becoming a practiced physician and in 1901 she passed the civil service exam which certified her to be medical inspector at the Department of Health.
While there is not a lot of information about Baker’s personal life she spent much of her time later in life was spent living with Ida Alexa Ross Wylie who identified as a “woman-oriented woman.” After Baker retired she began writing an autobiography called Fighting For Life. Along with writing the book she also began to the one who ran the house and in 1935 the couple moved to Princeton, New Jersey along with their friend Louise Pearce.
You can buy Baker’s book HERE
4TH OF JUNE 2016 , 4 NOTES
#sara josephine baker #pride month #lgbt+ in stem #lgbt+ in history #staff: jaye 2729
Laurence Michael Dillon, America’s first medically transitioned transgender man, was born as Laura Maud Dillon. He was born as a healthy baby in 1915, but assigned female at birth. His mother died of complications after birth and his father died when Dillon was nine.
Dillon was a smart young man, and before Oxford was opened to women, he was told to apply. At Oxford, in order to earn a full degree, he had to dress like a man.
It turns out that Dillon rather enjoyed dressing like a man, so he contacted a doctor who gave him testosterone pills. However, the doctor gossiped about him, causing his coworkers to find out about his assigned gender at birth and his transition. Dillon had to leave his job and move to escape the ridicule.
“In 1943, Dillon met a plastic surgeon, one of the first in Britain, who had studied with the man who apparently invented plastic surgery, Harold Gillies. Dr. Gillies invented his surgical techniques while working on men who had been disfigured in World War I, people who had been injured in accidents … and on a certain number of people who either had been born with ambiguous genitals, or wanted sex-reassignment surgery. His disciple wrote Dillon a note that enabled him to change the name and sex listed on his identity documents (possibly before any surgery had been carried out) and passed him on to Dr. Gillies, who performed several surgeries on his chest and genitals over a number of years.
In 1949 he became the proud new owner of an official penis. Ironically, the main purpose of this organ was to allow him to pass in those “public” situations where men are gathered together in the nude or semi-nude. It was not fully functional, and considering that men have a taboo against staring at each other’s equipment, one can’t help but wonder just how realistic it was. In any case, Dillon was happy. Temporarily.” [x]
Dillon aided in the surgical transition of Roberta Cowell, Britain’s first transgender woman to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
After he tried to receive his inheritance, he became a public figure. This caused him great mental strife and he left the country, moving to India. In India, he wanted to improve his mental discipline and he studied the Buddhist doctrine. There he learned that those of the “third sex” were not allowed in a particular monastery. However, he continued his spiritual journey and passed away from malnutrition on May 15, 1962. He was only 47.
Dillon wrote two books, The Life of Milarepa, about a famous 11th Century Tibetan yogi, and Imji Getsul, a book about his life at the monastery. His struggles allowed for numerous scientific advances in transgender health.
-Staff: Sean R 5113
(For those who want to read his book, Imji Getsul)
Sally Ride, often noted as the first American woman in space, lead a rather private life. Born on May 26, 1951, Ride always had a passion for science. At Stanford University in California, she majored in physics, and when NASA put out a newspaper advertisement looking for female astronauts, she was one of six to be chosen.
On the shuttle in 1983, she worked on a robotic arm that put satellites into space. In 1984, she went into space again.
In 1987, Ride stopped working for NASA and began teaching at the University of California in San Diego. She worked with many young women to encourage them to join STEM careers.
In 1982, she married fellow NASA astronaut Steve Hawley, but they divorced in 1987. Ride passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012 at the age of 61. In her obituary, it was revealed that she had a life partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy. The two wrote six children’s books together. She was “out” in her personal life, but because she was rather private with the public, it was only in her obituary where the public learned of her sickness and partner. Tam O’Shaughnessy is now the CEO of Sally Ride Science, an organization that promotes women in STEM
To celebrate our pride, we are posting some information on a different LGBT+ person in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) every day. To start, we are picking someone who everyone knows; Alan Turing.Born in 1912, Turing was born a mathematician. At a young age, he exhibited a strong interest in science and math. From 1931 to 1934 he studied at King’s College (University of Cambridge) and graduated as a fellow of the school. During his studies, he proved the central limit theorem in his dissertation.
After graduating, he wrote a paper, entitled, “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungs problem.” The paper discussed the possibility of a machine that can compute anything that is computable.
“Over the next two years, Turing studied mathematics and cryptology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. After receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1938, he returned to Cambridge, and then took a part-time position with the Government Code and Cypher School, a British code-breaking organization” (Biography).
Considered the father of modern computer science, his design created the earliest modern computer. He also provided the basis for modern artificial intelligence. His Enigma machine ended up breaking German codes and allowing the Allied Powers to win the war.
After suffering a break-in from an old partner, Turing reported the break-in to the police. Instead of being helped, he was charged with gross indecency as homosexuality was illegal in England at the time. The two punishments he could chose from were chemical castration or imprisonment. Choosing the former, Turing’s mental health deteriorated and he was rendered impotent. He died on June 7, 1954. He death was ruled a suicide as an apple was found near his body and cyanide was found in his stomach. However, his death could have been a accident since he often worked with the lethal chemical in experiments.
“Following a petition started by John Graham-Cumming, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown released a statement on September 10, 2009 on behalf of the British government, posthumously apologized to Turing for prosecuting him as a homosexual” (Biography).
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is a student run organization that advocates awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ students, mentors, and volunteers of FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST reaches out to over 1000 members across the FIRST regions and fronts multiple outreach endeavors.