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.
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ participants in FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST was started to spread visibility of the LGBTQ+ community within FIRST and help teams become safe spaces for their members.