flexibeast.space - gemlog - 2020-10-04

Re: Does being queer and/or TGD contraindicate STEM?

Circumlunatic Ramblings' response to my previous post:

Re: Does being queer and/or TGD contraindicate STEM?

seems to have missed the overall point of my post.

My point is that there are likely plenty of queer people who just don't care about the recognition you ask for them. I think I'd feel it aburd [sic] if my work was celebrated for my being heterosexual.

My post wasn't about recognising or celebrating a particular queer/TGD's person's work because they're queer/TGD. It was about limited/narrow representations, including in the the queer/TGD communities, of what queer/TGD people are like. i don't at all claim to speak for all queer/TGD people, and i don't claim that all queer/TGD people care about this issue. Diversity means the queer/TGD communities have a diverse range of priorities, and are diverse in general. Yet my experiences of representations of queer/TGD people overwhelmingly represent us as primarily arty / flamboyant / ‘fabulous’, representations which don't at represent me, a woman who is both queer and TGD, nor the many other queer/TGD people i know who aren't these things.

My reference to Emily Riehl in the previous post was not me saying “Hey, she does some maths stuff, and because she's queer, she should be recognised!” Her work is recognised on its own merits: she's an associate professor at Harvard, an author of two textbooks, and is on the editorial board of three journals.

Wikipedia: ‘Emily Riehl’

Nonetheless, Riehl co-founded Spectra, an organisation to support LGBTQ mathematicians. Here's a quote from a recent interview with her:

So one of the things we have at Spectra that I think is most powerful is the "outlist," where essentially you just volunteer your name, your position and your institution and you can indicate that you identify as a member of the LGBTQ community in mathematics. The intention with this public list is that a Ph.D. student or a postdoc or somebody who wants to know how comfortable they would feel in a particular city or at a particular institution could get in touch with you.

-- “Conducting the Mathematical Orchestra From the Middle”

Having a sense of connection with others with whom you can identify can be important for a number of people (again, not everyone), particularly for mental health reasons. And mental health is a huge issue in the queer/TGD communities; here's some recent stats from here in Australia:

Transgender people experience a higher rate of suicide attempts than LGB people, and are nearly eleven times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. Transgender people are nearly three times more likely to have had thoughts of suicide than LGB people combined, and are twelve times more likely to have thoughts about suicide than the general population.


Finally, regarding:

Without them, perhaps we'd never have progressed from Quentin Crisp strutting around London looking fabulous, but taking the occasional beating.

This feels to me like trivialisation of the violence inflicted by queer and TGD people, which, as a white person, is something i know particularly affects people of colour. Personally, i find it .... distasteful, for a heterosexual person to flippantly talk about “the occasional beating” as though it's never any big deal; and that's before considering things like ‘trans panic’ murders:

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte pardons US marine convicted of killing transgender woman

🏷 maths,politics,queer,reply,science,sociology,tgd


Gemlog Home