“I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them." These words written by Sally Ride’s sister in her obituary made it official that Sally, the first American woman in space, was also the first known LGBTQ+ astronaut.
They’ll resonate with many queer adults like myself, who grew up not being able to see ourselves represented anywhere. Historically LGTBQ+ characters' portrayals in the media have been rare and not always kind. Queer history has often been erased, straightwashed and removed from curriculums.
Section 28, prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities, denied a whole generation of vital educational resources during the HIV/AIDS crisis and its legacy is still felt by the LGBTQ+ community in the UK today.
LGBTQ+ causes should be celebrated and fought for all year. Bulb’s LGBTQ+ community is planning a series of internal events for the summer including a fundraising for LGBTQ+ causes and discussion panels. But Pride Month in June gives us the perfect opportunity to shout about our queer history. So here’s a list of some of team Bulb’s heroes from the world of science and technology. We hope they’ll inspire you as well.
Considered the father of computer science, Alan Turing saved countless lives by cracking the ‘Enigma’ code used by German armed forces during World War II. His inventions were forerunners to the modern computer.
The first known LGBTQ+ astronaut. Sally Ride was also the first American woman in space. Her job was to work the robotic arm on a space shuttle mission. After leaving NASA, she dedicated her life to helping young women study science and maths.
Computer scientist, inventor and activist. Lynn Conway is a trans woman known for a number of pioneering innovations in computer science and microchip design. Her innovations are still used today in most modern computers.
As well as starring in TV shows like Pose and American Horror Story, Angelica Ross is a computer programmer and businesswoman. She’s the CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, an incubator for LGBTQ+ Talent in the tech industry.
A self-described “out, queer, person of color”, this professor and astrophysicist is best known for her role in the first observation of gravitational waves. Her work might help us better understand the mystery of the Big Bang.
Alan L. Hart
This scientist was one of the first trans men to have gender affirming surgery in the United States. He’s a pioneer in the use of x-ray photography to detect tuberculosis, one of the main causes of death in the mid 20th century. By helping detect early cases, he was able to save many lives.
We’ve made a lot of progress, but many parts of the LGBTQ+ community are still being left behind
It’s inspiring to see how people who weren’t afraid to be themselves opened so many doors for the LGBTQ+ community. Lynn Conway was fired from IBM when she decided to go ahead with her transition in the 60s. A few decades later, IBM has not only apologised for this, but has used this opportunity to learn and become a leading place supporting their trans employees today.
We have these and so many other pioneers to thank, but our fight is far from over. We’ve secured rights such as same sex marriages, protections in the workplace and the rights to start a family. But our black siblings, especially the ones who are trans, face disproportionately higher rates of violence. Trans rights and lives are constantly under attack, leading to half of trans people in Britain attempting suicide at least once.
In the words of the iconic Marsha P Johnson, there's “no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us”. So we can’t stop until trans people can access the resources they need to be safe, non binary identities are recognised and LGBTQ+ lives are protected globally.