Mathematicians in the LGBTQ community

Mathematics has a long and rich history, going back to the 6th century BC, with the developments of the Pythagoreans who created the term. As a field of study, it is evident in all cultures around the world, including Greek, Chinese, Indian, European, Arab, and more.

Given this rich and long history across many disciplines, it should be no surprise that members of the LGBTQ community, like Ludwig Wittgenstein, have a presence in this field of study, going back as early as Plato and Leonardo Da Vinci.

At one time, mathematics was considered the foundation of the philosophical sciences, because of the strict attachment of logic to the study, the ability to solve problems from that logic, and the determinate solution to those problems.

Deduction and rules were outcomes from mathematical questions, because there was always an answer that could not be disputed. In this sense, mathematics is a science in its purest form. Of course, life is not quite as simple as that, but mathematicians hoped it could be, or believed it was, in an ideal world.

The contemporary field of mathematics is not well-populated with out-LGBTQ individuals. In some respects, this is because the field itself suppresses the relevance of individual personalities in the study, believing that if one were to emphasize such, it would impart a notion of bias in the study. Sexuality is a hidden characteristic, and in the scientific field, the hiding of such characteristics is often encouraged, because revealing it would run counter to scientific neutrality.

As a result, individuals in STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) report lower job satisfaction than workers in many other professions.

There has been an attempt to organize the interests of the LGBTQ community of mathematicians through an American organization called Spectra (also known as Out In Math). This organization, still in its infancy, attempts to unite the community and its allies as an interest group, and organizes social events at large mathematical conferences.

Queerbio have identified LGBTQ mathematicians from around the world, such as the UK’s John Maynard Keynes, including  Austria (Wittgenstein), Canada, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Russia and the United States.

For more, visit Queerbio at:

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