June is Pride Month, and the perfect time to highlight the contributions of LGBTQ+ scientists, mathematicians and technologists whose work has given so much to our world. Although these contributions extend back throughout history, LGBTQ+ people are still under-represented in STEM fields. Highlighting their groundbreaking contributions can be inspiring to youth who may want to make their own names in the world of STEM, while increasing visibility and awareness of all the great work has been done already by queer innovators.

Many people know about Alan Turing, who was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. He is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science.

Sara Elizabeth Baker was an American physician notable for making contributions to public health, especially in the immigrant communities of New York City. Her fight against the damage that widespread urban poverty and ignorance caused to children, especially newborns, is perhaps her most lasting legacy. In 1917, she noted that babies born in the United States faced a higher mortality rate than soldiers fighting in World War I, drawing a great deal of attention to her cause. By the end of her career, the infant mortality rate in New York City had fallen from 144 per 1,000 live births in 1908 to 66 in 1923. She also is known for (twice) tracking down Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary.

More currently, Jasmine Isa Qureshi (they/she) is a trans non-binary marine biologist, TV wildlife researcher, filmmaker, writer and journalist. They actively talk about a range of topics in their work including wildlife, marine life and environmental conservation. They also do not hesitate to speak out gender identity, diversity and trans rights, stating that they wish “to raise awareness and create real change by crafting narratives and sharing others’ stories.” In a recent panel for a conference on LGBTQ+ in STEM Day, they state that they wish to work towards more LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEM and to dispel ignorant perceptions and improve treatment of trans women in media.

Dr. Devin Swiner (she/her) is a queer African-American analytical chemist born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is a co-founder of Black in Chem, an organization that was created to shine a spotlight on Black chemists worldwide during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.  Although now she works in the drug development sector, she still continues to remain supportive of femme chemists of color through her platform Mac Scientists and is on the Member Board of Directors for the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) as of August 2022.

You can learn more about historic and current LGBTQ+ STEM innovators here.