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Gay in the hard sciences? (no pun intended)

  1. Jul 16, 2009 #1
    I saw a post on this forum from a few years ago ('07) asking the same question, but I thought it might be good to ask it again: Is anyone here a gay physicist, chemist, etc. in the hard sciences?

    It'd be nice to have someone to chat with online that's in the same situation, since it is rather isolating. I dated a guy for about 9 months, but that's recently ended, and part of it had to do with the fact that he was in music, I was in physics, and those disciplines tend not to mix well - we both ended up suppressing parts of ourselves that had to do with our profession in order to be together, which was bad for both of us.

    I know of one lesbian physics grad student in my university, so that counts two LGBT people in my physics department, which is probably higher than whatever the norm might be for the northwest (I'm in Idaho), but it is rather sad to not even have the possibility of meeting someone in the same discipline, mostly because it's just plain hard to talk about science with people that aren't in it as a profession...
     
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  3. Jul 16, 2009 #2

    Evo

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    I can't think of anything sillier. Since when does a person's sexual preference have anything to do with a subject you are taking?

    I'm unlocking this because some people think the OP isn't looking for people to hook up with.

    I don't like people making it sound like gay people are some strange group of people that don't fit into society and that a person's sexual preference would somehow make that person think about something like science in a way that other "normal" people would not. I don't like the stigmatism that goes along with those lines of thought.

    I can't imagine how it would matter if another scientist or student was gay, unless I was looking for someone to hook up with sexually, and this forum isn't for that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  4. Jul 16, 2009 #3
    If you were asking that question with the honest intent of getting an answer, I'd suggest looking at the previous post about this on this very forum in the same section:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=177594

    It isn't silly, and it has very much to do with a person's choice of field. You may not have noticed, since my guess is you're straight and don't have to deal with this issue, but one stereotype does hold true with gay men at least - a lot of them go into the arts, and very few go into the hard sciences. It makes for a lonely existence since not only are you isolated as a minority for being interested in physics in the general population, the people you would be interested in hanging around / dating are even less interested in science as a profession than the general populous. If you're too heartless to recognize the legitimacy of this topic, I sure hope you don't have any gay friends. They'd probably be ashamed.

    update since you changed your original response:

    I guess I do need to make it clear - I'm not looking for a hook-up. It would be a completely ridiculous idea to post on a physics forum for such a thing, not to mention it's not something I'd be interested in to begin with.

    Also, I don't feel that there's anything special to how a gay person vs. a straight person might think about physics. The reason behind the post was mostly to reach out and see if anyone else on here is currently in the same situation of isolation. Friends with a common situation, even if only online, can be good support. I felt like I'd have a better chance of finding someone to talk to if I started a new thread vs. commenting on the older one, since it is about 2 years old.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2009
  5. Jul 16, 2009 #4

    Evo

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    We'll I'm a female working in male dominated field. For years I was the only woman in the entire department. Going to conventions and seminars, out of thousands, I was one of a handful of women. And I was excluded from many "good ol' boy's groups that felt that women weren't capable of understanding. So, I do know what it's like to be a "minority" in school and professionally. Plus I couldn't choose to hide the fact that I was female, so that made it a bit harder.

    Right now, not only am I a woman in a field dominated by men, but I am an agnostic/atheist working in an office of christian fundamentalists and Young Earth Creationists. Believe me when I tell you that I don't look for social partners within my place of work. :smile:
     
  6. Jul 16, 2009 #5
    "Sex is the mathematical urge subliminated." - M.C. Reed
     
  7. Jul 16, 2009 #6
    Reminds me of a corny pun: "Atheism is a non-prophet organization."

    Hehehe! :wink:
     
  8. Jul 16, 2009 #7
    Are there any scientists out there married to a Chinese? Once in a great while I discuss scientific matters with my wife and they always end up with "That's not what the Buddha teaches." We quickly turn to preparations for Chinese New Year. We've been at it for 20 years now and this thread has made me realize how isolating it is. If you are married to a Japanese please do not respond.
     
  9. Jul 16, 2009 #8

    Evo

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    :tongue2:
     
  10. Jul 16, 2009 #9
    Evo, is the job you're working out of choice or necessity? That sounds like a pretty horrible social situation, though I suppose as long as religion doesn't come up at the workplace and everyone's "professional", it wouldn't be much of an issue. My experience growing up in an Adventist (conservative) home left me disillusioned with religion in general, but I still think people at church are some of the nicest/most caring people I've ever met if you manage to not step on their toes with hot-button issues.
     
  11. Jul 16, 2009 #10

    turbo

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    That stereotype certainly held true in the late 60s and early 70s. I had a lot of gay friends in college and I can't think of a single one who was engaged in a heavy science curriculum - certainly none were in my engineering track. Many were in theater, music, horticulture, sociology, literature, art history and political science - pretty much all liberal-arts tracks of one kind or another. One guy was in a pre-med track and later was a nurse in a nearby ICU - he had my wife in his care for a while after a car accident. Nice surprise to bump into him there. He used to pick my brain from time to time about chemistry problems, but he was about the only gay friend in my dorm that had an interest in the sciences.

    Times were different then, too. The ladies in my freshman engineering class were outnumbered by 300:5. Chances of finding a female study-partner were slim, to put it mildly.

    For some perspective, though, my wife and I have some shared interests, including cooking, gardening, etc. Just because she never shared my work interests, nor I hers didn't mean that we had to "give up" something to be together. We've been together for just about 35 years now and it's been great. If you find a nice guy that you click with, don't hesitate to explore commonalities, and don't dwell on differences. Those things work out. If you're having a knotty technical problem at work, you don't need to take that home with you and hash it all out with your significant other. Leave that concern at work - you'll be a lot happier in the long run. Good luck.
     
  12. Jul 16, 2009 #11
    Is hard science a hot-button issue?
     
  13. Jul 16, 2009 #12
    Depends on the science! Earlier, I was referring more to the fact that as long as you're not blatantly intolerant of a conservative christian co-worker's beliefs / make gestures to be diplomatic, it's pretty easy to get along with them in a work environment if the work itself doesn't deal with the hot-button issues - gay marriage, stem cells, politics, and so on.
     
  14. Jul 16, 2009 #13

    mgb_phys

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    I would recommend you stay out of astronomy. Since most astronomers are gorgeous stud-muffin types and you wouldn't be able to concentrate on your work spending all day surrounded by this grade of beefcake. *
    I recommend high energy physics, it's all beards and lumber jack shirts over there.

    (* I think this is also the reason there are so few women in astronomy)
     
  15. Jul 16, 2009 #14

    Evo

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    :tongue2:
     
  16. Jul 16, 2009 #15
    Actually, this seems to be true in my experience. I was a high school physics intern at ISU (a summer program for right before college), and the one guy I was pretty attracted to was going into astrophysics/astronomy. Too bad he went to a school in Utah instead ;)

    Also, ISU's physics department is rather one-note to my dismay (I'm interested in solar energy technologies) - they focus on nuclear sciences and have several linear accelerator facilities for doing experiments. Most of the faculty are the beards/suspenders/plaid shirts type.
     
  17. Jul 16, 2009 #16

    Evo

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    I've never thought it was a good idea to get romantically involved with someone that I worked with. Tried it once and when we broke up, one of us had to leave. I left, I fortunately had a better job offer. Work is work, not a social environment, makes it easier to get along with people if everything stays at a proper business level.
     
  18. Jul 16, 2009 #17

    Math Is Hard

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    *sigh* http://www.melitatrips.com/bios/bio_filippenko.html". :!!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  19. Jul 16, 2009 #18
    I think questioning the prevalence of any group in any field is silly. This includes: gays, blacks, women, hispanics, and people who are left-handed. It's all a bunch of P.C. hippie balogna.

    (* 21 year old, straight, CS/Physics, WASP talking)
     
  20. Jul 16, 2009 #19
    That's what I was getting at myself, but in too obscure a way. On those rare occasions when two human beings encounter each other up there in Idaho, or any other unihabitable country, they ought to take each other as they are, both of them.

    Why do you think that your problems with your lover are different than any other couple who have interests that differ? I guess the real question is not whether you have different interests, but whether you have any common interests.
     
  21. Jul 16, 2009 #20

    S_Happens

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    Bingo. If the OP requires that a significant other shares a professional interest in science, then that's his personal choice to severly limit his options. There are lots of people who have strong relationships where chosen professions do not overlap. My wife cares little for the sciences, while I can't get enough. That doesn't mean that we don't share many other common interests.
     
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