Girls, Geeks & Gays

Publish Date: 21/08/2012


A-Level results were out on 16 August, it’s a week later so the stories in the newspapers bemoaning the paucity of girls studying maths and science subjects have dried up for another year - thousands of science-loving girls breathe a collective sign of relief!

Actually, despite the ongoing debate about the best way to entice girls to study such subjects the numbers are steadily increasing, A-level biology, for example, is dominated by girls. So there’s definitely no shortage of female boffins out there and for them this year’s Pride promises to be really special.

The Pride Parade theme this year is ‘Queer’d Science’, designed to honour Alan Turing in his centenary year. Turing was a man without whose genius the world today could be unrecognisable; he is commonly referred to as the father of modern computing and played a central role in breaking the German Engima code during WW2. Despite all this his homosexuality led to him experiencing prejudice and persecution, including a conviction for indecency and the barbarity of chemical castration. The exact circumstances of his death by cyanide poisoning are hotly contested, but what is certain is that it was an unhappy end to a quite brilliant life.

Turing’s story is at once tragic and inspirational, both testament to the triumph of human intellect and innovation in the face of adversity and a stark reminder of the fatal consequences of prejudice and discrimination. 

For gay and bisexual girls with a passion for science this year’s parade is a double celebration and a great way to get involved is through Geek Pride, forming a contingent in the parade for anyone who identifies as a geek. In keeping with the theme, science geeks will be well-represented, but Geek Pride are keen point out that any other interesting and obsessively pursued hobbies are well within the bounds of geekdom – if they deviate from the mainstream then all the better!

If this sounds like you and you’d like to don your lab coat and goggle, or any suitable symbol of your geekery, and march in the parade, simply turn up atMadLab on Saturday 25 August at 11am, or attend the social event this Wednesday for a preliminary briefing. This is not only a chance to celebrate and be part of a spectacular event, but to meet like-minded people from across the Manchester area. A vast array of interests will be represented; Pride is a celebration of diversity and Geek Pride certainly promises that!

There are plenty of other events for science lovers over the Pride period, including a Science and Sexuality panel debate to be held at the Manchester Museum 22 August. The Museum is also hosting a Turing exhibition exploring his lesser known contribution to the biological sciences; guided tours of this exhibition are also available. You may also have noticed sunflowers springing up around Manchester, which are part of an experiment being conducted by MOSI and Manchester Science Festival testing Turing’s theory that the studying sunflowers can lead to broader discoveries about plant growth. If you have a sunflower and would like to contribute to the experiment, you can register here.

Girls, gays and geeks, will be well represented at this year’s Pride, so if you happen to identify as one or all three, it’s a great year to get involved!

For more about Geek Pride click here.

Written by Samantha Whyte on behalf of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation