Posts Tagged ‘GLBT’


November 24, 2009

The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Science and Technical Proffessionals (NOGLSTP) is a group of scientists/technical proffessionals/science advocates who are either GLBT or GLBT friendly. I’ve had the opportunity to interview Barbara Belmont, the treasurer of the organizations. Here is a portion, with more to come:

Skeptigay: Thank you for taking the time to do an email interview with me. Barbara, please tell me a little about you personally. How did you first hear about NOGLSTP?

Barbara Belmont: I saw a letter to the editor of Science magazine from a grass-roots group identifying themselves as NOLGS — National Organization of Lesbian and Gay Scientists. That was in 1980, and I hadn’t yet realized I was a
lesbian. After I came out a short time later, I remembered that letter, and started looking for the gay scientists. I found them locally, in the form of Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Scientists. Turns out some of the LAGLS organizers were involved with NOLGS. NOLGS became NOGLS, then NOGLSTP.

SG: How would you describe NOGLSTP to a person on the street?

BB: NOGLSTP is a professional society for queer scientists and engineers with, the following goals: explain queer issues to scientists, explain science, to the queer community, promote workplace equality and diversity
inclusion, promote professional networking among our members, and provide, positive role models.

SG: Most people think scientists are pretty liberal, but your goals, found
at seem to suggest that there is a lot of
homophobia in science and technical professions.

BB: While it’s been demonstrated that most educated people are more politically liberal than uneducated people, it’s important to emphasize that scientists and engineers represent all facets of political leanings. In addition, most of us techno-workers are surrounded by non-technical people in the workplace. So it’s not necessarily our peers who are
homophobic. It’s more likely that our peers value us for our competence and feel that our queerness is none of their business. Even so, are goals are about promoting corporate cultures of acceptance (or at least tolerance), inclusion, and non-discrimination.

When NOGLSTP was founded in the 1980’s, LGBT people were afraid to come out in academia for fear of being passed over for tenure or grants. LGBT people in industry could be denied security clearances (and therefore access to information required to get their job done) just for being queer. Very few companies had even heard of equal opportunity inclusion for LGBT people, let alone considered openly welcoming them. Most LGBT scientists or engineers thought they were “the only ones”. NOGLSTP’s goals were formulated around addressing these issues.

Now, these issues were not always caused by homophobic peers. They were a reflection of society and cultural mores at the time, as well as attitudes of people in charge — management, grant administrators, shareholders, etc.

Over the years, corporate management of most engineering companies have bought into the idea that diversity in staffing is a good thing, and we LGBT folk have made a very good business case for LGBT inclusion in that diversity outreach. It’s now well-understood that open and out LGBT-folk are not security risks. Almost every academic institution has an openly gay professor or researcher, and most larger companies and universities
have specific policies that protect their LGBT employees from discrimination.
Much progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement…

SG: According to your website, you give out recognition awards. Could you give an example of what some of the winners of previous awards have done?

Our awards program, established in 2004, serves two purposes: First, it recognizes the professional contributions of LGBT Scientists and Engineers. Secondly, it provides role models of outstanding LGBT Scientists and Engineers to the public.

Our scientists of the year so far have been honored for

  • contributions to the semi-conductor industry and to the understanding of how to make reliable chips (Larry Wagner)
  • hurricane research which has led to significant improvements in hurricane track forecasts (Sim Aberson)
  • setting the standard for quantitative estimates of the probability of future destructive earthquakes (Kerry Sieh)
  • investigation of cell surface carbohydrates and biopolymers that contribute to cell surface recognition and cell-cell communication (Carolyn Bertozzi)
  • contributions to the understanding of human linguistic communication (Arnold Zwicky)
  • understanding, emulating, and controlling the structure and interactions of proteins (James Nowick)

Our engineers of the year so far have been honored for

  • invention of “dynamic instruction scheduling”, which has become a classic computer hardware method for enhancing the performance of certain processors (Lynn Conway)
  • improvements in the semiconductor manufacturing process (Peter Ventzek)
  • pioneering work in software engineering involving development one of the
    first desktop publishing toolsets (Tim Gill)
  • design and development of classified missile systems of great importance
    to the Department of Defense (Michael Steinberg)
  • management of systems engineering and testing of the global positioning
    system IIF, an upgrade of the original GPS, which is a worldwide timing
    and navigation system (Anthony Gingiss)

SG: Are you familiar with skepticism as a course of thought in modern times?

BB: Any well-trained scientist will be familiar with Skepticism. Only, we
call it Scientific Method.

Properly executed Scientific Method is a form of applied Skepticism. We
observe the phenomena or data. We use reasoning to formulate a
hypothesis. We construct experiments and collect data to determine
whether the hypothesis is supported. We use critical thinking to
interpret the results. We revise the hypothesis if the data don’t support
it, and refine the experiments to dig a little deeper if the hypothesis is

SG: Does NOGLSTP have an official position on teaching Intelligent Design in
the classroom?

BB: NOGLSTP has not taken a position on Intelligent Design, simply because our
goals and expertise do not include curriculum content except that which
relates to presentation of LGBT issues in scientific research.

On a personal note, I would say that the ID discussion belongs with
theology discussions, not evolution discussions. I have no problem with it
being taught in the classroom, as long as it is not taught in any science
classroom. While Intelligent Design is a version of Creationism that some
scientists of faith find attractive, it is certainly no proven hypothesis
like evolution. Evolution is proven by scientific evidence. There is no
proof for any form of Creationism.

SG: Thank you, Barbara for this portion of the interview. I will have more questions for you later.

If you consider yourself a scientist, a technical professional, a science advocate, GLBT, or GLBT friendly, please visit for more information about supporting GLBT and Science, collective.

W.W.WTF – 11/09

November 9, 2009 – Gay Marriage Ban to overturn in MI?,0,2930882.story – Complimentary Medicine satety tip #1: don’t use CAM.– Evolution’s fatal flaw. Before you grab your torches and pitchforks, read the release.

Who gets protected

November 3, 2009

I looked through my Google Reader today, and I came across a story from World News Daily that I found rather disturbing.

According to this link: a lesbian came up to a coworker and told him about her honeymoon with her new wife. He let it pass. She came up and talked about it again. He let it pass. She came up a third time. He informed her that his christianity tells him that homosexuality is wrong. She complained, and he got fired.

Now, I’m not going to fault this guy. If the story is accurate, he tolerated her talking about things he finds disturbing on several occassions, and politely informed her that according to his religion, homosexuality is wrong. I’m perfectly fine with that. He didn’t tell her to watch her back, or stay away from him, just “I don’t agree with  your lifestyle”.

Tolerance is not acceptance. You can disagree with my lifestyle as much as you want. You can tell me you believe its a sin. I should respect your beliefs and not talk about it to you. Tolerance is a two-way street. She should tolerate his religious view, and he should tolerate her lifestlye.

W.W.WTF – 11/03

November 3, 2009 – Probably the worst excuse for banning gay marriage. – UFO report turns out to be a prank. I’m shocked, SHOCKED, I say! – Did you miss the Castle Rock ID Conference? So did I. Not to fear, you can experience it vicariously through here!

W.W.WTF – 10/30

October 30, 2009 – NASA fights 2012 hysteria. – Backlash against Larry Johnson’s use of a gay slur. – UNCRC gets on to Sweeden for limiting access to…CAM?

Right to Petition v. Right to Privacy

October 26, 2009

Here’s a question for you. If you signed a petition to put a law on an upcoming ballot, should your name be publicised?

This is a question before the USSC. In Washington State, a petition has gone around to repeal the Domestic Partnership laws passed. has, in several instances of anti-gay movements, posted signers of petitions online. In response, Protect Marriage Washington moved to prevent this.

My only position on this is consistency. I don’t think there should be special cases where you can publish sometimes, but not others. I can understand the arguments in both camps. I try to think about it in terms of me signing the petition, or it being a petition that didn’t directly effect me. Be focusing on how it effects me, I can honestly say emotions would cloud my judgement.

So, my question to you is, where do you stand? Should all signers of all petitions have their names publicized, or held confidentially?

If you want to read more, please follow:

W.W.WTF – 10/26

October 26, 2009 – Sweedish Church votes to perform gay marriage. – A blog promoting CAM. They also tell Oprah she can get her CAM Award anytime. (shudder) – 10 countries participate in a poll about Evolution. Have a tissue handy when you read it.

W.W.WTF – 10/25

October 25, 2009 – Public hearing about same-sex marriage-with a republican…defending? – We can hope…–Armageddon–National-Geographic-Channel-investigates – Escatology-my guilty pleasure. I want to see this…and laugh. or cry, depending on how NatGeo does.

A Gay, New World

October 22, 2009

Greetings and/or Salutations all, and welcome to the brand new blog-Skeptigay. So, I’m sure one of the first questions you will be asking is “What are you all about?”

Skeptigay is about being skeptical and gay.

The next logical question should be “What do you mean by “skeptical?”

Being skeptical is following the mindset of Skepticism. Skepticism is the art of questioning and doubting until proper proof is brought. Let’s bear in mind that skepticism and cynicism are two different things. Cynics say “I don’t believe.” Skeptics say “I’m not sure, but I doubt it, until I’m proven otherwise.”

You’re next question is probably going to be something along the lines of: “What constitutes proper proof?”

This isn’t an easy question to answer. It depends on the claim presented. Are you claiming that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west? For this, proper proof would be to go outside at sunrise with a compass. Face the sun, and look at the compass. Does it say East? If it does, that is proper proof. Why? Because you have a clearly defined method of obseration, hypothesizing, testing, and concluding. And, if you do what I did, you can get the same results-reproducability. For those of you playing along at home, what I’ve just described is the Scientific Meathod. If you’re claiming you were probed by UFO’s, then…that’s going to take a lot more. Proof that aliens exist, proof they’ve visited our planet, proof that you were abducted, and proof that you were probed.

Now, I’m guessing that you’re probably asking, “Why are you doing this blog?”

This has several reasons. 1) I have opinion, and if you don’t have one, or yours is broken, you can have mine. I like to share. 2) The world needs more critical thinking. Its like jell-o, there’s always room for it. 3) There are a lot of organizations out there with skeptical blogs catering to certain audiences. The GLBT is not one of them-to my knowledge. I saw a problem, and I said, “Someone needs to fix this”. No one did. So, I decied to take matters into my own hands.

So, your next question is probably something along the lines of: “What credentials do you have to qualify you to do this?”

I graduated Magna cum Fraude from Delphi-Winston Institute (DWI) in 2003, with a B.A. in BS. I’ve written several books including “101 I don’t want you to know”, “Yet more things I don’t want you to know”, and “If I don’t want you to know these things, why am I telling you in the first place?”

In case you didn’t catch the jokes, no, none of that is real. What is real is that I’m an average person who sees great problems in the world. From the promotion of ID, to TV psychics, the world is filled with references to the paranormal and attacks on Church/State seperation. I look at websites devoted to gay interests, and I see horoscopes, and puedoscience. I see Oprah manufacturing a new TV personality to spread misinformation. I see stories of Jesus in the men’s room, mary on toast, and men persecuted for putting mohammed in the newspaper. Irrationality is running rampant in the world, and someone needs to say something. I’m joining the chior of people saying “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”.

So, my question to you is: “Of all the blogrolls on the internet, what brought you into this one?”