June Pride STEM Stories- Joe

(From June 2nd, 2017)

“I’m in the process of getting Bachelors in Physics and Mathematics.

Being a gay person was one of the reasons I ended up studying and loving science. Growing up in a rural, conservative community I felt it was in my best interests to remain deeply closeted, and instead of dwelling on my sexuality I threw myself into anything that distracted me. By my junior year that meant physics class with my favorite teacher (Doc Bob). I was entranced by how a handful of fairly simple logics could be expressed mathematically and be used to describe the most common experiences in every day life. The elegance of physical law was very appealing. I will always resent the fact that I am a gay person with little to no sense of fashion, but I do have a deep aesthetic love for mathematical equations.

I can’t say for sure, but I doubt I would have found my love for physics and math had I not been gay. The rigor and focus required by my fields allowed me a few hours each day of escapism. The simple order that fell out of messy situations contrasted nicely to the personal order I was trying to create from my messy inner-life. And once I came out upon entering University I never felt like I needed to express some part of me that I had previously repressed. All of my frustrations, sadness and love had an outlet, so coming out was less about personal revolution than just simple acknowledgement of reality. I think science may have spared me a lot of anguish growing up gay, and for that I am forever grateful.”-Joe

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