Science is a search for the objective truth. Its practitioners are, nonetheless, a microcosm of society, also bringing the myriad subjective experiences of their childhood and their cultural upbringing to bear on their lives. Education helps to broaden our perspectives, yet we have hopes and fears just like everybody else. And through the years the scientific community has run the gamut of feelings and behaviors toward gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.
The McCarthy hearings of the 1950s brought gay scientists into the spotlight by sanctioning overt discrimination in the workplace: Many lost their security clearances, some their professions and livelihoods. Since then, gay, lesbian, and bisexual scientists have been fearful of being themselves around their colleagues and employees. The gay liberation of the 1970s inspired some gay scientists to form their own groups, so that gays who shared the scientific bent could meet each other, network, and support each other through...
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