For our final post of the month, and the quarter we’ll be taking a look at successful gay men. While it is beyond a doubt that queer men have found success in every field of endeavor, they were not able to be out. Let’s take a look at history and then some out, modern men in different fields.
Gay Men in the Sciences
There is a myth that queer men can’t excel in science and technology. It’s akin to the belief that we’re all creative and sensitive. As with every stereotype, there is a grain of truth with many notable exceptions.
Probably the most famous queer mathematician is Alan Turing. The father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence was prosecuted for “homosexual acts” in 1952 and underwent chemical castration. Turing committed suicide in 1954 and was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013. Our scientist brothers also include Sir Francis Bacon and Alan Hart among many others.
The sciences haven’t been known for welcoming us, but there are signs that that is changing. Starting in the late 1980s we’ve seen our queer brothers rise to prominence in many fields of scientific endeavor. Scott Keeney is a molecular biologist at the Sloan Kettering Institute who fought for domestic partner benefits. Suleman Hussain an out South Asian gay man who also recognizes the importance of science as an option for queer teens. Jon Hall came out in 2012 in honor of Turing. Ben Barres, a pioneering neurobiologist and Stanford is the first openly transgender person to be elected to the US National Academy of Sciences. We are present and excelling in every area of science and technology.
There are too many successful gay creatives to list them all here. The list of closeted celebrities is much longer and includes Cary Grant, Tab Hunter, and Liberace. Things are better now, but most industry insiders agree that homophobia is still a force in the film and music industries.
Men like Lil Nas X and Jim Parsons are among the out, proud, queer men forging paths to success in their industries. Sadly, there are still many closeted men among their peers.
What About Business?
I’m sure all of you are aware of Tim Cook the out CEO of Apple. Whatever your personal feelings may be, he has shown us that it’s possible for an openly gay man to rise to a position of power in one of the world’s most successful corporations.
But, there are other men you may not be aware of. After forging his career at American Eagle Outfitters and Levis, Robert Hanson currently runs the jewelry company, John Hardy. Hanson says that he’s been openly gay since starting in business.
Then there’s Trevor Burgess the openly gay former CEO of C1 Financial, and Rick Welts president and COO of the Golden State Warriors the highest raking, out executive in professional sports. There are powerful businessmen paving the road to success for future generations.
The Future is Bright
Once a bastion of straight male heteronormativity science and technology has been steadily diversifying their workforces for decades. We’ve seen similar developments across the board in almost every profession.
There is nothing stopping young queer kids from pursuing their dreams of becoming scientists, professional athletes, performers, or CEOs. Let’s all work to make sure inclusion continues to grow, and encourage queer youth to shine.