Inclusion in FIRST

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On May 20, 2017, STORM Robotics hosted its first annual FIRST Compass, an event where teams can give or watch presentations about different subjects in robotics. Representing LGBTQ+ of FIRST, Jaye and Sean presented this slide show to help teams in the MAR region and MAR itself learn how to be more inclusive to LGBTQ+ FIRST participants.

Since numerous teams seemed interested, LGBTQ+ of FIRST is sharing this presentation for all FIRSTers, especially those outside the MAR region and those who missed the event.

Every LGBTQ+ students deserves a welcoming and inclusive environment.


Dating Within Teams (Especially as an LGBTQ+ Student)

The clocks are ticking; there’s only two more days until Kickoff! There’s a lot to think about during this time, such as designing and building a robot, writing code, finishing Chairman’s essays, preparing scouting systems, the list goes on and on. Last, but certainly not least, comes dating.

Dating is always tricky, but it can be even more difficult during build season. It’s hard finding time around robotics to balance homework, self-care, jobs, and relationships. As an LGBT+ student, all these factors and more come into play. By dating, you might risk outing yourself or others; and accidentally creating drama on the team if relations are not kept business-like and graciously professional. Hopefully after reading this, maneuvering the robotics dating field will be much easier!

  1. Time Management- Don’t completely neglect your partner during build season. Communicate that there will have to be less time spent together, and decide upon a regular time of the week to go on dates. Make sure to leave time for yourself and homework, too! Personally, the only way I could accomplish this was reducing my work schedule to four hours per week.
  2. Announcing the Relationship- Be aware of your partner’s needs; if they do not give you consent to tell others about the relationship, then don’t. If you tell others anyways, remember that you might be outing them to people they aren’t ready to be out to yet, or maybe your partner just doesn’t want to create any unnecessary tension or drama on the team.
  3. Dealing With Drama- Maybe you and your partner broke up. Maybe your team felt it unprofessional to be flamboyantly dating and having public displays of affection. Maybe someone else is jealous. Whatever the case may be, drama isn’t fun for anyone involved. Therefore, if there are any breakups, try to maintain a civil relationship with your ex. If your team doesn’t want you to have PDA, tone it down a notch and remember to use the same manners as you would at a family gathering where your grandparents are watching your every move. If someone is jealous, don’t rub the relationship in their face, and follow a similar procedure to the one described in the previous sentence.

Dating is always complicated, but if you handle it maturely, your relationship can survive the stress of build and competition season. Good luck to all teams as you take on FIRST Steamworks!

-August S. 2194

LGBTQ+ Purdue Presentation

Hey Guys! This is a general LGBTQ+ in STEM presentation I made for Purdue FIRST Forums. I encourage people to use this presentation to educate their teams and coworkers on all things queer! The presentation also includes helpful LGBTQ+ resources.

Link to presentation Here

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-Gus 3940

June 20, 2016: A Month Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride

Marguerite Radclyffe Hall is a lesbian British author who lived from 1880 to 1943.

Hall went to King’s College in London and then moved to school in Germany. Her writing career began with poems and then moved onto novels.

Hall was a lesbian, and as such these themes carry through her personal life and her writing. She said she had never been attracted to men, and her romantic attachments to women began early when she began to develop feelings for multiple women in her youth and young adult life. Most of the women she fancied were artists like herself, and her first long-term relationship was with Mabel Batten, a married amateur singer. The two formed a home together after Batten’s husband died, and Hall’s poetry continued to develop with newfound lesbian themes, such as her poem Ode to Sappho.

She also began an affair with another married woman in 1915, Una Troubridge, and this relationship lasted the rest of Hall’s life. She carried on the affair with Troubridge and Batten until Batten’s death, and then she and Troubridge moved in together after Troubridge separated from her husband legally.

Hall’s most famous and controversial literary work was The Well of Loneliness, about a lesbian attachment between two women. It spoke of the troubles of being a lesbian in society, and Hall did intensive research for the book. Shortly after publication, it was damned as immoral.

“I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel. Poison kills the body, but moral poison kills the soul.”

– Sunday Express, August 19th, 1928

Publication and distribution of the book was made to cease in Britain and in the US, and was declared obscene in court. It continued to sell well in France, however.

She continued writing despite this failure, focussing more on Catholic themes. She also picked up another affair with a russian woman, Evgenia Souline. This affair lasted until just before Hall’s death, and she remained with Troubridge throughout.

Hall died in 1943 due to colon cancer and left behind a legacy of groundbreaking lesbian literature and poetry, and remains a staple in LGBTQ+ reading even today.

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June 9, 2016 A Month Celebrating LGBT+ Pride

Louise Pearce was born on March 5, 1885, in Winchester, Massachusetts. She was the eldest child in her family, and had a younger brother. Pearce was an American pathologist at the Rockefeller Institute who helped develop a treatment for African sleeping sickness – a devastating epidemic which had depopulated whole districts of Africa.

Louise received an A.B. degree in physiology and histology from Stanford University in 1907, and attended Boston University from 1907-1909. She was admitted to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1907, and in 1912 she obtained her M.D., graduating third in her class

The Rockefeller Institute sent Louise to the Belgian Congo in 1920 to test tryparsamide on victims of sleeping sickness, trusting that her enthusiasm for her job would carry her to success. There, she worked with a local hospital and lab to carry out a drug testing protocol for human trials to establish tryparsamide’s safety and effectiveness on patients.

Spending much of her career studying animal models of cancer, Pearce also successfully developed treatment protocols to apply tryparsamide to syphilis. For her efforts, Pearce received the Order of the Crown of Belgium, the King Leopold II prize of $10,000, and the Royal Order of the Lion awards. Louise was also the  first elected woman member of American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, an impressive feat in the 1920s.

Pearce was also a member of Heterodoxy, a progressive feminist group, along with her partner, physician Sara Baker. Heterodoxy was a debate group notable for providing a forum for the development of more radical conceptions of feminism, including the acceptance of bisexual and lesbian females such as Pearce.

Pearce passed away  August 10, 1959 at age 74 in New York City, leaving behind an impressively progressive legacy to women, scientists and LGBT+ people everywhere.

June 6, 2016 A Month Celebrating LGBT+ Pride

Alberta Hunter was an influential African American Jazz performer from the 1920s to the 1950s, worked as a nurse from 1956 to 1977, and continued her musical career until her death.

She had a tumultuous home life, and when she was eleven, Alberta ran away from home and moved to Chicago. She became fascinated by the city’s night life and began sneaking into clubs to watch the jazz singers. She was sixteen when she performed for the first time at a club in Chicago’s Southside. Alberta spent the next two years there before moving on to a string of nightclubs that catered to the wealthy elite. Only eight years after her first performance, Hunter was a well known celebrity throughout Chicago and had to pay careful attention to her reputation, especially the rumor of her lesbianism. In the early 1900s, there were very few openly gay or lesbian performers, and many tried to conceal their identities. Hunter even went so far as to marry Willard Saxby Townsend, who worked as a waiter at one of the bars she performed at. They were only married for two months before he filed for divorce.

It was around this time that she began recording for Black Swan and Paramount records and performing on Broadway, which prompted her move to New York where she lived with Lottie Tyler, her long term partner. This put her in the middle of the Harlem Renaissance, in both her professional and personal lives. She is regarded as one of the biggest talents to emerge during this era and maintain their popularity through the 20th century. Her talent took her to Europe, performing in England and France where her popularity only soared. As an African American performer, there were more opportunities for her outside of the United States.

Following the end of the Korean War, shifts in popular music made work hard to find. Due to this and the sudden loss of her mother, she changed careers in the 50s. She became a licensed nurse after graduating from the Harlem YWCA nursing school. She worked as a nurse for over two decades, where she was never late for work and never took a sick day, before being forced to retire in 1977 by hospital officials. They thought she was seventy, but she’d lied about her age when applying to medical school and was actually eighty-two at the time of her retirement. After retiring, she continued her musical career as a cabaret singer, leading to a recording contract with Columbia Records and performances at Carnegie Hall and the White House for President Carter.