My questions are about LGBT people's situation in mathematics.

  • Is there any research to show any connection between people sexual orientation and their mathematical ability? For example showing that LGBT people are better or worse in mathematics with respect to ordinary people? As far as I know there are such research about connection between being left or right handed and people's IQ, linguistic abilities, etc.

  • Are there countries that forbid LGBT people's tenure academic position or their education in mathematics?

  • What are examples of prominent LGBT mathematicians?

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    $\begingroup$ This question is actually three different questions. It would be best to split it up into 3 different questions. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2015 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ Don't we have more appropriate tags for questions like this? This is certainly not only about mathematical pedagogy. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2015 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JoonasIlmavirta i was thinking the same thing, i dont think there are any currently that fit very nicely but i was thinking maybe an "educational culture" tag or something similar? not quite sure what would be best $\endgroup$
    – celeriko
    Apr 13, 2015 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ Please help finding some appropriate tags for this question! $\endgroup$
    – Samantha
    Apr 13, 2015 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with the need to find an appropriate tag for this question and perhaps with the need to separate into several questions. Buried in the search for "answers," I hope there is a discussion about heteronormativity and gender biases in the problems that we pose in our classrooms. For example, why can't homosexual couples have their handshake-party counting problems too? What is the experience of LGBTQ students who are sitting in math classes where it's always Bob who has a crush on Alice? $\endgroup$
    – Xi Yu
    Apr 13, 2015 at 23:58

1 Answer 1


Some scientific research shows that having a different sexual orientation naturally happens in many spices including apes, cats, dogs, etc. As you mentioned it is somehow similar to being left-handed in a community with right-handed majority.

Surely there are some physical and psychological differences between left-handed and right-handed people, but it doesn't mean that one should blame left-handed people or force them to write by their right hand just because write-handed people are majority of the community!

The same is true for LGBT people. We can't and shouldn't deny or annoy them just because they are different from us. Conversely a civilized and developed society should provide some appropriate options and opportunities for its minorities including LGBT people.

About the situation of LGBT community in different countries, as far as I know due to historical and cultural reasons there are many people with alternative sexual orientations in Israel and all Arabian countries of Middle East. However there is a big difference in their rights and degree of freedom.

Due to religious reasons in Muslim Arabian countries LGBT people are very limited and have almost no social rights but Israel is one of the most LGBT friendly countries of the world as well as being a religious state in many aspects. See the following Wikipedia article which confirms there are too many LGBT people and too few anti-LGBT rules here and LGBT community is very active and popular in Israel society. In some sense Israel is the paradise of LGBT people! Tel-Aviv itself has the credit of being LGBT capital of Middle East!

LGBT people have their own rights and pride parades in almost all large cities of the country including Tel-Aviv and even Jerusalem where they recently had a LGBT parade! Note that Jerusalem is the city of Western Wall and one of the holiest cities of the world for almost all major religions!

About mathematics education and LGBT people, I think there is no relevance and if there is any it is not negative. For example Alan Turing was a gay and a prominent mathematician. Also I personally know many LGBT mathematics teachers and students in universities of Israel who are my colleagues and have no problem in their career.

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    $\begingroup$ "Conversely a civilized and developed society should provide some appropriate options and opportunities for its minorities including LGBT people." I would rather say that the society should provide options and opportunities to everyone regardless of such personal properties. There is a difference between having a special quota for special people and having one single quota for everyone. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2015 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, history disagrees with your assertion about relevance and non-negativity. I do not know about the teaching privileges Alan Turing had, but many think he was the victim of discrimination against homosexuals. I agree that there should be little or no relevance between sexual orientation and mathematics teaching. In spite of your positive answer, I think the questions belong on a different forum. Gerhard "Classroom Orientation Means Something Different" Paseman, 2015.04.13 $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2015 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Avi. Your answer is really interesting. $\endgroup$
    – Samantha
    Apr 13, 2015 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ Avi, I hope you mean 'many' and not 'too many' in the following sentence. ("there are too many LGBT people and too few anti-LGBT rules here") Please edit. I do not want to change your meaning, but the current meaning is a problem. $\endgroup$
    – Sue VanHattum
    Apr 14, 2015 at 16:26

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