The Tech Celebrates Pride Month

June 1, 2024

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Inspiring the innovator in everyone, and everyone means ALL of us.

The Tech Interactive is dedicated to empowering historically marginalized communities and is committed to fostering STEM inclusion for all. We aim to dismantle barriers and forge stronger connections across diverse communities.

June is Pride Month, and we are honored to celebrate the remarkable contributions of local LGBTQ+ individuals who have made significant strides in science and technology. Additionally, we are proud to support local organizations dedicated to advocating for the rights and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. As a member of Museums with Pride, an alliance of Bay Area museums and arts organizations, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive and inspiring environment where innovation knows no bounds and everyone is empowered to make a difference.

1. Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D. (he/him)

Ben Barres

Dr. Barres, an American neurobiologist at Stanford University, researched the interactions between neurons and glial cells in the nervous system. Glial cells are often considered the glue of the nervous system and play key roles in shaping the brain’s circuitry and controlling neuron behavior. Dr. Barres made groundbreaking discoveries in the ways glial cells can shift from nurturing to destroying neurons, revolutionizing the understanding and treatment of many neurological disorders.

Dr. Barres was a strong advocate for gender equity in STEM. In 2013, he served as the first openly transgender scientist in the National Academy of Scientists until his death in 2017.

“I’m still going to wear jeans and T-shirts and pretty much be the same person I’ve always been — it’s just that I’m going to be a lot happier.”
— Dr. Ben Barres, on his gender identity

Learn more about Dr. Ben Barres’ life and research and read an excerpt from his autobiography.

2. Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center

Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center

The Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center was established in 1981, and was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1983. The organization builds community through discussion and leadership programs, as well as other inclusive social activities, so that LGBTQ+ patrons and their allies can fully express their identities. They serve as an incubator and a catalyst for LGBTQ+ community groups and address a critical need for a safe space for people of diverse orientations.

The center was named after popular African American drag queen Billy DeFrank, the drag persona of William Price, a gay rights activist known for his generous and loving spirit, qualities which the center embodies. Price was a relentless advocate and supporter of his community, raising funds for various LGBTQ+ causes throughout the 1970s. For the Center’s 40th Anniversary, Billy DeFrank was honored with the mural you see above, painted by Serge Gay Jr., an African American gay artist.

The Billy DeFrank Center is a part of the fabric of The Alameda and Santa Clara County as a whole, providing a space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and nonbinary people 18 and over to gather and access vital resources. From educational resources, celebratory activities, and LGBTQ+ affirming services to engaging in and inspiring purposeful action, the center continues to be a beacon of hope and a place where everyone gets to be who they really are.

Learn more about the Billy DeFrank Center and find opportunities to get involved.

3. Cesar Estien (he/him or they/them)

Cesar Estien (he/him or they/them)

Cesar is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley where they research how societal inequity and environmental injustices influence biodiversity, wildlife behavior, and wildlife health.

Cesar uses many facets of their identity — including being Black, Latin, and Queer — to inform how they engage with the field of ecology. In addition to their research, Cesar works to advance diversity in the STEM field, assisting in a variety of DEI initiatives such as the EEB Language Project, an initiative aimed at removing harmful terms from ecology. Cesar also co-founded an undergraduate mentorship program at UC Berkeley and actively collaborates with community members and organizations on an inclusive and equitable outdoor learning program.

Learn more about Cesar’s work and read more about them on 500 Queer Scientists.

4. LGBTQ Wellness, a program of Caminar

LGBTQ Wellness, a program of Caminar

LGBTQ Wellness is a prevention and early intervention peer support program that works with LGBTQ+ adults ages 18+. The focus of the program is to create spaces where LGBTQ+ adults can connect, build community, and seek support. In partnership with Q Corner, LGBTQ Wellness facilitates the only local support group for queer and disabled folks. With generous funding from the County of Santa Clara Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the LGBTQ Wellness team has assembled a cohort of trans adults to inform local inclusivity trainings, and plan and host events for the local trans community at large. This also develops individuals’ job skills and connects them with trans mentors in their respective professional fields.

Learn more and find opportunities to get involved with LGBTQ Wellness.

5. Neir Eshel, M.D., Ph.D. (he/him)

Neir Eshel, M.D., Ph.D. (he/him)

Dr. Neir Eshel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford. His clinical focus is on the full-spectrum mental health care of sexual and gender minorities, often collaborating with other primary care and mental health providers at the Stanford LGBTQ+ program.

Dr. Eshel also runs a neuroscience lab that uses cutting edge computational and neuroscience tools. The lab examines how the brain controls motivated behavior, and how this process might go wrong in psychiatric disease. The lab uses a multitude of approaches to probe the neural circuits of reward processing, decision making, and social behavior. 

Dr. Eshel is passionate about mentoring a diverse set of trainees and wants to be the openly LGBTQ+ mentor he never had.

Learn more about Dr. Eshel’s work at Stanford University and The Stanford Translational Addiction and Aggression Research Lab.

6. Nicole Evans Mcintyre (she/her or they/them)

Nicole Evans Mcintyre (she/her or they/them)

Nicole has spent their career focused on creating accessible and inclusive environments for underrepresented students in STEM. They currently work as the founding Director of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program at the College of Marin. MESA provides holistic support to low-income and first-generation college students pursuing careers in math and science. They are especially interested in developing a more diverse pipeline of scientific researchers.

Nicole previously developed and led support programs for engineering students, taught, and conducted research at UC Berkeley and an NSF national research center.

Follow Nicole’s work and learn more about them on 500 Queer Scientists

7. Sally Ride, Ph.D. (she/her)

Sally Ride, Ph.D. (she/her)

Dr. Sally Ride received a doctorate in physics from Stanford University in 1978. She applied for NASA’s astronaut program after seeing an advertisement in the newspaper and was one of more than 8,000 applicants for that year. In January of 1978, she was one of 35 individuals accepted into the program, and one of only six women.

Dr. Ride became the first American woman in space on June 18, 1983, as a crew member aboard the Challenger space shuttle. She ultimately spent more than 343 hours in space. She was also the first known LGBTQ+ astronaut, although her long-standing relationship with Tam O’Shaugnessy was not revealed until after Ride’s death in 2012.

In 2001, Dr. Ride founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, out of her passion for inspiring young girls to pursue careers in STEM. Dr. Ride believed that science and math education was critical for the country's future. She was determined to show young people a variety of role models to motivate and interest them in pursuing STEM careers (such as astrobiology, environmental engineering, rocket science, etc.).

"Young girls need to see role models. You can't be what you can't see."
— Dr. Sally Ride, Astronaut

Learn more about Dr. Sally Ride and her legacy.

8. Silicon Valley Pride

Silicon Valley Pride

Silicon Valley Pride is a volunteer-run nonprofit that organizes the annual LGBTQ+ Parade and Festival and other year-round events. It all started back in 1975 as a gay rights rally and evolved into the San Jose Pride Festival in 1976. The following year, San Jose added its first parade to the celebration. In 2014, San Jose Pride was changed to Silicon Valley Pride to include neighboring cities and encourage unity. A family-friendly event, Silicon Valley Pride is now the largest Pride celebration in the South Bay. The Parade and Festival happen annually during the last weekend of August. In 2024, the event will be held Aug. 24 and 25 at Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park in Downtown San Jose (in front of The Tech Interactive!).

Learn more about their work by visiting their website: Silicon Valley Pride

Help make an impact this Pride Month and every month by supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the following ways: 
  • Volunteer at an LGBTQ+ Community Center 
  • Join and support the Equality Act 
  • Speak up against prejudice 
  • Write a letter of support to trans youth
  • Be an LGBTQ+ advocate 
  • Create your own pride flag with our Cabbage Inks activity 
  • Look for The Tech marching with Museums with Pride at the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30

Join The Tech on Aug. 24 and 25 at the SV Pride Festival!