Happy Pride Month, everyone! June is a month for recognizing and celebrating the LGBT+ community. It was started to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which were a landmark event in the fight for LGBT+ rights. We celebrate Pride Month to honour those who have fought for their rights, acknowledge the struggles the LGBT+ community continues to face to this day, and celebrate LGBT+ identities and culture.

This Pride Month, I want to give a special shoutout to those in the math community who also identify as LGBT+. As a member of the LGBT+ community myself, I’ve noticed a fair amount of stigma against being queer in math spaces—and surprisingly often coming from within the community itself. It’s one thing for us to make jokes amongst ourselves about how none of us can sit in chairs properly (I don’t even want to describe how I’m sitting as I write this), but the similar jokes I’ve heard my LGBT+ friends making about being bad at math are a lot more harmful than they might realize. And of course it isn’t just coming from within the community—many people have a notion (whether conscious or unconscious) that all LGBT+ people are artistically inclined, not mathematical or scientific. Obviously, that’s just not true! So I want to spend some time celebrating queerness in mathematics, and I invite you to do the same.

One of the ways we’re celebrating queerness in math here at Maplesoft is with new Pride-themed Maple Learn documents, created by Miles Simmons. What better way to celebrate Pride than with trigonometry? This document uses sinusoidal transformations to mimic a pride flag waving in the wind. You can adjust the phase shift, vertical shift, horizontal stretch, and vertical stretch to see how that affects the shape of the flag. Then, you can watch the animation bring the flag to life! It’s a great way to learn about and visualize the different ways sinusoidal waves can be transformed, all while letting your colours fly!

For more trigonometry, you can also check out this fun paint-by-numbers that can help you practice the sines, cosines, and tangents of special angles. And, as you complete the exercise, you can watch the Pride-themed image come to life! Nothing like adding a little colour to your math practice to make it more engaging.

If you’re looking for more you can do to support LGBT+ mathematicians this Pride Month, take a look at Spectra, an association for LGBT+ mathematicians. Their website includes an “Outlist” of openly LGBT+ mathematicians around the world, and contact information if you want to learn more about their experiences. The Fields Institute has also hosted LGBT+Math Days in the past, which showcases the research of LGBT+ mathematicians and their experiences of being queer in the math community. Blog posts like this one by Anthony Bonato, a math professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, and interviews like this one with Autumn Kent, a math professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, can also help allies in mathematics to understand the experiences of their queer colleagues and how to best support them. Math is everywhere and for everyone—so let’s make sure that the systems we use to teach and explore math are for everyone too!

Happy Pride! 🏳️🌈