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!