Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 5-2021




Gender and Diversity Studies; Chemistry

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Joshua Adair, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Jeff Osborne, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Diane Nititham, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Andrew Black, Committee Member


The United States is an immensely diverse country in which certain groups have been—and continue to be—marginalized in society because of their differences. Science and healthcare are areas in which marginalized peoples are negatively affected by a society that punishes difference and diversity. This is an immense problem because in biological and medical school education, in clinical research, and medical practices, little attention is given to marginalized populations. In this paper, I focus on the disadvantages faced by people of color, trans, and intersex people. I decided to focus on race because the history and current state of racism in society create an immense state of health disparity faced by people of color. I also focused on trans and intersex people because I am trans and have experienced discrimination and disadvantage in healthcare because of queerphobia. Ultimately, the lack of knowledge and focus on diverse marginalized groups in education, research, and medical practice is harmful both to diverse peoples and the progression of scientific and medical knowledge.

I will first explain the relevant history of scientific racism and queerphobia in science and medicine to help understand how the current state of marginalization came to be and continues to exist. I will then explain the current state of education, research, and medical practice in regard to people of color, trans, and intersex people. Then I will examine how the current lack of knowledge and focus of diversity harms marginalized peoples and science itself. Finally, I will outline some possible steps to help increase knowledge about diverse peoples to decrease the harm done and increase the progression of science. I hope that this paper will bring awareness to the problems involving science and diversity and that the harm done to all marginalized peoples will decrease and science will improve.

Additional Author Comments

Kearby Stiles (he/him/his) is a white, queer, and transgender man with a passion for science and biology, social justice, and gender and diversity studies. He hopes that this thesis will help bring awareness to the health disparities that harm people of color and queer people. Additionally, he hopes that others will begin to focus all marginalized peoples in education, scientific research, and medical practice.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.