Nerds Under The Rainbow

AJ Trager

DETROIT Bringing local nerds together, Nerd Nite, a monthly event held in the Tangent Gallery in Detroit, centers on fun yet informative 18-21 minute presentations. In celebration of Pride, Nerd Nite will focus on LGBT issues and feature LGBT presenters on June 12.

The Detroit chapter was established in 2013 by Co-Bosses Liz Lamoste, Jensie Wight Simkins, Josh Diskin and Bubba Ayoub. They each have day jobs but spend their free time "nerding out." The group showcases diverse topics from conversations about alternative relationship styles titled "I Love You, You, and You - Demystifying Polyamory," to more comical presentations like "Decoding the Dead: A Zombie's Guide to Postmodern Analysis."

"June is Pride," Lamoste says, "All of our themes in the past have been squarely science or literature and that is great and awesome. We just think there is something different we can do with an LGBT theme that we haven't done before."

Leading the presentations will be Dr. Marc Breedlove, a professor of neuroscience at Michigan State University. His talk titled "Whom Do You Love: The Biology of Sexual Orientation" will discuss his recent kickstarter campaign exploring evidence that non-social factors such as the pre-natal environment affect the likelihood that a person will be gay. Other presenters have yet to be announced.

"Perhaps we'll talk about the history of the LGBT rights movement in Detroit. There are so many different things that we can say. Such as, can you tell me how rainbows work, scientifically?" Lamoste said.

The group wants to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone. Lamoste cannot say for certain if there are any LGBT members in the group, but as a whole, Nerd Nite focuses on inclusion and providing a fun space that is wonky, nerdy and casual.

"This is a safe space for not just LGBT, but for everyone in general. Some presenters are really nervous about their presentation topic. I make it very clear at an event that it is a fun, safe informal space to learn, participate and observe new conversation topics," Lamoste said.

Nerd Nite meets monthly in 75 cities across the world and brings together people with different passions and interests to learn about new things in a safe environment.

"Everyone experiences things differently," Lamoste said. " Audiences can support someone they know who is presenting, or they can learn something different while spending 20 minutes thinking about a different topic. It's something people don't do on a day-to-day basis."

Nerd Nite Detroit will host their next event June 12 at the Tangent Gallery located at 715 E Milwaukee St., Detroit. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with presentations beginning at 7 p.m. There is a $5 cover and attendees must be 18 years of age or older. Both food and alcohol are available for purchase at the Tangent Gallery.

For more information on Nerd Nite visit the event website at https://www.facebook.com/events/1411866675764633/.
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