Today (5th July) is the first LGBT STEM day, a celebration of LGBTQ+ people working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Organised by charitable trust Pride in STEM and supported by 42 STEM organisations including the RSC, IOP, CERN and ESA, it’s an opportunity to recognise and celebrate our LGBTQ+ colleagues, and to focus on what we can do to support them.
According to the press release on the Pride in STEM website, more than 40% of LGBTQ people in STEM are not out, a third of out American physicists have been told to stay in the closet to continue their career, half of transgender or gender non-conforming physicists have been harassed in academia, and it’s been shown that gay and bisexual students are less likely to follow an academic career.
“Solving these problems requires nothing short of a revolution in how we do science, talk about science, and how we expect science to be. We need inclusive and intersectional changes. To solve the many diverse challenges humanity is facing in the twenty-first century we cannot afford losing people from minority backgrounds. […] LGBTSTEMDay won’t fix all the issues, but it will shine a big light on them. We are sure it will start conversations, and that’s so important. Ignorance kills. It is time to stop pretending that the STEM disciplines are not influenced by politics and social changes. Some science might be done in a physical vacuum, but no science is done in a historical one.” – Dr. Alfredo Carpineti, Pride in STEM chair
LGBT STEM Day involves over 30 events taking place across three continents, as well as a big online push for individuals to share stories, photos, and videos about being LGBTQ+ in STEM, as part of organisations big and small.
The date, 5/07, was chosen to match the specific shade of green used in the Pride rainbow flag, which has a wavelength of 507 nanometres (aww). The University of Cambridge has produced a video, highlighting some of their amazing LGBT scientists and engineers.
Some interesting reads from LGBT mathematicians:
- On Being a Gay Mathematician – blog post by Anthony Bonato
- On performing queerness and mathematics: Emily Riehl interviews Mike Hill
- Love ≊ love : A celebration of LGBT+ Mathematicians, by Adriana Solerno