How many LGBTQ+ scientists do you know? A role model is someone who influences others and leads by example. Many of us are inspired by people who are similar to us, with a similar career path and personal identity. But when we think of scientists, it isn’t always possible to visualise someone we can relate to. So how do we showcase a better diversity of people to help us all find our role models?
LGBTQ+ is an acronym used to describe those with diverse sexualties and gender identities. It stands for:
L = lesbian
G = gay
B = bisexual
T = transgender
Q = queer / questioning
+ = the community includes a wide range of identities beyond those covered by the LGBTQ acronym, such as pansexual, intersex, asexual, agender, aromantic, demisexual and others.
Discrimination and harassment are disproportionally experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. A 2019 report from the Institute of Physics, Royal Astronomical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry highlighted that 28% of LGBTQ+ STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) respondents had at some point considered leaving their workplace because of the climate or discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people, and that 30% of respondents had witnessed exclusionary behaviour.
In 2021, Dr Sam Rowe (Earlham Institute) and Ro Procter (Youth STEMM Award) collaborated with Norwich Science Festival and local artist Charlie James to host a series of LGBTQ+ in STEMM events. With funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry, we hosted an exhibition to celebrate the diversity of people and roles within STEMM. It aimed to boost the LGBTQ+ voice within scientific environments.
The exhibition gave a voice to LGBTQ+ STEMM professionals that many young people do not come across until later stages of academia.
To help us inspire the next generation of scientists, and support our diverse population, please download and share the exhibition at your local institute, school or college.
Project supported by: