Event raising awareness about discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in STEM

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                                          (photo from the Sexuality & STEM event)

A conference aimed at raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues will be held later this month.

Discrimination against LGBTQ+ people – including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer/questioning, etc – continues in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), according to recent reports.

The online conference “STEM, LGBTQ+ AND You” will be held on 23 February and it will include presentations from LGBTQ+ people studying and working in STEM and their experiences in the field.

Dr Tyler Kelly, a reader in Geometry at the University of Birmingham, believes that people from that community are often overlooked or ignored in scientific communities.

Dr Kelly said: “The Institute of Physics, Royal Astronomical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry report found that LGBTQ+ people from all queer identities were more likely to experience exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or harassing behaviour because of their gender and sexual identity.

“There are some members of the community that end up discriminating for one reason or another.

“Such discrimination can take the form of them being not citing others in academic articles, not invited to speak in research conferences and seminars, etc.

“It’s currently not an ideal situation, but that will not change without active dialogue and institutions employing people working in STEM do the work to institute good practice with respect to equality diversity and inclusion.”

Another event related to this issue, “Sexuality & STEM in the past and present”, was held on 9 February.

The event was organized on behalf of the University of Birmingham’s Rainbow Network, which represents the university’s LGBTQ+ staff, and the Transformational HPS network (the field of professional historians and philosophers of science). 

Dominic Berry, a historian and philosopher of science based at the University of Birmingham, said: “HPS has begun to recognise the importance of studying sexuality in relation to the sciences.

“At the moment, there are only a small number of historians dedicated to this work, and the majority of them are based in the United States.

“We hope that the “Sexuality & Stem in the past and present” event inspired more people to reflect on the ways that sexuality matters in their own lives, to take actions that increase the representation of queer people in the sciences and make more people aware of the new historical work on this topic.”

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