Exciting new changes at LGBTQ+ STEM

Alex Bond & Izzy Jayasinghe

It seems impossible to write about diversity, equity and inclusion, in STEM or in broader society, without thinking about the horrendous racism and police brutality going on in the US, or the impact of Covid-19 on BAME health care workers in the UK. STEM is political, and STEM is people. You simply cannot be for diversity in STEM and not angry, upset, or scarred right now. And that’s ok.

We’re announcing some changes for us as an organization, in what we do, and how we do it. Last November, we celebrated our 5th anniversary and we sought feedback about what folks would like to see from us in the years to come. The feedback has been incredibly helpful, and we’ll be rolling out some new things and addressing some of the issues raised to make us a better, more inclusive organization. We need to be better at recognizing, and supporting, the intersectionality of BAME folks in STEM. We need to be more transparent about how we do things. We’re a small organization, and we’ve grown rapidly; there were >250 people at the STEMinar last January, and we need to adapt. We continue to welcome your feedback and suggestions on how to improve and evolve LGBTQ+ STEM, via either the feedback survey or email.

Welcome to Izzy Jayasinghe

As we announced on Twitter earlier this year, we’re delighted to welcome Izzy Jayasinghe on board to help with the day-to-day running of LGBTQ+ STEM. Izzy is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Sheffield in the UK, and was a plenary speaker at the 2019 LGBTQ+ STEMinar in London. She joins Alex Bond, from the Natural History Museum, in running LGBTQ+ STEM day-to-day. Beth Montague-Hellen, our founder, instigator, and all-round superstar, is stepping back to focus on other projects (but will still be around sporadically!).

Updated logo

We’ve also, thanks to the amazing artist Claire Brand, given our logo a much-needed update which now matches the broader ethos we try to encompass. Claire designed our original logo 5 years ago, and has kindly given it a refresh. You should all check her out!

The LGBTQ+ STEM Blog

Lastly, we’re very pleased to announce that this post is the start of the LGBTQ+ STEM Blog, a place for writing around any topic touching the LGBTQ+ community, and science, technology, engineering and maths. Five years ago, we helped break open the visibility of LGBTQ+ students, professionals and academics in STEM with the STEMinar. Now we want this blog to be a platform for the new frontiers that are faced by our community, including diversity within the LGBTQ+ community in terms of race, gender, disability, age and social class, continuing the fight for the rights of trans, nonbinary and gender diverse people, personal and professional experiences of LGBTQ+ colleagues in their careers in various corners of STEM. We would also want this to be a posterboard which builds community, resilience and collaboration between the LGBTQ+ communities in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Most importantly, it won’t be us writing; anyone can contribute.

The topic can be anything – personal reflections, resources, experiences, stories – and includes the broadest definitions of STEM both in terms of the authors (academic, non-academic, industry, practitioner, undergraduate, professional, technician) and subjects (science, technology, engineering, and maths broadly defined, and including science & technology studies). If you’re not sure, just get in touch, and chances are we’ll say “yes!”. We can also publish posts anonymously (we do need to know who you are, though that won’t be public).

If you’re interested in contributing, you can send any submissions as editable document (we can work with pretty much any format). All contributions should follow our Code of Practice:

  • We welcome contributions which make a positive impact on the LGBTQ+ community and encourage kindness as a guiding principle for delivering a positive message.
  • Refrain using language or information which may affect others’ dignity or well-being, out anybody or reveal personal circumstances without consent.
  • Avoid insults directed at individuals or groups, diminishing, discriminatory, negative or exclusionary comments about any physical attributes or identity, including sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • If photography or imagery are included, ensure that they are appropriate for generalist audiences, creates no harm to any individuals. You must also either hold the rights to publish those images or have the capacity to publish it under CC-BY license.
  • Citations are not strictly policed in the blog, however clearly referencing the original ideas or material which do not belong to you via footnotes, hyperlinks or a bibliography is encouraged where appropriate.

Submissions can be emailed to us, and we’ll work with you to give it a quick polish.

We’ve got a couple of very exciting posts lined up for this month, and look forward to more!

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