June went by in a flash. Much like a burst of light, it composed the full spectrum of a radiant rainbow. In this vibrant month, we came together to joyously celebrate the kaleidoscope of identities and love that Pride represents. Now we are at the end of this month, we chose to do a Q&A to actively engage with the LGBTQ+ community and promote dialogue around inclusion in STEM.
This Q&A-blog was inspired by conversations we have had with LGBTQ+ advocates and members of our In2scienceUK community.
Have discussions with our community [LGBTQ+] changed your approach to Pride this year?
Definitely. Communication is our biggest asset, and sometimes we get lost in our conversations and just keep talking; this year we really sat back, and listened. Learning about new ways to celebrate Pride month, the importance of highlighting role models in this community to the subtle changes we can make to improve the culture at our organisation. Reflecting on Pride month, we heard the same few words coming up from several members of this community. Performative. Disingenuous. Commercialisation. With this in mind, we set out to do things differently. We talked about the work we do before and after Pride month. This includes sharing profiles of LGBTQ+ STEM creators and highlight workshops with industry-leading LGBTQ+ STEM professionals. It was the little things we did this month that stood out for members of this community. For those of you with the closest attention to details, you may have noticed the subtle tonal hues of LGBTQ+ artists in the background of some of our videos this month. Rest assured, we thought meticulously about the way we celebrated this month, and will continue listening to member of this community all year round.
We don’t just talk about LGBTQ+ issues in June, because there are 365 days in a year that are also perfectly fine to show our support.
How can I be an Ally in STEM?
You can make an incredible difference in STEM, and we’re not just talking about breath-taking discoveries. You can make this difference today by becoming an ally. You have the power to ignite a powerful ripple effect of change that breaks down some of the barriers people face in STEM. You can do this by calling out discrimination of any kind, mentor aspiring scientists from underrepresented backgrounds, and advocating for inclusive policies and practices at your institution or school. Confronting discrimination in all of its ugly forms is the fastest route to making STEM fields more accessible and fostering social mobility.
We want you to help us open doors for disadvantaged individuals because we know first-hand of the undiscovered talent just waiting to be found.
What message does In2ScienceUK have for LGBTQ+ students pursuing STEM careers?
Seek out mentors and allies who will support your dreams and guide you to reach new heights. Your identity, your authentic self, is a powerful asset that enriches the world of STEM and you should never think that this part of yourself holds your genius back. You may face roadblocks and discrimination, so it is important that you find your people that will support you, and recognise that your presence in STEM is a force to be reckoned with. Never hesitate to seek support along your journey because you’re not alone. Your achievements will soon come and will be more than personal triumphs; they may well become industry-leading beacons that inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Know that you are carving a path that inspires future generations of LGBTQ+ scientists and the stage is set for you to leave an indelible mark in the world of STEM!