The Royal Society’s Annual Diversity Conference, ‘Diversity Matters – the road to inclusivity’ provided an uplifting environment to learn about initiatives in a range of workplaces. Meeting representatives from across the science sector, including from education and government, who are dedicated to improving diversity, was a hugely motivational and informative experience.
“I don’t mind people who are gay; I just don’t want that flaunted in my face”. That’s what Fran Cowling, one of the panel members at The Royal Society’s event, Out in STEM was once told.
While unfortunately similar remarks can still be heard regarding LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people, most of the panel members said they had experienced a lot of support from friends and colleagues when they had decided to come out. They said they felt a sense of liberation as they no longer had to lead two lives and hide who they truly were. “Although I have encountered some isolated examples of unpleasantness, I can’t say that my career has suffered any adverse consequences”, writes Peter Coles, one of the speakers.
So when choosing to be out in the workplace or when studying – what influences this choice?
WATCH: Sally Le Page, evolutionary biology PhD student at The University of Oxford and maker of Shed Science videos, on her sexuality and why she thinks queer visibility is important in STEM: