Science communicators belong on the front line of diversity and equality issues in STEM. We are the ones who can start uncomfortable conversations, introduce new narratives, and create a platform for more diverse voices in science. I assembled the March for Science Ireland team, and am now focussing on LGBTQ representation and visibility in Irish science.
LGBTQ in STEM
LGBTQ people are a hidden minority in STEM in Ireland. There is a lack of data and support for LGBTQ representation in Irish STEM in terms of both policy and culture. A lack of role models and significant national discourse means that we do not know the experiences or challenges specific to LGBTQ people working in STEM fields in Ireland.
Hiding LGBTQ identity at work has a significant impact on the health, well-being and career. Conversely, improving diversity and representation of underrepresented minorities in STEM improved the workplace environment for everyone, and improves the quality of scientific research.
Along with some friends and colleagues, and with the support of some fantastic national organisations, I have set up a network of LGBTQ scientists in Ireland. Over the coming months, we will be launching several initiatives to improve representation and inclusion for our community.
In 2016, I joined Sacha Coward and Russell Dornan as part of Queering Museums, an initiative to bring queer museum content to a wider audience, and a network for LGBTQ museum workers. The @QueeringMuseums Twitter account is an online museum of queerness that is quickly becoming a hub for queer museum workers and an online presence for the Museum pride London network. The Queering Museums Podcast was produced as part of LGBT History Month in the UK, and featured diverse LGBTQ voices from the international museum and heritage sector. A second season of the podcast is now in development.
Here's an episode of Queering Museums where we looked at LGBTQ identity in science centres and science museums.