The Twitter account BioTweeps, which features all things biology, has started an important conversation about diversity in science, using the new hashtag #LGBTscience.
Each week BioTweeps is run by a different biologist, and last week first year PhD student Robin Hayward took the reigns and used the platform to boost the visibility of LGBTQ scientists around the world.
I would love it then if we could take the time this week to boost the visibility of some LGBT+ academics using the hashtag #LGBTscience [IMPORTANT: make sure they're ok with it before boosting! Double check first if you're not sure someone is out on twitter] 🏳️🌈— Biotweeps – Morgan (@biotweeps) January 29, 2018
LGBTQ people make contributions in every field of science, yet many do not feel safe opening up about their personal identities in a discipline that prides itself on being as impersonal, bipartisan, gender-neutral and race-neutral as humanly possible.
Often in the scientific community, putting forward a personal identity is seen as a direct opposition to scientific neutrality - even if it has nothing to do with the actual academic work. As a result, personal identities are often conspicuously missing from academia, creating a scarcity of scientist role models for LGBTQ youth.
But thanks to Hayward's hashtag, LGBTQ scientists from around the world have been given a stage from which they can talk about their work, their personal identities and how their diversity makes science better.
#LGBTscience hi yes crushes and romance are a bit of a mystery to me, but I'm studying engineering at Cambridge, ready to build up the 9% of women and 6% of bme people in the engineering workforce!! pic.twitter.com/vOmGuFOIGx— caryn (@cxryny) February 1, 2018
Diversity in science is good. Academia should be a safe environment for everybody, and a place where LGBT people can come out without problems. Glad I'm not afraid to be openly gay despite the situation in my country! #LGBTscience https://t.co/7f08geegeZ— Simone Gastaldon (@s_gastaldon) February 3, 2018
I just came across this very important thread #LGBTscience. What a great idea! I wish there were more LGBTQI role models when I was moving through the ranks. I'm a proud lesbian and professor of microbiology who studies alternate bacterial lifestyles 🏳️🌈🌈— Professor Cynthia Whitchurch (@Cwhitch) January 30, 2018
Thanks to such a supportive and respectful community, some scientists even found the courage to come out in public for the first time.
Thank you #LGBTscience for giving me the courage to first ever explicitly say it in public (after 3 days of hesitation). I am #LGBTQ in STEM and a PhD student in the @RZ_Lab at @PittBioSci. I study sexual selection and color divergence in a polymorphic poison frog! 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/2Pcv6L0TFF— Yusan Yang (@yusan_yang) February 1, 2018
#LGBTscience has given me the strength to say this for the first time to those outside of my circle of trust: I am a bisexual, native woman studying microbes in salt marshes. I am also married to a male partner, though that doesn't change my queer identity! 🏳️🌈🌿🌊 #LGBTIQ— Ashley Bulseco-McKim (@MarshMicrobe) February 1, 2018
While others used the opportunity to talk about the work that they love.
A very gay girl studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science with a major in Physics this year. I love being gay as much as I love physics! And that's a hell of a lot. 😉🏳️🌈 #LGBTscience— kat (@bxIlets) February 1, 2018
Hello #LGBTscience! It's ace to see this trending and and hear the stories brilliant LGBTQ+ scientists. Im a queer postdoc at researching neurodiverse interaction, and I have a PhD in cognitive ageing. Hello! 👋🏼 (picture from wonderful @ErrantScience) pic.twitter.com/a9biBmfjWX— Catherine Crompton (@cjcrompton) February 1, 2018
Hi #lgbtscience! I'm a bisexual black woman with a PhD in Neurosci. I studied the synaptic organization of deep layer cortical neurons, and co-founded @jhscipolgroup. ✊🏽 🏳️🌈 As a recovering grad on the job hunt, I'm interested in sci pol and #scicomm! (TY @djottenheimer!) pic.twitter.com/yLjXFvUXaR— Chanel Matney, PhD (@cortexana) February 3, 2018
The hashtag featured LGBTQ scientists from near and far...
Jumping in on #LGBTscience! I'm a queer/gay ecologist focused on herpetology currently studying invasive tegu lizard demographics. I'm starting a PhD in Australia in March to work with bearded dragon sex reversal. I also tweet about mental health and queerness.— Phil Pearson (@pr_pearson) January 29, 2018
Taking a break from my usual astronomy work for an undergrad internship at CERN studying particle physics, and I am already researching how to help them implement better trans policies! #LGBTscience— Evan (@evandmitri) February 3, 2018
And heart-warming messages to supportive friends and loved ones.
Proud to be on Team #LGBTscience. I'm a bacterial cell biologist, a wife, and a mom. Lucky to have @ekreils by my side through my whole journey in academic science. #twoerins pic.twitter.com/bLdDeXrefX— Erin Goley (@goleylab) February 3, 2018
Jumping on the #LGBTscience express! I'm a gaysian neuroscientist who studied molecular mechs of memory, and now advocate for science and scientists at @ASBMB, where Im lucky to be around coworkers who made this for a holiday decor contest @allisonfrick. Thanks @djottenheimer! pic.twitter.com/YPebN2zNAf— daniel pham (@dpham20) February 3, 2018
There's too much love and inspiration for this hashtag not to continue.
Thank you all for making the #LGBTscience tag so successful this week! When I posted it on Monday I didn't expect it to get nearly so big and I really hope we can carry it on now that my time is ending at @biotweeps! You are all wonderful!— Biotweeps (@biotweeps) February 3, 2018
Check out the full thread here.