It is an international day of celebration for LGBTQIA+ people working in STEMM fields that was started by UK-based organisation Pride in STEM. By recognising and showcasing the contributions that LGBTQIA+ people have made to research, we can powerfully challenges the cis-heteronormative stereotype of STEMM. This is why QueersInScience holds an annual symposium, as well as other visibility campaigns and festivities, to mark the date. 

Why is this needed?

There is still a great deal of work to be done to create safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ people in STEMM in Australia. Research shows that LGBTQIA+ people still struggle to openly be themselves in their workplaces, and within STEMM have lower retention rates, and students are more likely to withdraw from University than their heterosexual and cisgender classmates (Yoder et al., 2015). This is attributable to poor visibility of LGBTQIA+ professionals in STEMM, and lack of support for policies, management guidance, and career resources tailored to the needs of LGBTQIA+ employees. LGBTQIA+ employees who are not out at work are 45% less likely to be satisfied with their job, and twice as likely to ‘feel down’ compared to employees who are out to everyone at work (Diversity Council of Australia, 2018). 

Out LGBTQIA+ employees are 50% more likely to be innovative, and 35% more likely to work highly effectively in their teams (Diversity Council of Australia, 2018) – both essential for excelling in STEMM. To remove barriers to LGBTQIA+ people reaching their full potential in STEMM, we must strive to promote visibility, celebrate diversity, and encourage allies and workplaces to build safe and supportive work cultures.