5 July 2018, was the first international LGBT STEM Day, a global celebration of gender and sexual minorities in the fields of science, technology engineering and mathematics.
The brainchild of LGBTQ+ activists at Pride in STEM, House of STEM, Ecsite, and LGBTQ CERN, the concept of the LGBT STEM Day very quickly garnered vocal support from dozens of scientific organisations around the world, illustrating the huge underlying need for such an event.
Primarily an online event, #LGBTSTEMDay also saw several groups and institutions organising in-person events, from coffee mornings to conferences.
At CERN, members of LGBTQ CERN set up a stand outside the main cafeteria over lunchtime and gave away hundreds of colourful homemade cupcakes (including a vegan option), rainbow flags, door stickers, and wristbands to passers-by. People taking cupcakes were encouraged to make an optional donation for Dialogai, a charity providing various support services for LGBTQ+ people in Geneva. After converting many EUR, GBP, USD, SEK and RUB, and an extra donation by the counting team to reach a nice round number, the total amount donated was a fantastic 1500CHF! The funds raised are destined for Dialogai’s Refuge, a space for LGBTIQ youth facing difficult situations at home.
There was also an auction of a fabulous physics-themed rainbow-interior layer cake, raising 100CHF unto itself.
Visitors to the LGBTQ CERN stand were from all sectors of the CERN population, including staff, users, contractors, summer students, retirees, partners, high school teachers, and children of the personnel. We were especially pleased to be visited by Martin Steinacher, representing the CERN Directorate.
Some of the experimental collaborations present at CERN even went as far as temporarily changing their logos on their social media channels to a rainbow flag in support of the event.
Yesterday marks the start of an annual tradition of celebration. Of course, making STEM fields more inclusive for everyone is a daily task, and we’re pleased to have seen so much support from people at CERN. Here’s to next year.