Many LGBT+ people do not find the physical sciences to be a comfortable working environment – and have thought about leaving.
Despite progress, many LGBT+ physical scientists have experienced or observed exclusionary behaviour in the workplace.
In partnership with the Institute of Physics and the Royal Astronomical Society, we have conducted a comprehensive survey to gather data from across the community – giving us new insights into the current workplace environment for LGBT+ physical scientists.
The majority of LGBT+ scientists think the working environment is improving
But we need to do more, with many reporting a lack of awareness of LGBT+ issues in their workplace.
What feels like a hostile environment to one person is not always obvious to those around them.
Feelings of discomfort are not necessarily the result of overt negativity, some of the actions that cause them might be almost imperceptible, or easily ignored.
Common signifiers of an exclusionary environment include:
Workplace policies and procedures that don’t adequately support employees that are not heterosexual and cisgender.
The incorrect use of pronouns to address or refer to LBGT+ employees.
Casual insensitive humour, even when not maliciously intended.
Ultimately, what any minority group-belonging person wants is, when push comes to shove, will my organisation support me?
Doing the best for science means retaining LGBT+ scientists.
No one is definable by a single characteristic – we are all complex individuals subject to a whole host of different influences. But, to create an environment where the best scientists can flourish and the best science can be done, we need to make sure everyone feels comfortable.
If we can do that it won’t just benefit our LGBT+ colleagues, but everyone in our workplaces.