In case you missed it, yesterday was the very first international day of  LGBTQ+ people in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). The 5th July date was chosen for the geekiest of reasons: it can be written as 5/07 or 7/05 (depending on which side of the Atlantic your are on); in nanometres these are the wavelengths of the colours green and red that feature in rainbow symbol adopted to represent the LGBTQ+ community.

The College celebrated the day by adding rainbow icons to its social media feeds and posted profiles of four of our staff members from our own LGBTQ+ community. Laurence’s profile is below, but thanks also to Giulia, Dan and Ji Young for sharing their experiences; and to Ben, who wrote about why the day matters to him.

In Nature a moving article by Dr. Jon Freeman, a gay assistant professor at Stanford, described his experiences of isolation with academia and the importance to him of discovering senior LGBTQ+ colleagues who understood what he was going through and gave him hope.

“Just being able to talk science with a more senior researcher who was ‘like me’ was a powerful signal that I had a place in the scientific community.”

The importance of such contacts cannot be under-estimated. So I hope all staff and postgraduate students are aware that the Imperial600 network is open to them. Along with Imperial600, the EDI Centre at the College will be working over the coming months to train a network of allies – non-LGBTQ+ staff who have volunteered to offer understanding and support to LGBTQ+ colleagues. I had my first training session at the LSE earlier this week.

And finally, Imperial will once again be participating in the Pride in London march tomorrow – watch out for us if you’re in town tomorrow.

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