Harassment is a serious issue in academia — including the sciences — that negatively impacts climate, retention, and productivity. Anyone can experience workplace harassment but some individuals, such as those who identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, as well as other sexual and gender minorities), are more vulnerable.
The American Physical Society's Ad Hoc Committee on LGBT Issues (C-LGBT), formed in 2014, is charged to:
Advise the APS on the current status of LGBT issues in physics, provide recommendations for greater inclusion, and engage physicists in laying the foundation for a more inclusive physics community. More specifically, the committee will investigate LGBT representation in physics, assess the educational and professional climate in physics, recommend changes in policies and practices that impact LGBT physicists, and address other issues that affect inclusion.
Report: LGBT Climate in Physics
The C-LGBT obtained information through focus groups held at APS meetings, a detailed climate survey, and a set of in-depth interviews with individuals who self-identify as LGBT.
- LGBT physicists have faced uneven protection and support from legislation and policies.
- The overall climate experienced by LGBT physicists was highly variable.
- In many physics environments, social norms establish expectations of closeted behavior.
- Isolation was a common theme for many LGBT physicists.
- A significant fraction of LGBT physicists have experienced or observed exclusionary behavior.
- LGBT physicists with additional marginalized identities faced greater levels of discrimination.
- Transgender and gender-nonconforming physicists encountered the most hostile environments.
- Many LGBT physicists were at risk for leaving their workplace or school.
- LGBT physicists reported trouble identifying allies to help mitigate isolation, exclusion, or marginalization.
- Ensure a safe and welcoming environment at APS meetings.
- Address the need to systematically accommodate name changes in publication records.
- Develop advocacy efforts that support LGBT equity and inclusion.
- Promote LGBT-inclusive practices in academia, national labs, and industry.
- Implement LGBT-inclusive mentoring programs.
- Support the establishment of a Forum on Diversity and Inclusion.
Talks: LGBT Physicists
LGBT Climate in Physics
News: LGBT Physicists
- Citing HB2, American Physical Society moves 2018 meeting from Charlotte. (2016). The Charlotte Observer.
- Discriminatory North Carolina Restroom Law Prompts Major Scientific Society to Move Annual Meeting. (2016). APS.
- Physicists Take On Work and Classroom Culture for LGBT Scientists. (2016). AAAS.
- How to Support LGBT Scientists After Orlando. (2016). Union of Concerned Scientists.
- When Bathrooms and Supernovae Collide: Anti-LGBTQ Legislation is Hindering Participation in Science. (2016). Women in Astronomy.
- Transgender Physicists Face Fresh Challenges. (2016). APS News.
- The week in science: 18-24 March 2016. (2016). Nature.
- We still have a long way to go: What we learned from the APS LGBT in physics report. (2016). The Institute of Physics Blog.
- LGBT Physicists Face Discrimination, Exclusion, Intimidation. (2016). Scientific American.
- Excluded, intimidated and harassed: LGBT physicists face discrimination. (2016). Nature.
- Gay bigotry collides with particle physics. (2016). The Times.
- Where people and particles collide. (2016). Physics World.
- New Report Shows Need to Improve Working Conditions for LGBT Physicists. (2016). Feministing.
- The APS Committee on LGBT Issues: Findings and Recommendations. (2016). The Gazette.
- The Back Page: Is Physics Open and Accepting for LGBT People?. (2016). APS News.
- Climate Concerns Among LGBT Physicists. (2016). Inside Higher Ed.
- APS launches ‘LGBT Climate in Physics’ report. (2016). Physics World.
- APS looks to improve climate for LGBT physicists. (2015). Physics Today.
- LGBT academics aim to wipe out ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ culture. (2014). Research.
- Equality: Standing out. (2014). Nature.
- Climate Change. (2013). Inside Higher Ed.
- Gravitational wave researcher succeeds by being herself. (2012). Science.
- Letters: APS Council Acted Responsibly on Colorado Statement. (1994). APS News.
- Letters: Council Statement Unjustly Penalizes Colorado Members. (1994). APS News.
In the report, C-LGBT included a resource guide for LGBT and other issues that includes LGBT support and advocacy groups in physics and astronomy, LGBT support in the wider STEM community, other diversity organizations in physics and astronomy, academic readings, media resources, and social media resources.
- lgbt+physicists: An advocacy group for people in physics who are considered sexual minorities and/or gender minorities. Their website hosts an OutList, with names of physics professionals who choose to publicly identify themselves as LGBT physicists or allies, as well as media resources and a blog.
- Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy: SGMA is a committee of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) that works to promote equality for sexual-orientation and gender minorities within the Astronomy profession.
- Supporting LGBT+ Physicists & Astronomers: Best Practices Guide for Academic Departments : A document, primarily directed at department chairs, intended to serve as a guide for creating an inclusive department environment that is free from harassment and discrimination against LGBT physicists and astronomers. The guide includes both shortterm and long-term department-level suggestions, as well as several recommendations for university-level policies intended to guide conversations with institution administrators. The Best Practices Guide was developed in collaboration between lgbt+physicists and SGMA.
- Campus Pride: national organization of student leaders working to create a safer environment for LGBT students, for example through their SafeSpace Training.
- oSTEM (Out in STEM): national society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership for LGBT communities in the STEM fields
- Michigan State University's QuILL training can serve as a model for LGBT-inclusive training