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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.
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+.
The committee released the full report at the APS March Meeting 2016 (view presentation slides ) and presented the report at the APS April Meeting 2016.
One of the recommendations from the LGBT+ Climate in Physics report was for the APS to establish a Forum on Diversity and Inclusion that works to build a more inclusive, diverse and equitable society for all physicists including women, racial/ethnic minorities, those who identify as LGBT+, persons with disabilities, and others. The Forum was approved by the Board in 2019.
Over one third of LGBT+ physicists considered leaving their department or workplace last year.
The APS has been working consistently since the publication of the LGBT Climate in Physics report to follow through on the recommendations.
In June 2019, the Institute of Physics (IOP), The Royal Astronomical Society, and The Royal Society of Chemistry released a new report: Exploring the Workplace for LGBT+ Physical Scientists. Using the 2014 LGBT+ Climate in Physics report as its basis, Exploring the Workplace sets out a framework of action to improve workplace cultures so that LGBT+ scientists are comfortable and working in an environment free from discrimination and harrassment.
For more information on the IOP report’s key findings and a link to the full report, see below:
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+ Climate in Physics
LGBT+ Climate in Physics Press Conference