We are building initiatives to celebrate, encourage and nurture diversity at the BES. We have a network through which our LGBT+ community can interact, share and support each other.
We work hard to make our community feel engaged, represented and included. The term ‘diversity’ is a wide umbrella and we recognise there is still work to do to achieve those aims, but we are proud of the initiatives we have already started and are excited about progressing our LGBT+ Network.
In sharing our experiences, we give greater visibility to underrepresented parts of our community. If you would like to share your story, please get in touch.
A Black Person’s Experience of BLM, Ecology, and Intersectionality
“Seeing no support in the profession I’m dedicating my life to is absolutely soul crushing, and it’s going to take an uprooting of the system to change that”
Scott Xavi Gudrich
“This article has been a long time coming… I am a Marine Scientist, the gender I live in is different from the one assigned to me at birth.
“How can we support those still struggling with their transition if we remain invisible?”
Jessica & Chloe Robinson
“We were two of only a handful of people who openly identified as being LGBTQ+ in the College of Science, let alone our Biosciences department. We were aware to keep our relationship quiet at first … We are lucky that our experience of coming out in STEM was good for both of us and this acceptance allowed us to relax into our true selves within a work environment, which is really important for overall well-being.”
“I am very fortunate to have colleagues who accept me with my identity. It is an immense pleasure to come out to people and to be embraced with my own identity.
“As an LGBT+ person, I have not faced so much discrimination at least visibly. However, I know of people being bullied for the same in India.”
“[A mentor] encouraged me to present our research at several conferences, and though I wasn’t surprised, I was also disappointed that there weren’t any (to my knowledge) out LGBTQ+ scientists to look up to.
“Despite having amazing professors to learn from and with, the same was true in my home department at my university.”
“I have learned how the vulnerability of living openly helps me connect more deeply and personally with students and colleagues.
“I have learned courage to find my own voice and speak difficult truths to others.”
LGBTQ+ STEM Day 2020
In this blog post celebrating LGBTQ+ STEM Day 2020, MEE Associate Editor Chloe Robinson discusses the current state of LGBTQ+ visibility in the STEM workplace, and what can be done to make it more inclusive.
“Navigating both the wilds of the outdoors and the savage wilderness of academia can be fraught with challenges for the proverbially glittered.
“One of the most challenging but most worthwhile accomplishments of my PhD was learning to weaponise my gayness.”
“I’ve often chosen not to apply for jobs based in places I know to be hostile to gay people.
“I hope I can one day be the Professor in the back of the minibus, proud of my students… and covered in glitter.”
“Those of us who are from minority groups who are not immediately visible will need to be more explicit and vocal about who we are.
“We are often found promoting the diversity of life, it’s just as important that we also celebrate and increase the diversity of people in our ranks.”
We aim to make the BES Annual Meeting as inclusive as possible. This includes the provision of gender neutral toilets and name badges for attendees with identifying pronouns on. If there is anything else you would like to see at our meetings, please get in touch.
An online version of our Annual Meeting LGBT+ mixer will be held during the virtual Festival of Ecology this year. If you are unsure whether to join us for this friendly, inclusive and safe mixer, read this feedback from a delegate:
“The LGBT+ mixer at the Ecology Across Borders Conference in Ghent (December 2017) was a wonderful event where I finally got to meet some other people like myself: gay as well as a scientist interested in the natural world. There were quite a few people there, and this made it all the more important to me, to see that all were eager to be there and wanted to meet others like them as well and discuss our wide-ranging research interests.
“While we are ecologists in our work life, it is important to know that there is a safe space for our community to gather. For many of us, admitting we are gay is hard enough, then we set out into a working world that is largely dominated by people who may not fully understand or wish to understand or tolerate this part of us, making us extremely careful about who we discuss our lives and work with. Whether we are from Britain or from a country that is intolerant of LGBT+ people, this mixer and potential group gives LGBT+ ecologists a place to know they are safe and welcome, allowing them to open up and share their work and research goals with others.”
Summer School LGBT+ mixer
We also hold a mixer at our annual Undergraduate Summer School to create a safe space for networking for LGBT+ students with an interest in ecology.
We have a living policy about diversity that runs through everything that we do. You can read about it here.
Our safeguarding policy has been developed to ensure that all those who engage with us and our activities are able to do so safely. Read our policy here.
Like what we stand for?
Support our mission and help develop the next generation of ecologists by donating to the British Ecological Society.