Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Pride and Freedom in the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Meenakshi Prabhune

Hello all,

Hope you had (and still having) a great 4th of July weekend. Summer is always a great time in any place, where people are full of energy and ready to participate in numerous activities. June was especially fun with all the pride celebrations to support the LGBTQ community. We also had a small gathering at my workplace with great food, colorful drinks, and custom Pride-Tshirts. A few people spoke about the history of Stonewall riots and the long way we have come since then as a society. It was very emotional and at the same time a great feeling, considering the progress we have made (especially being in California, we may take these things for granted).

Why bring this up in a science newsletter? Because these social issues are not separate from our professional life. STEM labs and workplaces also have to actively trying to make sure they are inclusive towards diverse communities. Like every other field, they are not devoid of issues.
In one of my articles about how researchers battle the bottleneck of academic faculty positions, I came across a Stanford report that showed how same sex couples have an additional factor to think about in their limited options- acceptance of their lifestyle in that geographical location. In another example, I saw a recent Twitter thread where a professor mocked someone for posting about being unconventional and unique. Thankfully, the community support is growing stronger. The scientist responded on Twitter by coming up with Unique Scientists website to encourage others in his position. Other ongoing efforts in this regard include a PrideinSTEM organization that declared July 5th as LGBT STEM Day.  While it is heartening to see people stepping up at a community level, we can help on a personal level as well. Make sure your workplace fosters a healthy environment for all communities to feel welcome. Remember that a small word of support could mean a lot to your fellow colleagues.

I will keep my ramblings short this week and move on to my event picks for the upcoming week: 

  1. Made for Space: After Dark:  Thu,  6:00 PM,  San Francisco
  2. ‘LIKE’: A Documentary About the Impact of Social Media on Our Lives   Fri, 6:30 PM, Mountain View
  3. Trekking the Model   Sat, 1:00 PM, Sausalito

Have a curious week ahead!
Meenakshi Prabhune (a.ka. Minu),
Science Writer & Journalist

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