For hundreds of years, science has been traditionally thought of as a heterosexual, male field. And now, even in the 21st century, there is little encouragement or support for scientists who do not fit this mold.
Isabel Ott describes herself on Twitter as a "Bunyavirus enthusiast." She's a virologist who studies mosquito-borne virus evolution, and she's also a proud bisexual.
This week, she started a new hashtag, #BiInSci, to increase visibility for bisexual members of the #LGBTQinSTEM community.
Hi everyone! I'm a bisexual virologist who studies mosquito-borne virus evolution. I'm starting the hashtag #BiInSci to increase visibility for bisexual members of the #LGBTQinSTEM community. Feel free to join in! pic.twitter.com/IvuJpJxweg— Isabel Ott (@DiagnosticChick) April 17, 2018
The future of science depends on innovation and diversity of thought. LGBTQ individuals are an important part of this diversity.
Yet many do not feel comfortable opening up about their sexuality in a discipline that prides itself on being as impersonal and unbiased as possible.
Often in the scientific community, putting forward a personal identity is seen as a direct opposition to scientific neutrality - even if it has nothing to do with the actual academic work.
As a result, personal identities are often conspicuously missing from academia, creating a scarcity of scientist role models for LGBTQ youth.
Movements like Ott's #BiInSci go a long way towards increasing the visibility of LGBTQ scientists around the world.
And so far, the responses have been all kinds of wonderful.
The amazing .@DiagnosticChick started #BiInSci to showcase #bi people in #LGBTQinSTEM. I'm a bi macroecologist & conservation biologist & I study #extinction. Being #bisexual often means not feeling part of any community, but let's not forget what the "B" in LGBTQ+ means. pic.twitter.com/v6EyLzqk6E— Kevin R. Burgio (@KRBurgio) April 18, 2018
I'm an isotope geochemist and also #BiInSci. It's been my mission to promote visibility of bi folx in the middle of the spectrum for years, because we face the same troubles as the rest of #LGBTQinSTEM, except no one believes we're real. But we are real humans of all types. pic.twitter.com/DQ9uVTlEoO— Kendra Chritz (@kl13c) April 18, 2018
And, of course, there were the inevitable puns.
Although, with an abundance of biological scientists, some fields were beginning to feel left out.
Seems like the majority of #BiInSci people are in biology. That can't just be because of the pun, so where are all our bi physicists at? ❤️💜💙— LGBT+ Physics (@LGBT_Physics) April 19, 2018
Apparently there's a #BiInSci 🏳️🌈⚛️ and I'm here for it!— Karen 👩🏼🚀 (@KarenPhysics) April 20, 2018
I'm a mexican physics student aiming to be a theoretical cosmologist beacuse I'm really bad at experimental stuff. I also love #scicomm.
fyi you can tell these are old beacuse I had long hair 🤯 pic.twitter.com/OV541fdnfi
Even astrophysicist and science communicator Katie Mack jumped on board the hashtag train.
A raise of the mug and a high-five for diversity in science and all those who participated.
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