Offspring and Equal Opportunity present: Awareness Months

by Yorick Peterse, Juan Bermejo-Vega & Alice Cezanne

February 22, 2017

Diversity and inclusion are essential to science. For this reason, the Offspring and Equal Opportunity groups decided to start a collaboration last year, which led to the article “Have you ever felt discriminated against? Discrimination in science is real”.

This was just the starting point of an initiative to discuss diversity- and inclusion-related topics in science and academia. Now we take the next step, by presenting the phenomenon of:

Awareness Months!

Adopted from a by now a long-standing tradition in the UK, US and Canada, during certain months of the year organizations or governmental bodies typically communicate about topics related to a specific issue of diversity or discrimination. This may take the form of informative or historical articles, personal accounts and experiences or an academic institution reaching out about their current research related to the issue. The obvious goal is to raise awareness for the issue at hand, but also to inform people, and thereby increase tolerance and create equal opportunities for all. 

Over the following months (and hopefully years) we are excited to deliver articles about the following topics:

  • February: LGBT History Month
  • March: Women´s History Month
  • May: Mental Health Awareness Month
  • October: Ethnic Diversity Month (adapted from Black History month in the UK/US)
  • December: Disability Month

As it is February already, we immediately kick-off with LGBT History month! For the remainder of the month we will bring you articles and perspectives on the history and current experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community in science. But first, let’s start with the basics:, what does LGBTQIA+ stand for?

  • The first three letters refer to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual, and refer to non-heterosexual orientations, i.e., whom you feel sexually attracted to, fall in love with etc.
  • The T, for (Transgender,) on the other hand, relates to gender identity: whether someone identifies as a man, woman, both, neither, or as something different.
  • The I stands for Intersex, a person with sexual characteristics that do not fit in the conventional definitions for male and female.
  • The A stands for Asexual, a person who experiences no or low sexual attraction or desire.
  • Finally, the Q for Queer and the + sign refer to people with any non-normative sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity, or people who do not feel associated to any of the aforementioned categories.

Keep an eye on the Offspring blog this month to read more about LGBTQIA+ history, science and life as a queer researcher. Also, have a look at the LGBT History Month´s official UK page, and Berlin’s Queer History Month:

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