Thursday, December 18, 2008

Long article on LGBTQ scientists from "Science"

There's a long article on LGBTQ scientists in Science Magazine's "Science Careers", linked for your reading pleasure.

Thoughts?

(Pictured is Stanford's Ben Barres.)

4 comments:

estraven said...

I have a question. At a dinner with (beginning) grad students, after enough wine had been drunk, two of them told a story of how they mistakenly went to a gay party and then ran away because of... (suspense...) a drag queen. Or, to quote them, "a man dressed as a woman, singing".

We have no out GLBT student, nor professor or staff member. I live in a small town in a small country. What should I do?

For the record, what I said is "I wonder how come you were so frightened. In the few occasions where I've seen a drag show in a gay bar, I found it very funny". It is maybe not impressive, but it is actually true.

PS Sorry for asking such a stupid question. It just happened less than a week ago and I'm still unsure what, if any, I should do. And one of the things I thought was to send everybody a link to either your blog post or the article you reference.

The AstroDyke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The AstroDyke said...

I think it's appropriate to circulate the Science article, with an intro like, "This is an interesting article on diversity in science, that I thought would be of interest to the department." Not necessarily after a dumb-comment incident, just generally.

One of my life goals is to better emulate my friend Andy, who always has a funny, sarcastic comment ready at absurd moments like this. Andy will generate a joke that makes everyone laugh (so it saves face), but cuts at the heart of the matter. It also keeps the focus on the dumb comment, not your anger. In this case, it would probably be a comment about the ridiculousness of a grown man being scared of a guy in a dress.

Since your dumb-comment-makers are young grad students, I would try to have faith that they can learn, that they've been raised in a culture that thought them that their little story was funny, that drag queens are weird & scary. That they haven't confronted those prejudices yet. That maybe, someone saying, "No, wait, you RAN from a drag queen? Good lord, why? Did she have a chainsaw? Or were you actually scared you'd catch The Gay?" may be the reality-check they need. (Or at least, a little smackdown to keep them from making dumbass comments when they're around YOU.)

estraven said...

"Did she have a chainsaw?"
Dang! I wish I was as witty as that. It's even better in my language, where the sentence doesn't need a pronoun so you don't need to face the he/she divide.

Your idea of circulating the link anyway seems good. Maybe I just should be in the habit of circulating relevant news.

"I would try to have faith that they can learn"
That is precisely my hope. I was almost as ignorant as they were when very young. I have more or less given up hope on my elder colleagues (who are at least GLBT-uncomfortable, if not directly homophobic).

Thanks a lot for answering, and of course for signalating the article in the first place. Keep writing! There's people reading you on the other side of the world. At least one :-).