It is hardly a surprise that members of the geoscience community who identify as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and others who fall under the umbrella but do not identify with these categories) are likely to face more obstacles in their career compared to their cisgender and heterosexual colleagues. This is true for people at all career levels, including students, researchers, and senior staff members. Furthermore, if they come from an under-represented community, they might even experience the cumulative effect of an intersection of other factors, including sexism, racism, ableism, and colonialism.
LGBTQIA+ at EGU
Although EGU asks for the gender of its members, this is a non-compulsory question. As of this year (2022), we know that our members comprise 60% male, 37% female, 0.3% non-binary, and 2.5% of people prefer not to say. Of those, 40% are students and within this student group, 53% are male, 44% are female, 0.4% non-binary and 1.95% prefer not to say. The EGU however does not collect information such as sexual orientation for privacy reasons. So it is difficult to estimate the percentage of our geoscience community that identifies as LGBTQIA+.
EGU members can however add badges to their digital account profile, one of which is an “EGU Pride” badge. Of the 18,000 members of EGU last year, 113 added this badge to their profile. We do believe that the true number of LGBTQIA+ members are much higher and that any number of the people in the above-mentioned gender groups could be LGBTQIA+.
During the General Assembly in 2019, we organized a first of its kind social event called EGU Pride. A similar event was then held at the subsequent General Assemblies in 2020 and 2021. During these EGU Pride events, we have either gathered in person or online with the aim to meet the community and to drive positive change in the broader geoscience community. During the last EGU Pride event, we started the EGU Pride Group. Now, in addition to the annual meetings at the General Assembly, we meet online through the year on the EGU Pride discord server, which is used to streamline internal organization and to foster a sense of community. Anyone in the geoscience community is welcome to join the server to either participate in our EGU Pride activities, become a part of the community, or both! The active core of this group is made up of around nine members with others who step in now and then to help whenever required.
Activities of the EGU Pride Group
Since its formation, the EGU Pride Group works in close collaboration with the EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee and EGU’s governance structure to enact change and highlight issues of the community. Much like the EDI Committee, our goal is to highlight the importance of having a safe and accepting environment where all students, researchers, staff members, and scientists can safely and inclusively be a part of the geoscience community. The group represents an addition to the official EGU EDI Committee.
The EGU Pride Group’s tasks currently include:
- Creating bottom-up initiatives driven by the community to raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ members of the geoscience community and the problems/issues they may face.
- Promoting initiatives for positive change within EGU with regard to LGBTQIA+ policy.
- Gathering feedback from members of the geoscience community to assist us in guiding policy and initiatives.
- Promoting ourselves as a cohesive group and more importantly, who we represent via webinars and stakeholder meetings.
- Working closely with the EDI Committee, whose goals are very aligned with ours, and whose members also often overlap (e.g., people from underrepresented groups who also identify as LGBTQIA+).
- Organizing networking and other events during the EGU General Assemblies. At EGU22 this year, look out for the EOS3.1 session “Insights from the LGBTQIA+ working group at EGU 2022” for our latest learnings and perspectives on the community.
Connect with us!
Like we mentioned earlier, the EGU Pride discord server is used as a community building tool, where EGU Pride members can ask questions about academia, science or just assist each other when help is needed. If you want to learn more about how the discord server is organized, how to join the community there, what our motivation was and is and why we decided to use discord as a platform, we recommend you watch our free EGU Webinar “How to build an LGBT+ network in geoscience.”
We welcome all members who identify as LGBTQIA+ to join the Pride Group! If you want to join us, please fill out this google form to sign up with us. And feel free to spread the word within your own geoscience circles too. See you at EGU22!