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LGBTQ+ in STEM

A guide that focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and more (LGBTQ+) people, organizations, and history in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Advice from LGBTQ Scientists

Why do we need LGBTQ+ visibility in STEM?

According to the organization 500 Queer Scientists: "The studies, reports, and surveys below offer a small window into the reality of the professional and academic environments—environments in which [LGBTQ+ people] face higher rates of exclusion, harassment, assault, and more than straight colleagues, and (in 28 states) can still be legally discriminated against by employers."

Some facts from 500 Queer Scientists' list:

  • A 2013 survey of STEM workers found that more than 40% of LGBTQ+ identified respondents working in STEM fields are not out to their colleagues.
  • A recent report on the LGBTQ+ climate in physics has drawn attention to some of the major issues faced by sexual minority STEM professionals, including a heterosexist climate that reinforces gender role stereotypes in STEM work environments, a culture that requires, or at least strongly encourages, LGBQ people to remain closeted at work, and a general lack of awareness about LGBTQ+ issues among STEM professionals.
  • In June 2016, Chemical Engineering and News conducted an informal poll of its readers to look more closely at the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in the chemistry community. Of the 270 who responded, 44% said they had felt excluded, intimidated, or harassed at work in the course of their career.
  • A study of LGBTQ+ professionals published in 2019 found that “heteronormative assumptions frequently silence conversations about gender and sexuality in STEM workplaces and result in complicated negotiations of self for queer professionals.”
  • A study of LGBTQ+ workplace experiences in the US Federal Government found that despite “expansive non-discrimination policies and bureaucratized accountability structures that formally protect LGBT employees”…”inequalities are pervasive within STEM-related agencies, extend across age cohorts and supervisory status, and exist for both LGBTQ+-identifying women and men.
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