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LGBT diversity in science: a value or an uncomfortable burden?

Find this session's presentations here.

In the media, the arts and art museums, sexual diversity is discussed, celebrated and highly visible; in science, science centres and museums, it is largely taboo. Silencing conversations about sexual equality means silencing also those about power and discrimination.

Those who make a career in STEM often hide or deny their sexual identity on the workplace, affecting their stress levels and performance. It is difficult to find openly LGBT scientists and researchers; unlike other fields such as the media and the arts, LGBT people tend to be invisible in science. As a result, for many young LGBT people, STEM is seen as a discriminatory or even hostile field.

What can science centres do to change this situation and make diversity a value for STEM, rather than a burden? To stimulate the discussion, the session will also feature extracts from “Queering Museums Podcast”, where an international group of LGBT museum and gallery workers discussed the perspectives their identity brings to their work.


Andrea Bandelli
Head of International Relations
Vrije Ujiversiteit Amsterdam

Session speakers

Sarah Durcan SGI
Global Operations Manager
Looking ways of ensuring our public spaces provide open platforms for conversation and intersection between diverse groups, Sarah will talk about the importance of active inclusion of the LGBT community, from the perspective of the science centre as a workplace, and also its public programming. Prior to joining Science Gallery International, Sarah worked in the very inclusive theatre sector, and served on the board of GAZE, the Dublin International LGBT Film Festival. She is also a leading activist with the #WakingTheFeminist movement, a campaign for gender equality in Irish Theatre.
Director of the Science Centre
Città della Scienza has always been close to the LGBT community of the city of Naples. The presentation will describe the joint activities with LGBT groups to combat homophobia in school and in society, for example in the science festival Futuro Remoto. Moreover, some examples will be presented on the topics of gender, homosexuality and homoaffectivity in exhibitions on the themes of human body, health and animal behavior.
Director of Scientific Mediation and Education