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LGBT Discrimination Experiences in Physics

  1. Jul 16, 2014 #1
    Hello all,

    I am a female Master's student studying Physics at Texas State University and I discovered this website today.


    Personally, I think this is a great website with a great purpose. Upon discovery, I immediately wanted to join the "Outlist", but it occurred to me that this may be an invitation for more discrimination (being a female, I have already encountered my fair share of boy's clubs). I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. and hope to become a Professor eventually.

    As we all know, there are few women in Physics, which leads to even fewer lesbians. I was hoping to hear from anyone in the LGBT community in Physics about any discrimination experiences you've had, or even heard of regarding your status in the LGBT community. If you've never had/heard of one, I'd like to know that too (if the good out weighs the bad, then I'll join). I approached a professor about this issue earlier today. He said that he hadn't ever seen any discrimination of this type, but he also admitted that he may have just been unaware of it.

    Your comments and experiences are much appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2014 #2


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    I can't say for physics, but a number of my friends working in the STEM field are part of the LGBT community and none of them have ever spoken to me of experiencing discrimination at work due to their sexual orientation. But then again, I live in Toronto (well known for being a very accepting place for the LGBT community, with among the largest Pride parades in the world), so I can't say that the experiences of my friends/colleagues are typical.

    I'm glad to see that there are resources available for LGBT physicists and physics majors, as I see in the link you've provided. Now as far as whether to join the "Outlist" -- for what it's worth, I think that is a personal decision that you need to make for yourself. I would personally suggest that you might want to try contacting some of the people on the Outlist first (I see that there are e-mail addresses and web sites that are provided) and explain your situation and ask about their experiences.

    Hope this is helpful!
  4. Jul 19, 2014 #3
    Doubt that there is discrimation if you do not fall into the lgbt stereotypes.

    Sexual preference is an issue that concerns nobidy besides ourselves. No one should be even be discussing their sex lives in the workforce or academia. It is not like race where we can nlt hide the color of our skin, yet our own sexual preference is nobody's concern.

    Remember when we share things about ourselves, experiences, etc we are opening up to be critiqued by others.
  5. Jul 19, 2014 #4


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    Sex isn't the issue.

    My office-mate and I are both married. We both tell each other about our family events, etc. We've each had the other and their spouse over for dinner. This is just normal social stuff in the workplace.

    Gay people are forced to make a choice. They can participate in this kind of thing, which carries the risk of discrimination, or they can avoid ever talking about their personal lives, which insulates them from discrimination but deprives them of the social privileges and enjoyment that other people have.
  6. Jul 19, 2014 #5
    Im mexican american n just being non anglo in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA deprives you of social privileges and resources of the judicial courts.

    So Lbgt are not the only people being treated unfairly.

    Like I stated. If you want to participate by all means do so. Just know we choose to participate in any events we are opening ourselves for criticisms. Now the question is. Do you care what other people think about you? Aim to be the best at what you do and not forsake your humanity along the way is ones best option in life. By aiming to be the best(whixh includes extreme effort) your work will speak volumes about yourself.
  7. Jul 21, 2014 #6
    We all carry some baggage to the workplace. For some it is political. For some it is psychological. For some it is the decision to stay single. For some it is the decision to get married (however you decide to define it). For some it is their family background, their race, their gender, --whatever.

    Please everyone, We are all ignorant of each other and we say thoughtless things all the time. Most do not mean anything rude by it. The few that do? You wouldn't want to be with them even if you were a heterosexual male WASP.
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