“We work 8 hours a day in science, so we need to fight for equality there, too.” Simón Perera, Secretary General at PRISMA, the EU's first LGBTQIA+ association in STEM.
“Science is objective but scientists are people with biases, and some people’s biases are homophobic, so we need to address this in order to have better science.” claimed Simón Perera when asked why it was important to defend equality in the scientific community. Perera is a Business Developer at ProtoQSAR and Secretary General at PRISMA, the EU’s first LGBTQIA+ association in STEM.
All three guests of the TOXstreams, Professor Mathieu Vinken (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Marie Corradi (PhD candidate at HU University), and Simón Perera agreed on the need for more visibility for LGBTQIA+ people in the science community. “When you don’t know who is gay, you don’t know who to turn to for mentorship.” said Corradi.
But how do you achieve greater visibility? Professor Vinken argued that positive discrimination is not the answer to the lack of referents of LGBT people in science: “I don’t think there should be a representation quota for LGBTQIA+ people, that would set us as a separate kind of population.” Perera had a different position on the matter: “Positive discrimination asks for a balance now in order to reach maximum excellence in the future. It acknowledges the fact that if we don’t [set a quota], we will never have maximum excellence. We need compensatory measures without compromising excellence.”
The TOXstreams episode included a segment in which Matteo Piumatti, Altertox’s EU Project Manager, introduced Professor Alexander Serebrenik and Lea Faris from the board of Compass, the LGBTQIA+ community at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Compass is the only university LGBTQIA+ association in the Netherlands that unites employees and students, and it also works on helping policy-makers at TU/e make their spaces more inclusive.
You can read more information about Compass on their website.
Watch the last TOXstreams episode to hear the full debate on the LGBTQIA+ community in science.