A rainbow flag background with drops of water on each stripe colour making a splash for pride in STEM.
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Let’s have Pride in STEM: E-book tells the stories of 40 LGBTQ+ scientists

30 Jun 2022

Science Foundation Ireland helped fund the e-book, which took two co-curators two years to compile. One of the curators is Irish-based science communicator Dr Shaun O’Boyle.

A new e-book containing the stories and experiences of STEM professionals from the LGBTQ+ community in the UK and Ireland is now available to read online for free.

The e-book was published by UK-based charity Pride in STEM to coincide with Pride Month, which falls annually in June. The publication, called The Queer Variable, tells the stories of 40 LGBTQ+ people who are studying and working in science, tech, engineering and maths.

The interviewees also gave their insights on how the sector can be made more diverse and accommodating for people from different backgrounds.

It took two curators two years to gather the testimonials and collate them into the e-book. One of the curators is Dr Shaun O’Boyle, who previously set up House of STEM to bring together a network of Irish-based LGBTQ+ people working in science and tech.

O’Boyle is also a freelance science communicator and producer with Bureau, a company he co-founded to produce radio documentaries and podcasts about themes around diversity and learning.

Commenting on the release of The Queer Variable, O’Boyle said: “We hope that LGBTQ+ people who are studying STEM subjects or working in STEM fields will find stories in this book that they can relate to and learn from. We hope that by sharing these stories, it will help someone else navigate the world of STEM as an LGBTQ+ person.”

His co-curator was science writer Dr Alfredo Carpineti, chairperson of Pride in STEM.

“When we decided to put together this book we wanted to bring together the experiences, challenges, goals and hopes of LGBTQ+ people working in STEM,” Carpineti explained.

“The two of us represent only a tiny fraction of the many identities in the community, so since this work’s inception we have continuously discussed how to best showcase the prism of diversity that exists in the world.”

The Queer Variable was produced with support from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and The Physiological Society in the UK.

Prof Philip Nolan, director general of SFI, thanked all the contributors “for sharing their powerful personal stories and for providing insights into the challenges they have faced on their career journeys”.

“By raising their voices, they are helping break down barriers for future generations,” he added.

“SFI is delighted to support this important publication, which highlights the diverse spectrum of talent and experience among our LGBTQ+ research colleagues. STEM research must benefit all of our society and therefore STEM careers must also be welcoming and accessible to all members of our society.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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