Painting the town rainbow
By Nicole Alexander
I had the honour and privilege to paint the town rainbow (literally). I, and a bunch of other awesome folk, volunteered to march proudly under our GSC banner at Glasgow Pride.
I have been lucky enough to steward Pride Marches in the past, but this is the first time I have done it wearing a rainbow tie dyed lab coat, made especially for us by our multi-talented staff. I have always been proud to march with the LGBTQA+ community at Pride but this year was special and not just because we got to hand out Rainbow Diffraction glasses to the gathered crowds.
This year we marched under the banner of GSC. I am proud of my place of work for partaking in such a demonstration. To be completely honest, even with my background with the LGBTQA+ community I never thought about the visibility of LGBT people in the world of Science.
There are many examples of LGBT people in the world of the arts and entertainment. When asked to name a gay scientist, most people would think of Alan Turing; the grandfather of computers (immortalised by Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Imitation Game’) but after Turing there seems to be no more well-known icons.
Whilst I discovered (to my delight and surprise) that Sir Frances Bacon, whom amongst other things was a prominent philosopher was most likely gay. The same is said of Florence Nightingale, nursing pioneer and statistician. A contemporary icon is Sally Ride (1951 – 2012); she was the first American Woman in space. She had a 27 year ‘loving relationship’ with her female partner, a fact she did not hide.
So why is visibility so important? According to STEM it’s so that LGBT youth know that ‘science is a safe place for them’ despite Turing’s, undeniably powerful yet sad, story. This is why GSC was visible at pride with the statement ‘We Are All Scientists’. To learn from the past and forge a better future.
Pride is about making yourself heard and finding a safe space to be yourself and still be surrounded by love and acceptance. It was an incredible feeling marching with the parade of thousands over the George V bridge with sun beating down and appropriately ‘What a Feeling’ by Irene Cara blasting. Perhaps next year you will join us?
Happy Pride to all
We hope you enjoyed Pride, please get in touch with any ideas for next year!