Homophobia in Science

May 17 was observed as the International Day Against  Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Indian academic spaces for a long time have been homophobic and transphobic. Many research fellows, students and even scientists pass homophobic and transphobic comments at the workplace, discriminate against queer and trans people who are fellow students or colleagues and rarely face any consequences. When it comes to the annual discussions on gender equity at many such institutions, historical injustice, discrimination and toxic behaviour experienced by the queer and trans folk in academia are conveniently left out of the talking points. For a queer or trans person working in such a toxic workplace, there is no one to turn to for help and register a complaint. Many people from the LGBTQIA community who are working in the toxic and hyper-masculine world of Indian science and academia suffer from mental health issues as a result of these experiences. 

There is also an issue of visibility as right now, very few queer and trans people are holding positions of power in the world of Indian academics, especially in STEM subjects. A greater number of LGBTQIA scientists would encourage more LGBTQIA youth to take up science, pursue scientific research, and also bring about an inclusive change in science policymaking in this country. Indian science and education policies would be truly equitable when they acknowledge the discrimination and de-humanisation faced by the LGBTQIA people and attempts to right the historical wrongs through steps that ensure increased representation, increased visibility through affirmative actions and strict institutional action against homophobic, transphobic behaviour in the workplace 

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