Royal Academy of Engineering celebrates LGBT History Month
February provides an opportunity to highlight lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) engineers and current and historic barriers to inclusion. It is a chance to present positive examples and tools that can help to develop a more inclusive culture within engineering for LGBT engineers.
In the UK, LGBT history month is celebrated annually in February to coincide with abolition of section 28 of the local government act in 2003 that made it illegal to ‘promote homosexuality’ in education.
According to research conducted by the Academy:
LGB* engineers are less likely to say ‘I can be open about my sexual orientation’ - 55% of lesbian engineers, 48% of gay engineers and 53% of bisexual engineers compared to 90% of heterosexual engineers
34% of LGB engineers belong to employee networks compared to 10% of heterosexual engineers
Lesbian engineers reported more isolation, fewer career opportunities and received less respect than their gay, bisexual and heterosexual counterparts
The Academy, working with InterEngineering (IE), the national network of LGBT engineers, will share information during February through a social media campaign. This will be shared on Twitter at @RAEngNews, using the hashtags #EngDiversity and #LGBTHM20.
Raising awareness of LGBT engineers and barriers
How to develop an effective LGBT network
Find out more about transgender engineers and transitioning at work
The Creating cultures when all engineers thrive report suggests that LGB* inclusion would benefit from work on the following three areas:
Openness – Creating an environment where LGB engineers feel confident and safe to be open about their sexual orientation and life outside work.
Relationships – Creating zero tolerance for bullying and, particularly for lesbian and bisexual engineers, addressing offensive banter.
Leadership – Improving the strength of leadership in setting standards for teams on creating an inclusive environment
Targeted resources to increase LGBT inclusion
Feel free to download a short set of questions that can be shared over LGBT history month (and beyond). Answers available by emailing the Diversity team.
LGBT History Month quiz (355.86 KB)
The Academy is also sponsoring 'Composites and Materials' an InterEngineering Event on the 25 February in Bristol, hosted by Arup.
*The Creative Cultures where all engineers thrive survey did not have sufficient transgender responses to maintain anonymity, so only findings from lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) engineers are reported.
**More on the LGBT STEM day campaign 2019 here.