Post provided by Adrian Montoni (ai / ai)

of Rainbow Research the series returns to the British Ecological Society to celebrate Pride Month 2022! These special posts promote visibility and share stories from STEM researchers belonging to the LGBTQIA2S + community. Each post relates to one of the themes represented by the colors on the Progress Pride flag (Daniel Quasar 2018). In this post, Adrian Monthony shares the changes in his life and the journey of Pride.

The change is constant

Adrian defends LGBTQIA2S + visibility

Since my post on this blog last year for the Rainbow Research series, a number of things have changed! As a start, I added three new letters at the end of my email signature: MSc. I also left my friends and colleagues at the University of Guelph to start my PhD in phytology at the Université Laval, in Quebec City, Canada.

I’m still studying the plant Cannabis sativa, but this time, I’m looking at the epi-genetic and genetic controls responsible for changing cannabis sexual expression. Change- is the theme of this post, and since there is no color in the flag of pride for this, I am choosing lifebecause change is not a constant of life?

With so many changes since last season of Pride, I have reflected on what it means for me to be queer, and more broadly, what it means to be a minority on STEM.

it’s not personal

Over the past two years, I have more openly embraced my queer identity in the workplace; challenging the common position that aspects of “your personal life” have no place in science and academia. Although I have never felt comfortable leading the march for social change, I still wanted to find ways I could help make a difference and advocate for queer people, especially myself. environment.

Part of this journey for me was taking on the role of a graduate student representative on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee of the Canadian Association of Biological Biologists (CSPB). Membership in this committee has tuned me into the many issues (beyond just LGBTQ + issues) that academic societies face, while offering me a place to start building a more inclusive plant science environment with plant scientists of the same opinion from all over Canada.

As an officially bilingual society (English / French), CSPB’s EDI surveys identified the lack of French language in the society’s communications and conferences as a major obstacle for many of its members, and it is something I have begun to appreciate the most. a lot, since I moved to a French-speaking city in Canada to start my doctorate.

For many of us, finding the pretext and language to emerge in an academic setting is difficult… and I have learned that it is even more difficult in a second language. French is a multi-gender language, offering you very little flexibility to talk about dates, partners, exes, etc. with any ambiguity, especially if you are still mastering a new language.

Coming out on STEM

At the beginning of my doctorate, I was asked to prepare a slide show to be presented in the lab. “Include a baby picture!”: This was a lab tradition. I wondered how this tradition – as innocent and honestly quite delightful as it is – would bring deep pain of anxiety to many of my trans friends.

Adrian at the Toronto Pride Parade

Instead, as a gay, gay man, I anxiously spent the night before the presentation debating whether to “rip the bandage” and go out immediately throughout the lab. I wanted to avoid one person approaching at a time I had taken on my masters. I am getting tired of trying to find ways to casually get out of each colleague while trying to make sure they feel comfortable about my sexuality.

However, I found myself suffering if I were to include a photo of myself at the Toronto Pride in my introductory presentation… after all, I was asked to introduce my self in the lab, and part of me is that I identify as a queer man. But did I just force a photo out of pride in this presentation? Did it matter?

Visibility matters!

Include pronouns in your email signatures, Zoom calls and social media! The pride flag emoji is your friend: A pride flag in my Twitter biography has helped me connect with so many weird plant scientists, some even at my current university before I arrived.

In my post here last year, I had described being weird in plant science as being on a daffodil in a tulip field: we are not numerous in our field. However, I am not alone: ​​according to an EDI poll for its membership of Canadian plant biologists, the CSPB found that 23.5% of its members identify as one of the letters in the LGBQA.

In a 2021 EDI survey, the Canadian Association of Plant Biologists found that 23.5% of its members identify as LGBQA.

Visibility (especially on twitter) has helped me connect with some of them, and life this year feels a little more enjoyable than before. There is still a long way to go, however, only 1% of CSPB members were identified as being of the opposite sex and it still feels lonely to be lonely as a queer person in plant science, but if life in the year the latter has shown me something, is that visibility and pride can go a long way!

You can follow Adrian on TweetResearchGate and Google Scholar

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