This week we're sharing stories from members of Springer Nature's employee network for LGBTQ+ staff and allies, SN Pride. In honor of SN Pride's first anniversary. Read more from Springer Nature staff below and check back for new stories every day this week here on The Source.
Written by Lewis Miles
Scientific Proof Reader, Springer Nature, and Chair of SN Pride
I have been reluctant to follow some of the moving posts that have been written in the series so far, each so personal and forthcoming. However, as it is such an auspicious occasion I have decided to give it my best shot.
Ever since I came to terms with myself and my sexuality I looked for an opportunity to be actively involved in supporting LGBTQ+ people. I wanted to be an activist, and to make a positive impact on the community that I was slowly accepting myself part of. However, like a lot of people who grow up from within a closet, I struggled with identity. Making the hardest, and ultimately best, decision I have yet made to come out was a significant step towards claiming that identity. In doing so it became clear to me that whatever impact I was to have would have to come from a place that was completely authentic. For a while nothing fit, but once I struck upon the idea of Springer Nature Pride I was sold. I’d found something that I could throw my all into.
Of course I am slightly biased, but I believe the importance of creating a conversation and community focused on LGBTQ+ people cannot be overstated. For the most part, we are an invisible minority, and this will always be the case unless we talk about it. What’s more, our culture and history is rarely something you are simply born into. Most of us don’t come with an LGBTQ+ identity grounded in family or ancestry; all aspects of our community have to be sought, discovered, or created from scratch. Because of this, creating an environment that facilitates this building of community is crucial. This is especially true in places where historically, support may be lacking. LGBTQ+ representation within STEM fields remains an issue, and while community wide shifts are beginning to occur, there is still a long way to go. Our platform at Springer Nature is one of the most well-regarded and far-reaching in the industry, and lending our considerable voice to the cause of diversity within STEM could have a hugely positive impact.
It was with these things in mind that I set out to establish SN Pride. Like any unsuspecting, aspiring activist my enthusiasm was only outstripped by the loftiness of my goals. And while we may not have changed the face of STEM or the world (yet), we have made some solid steps in the right direction. We are now a community of over 300, and have launched groups in London, New York, and the Netherlands, with many more in the pipeline; we started important discussions on the nature of the LGBTQ+ experience with our blog series and speaker events; we are soon to launch an LGBTQ+ basics pack that outlines the fundamentals of sensitivity training, which we will continue to develop into a more comprehensive resource; and we have started to turn our attention outward, sponsoring the annual LGBT STEMinar, developing connections with the wider community, and beginning to show that Springer Nature is proud to be proud.
You may feel that this post of mine is a rather underwhelming way to mark a whole year of SN Pride, and you would be right. However, I can think of no better way to mark the occasion than by attending London Pride, and I am pleased to announce that this is exactly what we will be doing. The parade itself is on the 6th of July so make sure to pencil it in your diaries! 50 colleagues will be marching on what is not only the best day of the year, it also represents everything that SN Pride is, and hopes to achieve.
Happy anniversary everyone!
Read more about Springer Nature's employee network for LGBTQ+ staff and allies, SN Pride, and read more stories from Springer Nature staff:
Beyond the Binary by Laura de Kreij
Stonewall 50: A personal reflection by William Curtis, PhD
You might not know me by an employee of Springer Nature