I am gay and I am a researcher in silicon photonics.
I’m an openly gay photonics researcher and LGBTQIA+ activist, working for the Spanish National Research Council. I came out to my thesis advisors ten years ago, and although it has never been a drawback in my career, I still witness misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic comments in conferences and research centers. I believe that the queer community is underrepresented in science, and that there is much work to be done until we create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all genders, orientations and identities.
I try to contribute to this goal by participating in COGAM Educación, where a richly diverse group of volunteers deliver seminars about LGBTQIA+ and feminist topics to highschool kids (and let me tell you, the response is amazing and fills you with hope for the future!). Last year we adapted these seminars to address the situation in the scientific environment, and have started delivering them in universities and research centers. I also fight for the inclusion of gender, race and LGBTQIA+ equality and awareness clauses in every research project where I participate, and encourage you to do the same!
I would also like to thank all queer scientist who have shared their stories, and assure you that visibility matters and inspires.
¡Un abrazo a todes!
Twitter: @avillafranca_; Instagram: @aitorvillafranca