Derik Gonzales


I’m gay and I’m a geology professor. //

I’ve always had a fascination for science and our natural world. Growing up in southeast Louisiana, there were many chances for me to explore the natural world. It was also a difficult place for me to be a gay kid who enjoyed reading and math. I always felt different than those around me because 1) I was gay; 2) I enjoyed science and education so much. Education has always been so important to me. I was raised by my grandparents, who didn’t receive a formal education growing up. They pushed me to stay in school so that I didn’t have to struggle like they did. I appreciate everything they have done for me. My research as a graduate student sent me in a different path than my geologic background. I began looking at the visibility of lesbian, gay, and bisexual faculty in STEM. I found that majority of students, including LGBTQ students, are unaware that there are lesbian or gay faulty members working in their department. To most students a queer science professor is like a unicorn. We just don’t exist. When in reality we do, so it has become my life mission to increase the visibility of queer faculty in science.