James Coverdale


I am gay and I am an inorganic chemist.//


After completing my PhD and a 2-year postdoctoral position, I am now working in industry, managing company-wide scientific activities. I specialise in plasma-based analytical techniques (ICP-OES / ICP-MS) in applications ranging from fine chemicals to complex biological matrices.

I used to feel unsure about how being a gay man would ‘fit’ with in a career in STEM, but I hope that my experience can be an example to those who feel the same way I did at the start of my career. I was initially very reluctant to disclose my sexuality to colleagues and supervisors, but I was fortunate to have the support of close friends who encouraged me to be myself, and not hold back for fear of judgement. Yes, there may still be some old-fashioned assumptions when you meet new people (“what’s your girlfriend’s name?”) but with polite correction, I’ve been grateful to fit into a working culture that truly accepts me for who I am.

Your sexuality or gender should never hold you back in STEM. We try to be a progressive and accepting community. Of course, there is still work to be done, but I will always do my best to promote inclusivity and equality in my workplace. Remember that there is always a strong network of support whenever you need help or advice.

Above all else, find the confidence to show the world your true self, and hopefully the rest will follow!