The Equity Working Group conducted a survey which coincided with ESA2018 in Brisbane. The survey had 79 respondents. One of the important outcomes from the survey was the around 30% of respondents did not identify as heterosexual or ‘straight’.
There is increasing awareness of the underrepresentation of minorities in the sciences. Recognising this inequality is the first step to meeting the challenge of enhancing diversity and inclusivity in science. A 2013 survey (Yoder and Mattheis 2016) of people in STEM fields found that 40% of LGBTQ+ identified respondents are not out to their colleagues. This is not the culture we strive for in ecology, and not within ESA. Enhancing the visibility of LGBTQ+ people (umbrella term for non-heterosexual or cisgender individuals: Queer) in ecology is important to enhancing the inclusive and diverse culture of the scientific field in Australia. ESA is in the position to influence the broader community of ecologists and ecology-related fields in Australia.
Modelling off of the success of the British Ecological Society (BES) LGBT+ network and mixers (https://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/membership-community/diversity/) , we propose a Queer mixer at ESA2019 in Launceston. This event will run for one hour and will be a fun, informal event where people can chat and network over a drink in a welcoming and inclusive setting.