By Director of HR Alison Lodge (she/her)
With Pride Month well underway, excitement building for the Pride in London’s first parade in three years and our rainbow flag flying proudly above the Musuem in South Kensington, it feels timely to share some recent LGBTQ+ initiatives at the Natural History Museum.
As part of being a more inclusive organisation, we maintain an ongoing curiosity about the history of our collection and the natural sciences, aiming to broaden the range of voices, stories and perspectives we share with our audiences.
Our Webby award-nominated LGBTQ+ Interactive Tour explores the lesser known and often overlooked LGBTQ+ stories of some of our 80 million specimens. This is a choose-your-own interactive tour which allows you to explore the galleries or sneak off behind the scenes and explore the hidden collection.
A fascinating watch, discover why the sex life of penguins was hidden for 100 years – and why homosexual pairings of swans are often more successful at raising chicks than heterosexual pairs.
Representation in our workforce
The percentage of our workforce who identify as LGBTQ+ has increased from 7% a year ago to 8.8% today and 0.6% of our staff have a gender identity that is different from what was assigned at birth. We’re proud to have a strong LGBTQ+ representation in our workforce and we want to do all we can to make sure everyone feels supported.
Our Transitioning at Work Guidance recognises that transitioning is a major decision which can be years in the making, and which may raise fears of rejection or ridicule by colleagues. We support any individual taking this step so they can continue to work without fear of discrimination and harassment, and we help colleagues to understand the process.
To help raise awareness of the guidance, we shared a powerful and joyful piece by Visitor Assistant Imo Jeffres on the International Day of Transgender Visibility. They shared their personal journey and offered advice about how to support trans and non-binary colleagues at work.
We’re also encouraging colleagues to share their pronouns at work if they feel comfortable to do so on email signatures, introductions in conversations or by wearing one of our new pronoun badges on staff passes. Having a way of communicating pronouns takes away the need for everyone to make any assumptions about other people which may be wrong and helps create an inclusive working environment.
Our growing LGBTQIA+ staff network exists to develop a network of people from all corners of the LGBTQIA+ sphere to ensure everyone is represented at the Museum. Membership to the network includes access to a host of social events, early access to regular content about the LGBTQIA+ experience that informs, educates, and empowers, and, most importantly, a safe place to have discussions and share concerns.
Celebrating our Rainbow Museum
Finally, I’m delighted that we are once again celebrating our Rainbow Museum with digital and social content profiling some of our LGBTQ+ colleagues from Queer artist-scientist Nemo Martin, to one of our leading dinosaur researchers Professor Paul Barrett.
They share in their own words their journeys of how they came to be at the Museum, as well as reflecting on the importance of diversity in STEM and museums. Nuzhat Tabassum, our Explorers Programme Officer, sums it up perfectly when she says: ‘Nature is for everyone, and everyone has a right to enjoy it.’