- Photos of Polar Pride promoting LGBT+ inclusion in polar science.
Both the Arctic and Antarctic joined in the first ever Polar Pride Day on Wednesday (18 November).
The British Antarctic Territory government started the idea to promote LGBT+ inclusion in polar science. But, on the other side of the world, the North Pole also joined in.
And designers created a joint pin showing a rainbow penguin, found only in the Antarctic, and a rainbow polar bear, found only in the Arctic.
Indeed, even the unpredictable polar weather joined in the celebration. A photographer snapped the new British research ship, the RSS Sir David Attenborough, with a rainbow obligingly gracing the background as it celebrated the day.
Dr Huw Griffiths, a polar research scientist at British Antarctic Survey, is one of the founders of Pride in Polar Research. He described the day as ‘a huge step forward and a visible symbol of inclusion and support for the LGBTQI+ community’.
Meanwhile scientists and their families at both poles posted photos of themselves joining in.
Not all polar researchers are straight and white
The Polar Pride Day will be held on the same day as LBGTQ+ STEM Day, a celebration of pride in science, technology, engineering and math.
And Paul Sokoloff, a botanist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and a member of Inclusion in Northern Research, said days like this helped correct the stereotype of who is involved in polar research.
Sokoloff told ArcticToday: ‘I don’t really know if I knew of any openly queer Arctic researchers when I was getting into it.
‘Up until fairly recently, our cultural depictions of scientists have been mostly old white men in lab coats. And especially in polar research — old straight men stoically staring off into the horizon.
‘We have our queer researchers, we have researchers who are people of color, indigenous researchers, black researchers.
‘Being able to celebrate the diversity of voices that make our community better — that’s really what’s motivating me to want to do this.’
Now LGBT+ people and their allies on two opposite sides of the world hope Polar Pride will become an annual event.