LGBT+ Physicists

LGBT+ Issues in Physics

Harassment is a serious issue in academia — including the sciences — that negatively impacts climate, retention, and productivity. Anyone can experience workplace harassment but some individuals, such as those who identify as LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, as well as other sexual and gender minorities), are more vulnerable.

The American Physical Society's Ad Hoc Committee on LGBT+ Issues (C-LGBT), formed in 2014, is charged to:

Advise the APS on the current status of LGBT+ issues in physics, provide recommendations for greater inclusion, and engage physicists in laying the foundation for a more inclusive physics community. More specifically, the committee will investigate LGBT+ representation in physics, assess the educational and professional climate in physics, recommend changes in policies and practices that impact LGBT+ physicists, and address other issues that affect inclusion.

Report: LGBT+ Climate in Physics

The C-LGBT obtained information through focus groups held at APS meetings, a detailed climate survey, and a set of in-depth interviews with individuals who self-identify as LGBT+.

The committee released the full report at the APS March Meeting 2016 (view presentation slides format_pdf) and presented the report at the APS April Meeting 2016.

Press Conference

Gray Arrow Press Conference Slides format_pdf
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Join the Forum on Diversity & Inclusion

One of the recommendations from the LGBT+ Climate in Physics report was for the APS to establish a Forum on Diversity and Inclusion that works to build a more inclusive, diverse and equitable society for all physicists including women, racial/ethnic minorities, those who identify as LGBT+, persons with disabilities, and others. The Forum was approved by the Board in 2019.

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LGBT Rainbow ThumbnailOver one third of LGBT+ physicists considered leaving their department or workplace last year.

Gray Arrow Harassment Findings format_pdf

LGBT Rainbow ThumbnailMany LGBT+ physicists feel coerced into hiding their identity.

Gray Arrow Closeted Findings format_pdf

LGBT Rainbow ThumbnailWould a transgender student feel supported in your department?

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  1. LGBT+ physicists have faced uneven protection and support from legislation and policies.
  2. The overall climate experienced by LGBT+ physicists was highly variable.
  3. In many physics environments, social norms establish expectations of closeted behavior.
  4. Isolation was a common theme for many LGBT+ physicists.
  5. A significant fraction of LGBT+ physicists have experienced or observed exclusionary behavior.
  6. LGBT+ physicists with additional marginalized identities faced greater levels of discrimination.
  7. Transgender and gender-nonconforming physicists encountered the most hostile environments.
  8. Many LGBT+ physicists were at risk for leaving their workplace or school.
  9. LGBT+ physicists reported trouble identifying allies to help mitigate isolation, exclusion, or marginalization.


  1. Ensure a safe and welcoming environment at APS meetings.
  2. Address the need to systematically accommodate name changes in publication records.
  3. Develop advocacy efforts that support LGBT+ equity and inclusion.
  4. Promote LGBT+-inclusive practices in academia, national labs, and industry.
  5. Implement LGBT+-inclusive mentoring programs.
  6. Support the establishment of a Forum on Diversity and Inclusion.

Progress on the Recommendations

The APS has been working consistently since the publication of the LGBT Climate in Physics report to follow through on the recommendations.

Report: Exploring the Workplace for LGBT+ Physical Scientists

In June 2019, the Institute of Physics (IOP), The Royal Astronomical Society, and The Royal Society of Chemistry released a new report: Exploring the Workplace for LGBT+ Physical Scientists. Using the 2014 LGBT+ Climate in Physics report as its basis, Exploring the Workplace sets out a framework of action to improve workplace cultures so that LGBT+ scientists are comfortable and working in an environment free from discrimination and harrassment.

For more information on the IOP report’s key findings and a link to the full report, see below:

News: LGBT+ Physicists


In the report, C-LGBT included a resource guide for LGBT+ and other issues format_pdf that includes LGBT+ support and advocacy groups in physics and astronomy, LGBT+ support in the wider STEM community, other diversity organizations in physics and astronomy, academic readings, media resources, and social media resources.

  • lgbt+physicists: An advocacy group for people in physics who are considered sexual minorities and/or gender minorities. Their website hosts an OutList, with names of physics professionals who choose to publicly identify themselves as LGBT+ physicists or allies, as well as media resources and a blog.
  • Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy: SGMA is a committee of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) that works to promote equality for sexual-orientation and gender minorities within the Astronomy profession.
  • Supporting LGBT+ Physicists & Astronomers: Best Practices Guide for Academic Departments format_pdf: A document, primarily directed at department chairs, intended to serve as a guide for creating an inclusive department environment that is free from harassment and discrimination against LGBT+ physicists and astronomers. The guide includes both shortterm and long-term department-level suggestions, as well as several recommendations for university-level policies intended to guide conversations with institution administrators. The Best Practices Guide was developed in collaboration between lgbt+physicists and SGMA.
  • Campus Pride: national organization of student leaders working to create a safer environment for LGBT+ students, for example through their SafeSpace Training.
  • oSTEM (Out in STEM): national society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership for LGBT+ communities in the STEM fields
  • Michigan State University's QuILL training can serve as a model for LGBT+-inclusive training

Talks: LGBT+ Physicists

Physics Climate

LGBT+ Climate in Physics

LGBT+ Climate in Physics Press Conference