On Saturday 23rd February, Gendered Intelligence carried out a trans youth workshop aiming to Celebrate Gender Diversity in the world of Physics, Science and Engineering. The session took place at the London Firebrigade, in Southwark and was funded by LGBT History Month Small Grants Scheme.
The session looked to gather experiences and perceptions of the area of physics, science and engineering in the lives of young trans people, raise aspirations by introducing our young members to others who are currently studying or working in the sciences as well as create debate around gender identity and diversity in fields of physics.
The aims of the session were:
– To gather experiences and perceptions of the area of physics, science and engineering in the lives of young trans people.
– To raise aspirations of young trans people in the field of physics, science and engineering by introducing them to positive role models
– To raise awareness and learn about the value of physics, science and engineering as it pertains to young trans people
– To create debate around gender identity and diversity in fields of physics, science and engineering.
Before the session got underway, the participants chose one word to best describe their thoughts on physics, science and engineering:
Sharing and gathering
The participants came from a wide range of experiences with physics, science and engineering. Some had taken GCSE whilst others were currently undergoing degrees in physics. One of our young members is currently studying all 3 sciences at GCSE and prefers physics over chemistry and biology. Another participant did two years of physics in school in the USA, but didn’t get along with teachers in other sciences. He really enjoys maths and so enjoys physics as well. It was felt that experience of the subjects strongly depended on the teachers that taught them at school. Some stated that they felt their teachers could have been better and that sometimes pupils became disruptive because they didn’t feel particularly inspired. One trans youth attending the session is currently studying physics as an undergraduate. He started off doing particle physics, but now has transferred to general physics. He said, “I like physics because it means that I can understand the world around me. For example, I know why glass is see through.”
Interviewing role models
The session was also attended by five role models who travelled from across various parts of the country to contribute to the discussion. You can find out more about some of these role models in our Trans Scientists section. The young people gathered again in small groups to establish an array of interview questions for the role models.
Examples of these questions are:
- Tell us a bit about your work,
- What it is about physics that appeals to you?
- How has being trans been received by your colleagues and across your working environment.
In order to create debate around gender identity and diversity in fields of physics, the group was split into two. Each group had to argue their side of the debate:
Standpoint 1 – Men have brains genetically built for physics
Standpoint 2 – Girls and women don’t work in the world of physics due to the societal expectations.