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ACS Celebrates the LGBTQ+ Community

Officially recognized as Pride Month in the US since 1999, June is an opportunity to remember the events surrounding the Stonewall riots that occurred in 1969, celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and commemorate the progress it has made over the past 50+ years. This year, ACS has demonstrated more than ever its support for the LGBTQ+ movement. Starting in April, ACS published in Inorganic Chemistry an Out in Inorganic Chemistry Virtual Collection1 comprising of 37 articles recently published across the ACS portfolio authored by self-identified LGBTQIAPN+ scientists. The virtual collection was introduced with an editorial2 written by the Guest Editor Prof. Abhik Ghosh of UiT–The Arctic University of Norway and Inorganic Chemistry Editor-in-Chief William B. Tolman of Washington University in St. Louis. The Front Cover of the Inorganic Chemistry issue3 where the Editorial appears, designed by Ghosh, is part of the ACS Diversity & Inclusion Cover Art Series4, in which ACS journals use Front Cover art as a stage to amplify underrepresented voices within the field of Chemistry. Tolman said that the collection “serves to raise the profile of LGBTQIAPN+ scientists, with aims including to instill a sense of pride and belonging and to contribute to professional well-being and success”.

The same month, C&EN published its annual Trailblazers Issue featuring the life and work of Chemists from underrepresented communities which this year highlighted 18 pioneer LGBTQ+ Chemists. Reflecting on the Out and Proud5 Trailblazers Issue, Katherine Bourzac, Senior Editor at C&EN and Editorial Lead for the issue mentioned: “I was proud to work on this issue. It was important to our Guest Editor Tehshik P. Yoon, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, that we showcased the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community, in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation. Something that is special about Trailblazers is that all original stories and art are produced by members of the community we are highlighting. And half the pieces are written by Chemistry graduate students and postdocs, allowing them to get experience in science communication and meet an LGBTQ+ Chemistry icon.”

Later, on June 11th, ACS marched for the very first time in the Washington, DC, Capital Pride Parade. For that occasion, around 20 ACS colleagues from the Pride Affinity Group and their friends, partners or family members gathered at ACS headquarters for a festive pride brunch before heading out to march the 1.5-mile route circulating the Washington, DC, Logan and Dupont Circles areas. The march participants were greeted by tens of thousands of attendees who amassed the parade route. ACS was one of the few scientific associations or societies in attendance. Teodoro Pulvirenti, Assistant Director, Publishing Integrity and Partner Services and Chair of the ACS Pride Affinity Group shared his views on the significance of the ACS participation to the event: “It was such an emotional moment to see allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community at ACS gather to celebrate Pride. The excitement of the parade spectators at the sight of the ACS crowd and banner was overwhelming, as they cheered us on and enthusiastically clapped their hands to show their support. An inspirational, unforgettable and unique experience that hopefully will lead to many more participations to Pride events in the future.”

One week later, CAS and ACS Columbus colleagues walked for the third time in the Stonewall Columbus Pride. Like the DC event, employees, friends, and family gathered at CAS headquarters for a quick breakfast and shuttle ride to the staging area. A total of 81 participants registered with CAS for the 2022 Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade joining over 17,000 other participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators along the +1 mile parade route. Gilles Georges, CAS’s Vice President of Content Operations and Chief Scientific Officer shared his thoughts on the participation of CAS in the Stonewall Columbus parade: “As a CAS employee, I was very proud to participate in the Stonewall celebration. In a world where basic rights are sometime so hard to win, protect, and pass to new generations, I felt it was important to be there with thousands of people of all races, origins, and ages all celebrating freedom and the privilege to be together for a cause we feel is right to defend.”

Collectively, these projects of significant importance for the LGBTQ+ community demonstrate ACS’ commitments to making the workplace as inclusive as possible while ensuring its publications are welcoming a diverse author base. Racquel Jemison, Senior Portfolio Manager at the ACS Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect mentioned “The support that ACS offers through these events and campaigns demonstrates how our organization upholds the core value of diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect, as well as our commitment to Goal 5 of the ACS Strategic Plan to embrace and advance inclusion in chemistry. It is heartwarming to see so many different divisions and groups of ACS staff and members show up to support the LGBTQ+ community in both science and advocacy settings, and I hope to see it continue for years to come.”

(1) Out in Inorganic Chemistry: A Celebration of LGBTQIAPN+ Inorganic Chemists. Inorg. Chem. 2022. Virtual Collection. https://pubs.acs.org/page/inocaj/vi/out-inorganic-chemistry-2022.

(2) Out in Inorganic Chemistry: A Celebration of LGBTQIAPN+ Inorganic Chemists. Inorg. Chem. 2022, 61 (14), 5435–5441

(3) Inorg. Chem. 2022, 61 (14), 5435-5682.

(4) Expanding ACS’ Diversity & Inclusion Cover Art Series in 2022. ACS Axial. 2022. https://axial.acs.org/2022/02/15/diversity-inclusion-covers-2022/

(5) Out and Proud: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Chemists. C&EN, 2022, 100 (12), 1-80.

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