It gets better.  For 2SLGBTQ+ members of the CIC, it has been getting better.  In “the old days” the diversity and equity efforts of the CSC were centered in the Chemistry Education Division, with a primary focus on Women in Chemistry.  Those of us who wanted to connect and sought a sense of belonging were happy to attend the annual Women in Chemistry and Friends dinner, where equity-minded folks of all genders were welcomed and included.  However, outside of that space, it was easy to feel like we were on our own, and many of us did not feel a sense of safety and belonging in our home institutions.  However, things began to change in 2016, the year that the CSC adopted a strategic plan with a focus on Diversity, and created the committee that came to be known as WIDE (Working Towards Inclusion, Diversity and Equity).  That is also the year that saw the beginning of regular Equity Symposia, initially within Chemistry Education, and eventually as a separate stream at the CSC conferences.

Starting with the first Equity and Diversity symposium, which included a presentation on sexual orientation and gender identity at CSC 2016, and culminating with the virtual It Gets Better: LGBTQ+ in Chem Symposium at CSC 2021, the voices of sexuality and gender diverse chemists have been included and elevated in the Canadian Chemistry community.  And those voices have been speaking of the need for community, mentorship, and a place where we can just be ourselves.  That inclusive space was created, for a few hours, at two Pride mixers – the first an ad hoc event in Calgary (CSC 2022) which drew over 30 attendees, and then last year, the first official Pride mixer in Vancouver (CSC 2023), sponsored by Gilead Sciences, “sold out” the venue with over 100 attendees.

Building on the energy of those events, and the support of over 40 signed-up CIC members, the Pride Member Resource Group was officially established in January 2024.  The purpose of the MRG is to advance the rights of CIC members who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ by promoting inclusion, equity and diversity within the chemical sciences.  The objectives are:

  • To advance inclusion and equitable treatment of Members who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ within the chemical sciences through advocacy and professional and educational opportunities.
  • To provide resources, guidance and support to Members by having information available on the MRG website and providing events and opportunities for mentorship; and
  • To liaise with the CIC, its subject divisions, MRGs, and WIDE, and to form connections and collaborations with other national and international groups to advocate for the equitable treatment of 2SLGBTQ+ scientists in Canada.

This work is already underway, with the second Pride mixer scheduled for CSC 2024 in Winnipeg, generously sponsored once again by Gilead Sciences (Save the date! Wednesday 5th of June, 7.30 – 9.30pm at Club Happenings) and our first AGM where we will elect our first full executive.  In the meantime, the MRG, led by Acting Chair John Hayward, and Acting Vice-Chairs Nola Etkin and Tricia Carmichael, has led a multi-national group in proposing and organizing the first Pride in (Pacifi)Chem symposium for the 2025 Pacifichem conference in Hawaii.

We hope you will join us in Winnipeg, and consider joining the Pride executive. We are seeking to elect all of our executive positions at the AGM: 12.30 – 2pm, Wednesday 5th June 2024, in Meeting Room 1 of the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre. We hope to elect:

  • MRG Chair
  • Vice Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Media officer
  • And at least two Members-at-Large!

Gloria D’Amaral at the University of Windsor has volunteered to be the Returning Officer for this election. Please contact her by email if you are interested in standing for any of these positions; more information can be found on our web page.

We thank Theresa Chao of Science Meets Art at UWindsor for the design of the MRG logo.