Pride Day in British Antarctic Territories | Polarjournal
Starting this year, the penguins of Port Lockroy, the old British Antarctic station and today’s tourist magnet, will see the rainbow flag of the LGBTQI+ community hoisted on November 18. Photo: Michael Wenger

The worldwide LBGTQ+ community still has to fight against numerous prejudices, hostility and for equality. The research world is no exception. In order to draw attention to the injustices to which members of the community are exposed, “Christopher Street Day” was proclaimed a Pride Day on 17 and 28 June, and later on, June was called out as Pride Month. Now the administrations of the British Antarctic Territories BAT and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands have set a sign in the polar world and officially declared November 18 as “Pride Day”.

Both administrations announced in a shared press release that the rainbow flag, the official symbol of the LGBTQI+ community (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer/Intersexual) will be hoisted in all parts of their administrative area. This means that all British Antarctic stations and South Georgia will fly the flag that day. In addition, numerous stories, pictures and special events will take place on this day and will also be shared on all possible channels. The keyword or hashtag #polarpride is intended to draw attention to the social diversity and rights of the LGBTQ+ community in the field of polar research. “PolarPride will be an opportunity for those working in the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands to celebrate diversity and show their support for LGBTQ+ colleagues,” said Elizabeth Grace Sugg, Baroness Sugg CBE, UK Minister for Polar Regions. She hopes that the research community in the UK itself will also participate.

The “Pride in Polar Research” group promotes the rights and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in polar research on social networks. The group was founded after the appeal of a early career researcher who had faced discrimination and isolation because of his sexual orientation. Photo: Pride in Polar Research

The date was deliberately chosen, according to the press release. On this day, the scientific world (STEM = Science, technology, engineering, mathematics) officially celebrates its Pride Day. The Antarctic regions, it goes on, have a strong focus on these areas. In addition, November generally heralds the summer season in the British Antarctic regions and the number of visitors with their different backgrounds is increasing. Both administrations also point out that same-sex marriage is officially allowed and offered in their regions. Both express that they look forward to hosting same-sex marriages in the future.

“This announcement shows the important progress we are making towards greater inclusivity.”

Dr. Huw Griffiths, British Antarctic Survey / Pride in Polar Research

For the Pride in Polar Research group, which has been campaigning for equal treatment and LGBTQ+ rights in the polar research world for the past two years, the announcement by the governments is great news. “This announcement feels like a huge step forward and a visible symbol of inclusion and support for the LGBTQI+ community working in the British Antarctic Survey, the administration of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and in international polar research,” explains Dr. Huw Griffiths, bio-geographer at BAS and an active member of Pride in Polar Research. “This announcement shows the important progress we are making towards greater inclusivity.”

The BAS science team at King Edward Point in South Georgia proudly hoisted the rainbow flag, the sign of the LBGTQ+ community over King Edward Cove, and thus set a sign. Photo: British Antarctic Survey

Der «Pride Day» ist ein Teil der britischen «Vielfalt in Polarwissenschaften»- Initiative, ein Projekt, welches sich für eine stärkere Einbindung von Minoritäten ethnischer oder geschlechtlicher Herkunft und für Menschen mit eingeschränkter Mobilität in den polaren Wissenschaften einsetzt. Das Ziel ist es, auch in der polarwissenschaftlichen Welt, jedem Menschen dieselben Möglichkeiten und Chancen zu bieten, unabhängig von Herkunft, Geschlecht, sexueller Orientierung oder körperlichen Gebrechen. Der «Pide Day» orientiert sich am «Christopher-Street-Day», der normalerweise in den USA am 27. – 28. Juni gefeiert wird und an den Beginn der Entstigmatisierung von Homosexualität in unserer Gesellschaft erinnert.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

Facebook page of “Pride in Polar Research”

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