Sunday, September 6, 2015

Drama Queen Find Science Insufficiently Gay

I don't where to start on this one. Manil Suri a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who finds he can't really identify any anti-gay bias at his work or in his field, is nonetheless unsatisfied: Why Is Science So Straight?
Statistics are hard to come by, but an analysis by Erin Cech, a sociologist at Rice University, of federal employee surveys found 20 percent fewer L.G.B.T. workers in government STEM-related jobs than should be expected.

Underrepresentation is just one factor that reduces visibility. Unlike women and minorities, whose status is usually obvious, sexual orientation is a hidden characteristic. The fact that a sizable proportion of the L.G.B.T. STEM work force is closeted (43 percent, according to a 2015 estimate) further deepens this effect.
Perhaps, but they're strikingly out and over represented in such fields as arts and entertainment, interior design, and hair dressing. I think the gays that want to go into fields where a more visible gay persona is expected have plenty of choices. You can't have gays over represented in all fields, any more than all the kids in Lake Woebegone can be above average.
There is a another, more insidious factor at work. STEM culture is very problem-focused. Conversations, even over lunch, typically remain restricted to work matters (which is very different from what I’ve noticed in arts and humanities settings). 
Oh my God, they talk about  work and not you and gay sex! I can see why you have such low levels of satisfaction!
The federal survey analyzed by Professor Cech shows the effects of such environmental inhospitality. L.G.B.T. workers in STEM-related fields report significantly lower job satisfaction, both when compared to other STEM workers and to L.G.B.T. workers in other fields.
Is that "significantly"using the standard 95% confidence interval, or using the looser 50% "gay" approximation
The pressure to conform is particularly acute in engineering, where, as my partner laments, the training is geared toward everybody arriving lock step at a standard solution.
I don't know about you, but I might be a little reluctant to fly in an airplane built on "gay solutions."

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