The original organizing efforts for a nationwide association of gay and lesbian scientists planted its seeds at the January 1980 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in San Francisco. At that meeting a special session was held to discuss problems arising from homophobia in the scientific workplace. Issues were raised that were of concern to all scientists and the National Organization of Lesbian and Gay Scientists (NOLGS) was created as a grassroots network to organize events and meetings.
The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) grew out of the informal NOLGS network and was founded as an organization in August 1983. At that time the organizational and individual membership was established and the first board of directors was selected. The production of the newsletter was initiated at this time also.
In October 1985, NOGLSTP acquired fiscal sponsorship for IRS 501c3 by the Illinois Justice Foundation permitting NOGLSTP to conduct educational activities on a tax-exempt basis. NOGLSTP twice received grants from the Chicago Resource Center (1985 &1987) for the production and distribution of educational pamphlets, a survey of scientific and technical employers in Southern California, and the organization of national meetings. NOGLSTP has also received fiscal support from the University of California AIDS Task Force, Roche Laboratories, the Lesbian & Gay Academic Union, and the Whitman-Brooks Foundation to defray expenses for a symposium organized by NOGLSTP on May 29 1985 at the AAAS National Meeting in Los Angeles entitled “Homophobia and Social Attitudes: Their Impact on AIDS Research” which was sponsored by the AAAS Office of Opportunities in Science.
From 1985-1988 NOGLSTP concentrated its efforts on producing and distributing the above named educational pamphlets. These pamphlets have been requested by a number of colleges, universities, career centers, and research institutions. In 1985, NOGLSTP established a women’s network to facilitate contact between women scientists by providing a directory of women members and presenting workshops on college campuses to lesbian and women’s studies groups and classes and also at various women’s festivals.
In 1988, NOGLSTP, in conjunction with its regional group Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Scientists, surveyed 5000 employers of scientists and technical professionals in southern California. The survey attempted to measure the amount of homophobia in the scientific workplace as part of a broader effort to educate employers about the California State Labor Code. The results were presented January 18, 1989 at the AAAS National Meeting in San Francisco as a poster session entitled “Homophobia in the Scientific Workplace”.
In 1989 NOGLSTP applied for affiliation with AAAS. The application was denied on the basis that NOGLSTP did not have its own 501c3 classification. NOGLSTP moved its headquarters in 1990 from Chicago, IL to Pasadena , CA. New bylaws and a constitution were written and approved by the Board of Directors in 1991. NOGLSTP was incorporated in the State of California on November 21, 1991 as a non-profit educational organization. It received its IRS 501c3 classification on May 20, 1992 (Tax ID # 95-4358685). NOGLSTP re-applied for AAAS affiliation in the fall of 1993.
In the spring of 1993, NOGLSTP assisted AAAS’s program director for Scientific Freedom, Responsibility, and Law with information regarding state, county, and city laws and ordinances pertaining to sexual orientation. This information will be used by AAAS to find future meeting sites at which all members will have equal protection under the law.
The 1994 AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco was a pivotal event for NOGLSTP. We organized and presented a timely and well-discussed symposium on “Social, Ethical, and Scientific Perspectives of Biological Research on Sexual Orientation.” In addition, the AAAS Committee on Council Affairs recommended that NOGLSTP be granted affiliate status, reviewable and renewable every three years. The AAAS Council voted to follow the recommendation.
As an Affiliate of AAAS, NOGLSTP may be represented in up to three AAAS sections. Currently, we have a NOGLSTP representative active in one AAAS section: The Section on Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering. Some other AAAS committees of interest to NOGLSTP are: “Public Understanding of Science and Technology,” “Science Engineering, and Public Policy,” and “Scientific Freedom and Responsibility.” NOGLSTP is committed to organizing symposia and workshops at AAAS annual meetings once every several years, and holds a reception for all interested meeting attendees and local g/l/b scientists and technical professionals at each annual meeting.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON GOALS OF NOGLSTP AND AAAS?NOGLSTP is committed to and advocates equal employment opportunity and equal civil rights for all people. NOGLSTP supports the advancement of science and educates the public by:
- Promoting communication among scientists and fostering interdisciplinary networking to fertilize creativity and productivity in the scientific community
- Helping the lesbigay public understand the breaking developments in science which are relevant to sexual minorities
- Sponsoring scientific meetings of interest to the lesbigay and wider community
- Spearheading discussions of issues of wide societal importance, such as the impact of progressing technology on society and its ethical and practical implications on sexual minorities and other groups
- Networking students of all levels with career scientists and professional to promote mentoring and career support
- Providing educational information and resources to universities, colleges, industry, government agencies and the general public on workplace diversity management, scientific freedom, career opportunity, visibility and role models for education
- Supporting scientific freedom and its inherent responsibility for all scientists
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