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In our last edition, we told you all about Diversity is the Bees Knees. One of the most refreshingly unique concepts to emerge from CHL’s versatile repertoire of activities, it created a great deal of buzz as soon as people came to know about it.
Held on 28 August 2021 as part of National Science Week 2021, Diversity is the Bees Knees introduced LGBTIQA+ students to the amazing ways in which plants share genetic information through pollination. By showcasing this diversity, the creative team of LGBTQIA+ researchers and allies at the Palaeoworks Lab at CHL—Dr Simon Connor, Dr Kelsie Long and Victoria Miller—hoped to break down commonly taught misconceptions about what is ‘natural’.
Aimed at LGBTIQA+ students 16 to 20 years old, this online event gave participants a renewed appreciation that all the world’s beauty and resilience comes from its incredible diversity.
Here’s what some people who attended had to say about their experience.
“I had such a great time and I'm so so glad that I was able to be there!! I got so much out of just being there. I'm always reminded going to queer events about how nice it is to participate and exist in those spaces and how amazing the queers are when we come together and support each other. Thanks so much for all the effort you put into such a wonderful event, you should be so chuffed with yourself!”
“I had such a great time! Well done to you and the team for putting together such a great event! Please always keep me in mind for any science outreach/LGBT+ events in the future :)”
“I really enjoyed the casual nature of it all, having a chat and answering questions in a way where there was no pressure, meeting a lot of other queer researchers. The best was learning more about sexuality in the plant world and bingo, especially during lockdown, to get a good boogie in. It was fantastic and super supportive!”
Originally planned as a multiday event on campus, Diversity is the Bees Knees soon had to take the online route in the wake of the COVID-induced lockdown. But this didn’t dampen the team’s spirits. Despite having to go online at the last minute, the outcome was beyond all expectations.
The participants got into the '80s disco beats in a big way. Dancing helped everyone connect with their community and disconnect temporarily from the drudgery of lockdown!
Overall, students came along wanting to learn about bees, but left with much more—a lovely supportive community... that's perhaps the most meaningful impact the team could have hoped for! Thanks to all the scientists, panellists and communications teams—at CHL, FSES and beyond the ANU—who collaborated to pull this off without a glitch!
We need more such initiatives, those that relate science with life and community; those that help blur the lines of social boundaries; and those that remind us how important it is to be inclusive and unified as just one big community of human beings.