SANTA BARBARA, Calif., June 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As we celebrate Pride Month, it’s important to reflect on the progress that has been made for the LGBTQIA community. And who better to look up to than key opinion leaders (KOLs) who are making a big impact.
Here is a list compiled by the Analytics firm KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) of the top 8 LGBTQIA+ KOLs you should know about. From medical doctors and life-sciences researchers to astronomists, these experts are changing the world for the better and increasing leadership diversity at the same time.
Lisa N. Diamond (Wikipedia) is the first KOL on our list and is an American psychologist and feminist. Diamond decided to make the focus of her career and research on same-sex sexuality after she came out as a lesbian. She focuses on sexual orientation development, several identity, and bonding. Diamond received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the APA committee, and her book, Sexual Fluidity, has received several awards. Diamond is one of the key opinion leaders (KOLs) attending this year’s LGBTQ Health Conference.
As an expert in cofilin loss, Stefanie Elisabeth Windner is quickly becoming one of the top Key Opinion Leaders in this field. Having voiced that being a queer person in the scientific community is isolating compared to being a white, heteronormative person, Windner emphasizes themselves as a queer scientist more than ever to create space for more queer scientists to break through into this industry. Windner picked her lab (Mary Baylies at SKI) carefully, knowing exactly the type of people they wanted to work with, as New York City was already a diverse place to be, and MSK does a good job of fostering diversity too.
Scott Keeney (@Spo11Rulz) is a molecular biologist scientist studies genetic recombination during meiosis using yeast and mice. Keeney’s influence is far-reaching and inspires many in the LGBTQIA+ community to consider similar careers. Coming into this industry in 1997 as a gay scientist, and despite having only met straight scientists, Keeney came out in his senior year of college after taking some time. This was during the height of the AIDS epidemic, but choosing Berkeley as his grad school gave him an enlightening experience that enabled him to feel and be himself. However, as he went to an area where not many people were familiar with LGBTQ and most scientists were straight or not out, there were many situations that made it difficult to be a gay scientist, like not having Domestic Partnerships Benefits.
Kat Hadjantonakis is a development biologist and a member of the Developmental Biology Program at SKI, having graduated from the Imperial College in London. Hadjantonakis has made it public that they don’t like labels, but this is what is making them a rising name in the scientific field and within the KOLs list. Hadjantonakis is a scientist and wants to be known as that, not wanting to claim a particular identity in a time where gender categories are blurring. They are not concerned about the people they work with knowing their sexual orientation, believing that science is the most important thing.
Kelly Chacon (@Kelly_N_Chacon) has worked hard to become an innovator in bioinorganic spectroscopy and has received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program award – one of the most prestigious awards, according to the NSF. Part of the funding they won is going towards an annual 2-day symposium that brings together graduate students from all backgrounds, including LCBTQIA+ students. This space enables students to share their experiences and science, and as a Key Opinion Leader could go on to make an even bigger impact on more aspiring students.
Raul Navarro is currently an assistant professor at the Occidental College, having graduated in 2014 with their PhD from the California Institute of Technology. Navarro identifies as LGBTQ and when they first started at Caltech had to learn to navigate the balance of feeling the need to compartmentalize their personal life and scientific life. However, they quickly realized that parts of himself influenced their scientific work – Navorro said he couldn’t "navigate being a scientist without being someone who identifies as being queer." Working with vocal support in the form of Sarah Reisman, Navarro has become a mentor himself and a representation to so many other LGBTQIA+ students and has now made it onto the KOLs top 8 list.
Jane Rigby (@janerrigby) has been named the LGBTQIA+ Scientist of the Year, which was initiated by Out to Innovate after they made outstanding contributions for their work developing new techniques in galaxy evolution. Rigby has published 100s of publications, appeared in public presentations and has also been recognized for research, mentorship, and diversity-related work, which helps to make it a better work environment for new and upcoming LGBTQ scientists and doctors.
Carolyn Ruth Bertozzi (@CarolynBertozzi) has long been an advocate for diversity and a highly admired scientist, having come out in the late 1980s. Bertozzi is admired by many due to coming out during a time when it could have destroyed her career. The biochemist’s work sees her trying to bridge the gap between chemistry and biology, focusing mainly on glycoscience.
Credits: Information extracted from the original news article by Key Opinion Leaders. Twitter: @KOpinionLeaders.