Marching with pride at Mardi Gras

By Louise Jeckells

28 February 2020

5 minute read

A girl holding up a sign with our logo. She is wearing a green cape and has glitter on our face. She is smiling at the camera. There is a man wearing orange next to her looking at her.

Knock knock. It’s us, ready to march at Mardi Gras again!

At CSIRO, we’re committed to diversity and inclusion. That’s why we’re proud to be marching (again) in this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

Our theme this year is Biodiversity: The Rainbow Revolution. Biodiversity means variety of life and the communities it forms.

Our science also supports biodiversity. We help our farmers diversify crops, explore minerals, help eradicate some of the world’s most invasive species and much, much more.

But our science cannot be done without our amazing scientists.

Fifty of our scientists and staff will be marching on Saturday, 29 February. We’re marching in support of diverse science, which cannot be done without diverse communities. This includes our LGBTI+ scientists. Let’s introduce some of them.

Woman in glittery green face paint and green cape and feathers holding up a sign. She is smiling to the camera.

Renee will be marching for the second time to support our commitment to diversity

Renee Birchall

My technical title is Experimental Scientist! The work my team does helps mineral explorers to better navigate their mineralised systems and make more informed decisions while exploring prospective areas.

While acceptance of the LGBTI+ identifying community is better than ever, there’s still a really long way to go. Within my lifetime, being gay was illegal. For many of us, we still need to hide our true identities at school or at work.

Involvement in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras shows the nation that CSIRO promotes and values diversity and inclusion. This is a big step in helping erase the discrimination.

I’m marching for every LGBTI+ person who has experienced discrimination (including myself) and to show my support for (bio)diversity. Diversity of people and biodiversity of life on our planet is necessary for our future and needs to be celebrated and protected.

Tom is excited for CSIRO’s involvement at Mardi Gras, but Frida Love will be marching front and centre at the parade.

Tom Grubb

In my day job, I work as an Education Specialist as part of CSIRO’s Education and Outreach division. I want to highlight the importance of Digital Careers. This focuses on the future skills needed to work in jobs which have a lot of digital disruption.

When I am included, I feel safe, respected and listened to. I am not only more productive, but I approach my work in creative and innovative ways.

I’m marching for visibility. It’s one thing to have an inclusive policy to build a culture that is safe, respectful and innovative. But it’s another to actively show that to our wider external stakeholders.

It shows that all brilliant scientists, innovators and STEM professionals are respected and valued at CSIRO. Marching for visibility can only be a good thing – it opens more doors and improves the intellectual collective that makes CSIRO a strong part of the STEM ecosystem.

Look out for Tom’s alter ego, Frida Love, marching for CSIRO.

Simon is proudly marching on behalf of diversity and inclusion.

Simon Lynch

I support CSIRO staff to adopt new ways of working in our digital future as we continue to solve the greatest challenges.

For me, diversity means that every person is unique and that every conversation provides the opportunity to learn and reflect on what makes us different yet joined together by a common humanity. Inclusion is how I have those conversations, seeking out and respecting the voice of others.

CSIRO’s involvement in Mardi Gras is a really important and visible sign to the wider community that our organisation really supports people who identify or are allies of LGBTI+ people. It is also a great way for CSIRO to promote that STEM is making a difference in the fabulously diverse world in which we all live.

Man smiling at the camera petting a dog. The dog is enjoying their scratches.

Rob is part of our ethics team, making hard decisions about experiments. But marching in Mardi gras is an easy one.

Rob McDowall

My role at CSIRO is to help our researchers conduct their work at the highest standards of research ethics and integrity.

Diversity and inclusion mean not just tolerating the differences between people. It’s also truly accepting their differences and being curious about their experience of the world.

Mardi Gras is about celebrating our diversity and that means having people from all walks of life celebrating who we are. Researchers sometimes get our heads stuck in the clouds or in a book, but we like a good party too and it’s a great chance to show off how diverse we are as an organisation.

Before we go…

We’re so excited to march at Mardi Gras. But we want you to join us too! Make sure you watch us live on SBS or afterwards via streaming.