Social Hour in Phoenix AZ!

Tonight,  Nuclear pride will meet up with members of the waste management community for drinks and chatting in Phoenix, Arizona! At 8pm, we’ll meet at at Amsterdam,  a club at 718 N.  Central Avenue, just north of the Phoenix Conference Center. The special tonight at Amsterdam is $5 martinis, so don’t forget to bring a couple  of Abe Lincolns along! We’ll be there for at least an hour.

If you’d like to walk to the venue with us,  we’ll meet at the starbucks at 7:45.

See you tonight!

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A Glowing Social Hour for the NuclearPride Launch

By Samuel Brinton

I can’t tell you how frightening and yet terribly exciting it was for me to attend my first NuclearPride social in Chicago last summer. An amazing ally in the American Nuclear Society had shared a poster with me about a new group for LGBTQ nuclear engineers and their allies which was having a social hour at a local bar the next evening.

Walking into that room I was full of questions. How many people would show up? Was there only going to be allies? Were there really other LGBTQ nuclear engineers?

When I saw Katy I was terribly confused. You see, I had just seen Katy present her research in my session that day. We worked on very similar research topics and I knew she would recognize my face. She smiled at me. I was terrified at first because I didn’t know if she was at the bar with friends and would see me in the LGBTQ social hour. She invited me over to sit down and I would learn she had helped to organize the event. Waves of relief!

Katy wasn’t the only ANS colleague I would know at this social hour. With allies and friends we were joined by almost 20 individuals. Talk about empowerment! I was beaming with an instant sense of acceptance and support. I would finally be able to be myself in my professional society and this social was bringing together a community who wanted the nuclear science and engineering field to be supportive of all of its members and especially its LGBTQ family.

Our next social hour would be held in San Diego during the winter ANS meeting. Announcing the meeting during the student sections committee meeting was nerve-racking but the smiles and new faces that attended made it absolutely worth it. We were also joined by the QuEST (Queer Engineers, Scientists, and Technical Professionals) who shared their experiences with hosting similar events and outreach.

The collaboration of the queer nuclear world with the queer scientific community of San Diego was just the start. Our future events will work to be held with local organizations which support our mission of providing a safe and supportive community for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer in the nuclear engineering community.

As a young queer nuclear engineer I am blessed to be part of the NuclearPride community and can’t wait to see you at the next social event!

How Does Marriage Affect the Gay Nuclear Career ?

Illinois is a nuclear state. It houses 11 nuclear reactors, many power utilities, Argonne National Lab, Fermilab, the NRC Region III office, and the American Nuclear Society headquarters, among other things. Today, the Illinois State Senate passed marriage equality legislation. Though passing this bill through the House of Representatives will be a challenge, this is a step toward marriage equality. For many nuclear engineers with careers in Illinois,  it is a step toward career equality as well.

Nuclear engineering careers are particularly sensitive to marriage issues. We are often in nomadic careers like the Navy, academia, or the national laboratories. Since the spousal hire negotiations in these situations become vastly simpler with a marriage certificate to staple to the agreement, unmarried couples (or at least their careers) suffer.

Furthermore, some of us are folks with security clearances. Since 1975, it’s no longer the case that you can explicitly be denied a security clearance based on sexuality, but security clearances can still be denied if there is some suspicion that the subject is not completely “out.” A marriage certificate would be an undeniable proof of “outness” and could do away with security clearance discrimination for good.

However you feel about the meaning of marriage, it is a pervasive legal institution in our society. Legal ramifications of marriage or non-marriage include everything from gym membership fees to hospital visitation rights to adoption eligibility to estate taxes. For the nuclear engineer, it affects all of those things and more.

Perhaps this discussion merely demonstrates that the government shouldn’t have anything to do with marriage. Perhaps the legal marriage institution breaks the separation of church and state. Whatever your opinion, the government has chosen to be in the business of marriage. If it wants to be involved in categorizing the personal lives of US citizens, it had best do so fairly.

As early as late March, the US Supreme Court might declare DOMA unconstitutional and federally recognize same-sex marriage. These are not decisions that will fully clear the path of queer nuclear engineers. But, they’re a good place to start.

Listening : Macklemore – Same Love