LGBT scientists at the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, have had to regularly contend with homophobia in the workplace, according to a report in The Sunday Times. CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider and more than 10,000 scientists and researchers.
About one-third of posters put up by the group LGBT Cern are removed inappropriately, and on a few occasions they have been defaced with anti-gay quotations from the Old Testament or “schwein,” the German word for pig. One man has been disciplined after being caught removing a poster on CCTV, and senior management at the lab has intervened. Rolf Heuer, the former Director-General, wrote an organization-wide email condemning actions taken against the LGBT group and warning potential perpetrators.
In a statement to The Independent, a CERN spokesman wrote, “CERN considers these acts unacceptable, and strongly condemned [them] on various occasions. This is in our DNA not only words, and is clearly reflected in our core values and in our code of conduct. Homophobic behaviour is clearly not welcome at CERN and will not be tolerated.” LGBT CERN, for its part, has expressed its appreciation of the organization’s engagement and response.