18 November, 2022

Today (18 November) British Antarctic Survey (BAS) joins global celebrations to mark LGBTQIA+ STEM DAY and Polar Pride Day. Polar Pride is a celebration of the contribution of LGBTQIA+ people in polar research and operations, the day was originally designated by the Government of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) in 2020.

Here are some of the ways the BAS community is marking Polar Pride.

Celebrating at Cambridge

The Pride flag was raised outside BAS headquarters in Cambridge today.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion network took part in a live webinar with Durham University Antarctic Research Group on topics important to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Colleagues gathered together in the afternoon for an informal mingle and shared a special Pride cake.

A flag and a sign in front of a building
The Polar Pride flag flies outside of the BAS Cambridge offices

Celebrating in the polar regions

The Rothera Research Station team raised the flag on the station flagpole, and took the flag all around the station. Marine scientists from our Dutch collaborators working in the Dutch Gerritsz Laboratory also took the flag on a small boat while they collected water samples.

Colleagues also raised the flag in front of our aircraft before travelling onto a field camp on Larsen C Ice Shelf.

The Rothera team also celebrated with a Pride ‘smoko’ coffee break, with a brightly coloured Pride cake.

A group of 11 people wearing hi-vis coats stand on snow around a flag pole which has two flags flying from it - one is a union jack the other is a rainbow flag. In the background is a body of water and snowy mountains.
The Rothera team fly the Pride flag at Rothera Research Station
Two people are sat in a small boat holding up a rainbow Pride flag. There is a snowy mountain in the back.
Marine scientists and our Dutch colleagues Jaqueline Stefels (left) and Maria van Leeuwe (right) take the Pride flag to sea

The Progress Pride flag also flew on South Georgia today as the King Edward Point and Bird Island Research Station teams celebrated Polar Pride day.

A group of 9 people stand on a stony beach holding a Pride flag. There are green peaks in the background.
Bird Island celebrate Polar Pride
A group of 12 people are standing together holding up signs saying Polar Pride and a rainbow flag. There is water in the background, as well as green and snowy peaks.
King Edward Point celebrate Polar Pride 2022

At Halley VI, the team were treated to a real-life rainbow and the unique phenomenon of a sun dog (halos caused by the refraction of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere).

A vertical rainbow above a metal structure in the snow
Rainbow at Halley VI Research Station


The team at Halley VI with the Pride Flag
The team at Halley VI with the Pride Flag

Celebrating at sea

The Progress Pride flag also flies onboard RRS Sir David Attenborough today to celebrate Polar Pride 2022 as the ship prepares to head south for its second voyage to Antarctica.

The Pride flag flies in front of a ship's superstructure.
RRS Sir David Attenborough flies the Pride flag

Diversity in UK Polar Science

The Diversity in UK Polar Science initiative, conceived and funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office Polar Regions Department, celebrates existing diversity, and takes an important step forward to promote and enhance Antarctic science opportunities to under-represented groups, including women, people from ethnic minorities, BAME, LGBTQIA+ community and people with a disability.

We recently launched the Community Guide to Inclusive Behaviours in the Polar Regions that contains tools for collective learning and guidance on how to resolve challenging situations.

We aim to give staff, students and visitors a secure environment where they are respected for who they are, no matter their age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, gender identity or other parts of their identity.