Queer Scientists Decolonize the Field One Zine at a Time

Every issue, we invite artists, writers, DIYers and community members to offer a slice of their Zine Philosophy. This edition is by the co-editors of Jotería Científica, a Texas-based zine by and for queer people of colour in the STEM fields.



As two queer women of colour studying sciences at Texas A&M University, we were surrounded by a toxic culture in our departments and science, tech, engineering and maths fields (STEM) more broadly. It was painful. We love science, but we had had enough of our colleagues who were “trying to help,” but refused to question the oppressive foundations of their fields.

So we organized, joining with people from different oppressed groups who were experiencing similar struggles. We knew this was bigger than us, and in February 2018, we co-founded Jotería Científica. The title phrase roughly translates to queerness in science. We wanted to be clear — we are far from straight, but we are committed to our fields, and to building community with others like us. Joteria Cientifica features work from the trenches — academia and research, entire fields and disciplines of that people must nimbly navigate as a queer/trans person of color and beyond.

Jotería Científica is a zine with words and images, yes, but it is also a protest, a stance against the popular conception of science as all-knowing, objective, or ethical. It is a resistance tool, a grassroot space for a theory and praxis of indigenizing science and medicine. It is a loud rejection of the scientific “progress” narrative, a myth which extends and excuses colonialism to oppress, blame and control us. We oppose science’s basis in colonial violence, genocide, and disenfranchisement. And we call out the mass land theft and fundamental disrespect for Indigenous sovereignty and culture, which so often manifests in scientific “research”, resource extraction, or so-called efficiency.

Our project stands in solidarity with people targeted by scientific oppression everywhere — in clinical settings, forensics, medical care, in public health policing, in labs and universities. We stand with people subjected to clinical misogyny and misogynoir, with the victims of feminicidios (femicides), with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, with survivors of sexual assault and abuse. We vehemently resist anti-Blackness. We reject the violence of colorism, the preference for whiteness/lightness propped up by so-called science, and which complements the criminalization and dehumanization of people who have dark skin. We refuse to forget or forgive the ceaseless assault on people with dark skin and Black features, the inheritance of eugenics continuing as medical experiments and forced sterilization and brutal neglect today.

Our goal is to inspire people who like science or who are good at it to Provide and trade knowledge. Let’s empower people to learn on their own in the face of oppression, and allow ourselves to see the cracks in the veneer, to pick away at them, and to expose the rot inside academia — that scam. We want to motivate someone to graduate, but also someone else to drop out — we support any change we can help bring forward or feelings we help other science queers to clarify.

Do you get this? Do you belong in the jotería? Then come, join us.


Catalina Camacho (she/her): bisexual anarchist babe, former neuroscientist and high school teacher, originally from Nvo. Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, currently a veterinary school student and sex worker (plus a mom to fur/scale/feather babies and plants).

Chris Sandoval (they/them): queer, nonbinary from the Rio Grande Valley, Southmost part of Texas. Wildlife lover, past rehabilitator, current teacher, farmer, and adoptive non-human animal caregiver.