07 May, 2013

LGBTQ in STEM: Who are we?

Rainbow leds Photo by Julio Martinez.
In the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the social experiences of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, or queer (LGBTQ) are often overlooked. Those of us who work in STEM research or teaching know that LGBTQ colleagues are out there, if we know where to look, but we know very little about the LGBTQ folks who work in STEM, as a group. Basic, general information regrading the following questions is hard to come by:

What do we study?
What kinds of institutions do we work at?
What kinds of communities do we live in?
What degree of acceptance and support have we found in our chosen career fields?


We're Jeremy Yoder, a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota; and Allison Mattheis, who just accepted a faculty position in the College of Education at California State University Los Angeles. As queer academics, we're interested in understanding and improving the climate for LGBTQ faculty, staff, and graduate students in the sciences. This led us to the idea of developing and conducting a systematic, nationwide survey of LGBTQ folks in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), asking basic questions to identify who we are, what fields we work in, how our careers compare to those of our straight peers, and how our identities interact with our chosen work.

To begin to answer those questions, we've initiated this online survey of LGBTQ folks working in STEM. If you're queer, have completed at least a bachelor's or technical degree, and are working in STEM in any capacity — grad school, the tenure track, corporate R&D, the nonprofit sector, or science communication — we want to hear from you, and we need your help to collect a comprehensive sample.

You can take the survey and learn how to help spread the word right here. Thanks in advance!