05 August, 2015

First peer-reviewed paper reporting Queer in STEM survey results

We're delighted to announce that the first formal academic paper reporting results from the Queer in STEM survey has been published online ahead of print in the Journal of Homosexuality. The points covered in the paper will look familiar to those of you who followed our posting about preliminary analysis:

A survey of individuals working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, or asexual (LGTBQA) was administered online in 2013. Participants completed a 58-item questionnaire to report their professional areas of expertise, levels of education, geographic location, and gender and sexual identities, and rated their work and social communities as welcoming or hostile to queer identities. An analysis of 1,427 responses to this survey provided the first broad portrait of this population, and revealed trends related to workplace practices that can inform efforts to improve queer inclusivity in STEM workplaces.

However, the paper has the benefit of review and comments by experts with knowledge of the broader research context for the results, and includes one big points we haven't made in other print venues. In particular, following an analysis prompted by the reviewers, we found that survey participants who worked in STEM fields with better representation of women were more likely to be out to their colleagues.

Regression with all STEM fields (solid line), p = 0.31;
with Psychology excluded (dashed line), p = 0.02.

This is an interesting result because it suggests a broader phenomenon of gendered culture in STEM workplaces — in fields with fewer women, the climate may be less comfortable for anyone who fails to conform to a straight male gender presentation. This is an issue we're interested in pursuing in further analysis of the survey results, particularly the individual interviews with participants.

The paper is available on the journal website, and in an easier-to-read manuscript format PDF via Jeremy's online publications list.