Building a Queer-and Trans-Inclusive Microbiology Conference

Rachel Gregor, Julie Johnston, Lisa Shu Yang Coe, Natalya Evans, Desiree Forsythe, Robert Jones, Daniel Muratore, Bruno Francesco Rodrigues de Oliveira, Rachel Szabo, Yu Wan, Jelani Williams, Callie R Chappell, Shayle B Matsuda, Melanie Ortiz Alvarez de la Campa, Anna C Fagre, Steven A Frese, Maria Hamilton, Maurizio Labbate, McK Mollner, Itumeleng Moroenyane, Leonardo Pacciani-Mori, Gonçalo J Piedade, Sammy Pontrelli, Rahmeen Rahman, Heema Kumari Nilesh Vyas, Mica Y Yang, Anna C.B. Weiss, Olivier Zablocki, JL Weissman

Published in EcoEvoRxiv, 2023



Microbiology conferences can be powerful places to build collaborations and exchange scientific thought, but for queer and transgender (trans) scientists they can also become sources of alienation and isolation. Many conference organizers would like to create welcoming and inclusive events but feel ill-equipped to make this vision a reality, and a historical lack of representation of queer and trans folks in microbiology means we rarely occupy these key leadership roles ourselves. Looking more broadly, queer and trans scientists are systematically marginalized across scientific fields, leading to disparities in career outcomes, professional networks, and opportunities, as well as loss of unique scientific perspectives at all levels. For queer and trans folks with multiple, intersecting, marginalized identities, these barriers often become even more severe. Here, we provide concrete, practical advice to help conference organizers in the microbial sciences design inclusive, safe, and welcoming conferences, where queer and trans microbiologists can flourish.