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, Queer and Trans in Microbiology Consortium, JL Weissman

Published in mSystems, 2023


I have contributed to this publication as a consortium author.


Microbiology conferences can be powerful places to build collaborations and exchange ideas, 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 the 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 draw from our experiences as early-career microbiologists to provide concrete, practical advice to help conference organizers across research communities design inclusive, safe, and welcoming conferences, where queer and trans scientists can flourish.