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What Makes a Lab Welcoming?

The University of Minnesota's Jeremy Yoder and Allison Mattheis at California State University, Los Angeles, reported last year that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender researchers felt more accepted at work than their contemporaries in other fields. As Wired notes, the pair additionally found that LGBTQ researchers often did not know anyone else of their identity in their field, but also that LGBTQ individuals who worked in fields with higher numbers of women were more likely to be out at work.

For that Journal of Homosexuality paper, Yoder and Mattheis surveyed more than 1,400 graduate students, postdocs, faculty, researchers, and industry professionals working in STEM fields, and now, Wired reports, their follow-up Queer in STEM survey is tackling what traits make a workplace welcoming as well as whether having visible LGBTQ colleagues affects people's careers and how being out affects productivity.

For this iteration, the researchers are surveying both LGBTQ and straight people in STEM, and, so far, Wired notes they have had more respondents in the first three days than they had for their entire first survey. The survey is to close by the time of the national Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics conference in November.

"In a lot of ways, the main goal of Queer in STEM is just to demonstrate that lots of LGBTQ-identified folks are working in science and technical jobs, and our concerns matter as a part of that workforce," Yoder tells Wired.