ASM believes that the various perspectives, experiences and backgrounds of our diverse membership enhance innovation, broaden the research agenda and further scientific advancement. We strive to be inclusive and foster a welcoming environment for all.
Recent research has shown scientists that identify as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and other affectional and gender identities) do not feel as welcome in their place of work as their non-LGBTQIA+ colleagues. People from the LGBTQIA+ community are 7% more likely to leave STEM fields, citing difficulties integrating their personal lives and being accepted by their peers. LGBTQIA+ scientists also report higher levels of harassment and insensitive comments, creating a “chilly climate” in the workplace, particularly in university settings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated feelings of stress and isolation among all of us, especially those who already felt excluded or judged because of their identities. For some, the scientific community is a potential source of support and connection, and ASM strives to ensure all people feel safe to develop connections and support within the microbial sciences. Science is rooted in remaining objective, eliminating bias and furthering understanding. We must adhere to these principles not only in our research, but in our approaches to each other. ASM will continue to combat sexual harassment in STEM fields and enable members to choose or change how they identify in their publications.
Now more than ever, it is time to come together and support each other as a community. We invite members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies to foster connection at ASM’s LGBTQIA+ reception during World Microbe Forum (WMF). We also welcome members to participate in our inclusive diversity with equity access and accountability (IDEAA) virtual town hall during WMF, to be held on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 from 8-9 p.m. EDT. Register for WMF to attend these events.
Program Director, Molecular & Cellular Biosciences, National Science Foundation
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce