Vocabulary & Terminology

LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Here’s an in-depth guide for LGBTQ+ vocabulary terms

LGBTQ+ Issues in STEM: a summary

Key LGBTQ+ demographics studies highlighting inequities & barriers

Privacy Concerns and LGBTQ+ demographics

While it is imperative that we collect LGBTQ+ demographic data in order to measure and quantify inequities in STEM, and whether interventions introduced to ameliorate them are having their intended impact, we also need to ensure that the data is kept secure. The gathering of data regarding LGBTQ+ people in STEM potentially renders them vulnerable to anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in a variety of areas. Employment protections on the basis of orientation are being challenged at the federal level. This indicates that other areas of anti-discrimination such as housing and privacy may also be unsettled in terms of Federal protections against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. Currently, although Federal employment law now provides a level of protection that individual states are not supposed to fall below, states who have discriminatory policy preferences are resisting protections and sometimes digging in even deeper, such as in anti-trans bathroom bills, housing, family law, etc.

How information is gathered, how questions are phrased, how data is kept confidential, how disaggregation operates, how anonymization of information works, who is provided with the data, and how the data is used can create substantial legal privacy concerns with potential consequences for the vulnerable subjects from which the data is derived.

It is imperative that any demographic data collected be adequately protected and de-identified to ensure that individuals do not have adverse consequences to their livelihood, health and wellbeing. Some of the unintended consequences from lack of adequate privacy protections in data sets of LGBTQ+ individuals could be:

  1. Employment Discrimination. Currently, there is a conservative push to challenge employment discrimination protections on the basis of orientation. In 2020, SCOTUS issued Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that Title VII regarding employment anti-discrimination extended protections “on the basis of sex” to include trans status as well of sexuality. In September 2021, 20 states joined together and filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, Tennessee v. Dept. of Education et. Al., to prevent the Federal government from using this expanded Title VII definition into its interpretation of other anti-discrimination legislation, specifically Title IX regarding prohibitions against discrimination in education “on the basis of sex.”
  2. Housing Discrimination. Housing nondiscrimination laws explicitly protect LGBTQ people from being unfairly evicted, denied housing, or refused the ability to rent or buy housing on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity in only 22 states in the country.
  3. Immigration considerations. For non-citizens and US permanent residents, their work in STEM and occupation is tied to their ability to live in the United States. Termination of their work based on anti-LGBTQ discrimination then has the additional component of losing authorization to reside in the US, in sometimes as less as 60 days. This can impact a sizeable vulnerable population. For instance, it is estimated that more than half of the postdoctoral researchers in the United States are non-citizens and here on temporary visas. Some international researchers may be from countries that have less than favorable environments for LGBTQ+ individuals making a return to those countries dangerous. Furthermore, someone on a temporary resident status may not have the resources or the support structures to appeal discrimination or wrongful termination. They may also have cultural impediments to seeking redress.

Given the importance of this issue, Out To Innovate is embarking on a project to provide guidance. Please bookmark this webpage for upcoming Research and Best Practices on how to maintain Privacy of individuals data.

Equity & Inclusion Trainings

  • The Safe Zone Project is a free online resource for powerful, effective LGBTQ awareness and ally training workshops.
  • The OHSU Inclusive Language Guide is intended as an evolving tool to help members learn about and use inclusive language in institutional communications, patient care (including chart notes), instruction and presentations around descriptors of:
    • Race and ethnicity
    • Immigration status
    • Gender and sexual orientation
    • Ability (including physical, mental and chronological attributes

LGBTQ+ Organizations

  • GLAAD — — Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “GLAAD works with print, broadcast and online news sources to bring people powerful stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality.”
  • GLSEN — — Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. “Every day GLSEN works to ensure that LGBT students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.”
  • Forge — is a progressive organization whose mission is to support, educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies). They have recorded webinars on many different issues related to trans* individuals and SOFFAs.
  • It Gets Better Project — — “The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.”
  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force — — “The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up.” They also run Creating Change, the “largest annual gathering of LGBTQ activists, organizers, and leaders within the LGBT movement” in the US.
  • National Center for Transgender Equality — — “The nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people.”
  • The “Not All Like That” (NALT) Project – – videos of (awesome) Christians (mostly families) explaining how they fully support LGBTQ people and that being Christian shouldn’t mean being anti-gay.
  • oSTEM – – Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional chapter-based association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community.
  • Out to Innovate (formerly NOGLSTP) – – is a 501c3 professional society and global community of LGBTQ+ students and professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that empowers LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM by providing education, advocacy, professional development, networking, and peer support. They also educate all communities about the scientific, technical, and medical concerns of LGBTQ+ people.
  • Religious Institute — — “A multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society.”
  • PFLAG — — “Parents, Families, Friends, and Allies United with LGBT People to Move Equality Forward.” Glossary of terms
  • Transgender Law Center — — “The largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.”
  • The Trevor Project — — “Crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.”

V.1 Page last updated 9/20/2021