Engagement with Trans and Gender Nonconforming oSTEM Members

Last Update: Nov 10, 2020



Please see the following guidelines and recommendations on how to best engage with our trans and gender nonconforming members at our oSTEM conferences and events. Please also review our Code of Conduct


Initial Assumptions

  • Some of the individuals you may encounter at oSTEM activities may not have a gender presentation you are accustomed to. A gender presentation is a way of showing the world what gender an individual identifies with. For example, in American culture a dress has typically been associated as a feminine gender presentation. 

  • The gender presentation of individuals within oSTEM may be different from what you would see with other organizations and that means that people you might perceive as a man may be presenting a feminine gender presentation (such as wearing a dress). This should not be cause for any alarm or reaction. Regardless of some's clothing, their gender identity is to be respected. 

  • Although gender presentation may seem to be a confusing topic, the complexity of gender itself is even more diverse. Below are some basic concepts: 

    • Sex - the physical differentiation of bodies (male, female, intersex)

    • Gender Identity - the mental state of differentiation, or an individual’s own sense of gender (man, woman, genderfluid, non-binary, agender, etc.)

    • Gender Expression - how you present your gender identity to the world(masculine, feminine, androgynous, non-binary); also includes performance of gender roles and expectations

    • Sexual Orientation - the physical or sexual attraction you feel toward others (homosexual, heterosexual, asexual, bisexual)

    • Romantic Orientation - the romantic attraction you feel toward others (homoromantic, heteroromantic, aromantic, biromantic)



How to Be an Ally

  • Be respectful and mindful of diversity of bodies and presentations.

    • Don’t point or stare, don’t take photos of attendees, and don’t gossip about the attendees. People are often aware of when these actions as they happen, and they can feel incredibly violating and make someone fear for their personal safety.

  • Don’t make gendered assumptions

    • Gender is fluid and many attendees will fall at various places along and outside of the spectrum.

    • Don’t assume the gender of a person or their pronouns 

      • Asking for the pronouns of attendees is not always welcome, as it can feel assumptive or as though you are somehow doubting someone’s gender identity. In Brazen and for many folks in Bizzabo, pronouns are already appended to the end of display names to ease this process. 

        • It is better to introduce yourself with your name and pronouns to create the invitation for others to do the same. See Display Pronoun section below. 

      • Along with he/him/his and she/her/hers, common pronouns include they/them/theirs and ze/zir/zirs.

      • Avoid using ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’.

      • If asked your pronouns, please answer if comfortable doing so. 

        • If you do not have preferences, state as such. 

  • Hold everyone accountable for their actions, particularly when they are harmful to trans and gender-nonconforming attendees

    • Harmful actions include: purposely misgendering attendees, gossiping about attendees, and staring at attendees along with more overt forms of harassment.

  • oSTEM understands that we are all human, and we ask that if an attendee corrects you that you move forward in the conversation being conscientious of the mistake. Perhaps first acknowledge the lapse by saying, "I'm sorry," "Thank you for correcting me,” or something to that effect. If you have any questions, please reach out for clarification.  

  • When in doubt, ask conference volunteers!


Names, Resumes, and CVs

  • For many trans and gender nonconforming people, their legal name might differ from their preferred name

    • The decision for putting legal or preferred name on a resume or CV is a personal decision of the attendees, based on many factors

  • When interacting with students, keep this in mind and use their preferred name (which will be their displayed name on platforms) while talking with them 

  • Often, requested contact information only asks for “legal name.” Consider removing requirement, or add a column for “name”, “preferred name” or “chosen name”

    • Be sure to address people by their “preferred name” or “chosen name” in communications like email blasts or interview calls.


Considerations for Workshops

  • Trans members of oSTEM are interested in trans experiences within your workplace

  • For trans students, it is very helpful to know what it’s like being a trans professional

Examples include how to deal with HR, paperwork, trans inclusive medical care, dealing with name changes in Publish-or-Perish, etc.

Displaying Pronouns (virtual events)

You can share your pronouns by your name by the following methods. This action invites others to do the same. 

  • Email

    • You can put your pronouns immediately after your signoff name, or underneath your name. Examples: 

      • Taylor Jones (they/them/theirs)
        Cool Organization

      • Taylor Jones
        Pronouns: they, them, theirs
        Cool Organization

  • Webex

    • If you've signed in as a guest, input your full name with the pronouns immediately afterwards. Example: Taylor Jones (they/them/theirs) 

    • If you've signed into webex account, edit your last name in your account by editing your profile. You must do this on your webex account, not during a meeting. 

  • Bizzabo and Brazen

    • In the "last name" field, input your pronouns after your last name. Example: 

      • First name: Taylor

      • Last name: Jones (they/them/theirs)

  • Gather

    • ​​​​​​​Input your full name with the pronouns immediately afterwards. 


Video Opt-in (virtual events)

Some students may not feel comfortable sharing their video. Please respect their wish and be conscious of your bias when engaging with them during the career fair.