About Queer in AI


Artificial intelligence (AI) is driving the evolution of our society, while the support of queer people in AI is still largely lacking at many research organizations and institutions. Cultures of de facto “don’t ask, don’t tell” and explicit and implicit ostracism discourage young queer people from joining this important field and also leave existing queer scientists in AI/ML in painful and lonely situations.

Queer in AI was established by queer scientists in AI with the mission to make the AI community a safe and inclusive place that welcomes, supports, and values LGBTQIA+ people. We work towards this aim by building a visible community of queer and ally AI scientists through social meetups, conference poster sessions, mentoring programs, and many other initiatives. Another crucial part of our mission is to raise awareness of queer issues in the general AI community and to encourage and highlight research on and solutions to these problems.

Queer in AI’s demographic survey reveals that most queer scientists in our community do not feel completely welcome in conferences and their work environments, with the main reasons being a lack of queer community and role models. Over the past years, Queer in AI has worked towards eliminating these issues, yet we have observed that the voices of minoritized queer communities, especially transgender, non-binary folks and queer BIPOC folks have been neglected. Our aim is to highlight issues that these communities face and work with communities to make spaces more inclusive of queer folks.

Core organizers

You can reach out to Queer in AI organizers by emailing queerinai [at] gmail [dot] com

Sharvani is an incoming software engineer at Microsoft (UCLA ‘21). She is a co-founder of QWER Hacks and is interested in AI ethics. At QueerInAI, she’s working on undergraduate mentorship, organizing QueerInAI workshops, and more! Twitter: @sharvanilla

Umut Pajaro (they/them)

Umut has a BA in Communication studies and a MA in Cultural Studies. They do independent research related to AI, Ethics, Social Computing focusing on the intersection BIPOC/Latinx and LGBTQI+. At QueerinAI they are part of the Graduate Admissions Application Review Program and Communications Team and do other awesome stuff. Twitter: @elojodepajaro

Arjun is an incoming Computer Science PhD student at UCLA whose research is about graph representation learning. They co-founded QWER Hacks and teach machine learning at underserved high schools in LA. They are organizing QueerInAI workshops, socials and QinAI's undergraduate mentoring program. Twitter: @arjunsubgraph

Rapha is a Research Associate at Google Brain and a co-founder of Queer in AI. He’s deeply interested in how humans and computers create (or don't) ideas, concepts, meaning, and how they interact (or don't) with reality, other's perceptions, culture, etc. He currently explores these questions via Computer Vision research.

Pan is a Postdoc at Caltech whose main research interest lies in machine learning and optimization. He is the co-chair of the Graduate School Application Financial Aid Program and the Graduate School Application Review Program. Twitter: @iampanxu

Pranav is a brown queer Asian chaotic zoomer who is a research engineer at Miro AI and a multilingual NLP researcher at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. At QueerInAI, he organizes social events in NLP conferences and sets up DEI and safety initiatives.

William is a PhD student at UW studying object representations and ML ethics. William helps organize different Queer in AI events and administer the graduate admissions aid programs. Twitter: @willie_agnew

Melvin Selim Atay (he/him)

Selim is a PhD Student at METU, researching on explainability of AI/DL models for early diagnosis of neurodegeneration. Selim is a sponsorship volunteer of QueerinAI. Twitter: @i_am_mel_Dev

Luca is a queer senior applied scientist at Amazon Alexa; Currently, Luca researches efficient question answering and language generation models. Luca obtained his Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 2018. At QueerInAI, Luca manages sponsorships and organizes social events in NLP conferences.
Twitter: @soldni

Sabine is a queer PhD student at the University of Edinburgh researching predicate entailment while being annoyed about the lack of multilingual tools. Her office has a unicorn. In her free time she misses Berlin, naps and makes lino print art. Twitter: @multilingual_s

Claas Voelcker (he/him)

Claas is a PhD student at the University of Toronto where he tries to find out why reinforcement learning is so hard and how to build good models for planning. For Queer in AI, he organizes the mailing list and pushes for more events at robotics conferences. Twitter: @c_voelcker

Natalia Bilenko (she/they)

Natalia is a data scientist / software engineer, and a founding organizer of Queer in AI. Natalia has worked on algorithms related to narrative perception in the brain, heart disease detection, and fashion forecasting. At Queer in AI, Natalia has helped organize events and start initiatives for member safety, speaker honoraria, and sponsorship guidelines.

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