About

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 these goals, yet we have observed that the voices of marginalized queer communities - especially transgender, non-binary folks and queer BIPOC folks - have been neglected. The purpose of this workshop is to highlight issues that these communities face by featuring talks and panel discussions on the inclusion of neuro-diverse people in our communities, the intersection of queer and animal rights, as well as worker rights issues around the world.

The main topics of the workshop will revolve around:

  • the intersection of AI, queer identity and neurodiversity

  • queer identity and labor rights and organization

  • AI and animal rights

  • queer identity and caste-based discrimination

More information on our focus topics will be coming soon.


Additionally, at Queer in AI’s socials at NeurIPS 2021, we will focus on creating a safe and inclusive casual networking and socializing space for LGBTQIA+ individuals involved with AI. There will also be additional social events, stay tuned for more details coming soon. Together, these components will create a community space where attendees can learn and grow from connecting with each other, bonding over shared experiences, and learning from each individual’s unique insights into AI, queerness, and beyond!

Code of Conduct

Please read the Queer in AI code of conduct, which will be strictly followed at all times. Recording (screen recording or screenshots) is prohibited. All participants are expected to maintain the confidentiality of other participants.

Information about NeurIPS safety team will be added soon, in case you need assistance before the conference with matters pertaining to the Code of Conduct or harassment, please contact the Queer in AI Safety Team. Please be assured that if you approach us, your concerns will be kept in strict confidence, and we will consult with you on any actions taken.

Call for Contributions

The submissions must be generally related to the intersection of LGBTQIA+ representation and AI, or be research produced by LGBTQIA+ individuals. The submissions need not be directly related to the themes of the workshop, and they can be works in progress. Please refrain from including personally identifying information in your submission. No submissions will be desk-rejected.

We will open the call on Monday, September 20, 2021 and close it on Monday, November 15, 2021 Anywhere On Earth (AOE), with acceptance notifications going out on a rolling basis. Additionally, we are accepting submissions in any media, including---but not limited to---research papers, books, poetry, music, art, musings, tiktoks, testimonials. Submissions need NOT be in English. This is to maximize the inclusivity of our call for submissions and amplify non-traditional expressions of what it means to be Queer in AI. You can find excellent examples of “non-traditional” submissions here.

Furthermore, we encourage all undergraduates to submit their work. We will also publicize outstanding undergraduate research.

We will work to grant all individuals with accepted work free conference admission. All authors with accepted work will have FULL control over how their name appears in public listings of accepted submissions. Tentatively, the submissions will be presented in a joint affinity group poster session where you will have the option to present and answer questions in a Gathertown setting.

If you need help with your submission in the form of mentoring or advice, you can get in touch with us at queerinaineurips2021@gmail.com.

Submission link: https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/qinaineurips2021/

Structure

TBD

Queer in AI Buddy Program

One of the major struggles of being LGBTQ+ in AI and surrounding fields is the sense of isolation; feeling like you’re different and alone contributes to minority stress (Frost, et al 2015, Meyer, 2003a, 2003b, Meyer & Dean, 1998). Furthermore, in Queer in AI’s demographic survey, a common issue that was brought up by participants is lack of community support and role models (Queer in AI, 2019). Dealing with this sort of isolation as well as potential for harassment - and navigating outness/figuring out who to trust - can make academic conferences more stressful for and intimidating to new participants than they already are.


To remedy this, we introduce the buddy system: pairing experienced LGBTQ+ participants with newer people can help alleviate some of these associated struggles. Shared LGBTQ+ identity or known allyship removes the burden of solitary outness-navigation to an extent. Furthermore, experienced people can show younger individuals the ropes while providing a social “safety net”, so that the newer person isn’t just left to figure things out alone. As a side effect, the buddy system also provides an excellent networking opportunity.


We will match people together based on shared time zone and language. We also acknowledge the importance of intersectionality and will aim to match people together based on other axes as well, e.g. matching trans people together. However, this is not a guarantee as its feasibility depends on how many people apply (and the variability of characteristics of those people).


Guidelines & Things to Consider

  • You’ll be introduced to your buddy shortly before the conference. If you’re a senior person, please consider making the first move to connect!

  • You’ll be invited to the Queer in AI Slack where you can communicate with each other (as an alternative to email), if you would like to do so

  • We recommend setting up a meeting with your buddy before the conference starts so that you can introduce each other and make a plan

  • Staying connected after the conference is possible, but not guaranteed since many individuals experience zoom fatigue

The sign up form for the buddy program will be released shortly. We encourage signing up especially if you are an undergraduate, or new to ML conferences or queer spaces. You do not need to be registered for the conference to participate in the buddy program.

Speakers and Panelists


TBD

Organizers

Claas Voelcker (he/him)

Claas is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, PAIR lab. He is interested in modeling complex data for reinforcement learning and control applications as well as probabilistic sequence models. At Queer in AI, he administrates the mailing list, and organizes conference workshops and socials at ML and robotics venues.

Arjun Subramonian (they/them)

Arjun is a brown queer, agender incoming PhD student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Their research focuses on graph machine learning, fairness, and ML ethics. They are a core organizer of Queer in AI, co-founded QWER Hacks, and teach machine learning and AI ethics at Title I schools in LA. They also love to run, hike, observe and document wildlife, and play the ukulele!

Ashwin (they/them)

Ashwin is a Research Associate at Precog and Language Technologies Research Center, IIIT Hyderabad. They use both qualitative and computational methods to understand phenomenon on social media platforms and computer-mediated communication technologies, with the goal to make these systems more inclusive and less harmful for the margins of society.



Important Notes:

  • NeurIPS is still determining how and to whom to offer free registration for affinity groups. We will share the information once available.