FIRST LGBT+ (A blog by and about LGBT+ people in FIRST)

Greetings Chief Delphi users, my name is Josh from FRC 2729, though I am not here to talk to you as someone from 2729.
I’m here to talk to you about a blog that I have been working on with my friend Sean from FRC 5113. What is this blog?
FIRST LGBT+ is a blog that we hope will help provide resources and increase confidence for LGBT+ people to follow their passion for STEM in and out of FIRST.
We hope to harbor more acceptance and visibility for LGBT+ people in FIRST.
We hope that this blog will be something that everyone in FIRST can benefit from no matter who they are
We hope that this blog will be a fun and helpful entity that is not affiliated with any one team, but is run by students all over the world.

We are currently looking for staff before we really get the blog going (being that there are only two of us at the moment)
We are looking for 1 person per region/district at the moment, though once the blog becomes properly started up we will increase that number to 2 staff per region/district
If you’re interested in helping out you can find the application HERE](

tldr: Trying to start up a blog for LGBT+ people in robotics, though we need support from the community, it’s run by students and if you want to try help you, check out the application above

Have any question, opinions or comments? Respond to this thread, mention us on Twitter (@LGBT_of_FIRST), send us an Ask on Tumblr (lgbt-of-first) or email us ([email protected]) Page)](](

There were a few interesting posts in a recent thread ( about representation and accommodation of LGBTQ folks in STEM.

I’ve become increasingly interested in ways FIRST can, institutionally, be a better place for groups like these and how I, as a mentor, can be aware of my impact.

Looking forward to hearing more about this.

This looks like it’ll be great - there’s a surprisingly small amount of talk about LGBT+ issues in FIRST.

Am I the only one that wouldn’t expect there to be much, if any, talk about LGBT+ issues in FIRST?

There is a time and a place to discuss various things. An event about Science and Technology just doesn’t strike me as the right time and place for LGBT+ discussions.

The same would be true for racism, anti-semitism, pro-life/pro-choice, etc.

Sorry but your comparision of racism, anti-semitism, and pro-life/choice to LGBT is completely off.

You can choose to not be one and the other is who you are…

That is why such a blog can be helpful

While I do think this blog is valuable, the writers need to make sure they’re going for quality over quantity. A bunch of blog posts that just happen to be by LGBT+ authors won’t cut it. I’d rather see just one a week that is relevant and thoughtful.

This is coming from a gay FIRSTer.

No, FIRST isn’t just a Science and Technology event.

“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” Dean Kamen, Founder

Every year students and mentors from more than 3000 team overcome a huge range of challenges, these students develop solutions to many problems and overcome them in just 6 weeks. If students can accomplish this I’m sure that they can solve problems in their greater community, and overcome adversity within FIRST.

Racism and Anti-Semitism is obviously not acceptable, but there is nothing wrong with encouraging discussion about LGBT+ issues within FIRST, after all the students of FIRST are tomorrows leaders.

As a mentor of a rookie team we have not really had to deal with LGBT+ issues, yet. I hope this could be another resource to help us make the experience inclusive, comfortable, and just as inspiring as it is for all the other students.

(As an example, I look forward to, and do read threads on how other teams handle transgender students in traveling situations. I would think (and hope) this would be our most challenging issue to overcome.)

I don’t think the point is have a discussion about the umbrella of general LGBT+ issues, but rather how FIRST integrates diverse communities into their platform. There is a very popular thread right now regarding inclusiveness with respect to gender in FRC, and there was an other about the FRC experience from the perpectice of a student of color. I’d expect this project to be addressing those issues introduced by the other under-represented demographics but from an LGBT+ scope.

Interestngly, industry leaders don’t see FRC as just a “competition about science and technology”. There are multiple workshops on the itinerary at Worlds (presented by corperate leaders) this year that are addressing the issue of diversity and inclusions within the FIRST programs. If industry leaders think these issues are important enough to discuss, who are we to render them irrelevant?

I’m all for what empowers students to go ahead and make more robots and STEM careers happen. Contrary to popular belief, FIRST is about Robots that Build Teams, not the other way around.

The new, hot term in business circles is “Inclusive Leadership”. I think an important theme for the blog is encouraging that type of student leadership.

Go forth and inspire!

I’m so excited to see where this project goes! I hope the blog is inclusive of other marginalized and underrepresented communties in FIRST and successful in impacting robotics culture.

We talk about African American representation in FIRST all the time, which often leads to discussions of racism. If our goal is to spread inspiration of STEM then LGBT is a great place for us for focus our energies.

We talk of making FRC more inclusive and better for LGBT+ people but that brings me to the thought; if there are issues for LGBT+ people in FRC how bad and to what extent are they? I’m not saying there aren’t issues for them in FRC I’m just wondering how big of an issue this is as I am not as aware of issues for LGBT+ people in FRC as i am with say women in STEM.

Those who have experienced discriminatory actions or negative actions towards LGBT+ people in FRC can you elaborate and share on some of the issues you have observed?

By the way I think this is an awesome idea that can be very appealing to the LGBT+ niche in FRC. Keep it up!

The idea is for us to take time to take posts, because the ideal of quality over quantity is one that should be followed by as many people as physically possible.
Staff members will start their own posts about things relevant to LGBT+ in FIRST, whether that’s an interview, resources or stories of their experiences in FIRST being LGBT+! So we do not intend to rush posts to come out or set deadlines for our staff.

Of course! We’ll being doing our best to be as inclusive as we can to everyone in FIRST.

Once the blog is properly started (which may not be until after Worlds because I know how busy people are) we hope that we can be a resource for both you as a mentor and for your team members!
We love to see teams that are publicly supportive of their LGBT+ members and hope that more will follow in their footsteps.

Hey Josh. This is a great thing that you are doing and it is a wonderful idea. I hope it springs off and makes the FIRST community even more accepting of differences than it already is.

Just my two cents, i think this is a really cool idea! Sent my application in on the tumblr, cant wait to hear back! :slight_smile:

Thanks Humza! I hope that everyone, including our team can benefit from this!

What a great idea! I’ve been hoping for something like this for a while!

Like mentioned earlier, I hope you include resources for mentors who want to make sure that their teams are as inclusive as possible! I can think of a number of ways that teams might be accidentally excluding students just because they don’t know they are (it may be as little as using gender/sex interchangeably on team forms or as big as a mentor accidentally ‘outing’ a student to their family). As mentors, we spend a lot of time with these kids and I think it is important for us to understand their situations and hardships and to accomadate them accordingly.

I also think that if we want kids to dream of becoming “science and technology heroes” we have to make sure that they feel represented and welcome in science and technology. Well done!

As a gay mentor (who, as some others in this thread have said, doesn’t make a big deal about it to my team - in fact, I am so heteronormative that my team likely has no idea) I can see where there’s non-inclusive language being used even on my team that makes me slightly uncomfortable. I’m able to just shrug it off and not worry about it. However, when I put myself in the shoes of a student, I can easily see how some of this language could make a student feel unwelcome and ostracized, especially if they weren’t yet comfortable enough with themselves and figuring out their identity.

I think that this blog is a great idea. There definitely should be a diversity aspect to FIRST, and not just about sexual orientation and gender identity. Someone earlier in the thread said that discussions about racism, anti-Semitism, etc don’t belong in FIRST. I couldn’t disagree more - it’s a discussion that needs to be urgently had. If a member of a group, whatever that is, is made to feel uncomfortable (or would be made to feel uncomfortable if they were present) in any way it is unacceptable. The conversation needs to happen right then and there about why the behavior is unacceptable and how to avoid it in the future.

If you want to have a discussion about diversity and inclusion, shouldn’t it be that we are all human and deserve similar opportunities? By creating separate blogs/posts/groups for each category, aren’t you actually contributing to the lack of diversity and inclusion?