Recent work related to gender equity and inclusivity: Guidelines, survey options, and pronouns

Oliver Haimson
Jul 11 · 3 min read

This year, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time doing advocacy work related to equity and inclusivity for trans and/or non-binary people. Now that most of this work is making its way into the online and published world, I wrote a short blog post to summarize these resources:

HCI Guidelines for Gender Equity and Inclusivity


Along with Morgan Klaus Scheuerman, Katta Spiel, Foad Hamidi, Stacy M. Branham, and many others, I worked on this set of guidelines intended to help HCI researchers, writers, and event organizers to be more inclusive, equitable, and respectful about gender.

“We hope this document will take a small but practical step — in the tradition of Cavendar, Trewin and Hanson’s ‘Accessible Writing Guide’ — in support of a more gender inclusive HCI, that intentionally addresses inclusion for transgender individuals.”

How to Do Better with Gender on Surveys: A Guide for HCI Researchers


This is a new article in ACM Interactions magazine that I co-wrote with Katta Spiel and Danielle Lottridge. This piece, led by Katta, challenges and updates some of the recommendations that Danielle and I proposed in a previous publication. This was important reflective work, and I’m excited to help set new standards for how to ask about gender on surveys in HCI.

“When including gender on surveys, HCI researchers must refrain from using only binary categories, making assumptions about participants’ genders, and employing a one-size-fits-all approach for all research projects.”

“HCI researchers have the responsibility to consider the complexity of their research participants’ genders. Inquiring into gender requires humility in attempting to ‘get it right.’”

What is your gender? [ ] woman [ ] man [ ] non-binary [ ] prefer not to disclose [ ] prefer to self-describe ________________
What is your gender? [ ] woman [ ] man [ ] non-binary [ ] prefer not to disclose [ ] prefer to self-describe ________________
Our recommendation for how to ask about gender on large-sample HCI surveys [Spiel et al. 2019]. More info is in the article here.

Making Space for Them, Her, Him, and ‘Prefer not to Disclose’ in Group Settings: Why Pronoun-Sharing is Important but Must Remain Optional


This is a blog post essay that Lee Airton and I wrote for National Center for Insitutional Diversity (NCID)’s series on Nonbinary Identities and Individuals in Research, Community, and the Academy, edited by Shanna Kattari. This is a follow-up piece to my previous essay for NCID. This essay argues that pronoun-sharing in group settings is important, but making it mandatory may inadvertently harm trans and non-binary people who are not able to disclose this personal information about themselves.

While sharing pronouns as part of introductions is a familiar ritual in many trans-inclusive spaces, this practice becomes more complicated when brought into spaces that may be less safe, such as those that include strangers, classmates, and professional colleagues. It is very important that mandatory pronoun-sharing does not become a best practice for use in any space at a time when transgender people still face many barriers to transition and disclosure, and could face discrimination and violence if they make themselves known as trans. Especially when a person is questioning their own gender, or is not sure how people will react to their trans or non-binary status, pronoun sharing can be contentious. In these cases, pronoun sharing is more difficult and dangerous for some people in the room than others.

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Oliver Haimson

Written by

Social computing &HCI researcher @UMSI interested in social media, online identity, gender/trans, life transitions. PhD from @UCI_Informatics.

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