Competition season for FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST® Tech Challenge is starting to move into full swing, and with competitions come volunteers. The volunteer process is pretty straightforward for many of us, and there are lots of resources about how to sign up on firstinspires.org. However, trans and nonbinary folks can find themselves questioning how to fill out forms that ask for name and gender.
I contacted FIRST® staff to ask about how the system worked in regards to name and gender and how to fill things out to ensure that background checks go through and volunteers are as a comfortable as possible. Be aware that some things may change and that this is primarily applicable to volunteers over 18. If you are still a minor, Youth Protection Program screenings will be unnecessary and you should be able to register using any name you want- just make sure your background check runs through accurately if you volunteer after turning 18. If you’re over 18, you’ll need to follow the guidelines below.
When you initially go to register for an account, you will need to fill out your correct date of birth and your legal first and last name. This information is used for background screening, so it’s important that it matches legal documents.
However, once you have your account set up and are able to log in, you will see an option to edit your information on your dashboard. Here you can put in your actual name, or a nickname. This field should be the name which is printed on name badges and used in correspondence- FIRST® staff and volunteer coordinators should be the only ones who view the legal name, and they should be respectful of using your preferred name.
Further down on the information page, you should also see a ‘demographic’ information field, with a field for gender. Fill this out however you’d like (there’s a non binary option), or leave it as ‘not specified.’ This information is not used in background checks, just to inform FIRST about the demographics of their volunteers and participants.
If you have any more questions about filling out or updating your profile, or about volunteering in general, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out to your local partners and directors about events in your area. If you have questions or concerns about a specific event, don’t be hesitant to reach out the volunteer coordinator- part of their job is making sure the volunteer experience is a good one, and they should be able to help you out.
FIRST® does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability, age, religion/creed, and military/veteran status in its programs and activities. If you have inquiries about the non-discrimination policy, or concerns about how you or other participants in FIRST® programs (students or volunteers) are being treated at events, you can contact Lee Doucette (email@example.com) for support or assistance.