About Us

Spectrum is an employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to building awareness and providing resources for those in the laboratory community who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, agender, or allies to their LGBTQIA+ peers. Spectrum also recognizes and encourages the incredible diversity of gender identities and sexual orientations, including those which may not be accurately portrayed in some of these terms. Spectrum is dedicated to fostering an environment of understanding, acceptance, and equality for all within the laboratory community.

Spectrum’s mission is to:

  • Provide leadership and resources at Argonne to promote equity at all levels
  • Advise the laboratory on employee issues
  • Advance LGBTQIA+ friendly policies and benefits
  • Provide employees with cultural awareness, educational and networking opportunities
  • Promote a welcoming and inclusive workplace environment
  • Participate in outreach and talent recruitment activities

Participation is open to all employees and retirees of Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy, The University of Chicago, and Argonne Credit Union and all persons associated with or assigned to the work of the laboratory. Final determination of eligibility rests with the committee.

Asexuality Awareness

In recognition of Asexuality Awareness Week, members of Spectrum have developed this overview article to help explain and define what asexuality means and how it fits into the broader concepts of gender identity and sexual orientation.

What Is Asexuality?

Merriam-Webster defines asexual, among other definitions related to biology and botany, as “not having sexual feelings toward others” and “not experiencing sexual desire or attraction” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/asexuality)

In short, asexuality is a sexual orientation where an individual is not sexually attracted to anyone or any gender.  Asexual people span a broad spectrum of romantic orientations, gender identities and expressions, and lifestyles.  Just like any other sexual orientation, there is no single stereotype that fits all.

The asexual community has adopted the term “ace” as a shortened form of “asexual” for ease of conversation.

Romantic vs. Sexual Orientation

For asexual individuals, it is important to differentiate between one’s romantic orientation and one’s sexual orientation.  For many people, these two are in alignment – the feeling of attraction to someone romantically is linked to or identical to the feeling of sexual attraction.

For asexual people, no sexual attraction is felt, but the desire to engage in a romantic relationship with an individual can still be present.  Because of this, many asexual people desire a deep, romantic relationship.

Asexuality and Sex

It is important to recognize that asexuality, as a sexual orientation, is unrelated to the presence or absence of desire for sexual interaction.   It simply defines an individual’s lack of sexual attraction to others.

The sexual behaviors that asexuals engage in differ as broadly as any other orientation:  Some aces are routinely sexually active, while others may only engage in sex to please a partner or conceive children.  Some are repulsed by the concept of sex and prefer not to even engage in conversation about it.

Common Misconceptions About Asexuality

  • Misconception: Asexuality and celibacy are the same thing.
  • Truth: Celibacy is a decision to abstain from sex, not a sexual orientation.
  • Misconception: Asexuality is a phase that aces ‘grow out of’.
  • Truth: It is an inborn sexual orientation like any other.
  • Misconception: There is something biologically wrong if someone is asexual.
  • Truth: There are some medical conditions and medicines that do reduce libido, but this is not the same as asexuality as an orientation.
  • Misconception: Aces have no libido.
  • Truth: Some do, some don’t, just like the rest of the population.
  • Misconception: Aces are frigid and emotionless.
  • Truth: Many aces are deeply longing for connection, but have no interest in expressing ‘love’ in the form of sex.

For More Information…

Please visit The Asexual Visibility & Education Network at https://asexuality.org

Spectrum Meeting: Thursday, August 9, 2018

Please join us for Spectrum’s monthly meeting!

Date: Thursday, August 9, 2018
Time: Noon – 1PM
Location: Private Dining Area (Conference Room A), Argonne Guest House (building 460)

All Argonne, DOE and UChicago employees are welcome to participate. We are an inclusive community made up of people of all orientations. Allies are always welcome!

Spectrum Meeting: Thursday, June 14th

Join us for Spectrum’s Monthly Meeting:

Date: Thursday, June 14th 2018
Time: noon – 1 p.m.
Location: Private Dining Area (Conference Room A), Argonne Guest House (building 460)

All Argonne, DOE and UChicago employees are welcome to participate. We are an inclusive community made up of people of all orientations. Allies are always welcome!