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.

Transgender Day of Visibility

Transgender Day of Visibility (TGDoV) is celebrated on March 31st and is dedicated to celebrating the transgender community as well as raising awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender people every day. Spectrum celebrates the achievements of transgender scientists and engineers whose contributions have brought us semiconductor integration (Lynn Conway), understanding of the effects of climate change on corals (Shayle Matsuda), a better understanding of the human brain (Benn Barres), email attachments (Mary Ann Horton), and at Argonne, the next generation network infrastructure for high-performance computing (Carissa Holohan – ALCF) to name just a few.

The reality is that transgender and LGBTQ+ people have existed in science – and all spaces – since the beginning. Spectrum encourages you to read further on the impact the trans community has made, as well as read about the history and issues of the trans community and how to support transgender individuals.

Members of the Argonne Leadership Institute, the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council, and Employee Resource Group Council, worked to collect messages of support from the Argonne community for Transgender Day of Visibility (GIF below). Spectrum would like to thank all of those who participated!


Unfortunately, we must also acknowledge the sustained attacks on members of our community happening right now in our country. In the last several months, dozens of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has been proposed and in many cases, passed into law, including in Utah,  Texas and Florida. While we attempt to be optimistic that these policies will be reversed through the legal process, we must also recognize the immediate and profound impact these cruel policies inflict on transgender families and their allies, and the entire LGBTQ+ community. No person deserves to live in fear of their neighbors and government because of their gender identity and for following established medical guidance. This a continuing, troubling trend of legislation targeting vulnerable and marginalized groups, and denying them agency in asserting their very existence.

Transgender Day of Visibility highlights the importance of awareness of the Transgender community in countering the spread of harmful misconceptions, ignorance, and blatant misinformation and preventing the oppression of marginalized groups from being protected and encouraged by the laws of our nation.

In alignment with our core values of Impact, Safety, Respect, Integrity, and Teamwork, it is our responsibility to learn about the transgender community and ensure we are continuously creating a Laboratory environment where we can all live authentically and contribute our best work.

Spectrum also encourages supporting organizations which work to provide resources for Transgender people in the community. (Pete Friedman, co-chair of Spectrum notes: “I support the Brave Space Alliance which is a Black and Trans-led LGBTQ+ center located on Chicago’s south side but there are many other local and national organizations doing great work”)


Argonne and Spectrum Remember Lives Lost in the LGBTQI+ Community during Transgender day of Remembrance

November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. We encourage everyone to observe this remembrance by taking a moment of silence on November 20 to honor all those transgender people whose lives were lost to anti-transgender violence this year, and by learning about the violence and issues that affect the transgender community and how to be a good ally.

We also recommend reviewing HRC Foundation’s “Dismantling a Culture of Violence” report which “demonstrates how anti-transgender stigma, denial of opportunity and increased risk factors compound to create a culture of violence — and provides clear ways that each of us can directly make an impact to make our society a safer place for transgender and gender non-conforming people.”

Spectrum honors the memories of those that have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence in 2021 including:

Argonne and Spectrum Observe Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV)

Today, 31 March, 2021 is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV). TDoV is an annual event dedicated to celebrating, and making visible, transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender people world-wide.

TDoV this year rings particularly loudly for Spectrum, as since 2021 has begun, multiple states’ legislatures have proposed or enacted legislation that directly effects the transgender community. Whether this takes the form of excluding trans individuals from sports participation, restricting sanitary facility access, or denying healthcare, these efforts not only directly undermine the safety of transgender people, but through secondary effect, indirectly do incalculable harm by signaling to people that transgender people are less-than – an aberration that must be legislatively controlled.

Transgender individuals have a long history of scientific and cultural contribution, from Lynn Conway’s development of generalized instruction handling and VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) semiconductors in the 1970s, to Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s development of novel cinematography techniques most famously employed in The Matrix. At Argonne, transgender scientists like Carissa Holohan (ALCF) are enabling the future of high-performance computing to empower the next generation of research and collaboration.

In alignment with our core values of Impact, Safety, Respect, Integrity, and Teamwork, it is our responsibility to learn about the transgender community and ensure we are continuously creating a Laboratory environment where we can all live authentically and contribute our best work.

To Join the Conversation, check out Spectrum’s page on MyArgonne