Berkeley Lab

Why Pride Celebrations Matter – A letter from Mary Maxon, ALD, Biosciences

The Pride Parade is a celebration of the beginning of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, and the current efforts as well. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the parade. The events will be virtual this year, and the importance is no less now than it was 50 years ago.

There is much to celebrate here at the Berkeley Lab. Pride matters because everyone should feel comfortable and safe being themselves wherever they are, including at Berkeley Lab.

During the last year, I have been proud to serve as Executive Sponsor for the Lambda Alliance Employee Resource Group (ERG) and Employee Activity Association. It is an honor to share the following accomplishments of this organization:

  • Working with the Lab, we have established an LQBTQ++ collection in the circulating library; available books include topics of the Gender and Sexuality Spectrum, as well as how to be a good ally.
  • We held a virtual celebration of Transgender Day of Visibility by changing virtual backgrounds to the Transgender flag all across the Lab.
  • We co-hosted a Zoom watch party with the All Access ERG. The movie was made by a local activist and filmmaker, who has autism and is a person who is transgender as well. The film helps to de-stigmatize society’s ideas of people who are on the autism spectrum while non-verbal and aims to de-pathologize people who are different.
  • We continue the Pronoun Project:
    1. We hosted a local professor who is non-binary and gave a talk on gender identity.
    2. We encourage using pronouns on name badges, signature lines, and Zoom identifiers. We requested a policy change, and now you can add your pronouns to business cards.
    3. We created a one-pager for Integrative Genomics Building on-boarding welcome packets.
  • We host and participate in ongoing community-building activities with regular happy hours, coffee hours, Crafternoon, and game nights while supporting and collaborating with other Lab ERGs.
  • The Berkeley Lab presence at the Pride Parade was a huge success last year. “I was at the front line in the largest Berkeley Lab contingent with over 100 people. I was proud to march alongside Lab leaders, friends, family, employees, and allies to celebrate our commitment to World Class Team Science through IDEA.”
  • We are updating the Gender Identity and Transition Guidelines to be more inclusive of our non-binary community and they will be published later this month. Our original guidelines were groundbreaking, and many companies, as well as the UC System, adopted them throughout their organizations. We are confident that this new iteration honors the legacy while embracing even more inclusive language.

I am proud of the commitment and partnership of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office, Lab Leadership, and all Employee Resource Groups, as well as the fantastic work our Lambda Alliance community, has done. I would like to thank everyone, who may not be in the Lambda Alliance, and who support and participate in our activities throughout the year.

With Pride,

Mary Maxon
Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences
Executive Sponsor, Lambda Alliance Employee Resource Group