The Impact of LGBTQ+ Advocacy on Laboratory Policies and Procedures

Change not only benefits LGBTQ+ workers, it contributes to a more diverse, inclusive, and productive environment.

by | May 31, 2024

Pride Month is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community, including those in the field of science and laboratory work. Advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights has led to significant changes in many sectors, including laboratory policies and procedures. This article explores how LGBTQ+ advocacy has impacted laboratory environments, making them more inclusive and supportive for all employees.

1. Inclusive Non-Discrimination Policies

One of the most significant impacts of LGBTQ+ advocacy on laboratory policies is the implementation of inclusive non-discrimination policies. Many laboratories have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination policies that explicitly include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. These policies ensure that LGBTQ+ employees are protected from harassment and discrimination, creating a safer and more welcoming work environment.

Example: The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) has long championed diversity and inclusion within laboratory settings. They have established guidelines for creating inclusive workplaces, which many laboratories have adopted. These guidelines emphasize the importance of non-discrimination policies that cover LGBTQ+ individuals, helping to foster a culture of respect and equality.

2. Gender-Neutral Facilities

LGBTQ+ advocacy has also led to the creation of gender-neutral facilities within laboratories. Providing gender-neutral restrooms and changing areas helps to accommodate the needs of transgender and non-binary employees, ensuring they have safe and comfortable spaces.

Example: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have implemented gender-neutral restrooms in their facilities as part of their commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, including those who are transgender or non-binary. This move has set a precedent for other laboratories and research institutions to follow.

3. Inclusive Health Benefits

Advocacy efforts have also influenced the expansion of health benefits to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ employees. This includes coverage for gender-affirming surgeries, hormone therapy, and other healthcare needs specific to LGBTQ+ individuals.

Example: Genentech, a leading biotechnology company, offers comprehensive health benefits that cover gender-affirming care for their transgender employees. This policy change was driven by employee advocacy and has set a standard for other companies in the biotech and laboratory sectors.

4. Training and Awareness Programs

To support the implementation of inclusive policies, many laboratories have introduced training and awareness programs focused on LGBTQ+ issues. These programs educate employees about the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals and promote a culture of inclusion and respect.

Example: LabCorp, a global life sciences company, has implemented mandatory diversity and inclusion training for all employees. This training includes modules on LGBTQ+ awareness, helping to create a more knowledgeable and supportive workforce.

5. Support for LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

LGBTQ+ advocacy has also led to the formation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within laboratories and scientific organizations. These groups provide support and networking opportunities for LGBTQ+ employees and help to promote inclusion within the workplace.

Example: Thermo Fisher Scientific has an active LGBTQ+ ERG known as “Pride Network.” This group works to foster an inclusive workplace by organizing events, providing mentorship, and advocating for policies that support LGBTQ+ employees.

In Summary

The impact of LGBTQ+ advocacy on laboratory policies and procedures is profound. By implementing inclusive non-discrimination policies, creating gender-neutral facilities, offering inclusive health benefits, introducing training programs, and supporting ERGs, laboratories are becoming more inclusive and supportive environments for LGBTQ+ employees. These changes not only benefit LGBTQ+ individuals but also contribute to a more diverse, innovative, and productive scientific community.


  • Trevor Henderson

    Trevor Henderson BSc (HK), MSc, PhD (c), is the Creative Services Director for the Laboratory Products Group at LabX Media Group. He has more than three decades of experience in the fields of scientific and technical writing, editing, and creative content creation. With academic training in the areas of human biology, physical anthropology, and community health, he has a broad skill set of both laboratory and analytical skills. Since 2013, he has been working with LabX Media Group developing content solutions that engage and inform scientists and laboratorians.

    View all posts Director, Creative Services - LabX Media Group

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