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Director's Office > Office of Diversity and Inclusion > Resources Supporting LGBTQIA+ Staff

Resources Supporting LGBTQIA+ Staff

This page is intended to provide information relevant to LGBTQIA+ staff, colleagues, and family members, and to affirm NRAO's commitment to providing a safe, welcoming environment for all employees and visitors.

NRAO Policies

Visitor Code of Conduct 

Specifically prohibits discrimination and harassment based upon gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, along with other intersectional identities.This Code of Conduct applies to all visitors to our facilities and to events (including large meetings) hosted by NRAO.

Employee Handbook  

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement affirms NRAO’s commitment to a “workplace culture that appreciates individuals across all identities…”

Gender Transition Protocol 

This policy was established to protect the rights and safety of  transgender employees, and provides a supportive path to transitioning in the workplace.


What can the Observatory do to protect employees in states with aggressive laws targeting trans/non-binary folks?

Within NRAO, we are committed to a safe working environment for all.  HR constantly monitors employment laws and other state regulations that impact staff and will work with AUI to protect employees to the full extent possible.    

If a NRAO employee is arrested while on travel in a state that makes bathroom use illegal, for example, would NRAO help support the employee’s legal costs?

AUI/NRAO generally does not provide financial support to any employee in their defense of any civil or criminal claim or charge filed against them.  

What can the Observatory do to protect employees in states with aggressive laws targeting trans/non-binary folks? 

Employees should communicate with their supervisor and/or HR if they are required to travel to a state in which they feel their personal safety may be threatened.  AUI/NRAO works diligently to evaluate meeting venues prior to planning NRAO-sponsored events. 

Would NRAO allow someone to re-route their travel to avoid a state with restrictive laws?

AUI/NRAO adheres to the Uniform Guidance regulated to travel.  Travel expenses should be reasonable and customary.  Employees should discuss with their supervisors any travel issues that may arise as there may be alternative arrangements that could be explored. 

Departments have unrestricted funding that may be used in special circumstances to assist with alternative planning.

Question about health care coverage for nonbinary child which is being outlawed in some states: Is it possible for Anthem (headquartered in Indiana) to drop this coverage even if the care is legal in other states?

It doesn’t matter where the insurance carrier is headquartered.

AUI's policy is issued in Virginia and provides benefits nationwide. If transgender care for minors is no longer available in your state, you may choose to travel to a different state so that your child can receive care there. To help defray to costs, the Anthem plan includes a travel benefit. The laws in this area are in great deal of flux. If there are federal or state changes that affect AUI's plan, those will be addressed by Anthem and communicated as they arise.

If the federal government says that federal money cannot be used for trans healthcare access, could NRAO’s relationship with NSF affect our ability to provide insurance coverage?

NSF has never audited our health insurance plans.  AUI is a private employer and has had the autonomy to offer coverage that it believes is appropriate to meet the needs of our staff.  

Can we look into adding mental health days so employees don’t have to use vacation time?

AUI/NRAO offers very generous sick and vacation leave benefits to employees and encourages employees to take advantage of such benefits.

What is being done to support mental health across the Observatory?

Mental Health First Aid training rolling out. Starting with supervisors/managers, expanding to all staff.

Also, see NRAO’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP)


Is there a good resource that could be shared about “safe” or “high risk” States? 

We note that these urls may change:

The Human Rights Campaign offers MAP: Gender-Affirming Care Bans Affecting Youth

Is there a good resource that could be shared about “safe” or “high risk” countries? Including countries we regularly send staff to (i.e. our partners)

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program - Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Travel Advisories (subscribe, by country)

LGBTQI+ Travelers

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s:

The Human Rights Watch map and research on anti-2SLGBTQI+ laws



ODI Contacts

Office of Diversity and Inclusion
(434) 244-6896

520 Edgemont Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475

Director of D&I

Broader Impacts

- Observatory-wide Lead, and ngVLA BI IPT Lead

Broadening Participation (BP)

- BP Program Manager, RADIAL+

  - BP Student Programs Manager, NAC

Ham Radio Project

- Project Lead


Antonio Hales - Program Manager

NAC Program

, Administrative Assistant

NINE Program

, Project Management Lead

Diversity Programs

Diversity Advocates and Employee Diversity Group Members