Long time coming, long way to go. So get busy!

The fight for theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been a long costly battle.

Most people have heard of ENDA, some even
think it’s already been passed. Understandable, since it’s been
introduced every session of Congress (except one) for the past 15
years. Year before last, a GLBT civil war over ENDA broke out, splitting the community into factions for and against the full inclusion of gender identity provisions.

It’s sobering to be reminded that even some of our well-meaning straight allies still don’t realize the extent of employment and workplace discrimination against those in the LGBT community, against even thoseperceived to be LGBT.It’s still legalIn 29 statesto fire
someone for being gay. It is legal in
38 statesto fire someone
for being transgender.

All this is why the ENDA is so critical, now more than ever, and why it’s very big news today that a fully-inclusive ENDA has been introduced into the Senate:


Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Susan Collins (ME), Edward M. Kennedy (MA) and Olympia Snowe (ME) today introduced a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into the U.S. Senate. 34 senators co-sponsored the bill.

ENDA “would prohibit employers, employment agencies, labor
organizations and joint labor-management committees from firing,
refusing to hire, or discriminating against those employed or seeking
employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual
orientation or gender identity.
[or disability]

Such protections are already available to US government employees via executive order. ENDA would extend them to employees in the private sector
(except for religious organizations).

According to Merkley, “Other original co-sponsors of ENDA include Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin, Senators Daniel Akaka (HI), Jeff Bingaman (NM), Barbara Boxer (CA), Sherrod Brown (OH), Roland Burris (IL), Maria Cantwell (WA), Ben Cardin
(MD), Bob Casey (PA), Chris Dodd (CT), Russ Feingold (WI), Diane Feinstein (CA), Al Franken (MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Tom Harkin (IA), Daniel Inouye (HI), John Kerry (MA), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Patrick Leahy (VT), Carl Levin (MI), Joe Lieberman (CT), Robert Menendez (NJ), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Patty Murray (WA),
Jack Reed (RI), Bernie Sanders (VT), Chuck Schumer (NY), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Arlen Specter (PA), Mark Udall (CO), Tom Udall (NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Ron Wyden (OR).”

If your senator is one of these, send them some support and thanks for their actions. If not, get on the phone and let your Congresspeople hear that you expect them to stand for full workplace equality.

More info and resourceshere andhere.

4 thoughts on “Long time coming, long way to go. So get busy!

  1. About 20 years ago (jeebus I’m getting old) I was home visiting, and at a dinner party, from the other end of the table, my Dad started in on what he thought was a hilarious story about a young lawyer he had hired who subsequently began to grow out his hair and wear earrings, and then makeup. Soon after, the young man approached my father, who was the firm’s managing partner, about legally changing his name. He explained that he was transitioning from male to female.
    My father’s response? I was not in the room at the time, but I’m sure it was a short period of stunned silence and then a request for time to consult with the partners. Soon after, the young lawyer was asked to tender her resignation. And my Dad found all this very funny.
    At the dinner party that night, I was the turd in the punchbowl who had the temerity to ask why this was funny. Granted, my Dad did grow up a very sheltered Catholic who even at age 50 had a very hard time believing all of the obvious signs that his law partner was screwing the help – that sort of thing just didn’t happen in Dad’s orbit. But I couldn’t just laugh along with the rest. And I’m proud to say that my now Democratic Dad would probably react differently today.
    But that we are two decades past that point and it is still necessary for transgendered and gay people to fight for their rights is enormously frustrating and disheartening.
    We are moving in the right direction, but it will never be fast enough, because there will always be someone who gets left behind. It could be any one of us, given the limitless creativity of nature, and the the very limited minds of too many Americans. So please do as Virgo says: contact your reps and ask them to support ENDA.
    And, while we’re on the topic, a hearty congratulations (2 weeks late) toDiane Schroer, and kudos to Eric Holder for making the right call:

    The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has decided not to appeal a federal district court ruling awarding transgender veteran Diane Schroer a total of $491,190 for the discrimination she suffered because of her sex after being refused a job with the Library of Congress…
    Schroer had applied for a terrorism specialist position at the Library of Congress. Schroer was well-qualified for the job, having served in the US Armed Forces and having directed an organization that tracked and targeted international terrorist organizations. At the time she applied for the position, Schroer was undergoing the process to transition from male to female, but had not yet reached the stage of presenting herself as a woman. When she interviewed for the job, she used her legal, male name and presented herself to the decisionmaker with a male appearance. The Library of Congress offered her the job.
    After the hiring paperwork had been submitted, but before she actually started work, Schroer told the decisionmaker that consistent with her treatment, she would present herself at work as a woman, change her name and begin dressing in traditionally female clothing. In part to allay any concerns the decisionmaker might have, she brought photographs of herself dressed as a woman. The next day, the decisionmaker withdrew the job offer, stating that Schroer would not be a “good fit” for the Library of Congress.

    The record revealed that the decisionmaker who evaluated her did so based on sex stereotypes…The decisionmaker also stated that she had difficulty understanding the Schroer’s decision to “transition” because of her prior Army and Special Forces background “as a particularly masculine kind of man.”

  2. I just don’t get how an organisation dedicated to fighting discrimination would have a problem with this. Discrimination on any grounds apart from ability to do the job(and, preferably, get on with one’s colleagues/clients) apart from being hateful, just makes no logical, economic or emotional sense…
    Sadly, of course, having laws doesn’t in and of itself stop employers behaving badly; but it’s a start.

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