No ENDA Without Trans Protections

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October 4, 2007

10/04/2007


"For the past week, a passionate and emotional debate has been raging in the gay and lesbian blogosphere and on LGBT gay leadership list-servs about the decision by the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives to remove protection for the transgendered from ENDA, the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.


"In that debate, sentiment has been overwhelming that an ENDA stripped of its language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, part of the version introduced earlier this year, isn't worth having. At last count, 113 national and state LGBT organizations have signed on to a letter pledging to oppose ENDA until protection of the transgendered is restored.


"Conspicuously missing from this list is the Human Rights Campaign, the richest, most visible, and most Washington-influential of the gay lobbies.


"...Lambda Legal ? not exactly known as a hotbed of radicalism ? has pointed out that the new, trans-absent ENDA 'is not simply the old version with the transgender protections stripped out ? but rather has modified the old version in several additional and troubling ways.


"'In addition to the missing vital protections for transgender people on the job,' Lambda Legal's Kevin Cathcart pointed out this Monday, 'this new bill also leaves out a key element to protect any employee, including lesbians and gay men, who may not conform to their employer's idea of how a man or woman should look and act. This is a huge loophole through which employers sued for sexual orientation discrimination can claim that their conduct was actually based on gender expression, a type of discrimination that the new bill does not prohibit.'"


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