Trans Client Testifies at ENDA Hearing

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On Wednesday, September 23, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was heard before a U.S. House of Representatives committee in Washington, D.C. Rep. Barney Frank introduced the bill, H.R. 3017, in June. Lambda Legal client Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her job because she is transgender, testified as to why the federal government must act to end workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Glenn's testimony comes in the midst of a federal lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal against Georgia legislative officials on her behalf after she was wrongfully terminated from her job as legislative editor.

Lambda Legal sent a letter to the leadership of the House committee explaining its support for ENDA.

The House Education and Labor Committee hearing is an important step toward eliminating harmful treatment of LGBT workers all over the country. Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart says, "Despite the fact that the majority of Americans favor equal rights for lesbians and gay men with regard to job opportunities, less than half of all states specifically ban workplace discrimination in the private sector based on sexual orientation and even fewer states expressly ban discrimination based on gender identity." In June, Cathcart called for swift passage of an inclusive version of ENDA, stating it "would ensure that in most workplaces a person's qualifications and job performance, rather than sexual orientation or gender identity, will be the factors that determine success on the job."

Lambda Legal plaintiff Vandy Beth Glenn in Washington, D.C.

Glenn's firing violated the Constitution's equal protection guarantee because it treated her differently due to her non-conformity with gender stereotypes. In addition, General Assembly officials disregarded Glenn's gender identity disorder and her needed treatment — also an equal protection violation. The government's motion to dismiss was recently denied.

"My editorial skills had not changed," says Glenn. "My work ethic had not changed — I was still ready and willing to burn the midnight oil with my colleagues, making sure that every bill was letter-perfect. My commitment to the General Assembly, to its leaders, and to [Sewell] Brumby had not faltered. The only thing that changed was my gender."

For more about Lambda Legal's landmark federal case, visit Glenn v. Brumby.

September 22, 2009