Monday, May 7, 2012
The New EEO Transgender Inclusive Policy
On April 20th 2012, the United States Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that in title VII of the 1964 act should be interpreted to include transsexuals and transgendered people. This is a tremendous advancement for us, though there is still a long way to go in our long hard road to equal standing in our society. It does not automatically grant us equal protections in the private or state government workplace.
This policy means that federal employers (the government) may not discriminate against transsexuals in employment situations. There is a question that has arisen whether Federal EEOC policy applies to those who are contractors with the government and require them to comply with EEO standards with regard to gender orientation because they receive federal funding. The most responsible sources I have talked to have informed me that this is the case.
This is not the law of the land today. Many of us will mistakenly believe and continue to feel that this applies to every employment situation. I wish it were true. In order for that to come about, most states' judicial system will have to visit the issue through litigation, which may become a lengthy process if appeals have to reach each state's Supreme Court.
However this is the first major milestone in affording us equal rights and could be what is needed to compel Congress to pass ENDA. It is important to understand that it was the Democrat party that obstructed the passage of ENDA. It was passed in committee, and sent for final markup. The Democrat chair of the committee, did not move the bill forward and it expired in his possession. Not that I believe it would have moved forward under Republican leadership either. We simply must be aware that one's political allegiance is no guarantee of advancing our rights, though it is the Democrat party that has helped us the most. Still we do have allies in the Republican camp and it does not serve us well to blindly endorse one party or the other. We need to learn about each member of the House and the Senate and determine who will help us advance our quest for civil rights.