John M. Becker

Labor Department: Anti-Trans Discrimination is Illegal

Filed By John M. Becker | July 01, 2014 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: anti-trans discrimination, Barack Obama, Department of Labor, Labor Department, non-discrimination laws, Obama administration, Tom Perez

Department of Labor sealThis morning, the Labor Department announced that it is updating enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance to make it explicitly clear that anti-trans discrimination is sex discrimination, and therefore illegal.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez writes:

These changes reflect current law. In Macy v. Holder, for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that discrimination because a person is transgender is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Civil Rights Center, along with the Employment and Training Administration, will issue guidance to make clear that discrimination on the basis of transgender status is discrimination based on sex. While the department has long protected employees from sex-based discrimination, its guidance to workers and employers will explicitly clarify that this includes workers who identify as transgender. The department will continue to examine its programs to identify additional opportunities to extend the law's full protection against discrimination to transgender workers.

Our workforce and our entire economy are strongest when we embrace diversity to its fullest, and that means opening doors of opportunity to everyone and recognizing that the American Dream excludes no one.

Today's move is just the latest in a series of groundbreaking steps taken by the Obama administration to advance the rights of transgender Americans. In just the past several months, the Department of Education announced that the anti-discrimination protections under Title IX extend to trans students; the Department of Health and Human Services dropped its ban on transgender health care coverage; and the Office of Personnel Management lifted its prohibition forbidding federal health insurance carriers from covering transition-related health care.

And just last night, at his annual LGBT Pride Month reception, President Obama announced that he will sign an executive order protecting federal employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

Incredible, right? As my friend Mara Keisling says, President Obama is the best president we've ever had for transgender rights -- and there is no one in second place. How heartening it is to watch him and his administration continually chipping away at the walls of institutionalized anti-trans discrimination.

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