ENDA: Personal Stories Will Make The Difference
July 1, 2009
Ed. Note: This post by Wesley Combs is part of a regular column from HRC’s Business Council spotlighting LGBT workplace news. On Monday of this week, I was fortunate to be one of 250 guests invited to the White House for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s reception honoring the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. Like many of my fellow attendees, I was anxious to hear what the President had to say about how he planned to honor his campaign commitments to the LGBT community. He reiterated his administration’s efforts to pass a transgender inclusive ENDA, which is a policy already in place in at least 176 Fortune 500 companies. This followed a June 18th Oval Office event where President Obama further demonstrated his Administration’s commitment to LGBT equality in the Federal workplace by signing a presidential memorandum that will give Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry the authority to ban workplace discrimination for all members of the LGBT community. While this is a good start, we cannot forget that ENDA will not pass without Congressional support. It is up to each of us to let our elected officials know that you want them to support this legislation. The President can only do so much but at the end of the day, if there are not enough votes to support a transgender-inclusive ENDA, the legislation will not pass. Each of us cannot forget that we have a very important role in this process and if ENDA does not pass, it will not be the fault of the President or organizations like HRC. One critical way to help members of Congress understand why they should care about this legislation is by telling your story and how this law will protect you and your family. I hope you read the story of one of my fellow HRC Business Council members Meghan Stabler, a transgender woman who so candidly shared her personal story recently during an interview posted online this week. After reading her story, the importance of passing a transgender-inclusive ENDA was made crystal clear. Meghan’s livelihood, and those of so many other LGBT Americans, rest in the balance until this law is passed. I urge you to read this story and then remember to contact your congressperson and Senators during their August break. Go visit them at the office in your home state, tell their staffers why ENDA matters. It will be all of our personal stories that will make the final difference. Business can learn more and join the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness here.