Historic Hearing on Need for Workplace Protections for Transgender Americans

by Admin

Human Rights Campaign issues targeted action alerts in key districts to inform members


WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, today participated in the first-ever Congressional hearing exclusively on the issue of workplace discrimination against transgender Americans. The hearing, held by the House Education and Labor's Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, was titled "An Examination of Discrimination Against Transgender Americans." Coordinated by Congressional allies, including Subcommittee Chairman Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), as well as a coalition of GLBT groups, the hearing was intended to send a strong message to Congress about the need for fully-inclusive federal workplace protections.

In advance of the hearing, HRC issued targeted action alerts in key districts to inform constitutes of the hearing taking place and to urge their lawmaker to attend. HRC also activated resources throughout the organization to ensure that a diverse group of voices - from Fortune 500 corporations to faith leaders to our members throughout the country - were heard in support of federal employment protections for transgender workers.

"It's an injustice that we are ever evaluated for employment based on other people's comfort with our existenceテ I am before you today to affirm that transgender and transsexual people, including me, are equally human and deserve to be treated like other people."

"Like the witnesses before you today, I have been and am still a productive, responsible, dedicated and passionate employee. It is only when we are subject to discriminatory actions and a lack of workplace protections that our work begins to suffer. Without work, we lose income. Without income or savings, we lack access to affordable healthcare, and sometimes healthcare is not even available to us from certain providers just because of our transitional history or status. Without healthcare we often cannot complete transition. With the stress placed on us, often suicide is a considered option. As you have seen from the witnesses called before you today, we have varying careers, although some no longer are able to work in their chosen profession, if at all. Standing behind us in the fabric of America there are tens of thousands more who face continuing discrimination. Their voices cannot be here today, but I assure you that during any business day you have flown with, sat next to, ordered from, or talked to a transgender person." Continue reading: http://www.hrc.org/issues/transgender/10678.htm

"The transgender community, too long marginalized in American society and even within the gay, lesbian and bisexual community, has made enormous strides in recent years. There are many reasons to hope that the future holds even greater acceptance and understanding, including full equality under the law. But hope alone will not protect the transgender woman in Topeka, Kansas who loses her job and health insurance when co-workers learn that she is transitioning or the transgender man in Shreveport, Louisiana who, despite an advanced engineering degree, must work in a fast food restaurant. It is critical that Congress act to protect these, our transgender friends and family, colleagues and neighbors." Continue reading: http://www.hrc.org/issues/transgender/10678.htm

"To make our workplace values clear and transparent to our employees, customer and investors, each of our businesses have already implemented a non-discrimination policy which is inclusive of gender identity and/or gender expression. This policy has been accepted broadly and we believe it has positively affected our bottom-line. Our philosophy and practice of valuing diversity encourages full and open participation by all employees. By treating all employees with fairness and respect we have been able to recruit and retain the best and brightest workers, thereby bringing a multitude of diverse opinions and perspectives to our organizations." Continue reading: http://www.hrc.org/issues/transgender/10678.htm

"Our diverse religious traditions speak to the sacred nature of work and demand that we, as people of deep faith, advocate and call in the strongest possible terms for the protection of workers. As religious leaders, we have seen firsthand the financial and emotional damage done to families and entire communities when jobs are lost. Although always a painful experience, losing employment is particularly devastating when it is wholly unrelated to one's ability to do a job. It is our moral duty to stand up against such arbitrary discrimination. Too often in our history as a nation, religion has been misused as a tool to keep people down instead of lifting them up, to bar paths to opportunity rather than lighting the way. As members of HRC's Religion Council, we are committed to reversing this trend so that our diverse religious beliefs might fuel justice and build compassionate understanding." Continue reading: http://www.hrc.org/issues/transgender/10678.htm

For breaking news and up-to-the minute details on the hearing, visit our blog, http://www.hrcbackstory.org/.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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