‘A Broken Bargain’ Report on Workplace Discrimination Released by Leading LGBT Organizations

June 4, 2013

broken-bargain-infographic-transgender (1)The National Center for Transgender Equality joins a group of national LGBT equality and labor organizations to release a groundbreaking report, Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers. The new report is the most up to date publication on the LGBT workforce revealing:

  • Approximately 5.4 million LGBT workers live in 93% of all U.S. counties.
  • Thirty-seven percent of LGBT adults have a child, making family benefits a necessity.
  • LGBT people are at higher risk of poverty than non-LGBT people. Fifteen percent of transgender people have a household income under $10,000, compared to 4% of the population as a whole. Same-sex couples raising children are more than twice as likely to have household incomes near the poverty line compared to different-sex parents (21% vs. 9%).
  • LGBT workers are slightly more racially/ethnically diverse than the U.S. population as a whole.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling noted that transgender workers face a unique set of workplace challenges that may lead to the disproportionately high rate of unemployment. “The demand for transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws is as much a business case as it is a moral case. Employers struggle to keep great employees, and trans employees are twice as likely as the general public to hold advanced degrees, yet have twice the rate of unemployment,” Keisling said. “Instituting laws and policies that protect highly qualified transgender workers is good for everyone–employers and employees.”

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Puerto Rico Governor Signs LGBT-Inclusive Nondiscrimination Bill Into Law

May 29, 2013

NCTE celebrates the passage by the legislature of Puerto Rico of a law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and marital status in employment. Puerto Rico joins 16 states and the District of Columbia with LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.

The passage of this legislation is particularly important in light of the epidemic of homophobic and transphobic violence in the territory in recent years. In December, the Puerto Rico Police Department entered into an agreement with the the US Department of Justice meant in part to remedy findings that police abused and failed to protect LGBT people. Despite these enormous challenges, Puerto Rico’s LGBT community has continued to fight hard for protections such as the employment measure, which Governor García Padilla signed into law today. Also yet to be passed are a law protecting LGBT victims of domestic violence, which was  Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives sent on to the Senate law week, as well as protections in housing and in business establishments serving the public, which were omitted from the just-passed bill.

NCTE salutes Puerto Rico’s LGBT community, as well as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for its role in achieving this major milestone.

NCTE Condemns Committee Action on AZ Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill, SB 1045

March 28, 2013

Yesterday, in a 7-4 vote, the unnecessary and discriminatory bathroom bill, SB1045, moved forward from the Appropriations Committee to the House floor. SB1045 renders local LGBT nondiscrimination laws unenforceable and protects businesses and other facility managers that choose to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming public restroom users.

In response to the committee vote on SB1045, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said:

“The Arizona Appropriations Committee approved an incredibly discriminatory and hateful bill that specifically targets transgender people. Rejecting the thousands of people who’ve spoken out against SB1045 in Arizona and across the United States, Rep. Kavanagh and his six allies instead chose to defend discrimination and protect discriminators. SB1045 brings more shame to Arizona’s legislature for isolating and targeting another marginalized community. Transgender Arizonans and our allies stand stronger and more determined to put an end to Rep. Kavanagh’s anti-transgender campaign.”

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2012 Election Roundup and What’s Next for Trans Equality Part I

November 15, 2012

President Obama’s re-election bodes well for transgender advocacy at the federal level. But President Obama’s victory is not the only sign for maintaining our optimism. This year’s Election results include a lot of good things for transgender equality:

  1.  New Hampshire elected the first openly transgender state lawmaker, Stacie Laughton, in addition to electing an all-female delegation of Congressional members.
  2. The election of Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to the U.S. Senate is good for transgender equality. Baldwin became the nation’s first openly LGBT senator, and she championed LGBT equality during her tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  3.  The U.S. Senate has more pro-equality Senators than ever before. Congress now also has the highest number (seven) of openly LGBT elected officials in Congress’ history including the first out bisexual elected official, Representative Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), and the first LGBT person of color, Representative Mark Takano (D-CA)
  4.  Maryland, Maine, and Washington state each passed ballot measures to approve the freedom to marry. Minnesota blocked the passage of a constitutional amendment banning the freedom to marry.
  5.  The election outcomes cement health care reform over the long term, ensuring that the practice of denying health care insurance for “pre-existing conditions” ends for good.

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NCTE Releases Trans Job Discrimination “Know Your Rights” Guide

May 30, 2012

Following the groundbreaking U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruling protecting transgender people under the Title VII sex discrimination law, we now know that the EEOC will take seriously and work to resolve claims of anti-trans discrimination. To help individuals understand and assert their rights in the workplace, the National Center for Transgender Equality is releasing Know Your Rights: Employment Discrimination and Transgender People, a new resource outlining the laws protecting trans people in the workplace and steps for reporting job discrimination. The resource details how individuals can file a complaint with the EEOC, as well as through a state or local civil rights agency or their union.

The EEOC’s ruling is a tremendous victory but despite its broad coverage it does not eliminate the need for clear workplace laws that explicitly include gender identity and expression. Harper Jean Tobin, NCTE Policy Counsel, said “Our friends at the Transgender Law Center did incredible work to facilitate the EEOC ruling, which provides real protections, right now. But we’ll continue to work with TLC and other advocates to advance laws that send a definitive message to businesses and workers that transgender and gender nonconforming people are protected on the job.”

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USAID encourages contractors to prohibit job discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation

November 1, 2011

Winning an Executive Order from the President banning discrimination against transgender and LGBT people has been a top federal policy priority for NCTE. While we continue to push for this mandatory ban on discrimination across all federal contractors, it’s nice to see another agency making progress on this front.

Last week, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a policy encouraging its contractors and grant recipients to have policies prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, among other categories.

Federal law currently prohibits most federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of certain categories, including race, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability.  With this new announcement, USAID contracts and grants will now include language stating that although it is not mandatory,

“the Agency encourages all organizations performing under USAID contracts, including those performed solely overseas, to apply these same standards of nondiscrimination to other categories, including sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, and any other conduct that does not adversely affect performance.”

This policy represents an impressive step forward.  But because it is not mandatory and does not carry the force of law, employees with organizations contracting with USAID have no remedies if the policy is violated.  To protect the rights of employees like these, NCTE continues to urge President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting all federal contractors from discriminating on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.

Gender Rights Maryland Launches to Fight for Transgender Equality

July 7, 2011

The next stage in the fight for transgender civil rights in Maryland began recently with the formation of Gender Rights Maryland. The organization launched on June 23rd with the goal to pass state legislation protecting transgender people.

Dana Beyer, volunteer executive director of GRM and board member of NCTE, spoke in an interview with the Washington Blade about what seems to be a strong beginning for the new group: “There was a nice broad spectrum of people there and it was very inspiring. There was definitely a sense that this was a historic event. There’s never been a trans-focused politically directed organization in Maryland before.”

The formation of Gender Rights Maryland comes at an important time. A recent bill aimed at ending trans discrimination in Maryland failed by only one vote, and the beating of a young transgender woman in a Baltimore McDonalds has shown our country the tragic consequences of transphobia. This is a time when a strong push could ensure the increased protection of transgender people and the furthering of the movement as a whole.

Read the full story here.

Quick Hit: Sen. Kerry Denounces Discrimination Against Trans People; Urges Passage of Massachusetts Equal Rights Bill

July 1, 2011

In The Rainbow Times, U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) came out in strong support of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, currently on the docket in the state legislature. Senator Kerry called on Massachusetts voters to continue leading the nation on LGBT equality. The Transgender Equal Rights Bill adds “gender identity and expression” to the existing state non-discrimination policy. Senator Kerry emphasized the unjust discrimination and violence that transgender people often face just for being who they are:

 “Discrimination against transgender people is widespread and ignoring it is simply not an option.  It’s an especially serious problem in our schools, where we’ve all witnessed the tragic and sometimes deadly consequences of bullying. But discrimination against transgender people isn’t limited to certain age groups and certain environments.  It’s everywhere.”

Earlier this month, the National Center for Transgender Equality co-led a citizen lobbying training with Gunner Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and Lisa Mottet, Transgender Civil Rights Project Director at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The training brought community members and activists together in preparation for MTPC’s lobby day.

Read the full story here.

Read the factsheet explaining the bill produced by our friends at MTPC.

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