NCTE Joins Bipartisan Effort to Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

July 31, 2013

Coalition of diverse groups representing millions of Americans pushing for Senate vote following historic committee markup

Today the bipartisan campaign Americans for Workplace Opportunity announced it had formed in order to take advantage of a historic opportunity to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act 19 years after its first introduction – a bill to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The group plans to spend more than $2 million on the effort and has hired Matt McTighe, a veteran strategist who most recently served as Marriage Project Director for Gill Action after winning the campaign to bring marriage equality to Maine, to serve as the campaign manager. A majority of states lack laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from workplace bias and there is no federal law explicitly barring employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“No one should be fired for who they are or who they love, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a bipartisan, common-sense way to put those values into federal law,” said McTighe. “Our campaign will mobilize the supermajority of diverse Americans who believe in workplace fairness and push Congress to act on ENDA this year.”

The steering committee of Americans for Workplace Opportunity is a diverse and bipartisan group of organizations composed of: American Civil Liberties Union, American Unity Fund, Human Rights Campaign, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Service Employees International Union. Dozens of other organizations that support ENDA will also be involved in the coalition.

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said: “A job is more than just a job. Having a job means access to health care and ensuring the security of our families. Today, too many trans people are denied that opportunity because of who they are. As Congress debates a bill that most Americans already believe is law, transgender and LGB Americans continue to be denied jobs, promotions and fair wages. Right now, Senators are the only ones who can take action to stop that. The U.S. Senate must act now to make it possible for all Americans to contribute to our economy and our country.”

This national campaign depends on a strong grassroots base to ensure its success, especially as we enter the August Congressional recess. Learn about how to push ENDA forward while your member of Congress is at home at our August Recess Action Center.

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13 in 2013: Victory in Delaware

June 19, 2013

Today transgender people in Delaware celebrate the passage of a statewide Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Bill. Governor Markell pledged to sign the bill within an hour of passage, making Delaware the seventeenth state to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity alongside California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

NCTE pitched in on efforts to pass the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Bill through training and support to Equality Delaware. Executive Director Mara Keisling praised key players: “Equality Delaware and Governor Markell have put in a lot of hard work to get this bill through. Delaware showed up big for transgender rights today.”

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‘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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