In a historic 15-7 bipartisan vote, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee moved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the Senate floor. Today’s committee action marks the first time ENDA has seen movement with gender identity protections.
National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said:
“We are extremely heartened that the Senate HELP committee passed ENDA today, moving it to the full Senate for action sometime this fall. With every Committee Democrat and three Republicans voting ‘yes,’ we are increasingly optimistic that we will have the 60 votes in the Senate and move further along towards winning relief for trans people who still face shocking amounts of job discrimination.”
The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey revealed the troubling climate for transgender workers: 90% reported facing mistreatment, harassment or discrimination at work and more than 1 in 4 lost a job because of their transgender identity.
This morning on a conference call, transgender Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck, expressed her fear of discrimination arriving at work presenting as female: “[J]ust for that one reason I can be fired on the spot. There’s no recourse for that.” She said, “I find it hard to believe” that people could lose their jobs for being transgender. She added that in “the land of the free and I am not free” without the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The National Center for Transgender Equality has been a leader on ensuring strong gender identity protections since ENDA was first introduced. NCTE turns its advocacy to the full Senate and educating both Democrats and Republicans about transgender job discrimination.