Out & Equal Workplace Advocates applauds historic congressional committee hearing on gender identity in the workplace


June 25, 2008 — SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the nation’s only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to advancing LGBT workplace equality, applauds the House Committee on Education and Labor's subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions first ever congressional hearing on gender identity in the workplace on Thursday, June 26 at 10:30 a.m. (EDT). Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) will chair the hearing focusing on gender identity and discrimination against transgender employees.

Among those on the speaker list is Shannon Minter, the transgender man who is the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights who recently argued on behalf of marriage equality in California, and Diane Schroer, a transgender veteran who was denied a job as a national security analyst when she transitioned. Also speaking will be a transgender employee from a Massachusetts HIV/AIDS service organization, as well as a representative of a Fortune 500 company that protects its employees against gender identity discrimination.

"As a nation we embrace the ideals that it is unlawful to base employment decisions on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," said Selisse Berry, founding executive director of Out & Equal. "It’s time that the federal government takes a fair-minded stance by endorsing workplace equality for ALL American workers. Employees should be judged on their performance, skills and abilities, not their sexual orientation or gender identity."

Studies show LGBT workplace discrimination is caused by a reaction to gender expression, not actual knowledge that someone is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The current ’sexual orientation’ only language does not cover a large portion of the discrimination LGBT employees face. In the absence of inclusive language, a glaring loop-hole has been created that needs to be closed to ensure equitable work environments for all.

# # #

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates™ is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Out & Equal champions safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The organization advocates building and strengthening successful organizations that value all employees, customers, and communities. See our website, www.outandequal.org, for more details.

Press Contacts:

Erik Olvera, eolvera@outandequal.org or (415) 694-6512.