September 26, 2011— Out & Equal Founding Executive Director Selisse Berry and Associate Director of Training Pat Baillie participated in President Obama's meeting, “Putting America Back to Work,” in Mountainview, California today. The President discussed methods for creating jobs and growing the economy. His speech focused on the American Jobs Act, which would cut payroll taxes and place resources into areas such as hiring teachers and building infrastructure.
“It was refreshing to hear the thoughtful dialogue between the President and a group of people with reasonable questions and comments about the economy, jobs and education,” said Selisse Berry. “While the conversation did not specifically address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals at work, we know that access to jobs is critical for our community.”
“It’s also important that the workplace environment be free of discrimination so that all employees can reach their greatest potential for themselves and their employers,” Berry continued. “Putting America Back to Work’ needs to include opportunities for all Americans, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. For this reason, we urge the President to move forward with policies that will ban discrimination, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
This legislation, introduced in Congress earlier this year, would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the nation’s workforce. Currently only city and state ordinances address the issue, leaving Americans in the majority of states without job protections.
“It was great to be invited to this event and to bring the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality to the American Jobs Act discussion,” said Pat Baillie. “As someone who served in the military for many years, I would also like to thank the President for providing jobs and job security for lesbian and gay service members with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Out & Equal works daily with corporations, individuals, groups and government agencies to address equality in the workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Through innovative educational events, free monthly programs, an LGBT-focused jobs board, and more, the organization positively impacts the work experiences of LGBT people. Their annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit, drawing more than 3000 participants from 25 countries, will take place October 25-28, 2011 in Dallas.