Obama may sign Executive Order banning gender identity discrimination against federal employees

by on April 7, 2009  •  In Employment law, Transgender

The rumor that's circulating among lgbt advocates has hit the web, although so obliquely that it hasn't gotten much attention. If it comes to pass, it will be a game changer: President Obama will sign an executive order adding a prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity to the existing order that covers sexual orientation.

According to Marc Ambinder, the order has been on hold until after John Berry's nomination as head of OPM is confirmed:

As soon as the Senate confirms John Berry to head the Office of Personnel Management, Obama intends to sign an executive order strengthening workplace protections for the LGBT community. Having Berry by his side is important — Berry'd be the highest-ranking openly gay administration official — and, of course, as the OPM chief, he's the chief human resource officer for government employees. This executive order may — or may not — be accompanied by other instructions that would have the effect of expanding gay rights. 

John has now been confirmed (by a unanimous Senate vote) and will start work on Monday the 13th.

An executive order protecting transgender federal employees would provide an enormous boost – not to mention considerable political cover – for advocates who will be seeking a trans-inclusive ENDA in Congress this year. Unlike an executive order, ENDA would cover all workers in the U.S., except for those in very small companies. (It has the same scope of coverage as Title VII.)

An executive order for federal employees would also be the appropriate response to the Schroer case, in which a federal district court ruled last summer that the Library of Congress violated Title VII by withdrawing a job offer to Diane Schroer, after having sought to hire her when she was David. Various matters have delayed the moment when the Justice Department has to decide whether to appeal. The firing was just as irrational and unfair as it sounds, and if they do appeal, they truly should be ashamed of themselves.

Do we finally have an administration that's willing to do the right thing?

Keep your fingers crossed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *