Press

A non-transgender-inclusive ENDA? No way!

Date: 
September 27, 2007

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358
rsklar@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — What follows is a statement related to reported developments involving the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.

“If media reports from the last 24 hours are accurate, it is unconscionable that congressional leaders would rush to a decision to strip protections for transgender people at the same time as states across the nation are adding these protections at an unprecedented pace.

“Over the last few days, we have heard rumors swirling around Capitol Hill about last-minute jitters some Democrats are having about the gender identity language in ENDA. These were expected, as the language was new to the bill this year. Rather than immediately abandoning gender identity at the first sign of nervousness among a few members, House leadership should have worked with the community to shore up the needed support, just as they did when they voted to pass transgender-inclusive hate crimes legislation in the spring. 

“Gender identity language has twice passed through the House in the hate crimes bill, and earlier this year there were similar last-minute concerns among new members. We were able to overcome them then, and should be given the chance to do so now. It is incredibly ironic that today, the same day news is breaking about the House removing gender identity protections from ENDA, the Senate just voted 60–39 to allow a voice vote on a transgender-inclusive hate crimes bill. The bill then immediately passed.

“States as diverse as Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Iowa have all made discriminating against transgender people in the workplace against the law. Thirty-seven percent of Americans now live in jurisdictions that have workplace protections based on gender identity — just 14 percent fewer than the overall number (51 percent) who are protected on the basis of sexual orientation. These victories are a direct result of statewide LGBT rights organizations and state legislative leaders holding firm against last-minute concerns and not giving up at the first sign of trouble.

“The Task Force is very proud of our history in being the first national organization to oppose a non-transgender-inclusive ENDA. We have worked very hard to add transgender protections to this bill and now it is time for the final push, not to give up before a fight. We implore Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Miller and Representative Frank to abandon pursuit of a sexual orientation-only bill and return instead to the real work needed to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA that will protect all members of our community.”

–30–

Earlier today, the executive directors of nine national LGBT organizations sent a statement opposing the removal of protections for transgender people from ENDA. Read the statement here .

–30–

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc. (“NGLTF, Inc.”), founded in 1974, works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. NGLTF, Inc., is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to NGLTF, Inc., are not tax-deductible.