Employment Non-Discrimination Act is reintroduced in U.S. House
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds today’s U.S. House reintroduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The measure was reintroduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force staff were on hand for today’s press conference announcing ENDA’s reintroduction. The Task Force was the first national organization to advocate for federal nondiscrimination protections when it worked with then-U.S. Reps. Bella Abzug and Ed Koch to introduce legislation in 1974. It has played a leading role in ensuring ENDA is explicitly inclusive of transgender people.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality recently released Injustice at Every Turn, which reveals the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. The study is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date. According to Injustice at Every Turn, respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment in the workplace, and one in four reported being fired because of their gender identity or expression.
Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said:
ENDA reflects the core U.S. values of fairness and ensuring everyone is allowed to participate on a level playing field in the workplace. People recognize that our nation as a whole benefits when everyone is allowed to contribute their talents and skills, free from discrimination, which is all ENDA seeks to do. An overwhelming majority of Americans has long supported protecting their friends, family and neighbors from such discrimination. They know it’s wrong to deprive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of the ability to earn a livelihood and provide for their families simply because of who they are.
ENDA’s passage is long overdue. Our community has provided numbers and personal stories, and we have endured as we’ve watched LGBT workers lose their foothold in a struggling economy — not because of downsizing, or poor performance or shuttered businesses — but because of prejudice and because there are no institutional consequences to arbitrary and unethical behavior by individuals or businesses who would exclude LGBT people from the basic tenets of our democracy.
We thank Rep. Barney Frank for reintroducing this bill and all the representatives who support this critical legislation. We are also pleased that President Obama has expressed support for ENDA and call upon the administration to play a role in assisting with its passage.