A US Senate hearing held yesterday on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) marked the first time a transgender person testified before the Senate. Kylar Broadus, founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition, spoke in favor of ENDA, which has been introduced in Congress in every session since 1994. The bill would prohibit employers from making promotion, firing, or hiring decisions based on gender identity or sexual orientation. According to Think Progress , the discussion was generally positive, with only one opponent of the law, Craig Parshall of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, testifying against the bill.
In a press release from the Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin wrote, “The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is critical so that Americans have a fair shake in the workplace today and so that no young person must choose between being who they are and striving for their strongest aspirations for the future. ENDA must be passed because, for too many LGBT people in this country, that dream remains out of reach.”
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) issued a ruling in late April that provides protection from workplace discrimination for transgender individuals. Although federal law does not currently prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, 16 states and Washington, DC, have such laws.
Think Progress 6/12/12; U.S. News 6/12/12; Human Rights Campaign 6/12/12; Feminist Newswire 4/24/12