One Good Move (But We Need More)

I’m no happier about most of Barack Obama’s record on LGBT issues than anyone else. That makes me pretty unhappy. But this, at least, is very good news:

“Lawyers for President Obama are quietly drafting first-of-their kind guidelines barring workplace discrimination against transgender federal employees, officials said Tuesday.

The guidelines will be in an updated federal handbook for managers and supervisors to be distributed and posted online in the next couple of months, and they could also be included in other materials for managers. They will list transgender people — those who identify their gender differently from the information on their birth certificates — as among several groups protected by antidiscrimination laws.

Though transgender men and women are not believed to make up more than a fraction of a percent of the federal work force, their inclusion in the discrimination guidelines is seen as a breakthrough by transgender and gay rights advocates.

“The president is making a very clear statement that transgender people won’t be discriminated against,” said Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, a group that has been talking with the White House about the new provisions.”

Discrimination against transmen and transwomen is just wrong, and it’s pervasive. Transitioning to a different gender is a tough enough process without worrying about whether you’re going to lose your job as a result. And people can be pretty antediluvian about these things: they freak out about who gets to use what bathroom, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

So this means a lot.

Autumn Sandeen notes:

“A fully inclusive Employement Non-Discrimination Act is going to be submitted to Congress this week by Rep. Barney Frank. Every LGBT American deserves these same nondiscrimination protections related to their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression that all federal employees are soon going to have.”

I hope it passes. It’s long past time.