For Immediate Release
ENDA Will Provide Much-Needed Employment Protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force shares data on the prevalence of discrimination against LGBT workers
WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund today submitted
testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Committee that underscores the critical need for passage of the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the
workplace. The committee is holding a hearing on the legislation today.
"We are on the heels of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate
Crimes Prevention Act being signed into law. Without understating the
importance of this monumental victory, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender community needs ENDA, and we need it now," says Rea Carey,
executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "The
path that too often ends in victimization begins with bias and
discrimination in the workplace. ENDA must be a top priority as we
press forward in the movement for equality.
"Our friends, families, neighbors - even strangers - have long
believed that workplace discrimination against LGBT people is wrong. No
one should be prevented from earning a livelihood and providing for
their families simply because of who they are," adds Carey. "ENDA
reflects the core U.S. values of fairness and equality. 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."
Task Force testimony includes preliminary data from a forthcoming
and groundbreaking survey on discrimination against transgender people
in the United States conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. Data from this
large-scale, first-of-its-kind survey show that discrimination in
employment against transgender people is a nearly universal experience:
97 percent of the respondents reported being mistreated or harassed at
work, and nearly half (47 percent) said they had lost their jobs, were
denied a promotion, or denied a job as a direct result of being
Survey respondents experienced a series of damaging outcomes, many
of which stem from the challenges they face in employment. Almost
one-fifth (19 percent) of respondents reported becoming homeless
because of being transgender. Transgender people also reported limited
access to employer-provided health insurance: Only 40 percent of
respondents reported access to employer-provided health insurance
coverage as compared to 62 percent of the population at large.
"These figures show how devastating bias and discrimination are to
the transgender community," says Carey. "Federal employment protection
is the key to providing stability and a fair playing field for
transgender people. Our data show that many of the severe problems
transgender people face, including housing insecurity and lack of
health insurance, are rooted in job loss or in workplace harassment and
bias that force productive transgender employees off of the payrolls
and onto the streets."
A 2007 meta-analysis from the Williams Institute of 50 studies of
workplace discrimination against LGBT people found consistent evidence
of bias in the workplace. The analysis found that up to 68 percent of
LGBT people reported experiencing employment discrimination, and up to
17 percent said they had been fired or denied employment.
"The bottom line: The state of the workplace for lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people - transgender Americans in particular -
is absolutely shameful," says Carey. "We need ENDA now."
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 a sweeping bill in 1974. The
Task Force has also played a leading role in ensuring ENDA is
explicitly inclusive of transgender people and others facing
discrimination based on gender identity.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.