The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463

Task Force: Passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act is critical

The state of the workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — transgender Americans in particular — is 'absolutely shameful'


The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund today
submitted testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor
that spotlights the critical need for passage of the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit workplace
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The
committee held a hearing on the legislation today.

"For decades, a majority has supported protecting their friends,
family and neighbors from 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," says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force. "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."

Task Force testimony includes preliminary data from a forthcoming
and groundbreaking survey on discrimination against transgender people
in the United States. 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 transgender. The Task Force is
partnering with the National Center for Transgender Equality on the

"These figures point to enormous vulnerability related to
anti-transgender bias," says Carey. "Federal protections in employment
are a lynchpin for creating economically viable lives for transgender
people. Our data show a potent path that is cut to victimization,
housing insecurity and poor health due to loss of a job, or by
harassment and bias that force a perfectly productive employee onto the
unemployment rolls."

A 2007 meta-analysis from the Williams Institute of 50 studies of
workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(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. "Passing and enacting ENDA will go
a long way in rectifying that."

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 Task Force vowed a decade
ago to oppose the legislation if it did not include protections based
on gender identity.

Reporter resources:

Download the Task Force testimony.

Download the ENDA-related fact sheet on transgender discrimination.

Learn more about the Task Force's long history on this issue.

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we've made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That's why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you. Join us!