Blog of Rights

Great Decision in Our Transgender Discrimination Case Against the Library of Congress!

By Chris Hampton, ACLU LGBT Project at 4:28pm

We've just gotten word from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that the ACLU has won our case on behalf of Diane Schroer, a retired Army Colonel who was offered a job as a terrorism research analyst at the Library of Congress, only to have the offer rescinded when she told her future supervisor that she was in the process of gender transition. You can read the decision here.

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Schroer was an Airborne Ranger qualified Special Forces officer who completed over 450 parachute jumps, received numerous decorations including the Defense Superior Service Medal, and was hand-picked to head up a classified national security operation. She began taking steps to transition from male to female shortly after retiring as a Colonel after 25 years of distinguished service in the Army.

When she interviewed for a job as a terrorism research analyst at the Library of Congress, she thought she'd found the perfect fit, given her background and 16,000-volume home library collection on military history, the art of war, international relations and political philosophy. Schroer accepted the position, but the offer was revoked when she told her future supervisor that she was in the process of gender transition. The ACLU then represented her in a Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit against the Library of Congress. You may recall that LGBT Project Director Matt Coles wrote about this case after attending the trial.

The big news is that the court ruled that discriminating against someone for changing genders is sex discrimination under federal law. In reaching its decision, the court ruled: "The evidence established that the Library was enthusiastic about hiring David Schroer — until she disclosed her transsexuality. The Library revoked the offer when it learned that a man named David intended to become, legally, culturally, and physically, a woman named Diane. This was discrimination 'because of . . . sex.'"

This is an important first, and one that we hope will pave the way toward ending discrimination against transgender people who only want, like everyone else, to be secure in their jobs and earn a living.

Diane Schroer served her country with great honor and selflessness for 25 years, and wanted only to continue that with the job at the Library of Congress. She has been a hero to many people for many years for many different reasons. Today, she's an even bigger hero to all of us.

Want to learn more about how to fight for equal rights for transgender people in your hometown, county, or state? Visit the ACLU LGBT Project's online toolkit, Get Busy, Get Equal!

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