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Bringing LGBT Employees Out of the Shadows

Colonel Diane Schroer. Photo by Tom Williams.
Colonel Diane Schroer. Photo by Tom Williams.
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September 21, 2007

In April, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) reintroduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to Congress. According to GovTrack, ENDA currently has 165 cosponsors in the House, and the bill is expected to be voted out of committee next month. (Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., will introduce the bill in the Senate soon.) In advance of the debate, Deborah Vagins, ACLU Policy Counsel for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, authored a new report, Working in the Shadows: Ending Employment Discrimination for LGBT Americans, which tells the stories of real Americans who were discriminated against on the job because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Deborah blogged about ENDA in HuffPost:

Before transitioning from male to female, Diane Schroer was a U.S. Army Special Forces officer who logged 450 parachute jumps into some of the world’s most dangerous places during 25 years of service, receiving numerous decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal. Schroer was later handpicked to head up a classified national security operation.

After retiring from the military, Schroer applied for a job with a large federal agency library as a senior terrorism research analyst; received an offer shortly after the interview and accepted the position. Prior to starting work, Schroer went to lunch with the new boss and explained she was transgender and would like to begin the job as a woman. The next day, the director called Schroer and rescinded the offer because she wasn’t a “good fit.”

The new report is filled with stories such as Diane’s, which illustrate that decades after civil rights laws outlawed discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, age and disability, they have yet to protect LGBT workers. You can learn more about ENDA, and read the new report, at

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