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Congress to Hold Historic Hearing on Gender Identity in the Workplace

Christopher Anders,
Director of Policy and Government Affairs, Democracy and Technology,
American Civil Liberties Union
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June 23, 2008

This Thursday, June 26, the House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing on discrimination against transgender employees. Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) will chair this historic hearing, the first Congressional hearing on transgender issues and gender identity discrimination in the workplace.

Diane Schroer, an ACLU client, will be one of the witnesses. 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accepted the position, but when she told her future supervisor that she was in the process of gender transition, they rescinded the job offer. The ACLU is now representing her in a Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit against the Library of Congress.

Click here to learn more about Diane’s case. Her story was also highlighted in the recent ACLU report, “Working in the Shadows: Ending Employment Discrimination For LGBT Americans.”

Shannon Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (who successfully argued the recent marriage case before the California Supreme Court), will discuss some of the legal issues affecting the transgender community. The committee will also hear testimony from a transgender employee working in a Massachusetts HIV/AIDS service organization and a representative from a Fortune 500 company that protects its employees against gender identity discrimination.

The hearing will be broadcast live on the web at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 26. Click here for a link to the webcast.

If your Congressperson serves on the Subcommittee, please call their office and ask that they attend the hearing. Call 202-225-3121 and ask for your representative’s office.

Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions

Democrats (13)
Robert Andrews, NJ, Chairman
George Miller, CA
Dale Kildee, MI
Carolyn McCarthy, NY
John Tierney, MA
David Wu, OR
Rush Holt, NJ
Linda Sanchez, CA
Joe Sestak, PA
David Loebsack, IA
Phil Hare, NH
Yvette Clarke, NY
Joseph Courtney CT

Republicans (10)
John Kline, Ranking Member MN
Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, CA
Kenny Marchant, TX
Charles W. Boustany, Jr., LA
David Davis TN
Peter Hoekstra, MI
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, WA
Tom Price, GA
Virginia Foxx, NC
Timothy Walberg, MI

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