As you TransGriot readers are aware of, yesterday morning President Barack Obama signed executive orders banning federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The executive order also expanded a 1998 Clinton executive order that banned discrimination in federal employment based on gender identity.
The National Black Justice Coalition was pleased with yesterday’s event and had this to say about it. While this is wonderful news, NBJC cautions us that the fight is far from over when it comes to expanding equality and opportunity for all.
decision to protect LGBT workers contracting with the federal government
is a powerful sign that our nation continues to make progress on
expanding equality and opportunity to all. But the fight on this issue
is far from over,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director
and CEO. “It’s beyond troubling that more states permit marriage
equality than prohibit LGBT discrimination in the workplace. What sense
does it make to be able to marry, but have to live in fear of losing
your job simply because of who you are or who you love? This injustice
must be made right by Congress passing nondiscrimination protections for
all of our nation’s workers, no matter their backgrounds.”
For forty years,
Congress has debated several pieces of legislation meant to address LGBT
workplace equality with no success achieved. This lack of advancement
has had a devastating impact on LGBT workers of color. NBJC’s
co-authored report, A Broken Bargain For LGBT Workers of Color, illustrates
how LGBT workers who live at the intersections of race and both gender
identity and sexual orientation face tremendous odds when trying to
secure and maintain employment. For example, national surveys of Black
LGBT people put rates of employment discrimination near 50 percent.
“Black LGBT people
are significantly disadvantaged when they lack nondiscrimination
protections in the workplace. NBJC will not rest until all qualified
American workers, including our Black LGBT brothers and sisters, have
the ability to secure a good, quality job to take care of themselves and
their families,” added Lettman-Hicks.
With the signing of
today’s Executive Order, President Obama builds upon his
Administration’s stellar record of improving the lives of LGBT people.
The Obama Administration’s LGBT victories include: signing a federal
hate crimes law; repealing the military’s discriminatory policy known as
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;” the Department of Justice’s move to stop
defending the “Defense of Marriage Act;” and the expansion of health
care coverage to the LGBT community, with an emphasis on addressing LGBT
health care disparities.