Center on Halsted will persist to protect Trans individuals in the workplace

Center on Halsted will persist to support Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts to protect transgender individuals in the workplace. In a memo issued on October 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote that the Justice Department will no longer interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts to mean that law’s protections extends to discrimination based on gender identity. In Sessions’ opinion, Title VII only covers discrimination between men and women. This reverses a 2014 decision by his predecessor Eric Holder, who understood that Title VII could be used when an employer took actions based on a person’s gender identity. Title VII bars employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion.

While the Justice Department is claiming to focus on procedural matters, it is clear from the number of attacks on the LGBTQ community that they are using their position of power to influence social norms. Center on Halsted strongly opposes the on-going withdrawal of protections for LGBTQ individuals by the current administration. In February, the administration revoked instruction to school districts to allow students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity. In March, reports came out that intentions to include LGBT people in the U.S. census were removed. In July, administrative tweets announced a ban of Transgender people in the military. Also in July, the Justice Department argued that Title VII did not apply to cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Together, Center on Halsted and our LGBTQ community will organize to resist these acts of state sanctioned discrimination. The Justice Department’s narrow reading of Title VII exposes their lack of support for transgender individuals and places them at great risk. The transgender community already suffers higher than average rates of job discrimination and workplace violence. We need to take action to ensure the Justice Department does not give permission to employers to discriminate against transgender individuals. We must persist together to uphold our rights and advance our LGBTQ community.

Modesto Tico Valle
 CEO, Center on Halsted