What does the D.O.J. decision mean for Trans Civil Rights?
Unless you are a legal scholar, last Thursday’s decision to exclude transgender individuals from work-place anti-discrimination laws enforced on the basis of sex can be a dense and complicated affair to understand.
I broke down the facts you need to know and gathered some information on how you can resist the minimization of your civil liberties under this, or any queer antagonistic administration.
A Brief History of What Went Down:
- Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964 states: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
- Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins 490 U.S. 228 (1989) decided that Discrimination against an employee on the basis of sex stereotyping–that is, a person’s nonconformity to social or other expectations of that person’s gender–constitutes impermissible sex discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- December 2014 saw Eric Holder, the Attorney General, orders the Justice Department to view “sex” as inclusive of gender identity, which extended protections to transgender individuals.
- 3 months ago, unbidden, The Sessions D.O.J. filed a brief before an appellate court in a private workplace discrimination suit, presenting their position that Title VII does not include sexual orientation.
- October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions orders DOJ officers to take the position that transgender people are not protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protects against workplace discrimination based on sex.
What You Can Do:
Donate and Volunteer to the Organizations that are fighting for your rights.
The ACLU and Lambda Legal are established respected organizations with mature organizing structures that will allow you to get involved immediately.
Register to Vote.
The DOJ is run by the Attorney General who is appointed by the President.
Saving long rants about the Electoral College for another time, it is important to understand that the more engaged you are with the civic process from the local level to presidential elections, the more say you will have in the policies espoused by the D.O.J. in the long run.
In the words of Sharon McGowan, a former Justice Department civil rights lawyer who is the director of strategy for Lambda Legal in an interview with the New York Times:
“Jeff Sessions’s D.O.J. has made it its mission to oppose, rather than enforce, civil rights law…But no matter how many memos he issues, the law is on our side. And so are the courts increasingly.”