Attorney General Jeff Sessions has undone protections against workplace discrimination for transgender people put into place under President Obama.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents any employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Under Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, “sex” was ruled to include gender identity (read that full ruling here). Now, under Trump’s abominable rule, Sessions has re-examined what Title VII covers and determined it only applies to discrimination between cisgender men and women.
CNN reports that Sessions distributed this message in a memo: “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”
While Department of Justice spokesperson Devin O’Malley said, “This Department remains committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals, and will continue to enforce the numerous laws that Congress has enacted that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” many have already raised the alarm about this gross violation of human rights.
Mara Keisling, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, released a statement today responding: “According to Sessions, an employer is free to hang a ‘Transgender Need Not Apply’ sign in their window. Fortunately, he is dead wrong on the law. Courts have repeatedly ruled that transgender people are protected by sex discrimination laws in employment, education, housing and healthcare. We’ll see him in court.”