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Sessions reversing pro-trans policy
Fact sheet below
2017-10-05

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reversing the Justice Department's policy that a 1964 civil-rights law protects transgender individuals from discrimination, The Hill reported.

In a memo that BuzzFeed obtained, Sessions said that the Justice Department will no longer interpret Title VII of of the Civil Rights Act to mean that the law's protections extend to discrimination based on gender identity.

Pro-LGBT groups expressed their anger at the development. On Twitter, GLAAD posted, "Since day one, this administration has continually attacked LGBTQ people."

Transgender Law Center, in a press release, said, "The Department of Justice memo on Title VII tries to undo established law protecting transgender employees simply by wishing it so. This is a vicious action intended to cause confusion where there was none, with the goal of singling out transgender people and making it harder for us to survive and thrive in this country."

The DNC said in a separate statement, "This week, Jeff Sessions escalated the Trump administration's war on LGBTQ people. By reinterpreting our employment laws to try to stop protecting transgender people from discrimination, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Jeff Sessions have revealed their real goal: turn the clock back to a time when life was even more difficult for LGBTQ people—transgender individuals, in particular."

The Hill article is at thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/354023-sessions-reverses-doj-policy-on-transgender-employee .

The Williams Institute fact sheet on US DOJ Reversal of Transgender Employee Protection

Los Angeles - Today, the U.S. Department of Justice reversed its position that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination across the nation, protects transgender workers and job applicants from discrimination based on their gender identity.

"The Department of Justice's new position is contrary to a growing body of case law, including from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that gender identity discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII," said Adam P. Romero, the Williams Institute's Director of Legal Scholarship and Federal Policy.

To support understanding of this development, the Williams Institute is providing the following relevant facts:

—According to a 2016 Williams Institute study, this reversal by the U.S. Department of Justice impacts an estimated 1.4 million adults in the United States that identify as transgender, of whom 70 percent are either currently employed or looking for work.

—Transgender people face pervasive and persistent discrimination when seeking employment and in workplaces across the United States. For instance, in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 27 percent of respondents who held or applied for a job in the past year reported being fired, denied a promotion, or not being hired for a job they applied for because of their gender identity or expression.

—Related to experiences of stigma and employment discrimination, transgender people have reported high rates of unemployment and poverty. In the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, the unemployment rate among respondents (15 percent) was three times higher than the unemployment rate in the U.S. population (5 percent), with Middle Eastern, American Indian, multiracial, Latino/a, and Black respondents experiencing higher rates of unemployment. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of respondents were living in poverty, compared to 14 percent in the U.S. population.

"This position not only threatens the economic security of transgender individuals but contravenes the position previously taken by numerous federal agencies based on careful analysis of the law," said Williams Institute Executive Director Jocelyn Samuels.

The Williams Institute, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.

From a Press Release:

TLC condemns "vicious" DOJ memo encouraging illegal discrimination against transgender workers

"Unlike the Attorney General, Transgender Law Center is committed to defending this country's civil rights laws — and we will take him and this administration to court to do so."

(Oakland, CA) — Yesterday, Attorney General Jess Sessions issued a memo stating that the Department of Justice will reverse itself and, in contradiction to established law, no longer interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as protecting transgender worker from discrimination. Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people, issued the following statement in response:

"The Department of Justice memo on Title VII tries to undo established law protecting transgender employees simply by wishing it so. This is a vicious action intended to cause confusion where there was none, with the goal of singling out transgender people and making it harder for us to survive and thrive in this country.

By methodically undermining civil rights law, the Department of Justice under Trump and Sessions has committed — and emboldened others to commit — violence and terror against immigrants, Muslims, LGBT people, Black people, and communities of color more broadly. This memo is yet another attack in that vein, with the agency charged with upholding the law now encouraging employers to illegally discriminate against transgender people.

The Attorney General does not have the power to change clearly established law, only to enforce it. Transgender Law Center's 2012 and 2015 cases on behalf of Mia Macy and Tamara Lusardi, along with extensive case law, firmly established that transgender workers are protected from discrimination under Title VII. Unlike the Attorney General, Transgender Law Center is committed to defending this country's civil rights laws — and we will take him and this administration to court to do so."


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