(September 24, 2009, Washington, DC)-The House Committee on Education and Labor, led by Chairman George Miller (D-CA), heard testimony yesterday morning about the devastating impact of workplace discrimination faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The hearing was part of the Committee’s work on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), HR 3017.

One witness, Vandy Beth Glenn, had worked for the Georgia state legislature for a number of years until the day she informed her supervisor that she was transitioning from male to female; she was immediately fired from her job. Her experiences, unfortunately, are not unique. The recent National Transgender Discrimination Survey led by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) found that 26% of the 6,450 transgender people surveyed had faced an adverse job action, such as losing their jobs, being denied a promotion or not being hired because of their gender identity or expression. Almost every person who responded to the survey-a staggering 97%- had experienced harassment or discrimination on the job because they are transgender.

“Now is the time that we must pass legislation designed to protect Americans from this kind of blatant and unfair discrimination,” commented NCTE’s Executive Director, Mara Keisling. “Every single day, transgender people are being fired for being who they are, even when they have excellent work records and skills. As a result, their families struggle and often fail to make ends meet, people lose their homes, and careers end, all because someone’s supervisor decided that it was okay to discriminate. That is not the American way. This legislation is absolutely needed to make it clear that discrimination is never acceptable.”

Several committee members were visibly moved by Ms. Glenn’s testimony and expressed concern at the way she was treated. They also asked detailed questions of the witnesses and many cited their support for ENDA’s passage. NCTE is very grateful for her courage in speaking out and her willingness to stand up for transgender rights.

Visit the committee’s website to read all of the written testimonies, view the entire preceedings, or follow a link to their YouTube page to see excerpts of the testimony.

Contact the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and tell your member of Congress that you support ENDA.

Those who oppose anti-discrimination legislation will try to flood the Capitol to tell their representatives to oppose workplace equality. They need to hear loudly and clearly from us about why this measure is so important to us. Don’t let your voice be drowned out by the right wing. Speak up today!

Contact your Representative and Senators to ask them to take swift action to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Do it today. They need to hear, loud and clear, that this bill is our top priority.

Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121. Give the operator your zip code and ask to be connected to your Representative. Then, after leaving your message, hang up and call again to be connected to each of your two Senators.

Suggested voicemail message: My name is _____ and a proud resident of (your city/state). I am calling in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017/S. 1584). ENDA protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from job discrimination and it is critically important. Please take swift action to pass ENDA. I can be reached at _______ (provide your phone number). Thank you.

Take a stand today to end employment discrimination against LGBT people! It only takes a few minutes to make the calls, but the impact of your actions will touch lives across the country for many years to come.

It’s time to pass ENDA and take a stand to end discrimination against transgender people.

Source: National Center for Transgender Equality

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