Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hawaii Legislature Passes Transgender Workplace Protections

While we’ve seen some victories for the LGBT community recently, most of the activists I’ve spoken to are disappointed that we haven’t seen more movement. Perhaps the greatest frustration comes around the lack of progress at the federal level on the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). What causes folks to get heated up is that we’ve even been seeing some supposedly liberal Members of Congress who refuse to suppose the legislation if it includes protections for gender identity.

Fortunately, we’re seeing some movement on workplace protections for the transgender community on the state level. The state senate in Hawaii just overwhelmingly passed HB 546 yesterday and will “prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression as a public policy matter and specifically with regard to employment” if signed by Governor Neil Abercrombie (which I’m hearing it will be).

“The march towards full equality in the Aloha State continues,” said Alan Spector, Equality Hawaii Co-Chair. “Providing employment protections to transgender citizens in Hawaii is a victory for civil rights and equal treatment under the law for all residents of our great state.”

Hopefully Congress will soon be following Hawaii’s lead. In a time when we are standing up fighting for freedom across the globe, after all, we should also make sure to address the inequalities that can be found here at home.

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