Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NBJC Statement Concerning The TBLG Executive Order

As you TransGriot readers are aware of, yesterday morning President Barack Obama signed executive orders banning federal contractors from discriminating in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.   The executive order also expanded a 1998 Clinton executive order that banned discrimination in federal employment based on gender identity.

The National Black Justice Coalition was pleased with yesterday's event and had this to say about it.  While this is wonderful news, NBJC cautions us that the fight is far from over when it comes to expanding equality and opportunity for all.


“President Obama’s decision to protect LGBT workers contracting with the federal government is a powerful sign that our nation continues to make progress on expanding equality and opportunity to all. But the fight on this issue is far from over,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “It’s beyond troubling that more states permit marriage equality than prohibit LGBT discrimination in the workplace. What sense does it make to be able to marry, but have to live in fear of losing your job simply because of who you are or who you love? This injustice must be made right by Congress passing nondiscrimination protections for all of our nation’s workers, no matter their backgrounds."

For forty years, Congress has debated several pieces of legislation meant to address LGBT workplace equality with no success achieved. This lack of advancement has had a devastating impact on LGBT workers of color. NBJC’s co-authored report, A Broken Bargain For LGBT Workers of Color, illustrates how LGBT workers who live at the intersections of race and both gender identity and sexual orientation face tremendous odds when trying to secure and maintain employment. For example, national surveys of Black LGBT people put rates of employment discrimination near 50 percent.

“Black LGBT people are significantly disadvantaged when they lack nondiscrimination protections in the workplace. NBJC will not rest until all qualified American workers, including our Black LGBT brothers and sisters, have the ability to secure a good, quality job to take care of themselves and their families,” added Lettman-Hicks.

With the signing of today’s Executive Order, President Obama builds upon his Administration’s stellar record of improving the lives of LGBT people. The Obama Administration’s LGBT victories include: signing a federal hate crimes law; repealing the military’s discriminatory policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;” the Department of Justice’s move to stop defending the “Defense of Marriage Act;” and the expansion of health care coverage to the LGBT community, with an emphasis on addressing LGBT health care disparities.

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