ENDA Now!

DEMAND a Trans-inclusive ENDA Now!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Federal Plaza, downtown Chicago
230 S. Dearborn —12 Noon

Join activists in a FLASHMOB to present the letter below to Senator Richard Durbin demanding a transgender-inclusive ENDA in 2010. We have sent this letter to Senator Durbin via email and fax and received only form letters in reply, which contain no timeline or mention of gender identity.

Letter:

While we are pleased to note that Senator Richard Durbin has co-sponsored the latest Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the levels of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers in this country, creates an urgent need for Senator Durbin to take a more public stance. We ask that he sign our pledge below calling for his forceful advocacy for passage of a transgender-inclusive ENDA this year.

While polls show that 89 percent of the overall population—and 77 percent of Republicans—support workplace equality for LGBTQ people, fear-mongering and transphobic rhetoric are being spread and echoed by the far right. Now that it is becoming less palatable to openly discriminate against lesbians and gays, transgender people have become the primary targets of the culture war.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 97 percent have experienced mistreatment, harassment or discrimination on the job. Of those surveyed, 47 percent were denied a job, a promotion or were fired because of their gender identity. Despite higher levels of education than the population at large, 15 percent of transgender people earn less than $10,000 per year, twice the national average for that income level. Twenty-seven percent reported incomes of $20,000 or less. Meanwhile, only 21 states and the District of Columbia mandate workplace protections for sexual orientation, and a mere 12 states provide legal protection for gender identity. As you know, the nation’s largest employer, the U.S. military, is exempted from ENDA and will remain a closet for LGBTQ military service-people until Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed.

Hundreds of organizations have signed on to demand passage of ENDA Now (http://endanow.com/). We ask you, Senator Durbin, to gather your colleagues in the Senate and stand before the media to address this crisis in the American workplace head-on. Passage of ENDA this year would be a crucial step in our struggle for full federal equality.

Pledge:

I, Senator Richard Durbin, agree to stand before my colleagues in the U.S. Senate and the media to forcefully declare the urgent need for a transgender-inclusive ENDA in 2010. While all LGBTQ people in this country remain second-class citizens, it is a crisis that 97 percent of transgender people, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, have experienced mistreatment, harassment or discrimination on the job.

Federally-sanctioned discrimination of the millions of U.S. workers who are sexual minorities must finally pass into history. The time is now to stop the lies, the scapegoating and the bigotry against those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. I appeal to my colleagues in the Senate to end our sad history of anti-LGBTQ bigotry and pass a transgender-inclusive ENDA in 2010.

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