In response to what has transpired regarding ENDA, Illinois Gender Advocates ( IGA ) has released its own statement:
There has recently been substantial public controversy regarding the inclusion of gender identity protection in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ( ENDA ) bill ( H.R. 2015 ) and the introduction of a revised version that excludes gender identity as a protected class.
Transgendered persons have been the victims of significant discrimination that demonstrably impairs their ability to enjoy the same basic privileges as most U.S. citizens. The reality is that the transgendered are routinely subject to widespread discrimination in employment, housing, services and public access.
Moreover, such discrimination occurs because of perceptions of inappropriate gender related appearance or conduct that actually affects a broader class of persons besides merely those that in fact identify as transgendered persons, such as men perceived as effeminate or women perceived as masculine, regardless of whether such men or women identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual. As a result, gender identity protections against discrimination would in fact benefit a wider class of persons than merely the transgendered. It seems obvious that such protections could benefit many other members of the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities.
The exclusion of gender identity protections from any version of ENDA is outrageous, to the detriment of the transgendered and many gay, lesbian, bisexual and even straight individuals and Illinois Gender Advocates adds its name to the list of national and state LGBT groups in opposition to such exclusion.
In a follow-up e-mail to Windy City Times, IGA Chair Stevie D. Conlon stated, in part, 'Illinois Gender Advocates, along with all the other national, state and local partners of UnitedENDA will continue grassroots efforts to educate Congress regarding the importance of a gender identity inclusive ENDA for everyone. ... We passionately hope that federal non-discrimination legislation is enacted that benefits everyone in the LGBT community and not merely those whose appearance is in the closet.'
NOTE: On Fri., Oct. 19, at 5 p.m., trans-rights activists will demonstrate for their inclusion in ENDA in front of the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan—the site of a scheduled appearance by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
For more about IGA, see www.genderadvocates.org .