April 13th, 2011 | by AILIN DARLING News | Posted In: Legislature, Gay Rights

Stark Statistics on Discrimination Against Transgender Employees (Update with bill to be re-introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley)

     
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news2_3723_transitionBODY OF EVIDENCE: Tea Gillis says a Vancouver company canned her as she prepared for surgery to become a woman. - IMAGE: Darryl James

Today's story in WW about a transgender woman who alleges she got fired after asking to dress as a woman on the job is not unusual, says Mike Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"Forty-seven percent of transgender people report being fired or denied a job or promotion just because of who they are," says Silverman. "Transgender people often have no legal recourse when they experience discrimination on the job."

Tea Gillis, the subject of the piece in today's print edition, lives in Southeast Portland and commuted to her job in Vancouver. Both Oregon and Washington are among 12 states that protect against discrimination based on gender identity.

Sexual orientation is explicitly listed as a protected class in Oregon's civil rights laws and chapter 49.60 of the Washington Human Rights Commission.

A new version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a federal bill that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender employees, was reintroduced in the U.S. House on March 30 by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) 

UPDATE: Sens Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will introduce a version of the bill into the U.S. Senate tomorrow. Similar proposals—including one co-sponsored by Merkley (D-Ore.)—have failed in previous congressional sessions.

 
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