ENDA has passed the US Senate, giving GLBT workers protection against discrimination in the workplace. So, what next?
It’s a moment a long time coming. The United States Senate passed the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, (ENDA) which “adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of characteristics that cannot be discriminated against in the workplace.”
Whatever your gender or orientation, this is important. Our government, or at least one portion of it, has recognized that the GLBT community is discriminated against in the workplace and does need protection. We’ve hidden who we are, who we love, and how we live for so long, hoping to keep our jobs, that the chance that we might be protected in this way is almost unbelievable. There are plenty of industries where GLBT folks are largely shut out, and for transfolk, especially transwomen, lack of employment opportunities or discrimination on the job contribute hugely to the levels of homelessness, addiction, and high-risk behavior in this community.
Whether or not this will even get a vote in the House remains to be seen. But support for ENDA came from both sides of the aisle in the Senate, and we can’t give up hope that maybe this will eventually go all the way, and GLBT folks will have one less thing to fear.
—Photo Guillaume Paumier/Flickr