Dr. Jillian T. Weiss has a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Law, Policy & Society. She is currently Associate Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College of New Jersey, she has conducted research involving hundreds of companies and public agencies that have adopted “gender identity” policies. Dr. Weiss is also Principal Consultant for Jillian T. Weiss & Associates, a consulting firm that works with organizations on transgender workplace diversity issues. She has trained hundreds of employees at corporations, law firms, diversity trainers and governmental organizations. These are her words . . .

Representative Barney Frank stated in an interview in the Washington Blade this week that ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a proposed federal law that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, will be re-introduced in the coming months.  The “gender identity” provision would protect employees from discrimination based on non-conformity to gendered stereotypes of identity and expression. In the last introduction of the bill in 2007, “gender identity” was originally included, but was later removed into a separate bill because it appeared to some in Congress that there was insufficient support for its inclusion. This move was very controversial within the LGBT community.  Ultimately, the split ENDA bill containing only sexual orientation (referred to by some wags as “SPLENDA”) won the vote in the House, but the gender identity-only bill was not brought to the floor.  The Senate did not bring either bill to its floor either.

The section of the article discussing ENDA is available by clicking here.

In a hopeful sign, Congressman Frank said he expects congressional hearings on ENDA before the measure sees a vote because lawmakers must still be educated on the bill’s gender identity provisions. This suggests that Congressional Democrats are now more committed to the necessary education efforts than at the time of the last introduction. While hearings were held on the issue of “gender identity” last time, they were held only after “gender identity” protection was stripped from the bill. While there is more momentum behind an inclusive ENDA now, the education piece is still crucial.

If education is what they want, they education is what they’re going to get. I’ve started a campaign via Facebook called Inclusive ENDA, along with Pam Spaulding of Pams House Blend, Bil Browning of Bilerico.com, and Waymon Hudson of Bilerico Florida.  This is a campaign focusing particularly on those Members of Congress who need more information on why an inclusive ENDA is important. The vision of the group is to spread the message of inclusion to all of Congress, particularly those most in need of hearing this message, and to educate them about why sexual orientation and gender identity protection is important for all people — straight or gay or transgender.

We started the group Friday night.  We’re now over 1,000 members strong.

Please join us by clicking here. Here is what we are asking you to do:

Please contact your US Representative today by calling the U.S. Capitol at 202-224-3121. Give the operator your zip code and ask for your Representative. Ask your Rep’s office whether he or she has a position on an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and explain that means both sexual orientation and gender identity. Ask whether the position is definitely yes, probably yes, undecided, probably no or definitely no. Anything other than yes or no should go in the “undecided” category. Then, post it on the Wall at Inclusive ENDA (click here for the link), where it will be transferred to spreadsheets showing the position of all U.S. Representatives and Senators.

Do the same for your Senators.

Our next steps after this will be to contact those in the undecided columns and help to educate them about the importance of an inclusive ENDA.

Give the transgender community some sugar, honey, and keep SPLENDA out of the House.