The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) announced May 25 in an address to attendees at National Gender Lobby Day that NGLTF would not support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) unless it includes protection for gender expression. Currently the bill, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), contains language that protects employees only for sexual orientation.
Betsy Gressler, NGLTF's Deputy Political Director, told transactivists, "You will be lobbying a number of important issues including the Hate Crimes Prevention Act and ENDA. The hate crimes act is an important step in ending violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and we support it fully.
"NGLTF will not endorse ENDA without the inclusion of transgendered people. [ENDA] needs to be amended and that is part of the important work you have to do while you are here. We need to educate members of Congress about the importance of transinclusion AND the importance of this legislation."
This statement marks the first time a national gay organization has publicly avowed to withhold support from ENDA over the issue of gender.
Transactivists call attention to a survey by NGLTF, the Center for Lesbian Rights, and GenderPAC that showed 28% of GLB respondents reporting job discrimination based in part on the way they expressed gender. GenderPAC has argued that gender expression must be in ENDA, not only to protect trans-workers, but also gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who are gender-different.
HRC, while expressing support for gender rights, remains steadfast against transinclusion. It pledges that ENDA's wording will remain unchanged.