The Federal Government Should Dictate Policy: An Affirmative View

Gender identity equality is a human rights issue that should not be left up to debate by the states. In order to ensure equality for all gender identities, we believe policy surrounding this topic should be strictly controlled by the federal government. With the federal government in charge, we are confident that legislation will allow for gender identity protections in all contexts and locations across the United States.

While some states may not want to acknowledge any identity besides the one a person is born into, many states have shown their support for gender identity equality by passing their own legislation to prevent discrimination in the workplace, restrooms, and schools.

However, without consistency in our laws across the country, we believe that it will be nearly impossible to achieve total gender identity equality in the future. This inconsistency provides little incentive for those with conservative views to open their minds to ideas they are unfamiliar with.

Although our country has ways to go until equality is reached, we do feel that the federal government has made some progress over the past decade. While the federal government does not have many laws that pertain to gender identity explicitly, many federal courts have begun to look at previous sex discrimination laws in a new light that applies to discrimination based on all gender identities.

In 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the U.S. Department of Justice will consider gender discrimination based on sex and gender identity discrimination to be synonymous under federal law. This means that people facing gender identity discrimination will receive many of the same protections as those facing discrimination on a basis of their biological sex.

Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice’s new stance had been applied to the Title IX of the Education Amendment Acts of 1972. This act was originally created to prevent sex discrimination in all educational programs that receive federal money. However, rather than solely protecting equality of the sexes, this law was then applied to those who are transgender or nonconforming.

While the U.S. has taken many steps forward, it has also taken several steps back since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency. Since Trump took office, he has withdrawn federal protections for transgender students that would allow them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. We believe that this decision is extremely harmful for transgender and nonconforming students who live in states that have chosen not to comply with the guidelines put in place by the Obama Administration.

We feel it is ridiculous that a person can have full rights in one state, and then be stripped of their rights in another.294114-bcc3812e620607e5a5a7e57ddc7ce713

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Gender Identity Discrimination in the Workplace: A Refutation

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Discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community is an extremely prevalent issue within workplace environments across the country. Many instances in which people were denied jobs, fired, harassed, and more simply because of their sexuality or gender identity unfortunately continue to occur in America today.

In 2014, a few steps were taken towards finding a solution when former president Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited the federal government from contracting with any firms that discriminated against their workers, customers, or clients for reasons such as their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ten days after, he signed an additional order which stated that all firms doing business with the federal government were required to prove their adherence to federal laws and executive orders. This enforced his initial executive order by having all workplaces demonstrate that they are completely fair as well as respectful towards LBGTQ employees.

Years later, in 2017, our country has unfortunately regressed in terms of this matter under the presidency of Donald Trump. Despite his assurance at the beginning of his term that not only did he intend to protect the LGBTQ community but also that he would not rescind the executive order concerning their rights within the workplace, he later proved that he was not on the side of those who are gay, transgender, etc.

On Monday, March 27, President Trump annulled Obama’s second executive order on the issue. By doing so, he took away the requirements for firms having to confirm their compliance to the order regarding discrimination against LGBTQ workers. While that order may still be in place, there is now nothing that is there to back it up and ensure that employers are not violating the law. Not only does this give firms the opportunity to discriminate against those within the LGBTQ community essentially without facing any consequences, but it sends the message to the people that the government does not care whether or not you break the law, which makes doing so ok.

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It is upsetting that this order has been rescinded, as well as it is upsetting that no additional action has been taken towards improving the lives and opportunities of those who identify as LGBTQ in work environments. Everybody should be treated equally and with respect despite their sexual orientation or gender identity. The fact that President Trump voided Obama’s order lets the public believe that it isn’t important to respect people who may be different from you and that they do not deserve the same equal rights as everyone else.

Everyone, no matter what sexuality, gender, or gender identity, should be granted the same freedoms as everybody else. It is unfortunate that this may no longer be demonstrated within workplaces following President Trump’s recent decision, but hopefully further action towards putting a stop to LGBTQ discrimination will be made in the near future.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

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Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving workplace equality for all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. Out & Equal strives for equality through its partnerships with large corporations including Dell, PepsiCo, IBM, Bank of America, and many others. Each year, the organization hosts a Workplace Summit, bringing together over 4,000 LGBT employees and executives from around the world. Attached is a clip of highlights from last year’s summit: https://youtu.be/RVIjkxcY4Hg

Through the organization’s events and workplace training, we believe society is moving in the direction of equality and acceptance for all in the workplace.

Workplace Tolerance: An Affirmative View

UnknownGender is something that follows people everywhere they go, including in the workplace. Transgender employees are constantly being discriminated against at their jobs. 21 percent of LGBTQ employees have reported being discriminated against regarding hiring, promotions and pay. As a group, we believe this is not fair. All people, no matter what their gender identity is, deserve equal rights.

One company in particular that has shown great growth with workplace acceptance and tolerance of LGBTQ employees is Starbucks. Starbucks is committed to including and accepting all. In May 2016, Lucy Helm, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, released a letter to all Starbucks employees. The letter reinforced Starbucks’ Global Human Rights Statement which reads, “Starbucks is committed to support and uphold the provision of basic human rights and to eliminate discriminatory practices.” They support their employees through everything and do not stand for inequality.

In the past, Starbucks has offered health insurance coverage to their employees who are lesbian and gay and has also supported employees that are transgender or considering transitioning. The company has expanded their health care coverage to include gender reassignment surgeries. This creates a company environment that is respectful and welcoming.

zR9ap6dk-7360-4912This is an image of the Starbucks headquarters raising a Gay Pride flag, recognizing the LGBTQ community.

The work environment at Starbucks has positively impacted many employees. One in particular is Shawn Orchowski. Orchowski had a difficult time coming out as transgender to his family but found “unconditional acceptance” at Starbucks because of the open and inclusive setting.

This sense of inclusion runs deep through their entire company. Each worker fully believes in the company’s goals, including Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. At an annual meeting of shareholders, one stockholder stated that Starbucks lost customers because of its support of the LGBTQ community and gay marriage. Schultz responded by explaining that not every decision a company makes is based on finances. His decision to support the LGBTQ community was made “through the lens of the people [employees and clients].”

Other companies should follow in Starbucks’ footsteps. The company strives to make everyone feel accepted and to create a space where employees and customers are not afraid to be their true selves.url

Discrimination Against LGBTQ In Most States

The video below explains how although same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, it is still currently legal for an employer to fire its worker based on their gender identity.

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Even though many states are working towards equality for all, most civil rights laws do not protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.  Those within this community are often denied jobs, housing, and service in restaurants or other areas of the general public.

There are way too many instances of people being scared to be open about their gender identity in their place of work because they are scared of being fired and for their physical safety.