20/20's 411 on Library of Congress Firing

Babylon Sister writes "This Friday, October 21, ABC's 20/20 will run a story on Diane Schroer at 10:00 PM EDT. Diane has an amazing story. A retired Army Special Forces Colonel,Diane accepted a job researching terrorism for the Library of Congress, only tohave the offer rescinded when she told her supervisor that she is transgender..Talking to the American public about gender identity discrimination is asignificant challenge. We hope Diane's story will be a bit of help in changingthat. Diane's long and distinguished record of service in the military over 25years makes what the Library of Congress did seem particularly unfair, even topeople who are usually difficult for us to reach. That the government chosethis moment to toss aside expertise on counterterrorism only makes the situationmore absurd. Nobody makes the case better than Diane herself. As she put it ina speech this summer, "...for 26 years I went into every godforsaken hell-holeanyone could conceive of, without so much as a whimper--Port Au Prince,Mogadishu, Kinshasa...only to be told I was not good enough to work for thefederal government..."We are hoping Diane and her case against the Library of Congress will advancethe national conversation on gender identity. (More information about her caseis available athttp://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRig hts.cfm?ID=18385&c=105>http://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRig hts.cfm?ID=18385&c=105)Matt ColesDirectorACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights and AIDS Projects125 Broad Street, 18th FloorNew York, NY 10004(212) 549-2627http://www.aclu.org/LGBT> http://www.aclu.org/LGBT"


I happened to but I was personally disappointed in how little time/focus they put on the library/discrimination issue.... not that the entire story/situation wasn't interesting/important.... I really want to keep an eye on this and see what happens. I can't imagine how the LOC can possibly claim that they acted legally in what they did!

I watched - They were pretty slim on the discussion of the legal basis for the suit (I'm sure it's under Title VII - which was upheld as covering transgender people in some federal districts - but denied in others. It applies the concept of sex stereotype discrimination to transgender people. It will at some point be likely resolved at the level of the Supreme's. A positive decision in the DC district would be very powerful as how it sees many of these cases can presages the Supreme's decisions - and is often a posting given to those thought worthy of being a Supreme. They didn't mention that the DC non-discrimination ordinance has been interpreted to cover transgender people under the category of appearance - but being the federal government & possibly? considered an arm of Congress - it may not apply. Transgender people were excluded from federal sex discrimination legislation by previous court decisions - and excluded from coverage under the ADA when it was drafted - at the behest of Jesse Helms.http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=112357831528 4Here's a list of local non-discrimination ordnances that cover this category of discrimination:http://transgenderlaw.org/ndlaws/chart.pdfAnd yes much too slim on the Library of Congress - they should have found a way to discuss why LOC made the decision to rescind the offer - there were a few statements reported. They should have been put on record - especially as a taxpayer funded institution. Or they could have interviewed employees/former employees or union reps. At least a glimpse of the face of the people who made the decision - they should have stopped them leaving the building and asked for a comment. Their should be some accountability for the decision.She seemed poised, articulate and quite capable. Certainly up to the task . I liked that they portrayed her as a whole person with achievements, family & interests - that being transsexual wasn't the sum total of her existence. And that they showed how the discrimination the LOC chose to engage in affected friends & her whole family.I do think however think it's time for people to retire the obligatory gratuitous shot of a transgender woman putting on makeup. I can't imagine they would find it appropriate for any other professional woman.

It does appear that the basis of the suit is Title VII – copies of the original company, Plaintiff’s Response and the Complainant’s Reply to the LOC’s Response are online at:http://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRig hts.cfm?ID=19296&c=105http://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRig hts.cfm?ID=19170&c=105http://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRig hts.cfm?ID=18383&c=105The person making the hiring decision and perhaps then making the decision to discriminate – may be Charlotte Preece. Though of course – ultimate responsibility resides with Dr. James Billington as Librarian of Congress.It is important to note that not only does the District of Columbia outlaw this type of discrimination – over 150 Members of Congress have stated that they personally find it unacceptable and changed their own hiring policies to cover transgender people. If the Library of Congress serves these members – this seems to be a good time to ask these members to demand an accounting from the Librarian of Congress and the hiring officer.I should update a previous statement – yes the ADA excludes transsexuals for coverage – but only if the person in question has no physical aspects to their transsexuality. If Ms. Droer has any physical basis whatsoever to her condition – this would seems another avenue she could sue under.*Pledges Project – Over 150 Members of Congress have signed Pledges to not discriminate based upon gender identity or sexual orientation in hiring in their Congressional Offices.http://www.hrc.org/Content/ContentGroups/Publicati ons1/2004ScoreCard.pdfPartial List:[Download and print this page - PDF]At a Glance ...145 Total signatories21 Senators124 Representatives15 Republicans128 Democrats2 IndependentsArizonaRep. Raul M. Grijalva (D)Rep. Jim Kolbe (R)Rep. Ed Pastor (D)CaliforniaRep. Joe Baca (D)Rep. Xavier Becerra (D)Rep. 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I watched as well, and was very disappointed that there wasn't more discussion of the LOC. Not even a discussion of what the position was, CRS I think. But something to explain LOC's role beyond storehouse would have been nice. Does the public know why LOC would want a terrorism expert?

I cannot see how any employer can in good conscience make a job offer and then take it away based on gender identity. For me, it is like racism, sexism, classism, homophobia--it just doesn't bear up with what hiring the best person is supposed to be about. The fact that no one from the LOC was willing to defend or explain their position, begging your pardons, speaks volumes.

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