Transgendered Veteran's Suit Against Library of Congress Can Proceed

Babylon Sister wants us to know that, as reported by the ACLU, a federal court has ruled that a transgendered person and Army Special Forces veteran who was denied a position at the LOC can pursue legal action against the Library. Highlights:

Finding that sex may not be "a cut-and-dried matter of chromosomes," the court ruled that federal protections against sex discrimination may also protect transgender people who are discriminated against based on their gender identity. In rejecting the government's argument that discrimination against transgender people is not sex discrimination, the court noted "the factual complexities that underlie human sexual identity. These complexities stem from real variations in how the different components of biological sexuality - chromosomal, gonadal, hormonal, and neurological - interact with each other, and in turn, with social, psychological, and legal conceptions of gender." [...] The ACLU filed the lawsuit against the Library of Congress on June 2, 2005. After retiring from the military, Schroer, who had been hand-picked to head up a classified national security operation while serving as an Airborne Ranger qualified Special Forces officer, applied for a position with the Library of Congress as the senior terrorism research analyst. Soon thereafter she was offered the job, which she accepted immediately. Prior to starting work, Schroer took her future boss to lunch to explain that she was in the process of transitioning and thought it would be easier for everyone if she simply started work presenting as female. The following day, Schroer received a call from her future boss rescinding the offer, telling her that she wasn't a "good fit" for the Library of Congress.


Given that she was an Airborne Ranger, I probably would have told her by phone too.

Maybe by "good fit" they meant that she didn't have a good eye for fashion, and everything she was wearing was either camo, or olive drab? (I know, I know, sexist AND wallowing in stereotypes)

On the serious side, why the hell would anyone care? What happened to the belief that competency and ability to do the job is what is most important?

Your "sex" is who you are on the outside; a matter of plumbing. Your "gender" is who you are on the inside; a matter of psycho-sexual dynamics. A transexual is a person in whom these two factors do not match up. While transexualism in and of itself is not a sexual or gender identity, I will say that bigoted activity against a transexual is certainly sexual discrimination.

It's a real skeevy move by the LOC to offer the job then snatch it back. Not a good fit. Right. Someone's who going to be honest about her situation, and is courageous enough to make this announcement to a future boss is always going to be a good fit, in my book. And she sounds a lot more competent than a department that would offer someone a job, then decide whether or not the person is right for it.

That's a humorous story.

If you are interested in reading more about transgender/transsexual issues, the work of Leslie (sometimes credited as Les) Feinberg is a great place to start. Hir novel Stone Butch Blues is one of the best pieces of autobiographical fiction I've ever read. Hir nonfiction includes Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue and Transgender Warriors : Making History From Joan Of Arc To Dennis Rodman.I would also recommend Kate Bornstein's memoir/performance piece Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us. It's much more lighthearted, but no less challenging. Finally, I ran across a book called Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs on the shelf as I was pulling these books. I've not read it, but it looks to be excellent reading. For more suggestions, both Feinberg and Bornstein have extensive bibliographies in their nonfiction work.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters is a really lovely YA novel dealing with transgenderism.

I got the quote

"No one can put you down without your full cooperation"

at the bottom of the comments thread on this post. Serendipity I suppose, but I am very glad to see that Ms. Schoer is not cooperating. I remain aghast that LOC, my personal librarianly Mecca, should so betray the ideals of fairness, openess, lawfulness. I hope this lawsuit slams them hard. It's good to see LISnewsters tackling this topic and offering good, constructive information.

Some practical information for transgender patrons - though by no means an exhaustive list:Resources for Transgender People, Friends & Familes:Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information, and Personal AccountsAuthor: Gianna E. Israel Donald E. Tarver Diane ShafferTrue Selves: Understanding Transsexualism - For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionalsby Mildred Brown and Chloe RounsleyTransgender and HIV: Risks, Prevention, and CareEdited by Walter O. Bockting, PhD, and Sheila Kirk, MDSocial Services with Transgendered YouthEdited by Gerald P. Mallon, DSWTrans Forming Families: Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Onesby Mary BoenkeTranssexual Workers: An Employer's Guide By Janis WalworthCoffee Table:The Gender Frontier : by Mariette Pathy Allen (Photographer)Web Resources:Political & Policy:Human Rights & Public Policy (USA) Center for Transgender Equality Transgender Law and Policy InstituteSupport & Information Sites:For transsexual women transgender men transgender youth: for those transitioning at work: the loving and caring relationship between transgender parents and their children: to addressing the needs of intersex and trans survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

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