In 29 states you can fired for being gay and in 38 states you can be fired for being transgender. That’s right, you can be fired simply because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Imagine going to work everyday in fear that you will say something about your personal life that will result in you being let go. That is a fear no one should ever have to face.
Our non-profit partner on workplace discrimination is the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). They are pushing for a federal law called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would end this injustice soon after Congress returns next week.
With health care finally off the agenda and the November elections looming, this is the right moment. But it won’t last forever – we all need to do what we can to pass ENDA immediately!
HRC’s supporter have already sent more than 87,000 messages to Congress – and have submitted more than 1,600 letters to the editor across the country. But we all need to help. Right now they are fewer than 20 cosponsors away from having the votes locked in to pass this historic legislation in the House.
HRC has created a special website – www.passENDAnow.org – and if you give a damn about ending workplace discrimination please take a moment to visit the site. They provide all of the tools you need to contact your U.S. representative to let them know you want them to vote for ENDA.
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From our Workplace Discrimination non-profit partner HRC’s Back Story Blog:
Openly lesbian mayor of Houston Annise Parker issued an executive order this week banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, making it one of at least thirteen municipalities to provide comprehensive protections for public employees alone. At least 129 municipalities have inclusive ordinances protecting both public and private employees, including Austin, Dallas, El Paso and Forth Worth.
What makes Mayor Parker’s order even more comprehensive is that it also prohibits discrimination by the city’s contractors and vendors and their employees. According to the Dallas Voice, the Executive Order states:
“The purpose of this Executive Order is to prohibit discrimination and/or retaliation on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity at every level of municipal government, including hiring, contracting and/or access to City facilities and programs/activities.”
Mayor Parker also introduced a second order that prohibits racial, ethnic, gender and other slurs and delineates menacing behavior, critical or mocking comments and perpetuating stereotypes as inappropriate workplace behavior.
Jurisdictions have required contractors to offer equal benefits to both different-sex spouses and same-sex partners since 1998, but non-discrimination requirements are a newer trend.
Mayor Parker’s changes are a positive step for Houston’s employees and contractors, and they bring the city closer to Dallas and Austin, which have offered partner benefits to city employees since 2004 and 2006, respectively.
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I give a damn, and why shouldn’t I? I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. My family, friends, and most of my co-workers have always been very supportive of me and my partner.
In the two jobs I’ve had in the last 6 years, I have had the support of my co-workers, for the most part (there’s always one rotten egg in the group). Both of my jobs have been in different areas of customer service, and the first time I experienced actual discrimination and hate from someone, was not from a co-worker, but from a customer.
Immediately, my co-workers came to my defense, and instead of being shamed as the woman thought I would be, she was kindly told by my manager that she would no longer be welcome in our store.
I may live in rural Pennsylvania, but I live and work around some amazing people. I’ve always been able to openly discuss my life and my partner, and I’m so grateful every day to be so lucky…I can’t wait for the day when everyone else can be as lucky as I have been…
I have to admit that I used to be one of the closed minded people that thought gays, lesbians and bisexuals were better ignored and avoided, kept out of sight and out of mind. And I was that way for a lot of years…till the day I found out that my best pal at work is a lesbian. I was taken aback, shocked, surprised. But after the surprise past, I realized that nothing had changed.
She was still my lively, happy, funny co-worker. Since then, she has moved on. She and her partner have opened a wonderful little bistro that I frequent ALL the time. They are beautiful people, concerned about justice in all walks of life, to include things like purchasing only fair trade coffees for their business, the environment, etc.
The biggest change came without my even realizing it. Recently, her partner’s employer, a large University, denied equal benefit coverage to domestic partners and same sex couples, and it dawned on me that I was upset by this; I saw it as an injustice, and that’s when I realized finally that their orientation meant little to me: they were my friends and they had been wronged.
I’m ashamed of the way I used to think, but I don’t dwell on it. I dwell on the road forward. Years ago, I saw Lita Ford in a t-shirt that said “As you are, I once was…as I am, you will be.” That is my mantra now, to try to change the minds of people that think the way I once thought.
Because my friends are so comfortable being themselves, and so open and honest with themselves and others, they are by far my truest friends, and I want to be here for them.
Salt Lake City now protects its residents from discrimination in employment and housing based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Salt Lake City really gives a damn! Check out this news report from ABC 4:
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I am a straight mother of three. I have a thirteen year old straight son who plays tuba and guitar,and wants to work in the tech field when he grows up. I have a seventeen year old straight daughter who plays baritone, has a beautiful singing voice, and wants to go to college to become a psychologist. I have a nineteen year old gay son who is broadly musically gifted, attends college, and wants to be a teacher. While my younger son and daughter will very possibly achieve their dreams, my oldest son may not. So, I give a damn.
Where we live, and where my son wants to teach, being openly gay will likely cost him his job. While my two younger children’s teacher’s can share stories of their husbands, wives, children and lives, if my son does so, parents will complain to the school board that my son is teaching their children immorality. But he hasn’t given up on his dream. He’ll be attending his second year of college next year to become a teacher, in hopes that when he begins teaching, his sexuality won’t matter to his students and their parents as much as his qualifications do. So, I give a damn.
My oldest son is in a committed relaionship with a wonderful boy who spent years in R.O.T.C., in hopes of becoming a flight engineer. He felt it would be not only wrong, but incredibly difficult to keep their relaionship a secret due to D.A.D.T., so unfortunately he chose to leave the R.O.T.C. This young man should have NEVER had to make such a choice. His sexual orientation shouldn’t have had to play a part in what he wanted to do with his education, and his life. So, I give a damn.
My children talk of the day they will be parents. I have no doubt that all three will be excellent at parenting. My younger son and daughter will be able to do so with no trouble. While if my oldest son and his committed partner want to adopt, they will likely be denied that right. So, I give a damn.
I want the opportunities my two straight children have, to be available for my gay child. I want to not have to worry that my son might be a victim of a hate crime. When my son chooses to commit his life to someone, I want to know that he’ll have the same rights and protection as a straight couple would. Most of all, I want my children to see and believe what I have taught them their entire lives; that you can grow up to be anything and anyone you want to be.
So, I GIVE A DAMN!
I give a DAMN about equality… ONE of my daughters is gay…
I have raised three daughters. I’ve taught them the fundamentals of life and living in this world, then went beyond this to teach tolerance, equality, independence, faith, compassion and love.
What a joy to watch three beautiful young children grow into the adults they now are! What a joy to nurture each as individuals while treating them equally. What a joy to teach them to be anything they wanted to be. What a joy to watch them learn to love and develop healthy relationships. What a joy to witness them embracing each day.
Each day brings new discoveries for all three. Along the way, my youngest daughter discovered her sexuality as a lesbian. Within our family, this discovery was recognized and acknowledged. We did not judge, and our family still lives with the values of respect and equality that we’ve always lived by.
But for me, the need for social equality outside of our family became more important than ever! I was to send my youngest daughter into the world–and she would learn that the teachings and equality in our home would not necessarily follow her.
I have raised three daughters… and as individual as they are, now they are not treated equally.
TWO of my daughters can…
- Walk safely down any street holding hands with their significant others
- Practice careers without fear of discrimination
- Marry legally (if they choose) in a courtroom – OR – in a religious environment of their choosing
- Have an open relationship with a member of our armed forces
- Practice their religious upbringing openly–not questioning their faith because of a lack of tolerance
- Reap the benefits of “joint” tax returns, health insurance, marriage law…
The list goes on and on.
I hope that someday, this will change to: “All THREE of my daughters can…”
I give a damn about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.
I give a damn because no person should have to lie and hide at work because of who they are. I am talking about working for the greatest military in the world; and specifically the U.S. Army.
Each person chooses military service for different reasons, but it is a choice. Last time I checked, this is the “Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.” And being in the army is a job that should be available in the same manner to all individuals. Supporters of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) will tell you that they aren’t saying gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT) folks can’t serve in the military; just that their private life – or rather – the person that they are – must be hidden. Asking an individual to act and live in a hetero-normative fashion to fit into a work place in the year 2010 is unacceptable.
I give a damn about equality because I used to hate going to work on Monday mornings. I would actually feel nauseous sometimes, and it wasn’t because I didn’t like work. It was because I was paralyzed with fear that someone would ask me about my weekend and I might happen to mention something personal that would give me away. How I stayed at my girlfriend’s apartment or saw a movie or had dinner with her – one lesbian slip of the tongue could result in me being terminated.
Get informed and get involved. Register to join the campaign and let us know you give a damn about equality.
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Despite the strides we have made in this country to try to ensure equal opportunities, equal treatment and equal pay for all, “all” doesn’t necessarily include someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.