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One Community, One Enda!

Guest Post by Sue Hyde
Director, Creating Change Conference
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force promised in 1999 to advocate for job protections for all LGBT people. We meant it then, we mean it now. We're following through on that promise by going all out for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that will protect all of us from arbitrary discrimination at work.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, H.R. 2015, was originally introduced to ban job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality) and gender identity and expression (transgender and non-conforming gender identity and expression). The Task Force believes that federal job protections must protect the rights of all of us to get a job, keep a job, have a job. Getting and keeping a job is fundamental to everyone's survival in our society.

But last week, Congressional leaders announced that they would not go forward with H.R. 2015, the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Fearing that the fully inclusive bill would go down to defeat, they now propose splitting the bill into two parts: one that would protect us from job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and one that would protect us from job discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. Although they say that their strategy is to pass the sexual orientation-only bill first and then come back to a jobs protection bill for gender identity and expression, this strategy has yielded few victories in state legislatures. There is no reason to think that transgender job protections will do any better in the U.S. Congress.

Action on the sexual orientation-only bill has been postponed, for up to two weeks. Hearings on the split, trans-stripped bill may take place on October 15, but perhaps sooner.

We have only a short window open to us for advocacy supporting the original bill, H.R. 2015 Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

You can help us turn up the heat for job protections for all of us!

1. Congress needs to hear from you! Click on the link to send your message to Congress.
Visit our ENDA Action Center to send an updated e-mail message to your U.S. representatives.

2. Become a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force or renew your membership. Here is why: The Task Force is leading an exciting and energizing campaign to support HR 2015, the fully inclusive version of ENDA. As in any campaign, all available resources must be put to the task at hand. But, we need to do more to win the day. We need to bring on additional lobbyists; we need to ratchet up our presence on blog/web sites that support a fully inclusive ENDA; we'd like to be doing so much more in this campaign! As we see in Presidential campaigns, there is a fundraising race that precedes the actual election. We want to show the naysayers that we have good support from all over the country and one very concrete way to show that support is to be able to say that our allies in this epic struggle voted with their cheers and thanks and their precious personal funds for our ENDA work.

Help us get this job done by supporting the Task Force in this critical moment. Thank you for your commitment and support!

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