Considering President Barack Obama’s silence on California’s proposition 8 and many issues involving gay rights. It is hard to sometimes know where his administration stands on the issue. It is common knowledge that Obama considers marriage to be between a man and a woman. The same can be said about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though some on the left have given Obama a pass on while holding Clinton’s feet more closely to the fire during her presidential campaign bid.
I am happy with the following action or lack there of by the Obama administration but I am still curious as to why Obama has not come out and said something publicly concerning sexual orientation and the right to privacy.
July 1, 2009
The White House is not going to appeal a nearly $500,000 judgment for a Library of Congress employee who lost the job while undergoing a gender change from a man to a woman.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is not fighting a nearly $500,000 judgment for a Library of Congress hiree who lost the job while undergoing a gender change from a man to a woman.
The Justice Department let the deadline to appeal the decision pass Tuesday, a day after President BarackObama hosted gay supporters at the White House and promised to be their “champion.” Some activists have complained he has not led on their causes, including ending the ban on gays in the military.
Diane Schroer, a retired Army Special Forces commander from Alexandria, Va., had been offered a job at the Library of Congress when he was a man, David Schroer. The job was rescinded the day after Schroer told a library official he was going to have an operation to become a woman.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Schroer’s behalf in 2005, and two months ago a federal judge awarded her $491,190 in back pay and damages because of sex discrimination.
The Library of Congress and President George W. Bush’s Justice Department had argued unsuccessfully that discrimination because of transsexuality was not illegal sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act.
Schroer said she saw the administration’s decision not to appeal as a recognition that transgender discrimination must end and “gives me renewed hope and restores some of my shaken faith in what our country stands for.”
“This case put employers on notice that discrimination against transgender individuals is like any other form of discrimination — counterproductive and against our principles as a nation,” she said in a statement. But she added that Congress must pass a law preventing “rampant” transgender discrimination across the country.
Schroer is a former U.S. Army colonel who directed a classified group that tracked and targeted terrorists. Schroer retired in 2004 after 25 years of service and worked briefly in the private sector before applying for the Congressional Research Service job at the Library of Congress.
After being offered the job, Schroer had lunch with a Library of Congress official and explained the upcoming surgery. Schroer testified the official called the next day and said the position would not be a “good fit.”
The ACLU said the decision not to appeal fits with Obama’s campaign promises to protect transgender workers against discrimination and his administration’s recent order taking steps to bar gender identity discrimination in federal employment.
“The administration’s decision not to challenge this important civil rights ruling is a welcome sign that it intends to live up to its commitment to help end transgender discrimination in the workplace,” said Sharon McGowan, a staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.
Bravo. For once I agree with something that the Obama administration had done. The Library of Congress was at fault. It the employee was fine when they were one sex, nothing should effect that after the sex change operation. Shame on you Library of Congress.
In 2001, I was working for a museum in New York City where I encountered a wonderful young woman who wore cool glasses that were made from vintage frames. We were not friends but rather hallway/subway platform chat buddies. I would see her on the way to the coffee room, or at the subway waiting for the 4,5,6 train. Besides being women, we had a few other things in common. We had both expatriated from the Midwest and we both found it peculiar that men had began knitting on the subway. This was suddenly the “in” show of a man’s inner sensitivity. She argued that the men most likely knitted on the subway to get laid. Knitting was a private hobby that required concentration, not the sounds and smells of the New York subway. While I agreed with her on the getting laid part, I did not agree with the knitting was not a “public hobby”. Maybe the knitting helped drown out the dreary urban distractions like a good book but with needles and yarn ( and a handy weapon if need be).
We chatted until she got off at Astor Place I stayed on the train thinking she is a nice girl, I should get a coffee with her sometimes or have lunch at work- must remember to do that. A few months went by without my seeing my platform buddy. I decided to check out the museum staff directory online. I remembered her first name and in New York, that is a miracle in and of itself. Not finding her, I figured the office “know it all” would know how I could find my buddy for a lunch invite. Spring had arrived and it would be nice to go to Central Park and have someone to eat with, someone who wore cool glasses and would not speak to me in a condescending tone like some native New Yorkers would do once they learned I was a transplant from “Middle America”.
Know it all co-workers function at their best when gossip is involved. The know it all knew all about my subway platform buddy.
“Oh, you mean HIM not HER.” The know it all was dipping a Lipton teabag in a Styrofoam cup with this raised eyebrow. “It’s a BOY!!!!!”
By my mother’s definition, I was sometimes incredibly dense. Maybe she was a man all along and I did not know. She did dress in androgynous J. Crew and Ambercrombie and Fitch clothing. But the voice was definitely a woman’s voice and those hands were delicate.
The know it all went on to blab that my platform buddy decided to become a man and was involved in some health insurance tiff. Does health insurance pay for sex change operations? I did not know but it was not my business. The know it all was annoyed that “he” now wanted to be called by his new name, hence the my failure to find him/her in the staff directory.
“So where is he now?” I asked.
“Can you believe she, he, it (snicker) quit without giving us notice? Left us in a bind, now we have to hire a fucking temp. I believe she came here just to get insurance for that surgery…What did you want her for anyway? Did she not do something you asked too? She left a shit pile of requisitions on her desk–“
The know it all’s elaborations on my buddy’s work ethic or sex change did not concern me. What did was that she was parading the news around for her own amusement. Gossips are such lonely people I bet. I wonder what they do when something unfortunate happens to them like a death in the family or a cheating spouse? But alas, it never does. Karma is not that just, it just strikes randomly. A sex change is a private matter until the person wants it to be public. The details about my buddy’s health insurance most likely came from leaked information which should have remained secret.
I asked the know it all what I wanted to know. “Do you have a forwarding address for him?” I asked.
Ms. Know it All asked why and I said I had borrowed something that I wanted to return.
“Well give it to me. I will forward it to her via HR.”
I was getting nowhere. I never saw my buddy again. Maybe my buddy did not think enough of me to say goodbye but I at least wanted to let him know that I supported him and to thank him for keeping my sanity during a time when I thought I could not hack it in New York.
Should my buddy have told me that she was having a sex change? I say not unless she wanted to.
Had he come up to me after the operation, I am sure I would have figured it out and went about chatting on the subway platform like normal. It is a private matter as well as a sensitive one. How dare a workplace hold that against a person concerning a job offer? If the gender or the race of an applicant is unimportant during the time of selection——–WHOA— or is it?
No stop. Afrocity you are being too complicated.
What if they wanted to use affirmative action to hire a woman and the women had a sex change to become a man. Would that make a difference?
Autographed Letter Signed,