Saturday, October 07, 2017

34.4 - Not Good News: DOJ claims job discrimination against transgenders is legal

Not Good News: DOJ claims job discrimination against transgenders is legal

It's good that we have those opportunities to smile because we also have some Not Good News and it's on a more serious and significant note.

On October 4, Attorney General Jeff "I am not a bigot, I swear" Sessions sent a memo to US Attorneys' offices saying that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which addresses workplace discrimination, only prohibits discrimination on the basis of biological sex, and not gender identity.

That is, according to Mr. Not-A-Bigot, under federal law it is entirely legal to fire someone for being transgender. Or to refuse to hire them in the first place. Or to otherwise discriminate against them in the workplace.

This not only reverses the earlier interpretation of the law under the Obama administration, it also - and here is if you will the silver lining in this - it also flies in the face of the trend in federal appeals courts decisions over the past several years, which are gradually coming to recognize "gender" as a matter of personal psychological identity rather than a fixed biological category.

So this Not Good News is actually a result of Good News and may well be another example of the reactionaries trying to hold back the tide of change and becoming King Canute*.

*The story of King Canute as arrogantly demanding the tide of obey him is untrue; in the real recorded version of the story Canute was so fed up with the fawning of his courtiers that he staged the scene to show how helpless he was against the forces of nature. Still, the popular version of the story makes a useful point here.

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