LGBT community responds to Justice Department changes

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced federal law does not protect transgender employees from workplace discrimination.

“During my time here, a transgender individual did disclose that they had been fired from their job because of their transgender status,” said Amanda Arbour, Executive Director of the LGBT Community Center in Harrisburg. “They did not want to move forward because it could impact their ability to get other jobs and other employment. So that’s the reality, that without legal protection, then there is the fear or repercussion.”

The LGBT Community Center says discrimination cases are more common than you think and even harder to prove. They say some people don’t even bother fighting them.

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced rolling back an Obama era regulation, protecting transgender people from workplace discrimination. The DOJ says the law’s protection against sex discrimination doesn’t apply to gender identity cases.

“By definition, gender identity discrimination is a type of sex and gender discrimination. So courts have ruled this way. They have ruled that gender discrimination does include gender identity. We’ll keep fighting this in the courts and making that argument,” said Andy Hoover, communications director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

The Midstate LGBT community said the move was another setback, as they’re currently fighting for Pennsylvania to include sexual orientation and gender identity as sex discrimination.

“This isn’t just a federal issue, it’s an issue at the state level and even the local level. A lot of municipalities already have policies prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people,” Hoover said.

The Justice Department says the law as written does not apply to transgender people, but it would be up to Congress to make any changes to it.



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