During a last week;'s White House conference call with Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, Rod 2.0 reported the Obama Administration would add gender identity as a protected class in federal hiring and promotions. The New York Times confirms Administration lawyers are "quietly drafting" the mandate, described as the "first-of-their kind barring workplace discrimination against transgender federal employees."
The guidelines will be in an updated federal handbook for managers and supervisors to be distributed and posted online in the next couple of months, and they could also be included in other materials for managers. They will list transgender people—those who identify their gender differently from the information on their birth certificates—as among several groups protected by antidiscrimination laws.
Though transgender men and women are not believed to make up more than a fraction of a percent of the federal work force, their inclusion in the discrimination guidelines is seen as a breakthrough by transgender and gay rights advocates. "The president is making a very clear statement that transgender people won’t be discriminated against," said Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Trans activist Autumn Sandeen at Pam's House Blend wrtes: "While I worked at the Veterans Administration I was an very out, very newly transitioned transsexual woman. Gender identity and expression was not a protected class while I was working at the VA: I could have been fired at any time for being transgender if my superiors determined that being transgender impeded me from doing my job effectively. Fortunately, that didn't happen. So, this upcoming change in federal regulations feels very personal to me."