Working towards equality in the American workforce

Guest Commentary

To end discrimination-based sexual orientation and gender identity in the American workforce, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community must work together for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would provide job protection based on employees’ sexual orientation or gender identity in both the public and private sector workforce. Debated since the 1970s, ENDA was reintroduced this year by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 30.

A 2007 task force study found that 8-17 percent of LGBT American workers were being fired from their jobs each day. Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is completely legal in North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Virginia, Florida, New Mexico, Utah, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska and many more states. This is disturbing information to all LGBT persons who want passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Bill. LGBT persons are considered a minority and it’s our civil right movement.

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To end sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination against LGBT persons in the workforce, there are several steps that need to be taken. First, the LGBT community must all unite together to help the passage of ENDA. Secondly, urge the 112th Congress to pass the ENDA. Lastly, the LGBT community must also take a stand and let corporations know we have suffered enough and convince them to help passage of ENDA.

First, to do this we must gather together all of our LGBT partners, communities, non-for-profit associations and every American that believes sexual orientation and gender identity should be protected by law in the American workforce. As a community, LGBT persons must stand up for our rights. To do this we can get help from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which is a non-for-profit that assists with issues for the LGBT community. With the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on our side we are able to get the funding to raise the awareness to end the sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the American workforce, and rally those who support change. The LGBT community can also have rallies to raise awareness to the issue. The LGBT community can find support from everyday Americans that believe we are all equal and should be protected from discrimination in the American workforce.

Secondly, we must call on Congress to make it fair that every person in the U.S. is equal in the American workforce and free from any type of discrimination. We must rally support from leaders of this Congress and our fellow members of the LGBT community. ENDA is being stalled and, now with Congress split, this bill will have a hard time passing until we push it to the front desks of the House and Senate committees on health, education and labor. We must persuade Congress and the president to do something about this now. Change is what Americans of all races, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion have been promised by this president and he must act by signing ENDA into law.

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Lastly, the LGBT community must take a stand to those who do not want change in corporate America. We have allowed corporate giants to come in and run the workplace with no qualms or respect for employees. Change is needed. The LGBT community isn’t going anywhere. Discrimination against us just because we happen to be different and love someone of the same sex is unfair and biased. We must push for and create diversity groups to help CEO’s, managers and other co-workers understand that everyone, no matter sexual orientation or gender identity, is equal. We must act and treat everyone with respect. We can also do this by exploring each person’s lifestyle, how we all are different, and create a comfortable work environment free of discrimination.

In conclusion, the LGBT community must continue to fight with the help from HRC, urge every member of Congress and our fellow Americans who want to put an end to sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the American workforce. ENDA needs to be signed into law. We must put a stop to the hatred and bullying and mistreatment of people because they are different. This is what being an American is all about: being different, free and able to be the person you want. Being suppressed into something you aren’t just isn’t right. We must get this bill passed by Congress thus allowing more Americans the right and liberties of all that are equal. We are all equal in God’s eyes and that is why ENDA must be passed by Congress. : :

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