Tag Archives: ENDA

Friendship and Workplace Discrimination

OLD-HANDS-001Yesterday we posted reasons why passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA — which would make it illegal to discrimination against LGBT in employment — is particularly important to LGBT older workers.

A completely unrelated article on friendship and older LGBT people inadvertently touched on the same topic from a different angle.  Asked “What has changed in your work with regard to how people understand the role of friends for LGBT older people?”, Jesus Ramirez-Valles, director of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health, answered:

One aspect that has changed is that friendships have increased in the workplace, since we are more open there and can create those friendships.

You can read the whole article, “Friendship a Pillar of Survival for LGBT Elders,” at http://www.asaging.org/blog/friendship-pillar-survival-lgbt-elders

Why ENDA is Important to LGBT Elders

ENDASummerFinal-228x300In July the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — ENDA — which would outlaw employment discrimination against LGBT workers — finally made it past the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The Center for American Progress’s Andrew Cray published a blog post focusing on three reasons why ENDA is particularly important for older LGBT Americans.  One reason is that older LGBT Americans face double discrimination in the workplace, being subject to both age and anti-LGBT discrimination.  Another reason is that employment discrimination adds up over the lifespan, with on-the-job discrimination multiplying into significant later-life income disparities.

These two reasons are fairly self-evident.  The third, however, surprised me:

Data on LGBT workers overall show that while only 5 percent of LGBT employees ages 18 to 24 are open about their LGBT identity at work, more than 20 percent in the older age cohorts are out.

Since data also shows that out LGBT employees experience more discrimination than non-out employees, “older LGBT workers are more likely to face discriminatory treatment.”  And while that fact may make it seem like older LGBT workers should be closeted at work, Cray points out the negative ramifications of that choice:

And for those who are not able to be open in the workplace, a lack of trust and feelings of isolation continue to take a toll on comfort and productivity on the job and can even result in negative health outcomes.  Passing ENDA would provide relief for older LGBT workers, whether or not they decide to come out at work.

The complete blog post is available at http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2013/08/06/71553/enda-provides-protections-for-older-lgbt-americans/

An Ally’s Guide to LGBT Issues

Ally's GuideTomorrow the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is scheduled to take up — and expected to send on to the full Senate — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a long-pending bill that would outlaw employment discrimination against LGBT people.

In honor of this new ENDA push, we dusted off our copy of “An Ally’s Guide to Issues Facing LGBT Americans,” a guide that was collaboratively produced by a number of LGBT organizations.  It addresses what some would call “The Gay Agenda,” giving data and background on the following LGBT wish list: Continue reading

A More Perfect Union, A More Perfect World

That’s the phrase that begins the “Report of the United States of America Submitted to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review,” (http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/146379.pdf) submitted by the Obama Administration for a 2010-2011 United Nations review.  

It deserves mention here because its prominent inclusion of LGBT issues has been underpublicized in the LGBT world.  This, after all, is a document that is supposed to represent the United States to the rest of the world. 

In the first paragraph under Fairness and Equality, the Obama Administration notes that it has appointed “several LGBT individuals to senior positions in the Executive Branch.”  (I’m intrigued by the sentence that follows:  “And while individual stories do not prove the absence of enduring challenges, they demonstrate the presence of possibilities.”)

More substantially, the section on “Fairness, equality, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons,” is preceded only by the section on persons with disabilities (the sections that follow are on Muslims, Arab-Americans, and South Asian American persons; women; Native Americans; work; housing; education; and law enforcement).  Here’s the complete text of the LGBT section:

In each era of our history there tends to be a group whose experience of discrimination illustrates the continuing debate among citizens about how we can build a more fair society.  In this era, one such group is LGBT Americans.  In 2003, reversing a prior decision, the Supreme Court struck down a state criminal law against sodomy, holding that criminalizing consensual private sexual practices between adults violates their rights under the Constitution.  With the recent passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, the United States has bolstered its authority to prosecute hate crimes, including those motivated by animus based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  Since 1998, employment discrimination based on sexual orientation has been prohibited in federal employment.  Earlier this year, the Administration extended many benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, and supports the pending Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, a law that would extend additional benefits currently accorded to married couples to same-sex partners.  Furthermore, President Obama is committed to the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute, which prevents  gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, and both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense have testified at congressional hearings in support of its repeal.  The President has also supported passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Debate continues over equal rights to marriage for LGBT Americans at the federal and state levels, and several states have reformed their laws to provide for same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships.  At the federal level, the President supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.