Update on Diane Schroer

ACLU: Federal Court Rules Transgender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Library of Congress Can Proceed
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

A copy of the decision, the complaint, a bio and photographs of Diane Schroer are available at: www.aclu.org/caseprofiles
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today a federal judge found that an employment discrimination lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a transgender veteran against the Library of Congress can go forward.

"I couldn't understand how the country that I had risked my life for could believe that it was ok to rescind its job offer to me solely because I'm transgender," said Diane Schroer, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army. "Today's decision begins to restore my faith in our government."

Finding that sex may not be "a cut-and-dried matter of chromosomes," the court ruled that federal protections against sex discrimination may also protect transgender people who are discriminated against based on their gender identity. In rejecting the government's argument that discrimination against transgender people is not sex discrimination, the court noted "the factual complexities that underlie human sexual identity. These complexities stem from real variations in how the different components of biological sexuality -- chromosomal, gonadal, hormonal, and neurological -- interact with each other, and in turn, with social, psychological, and legal conceptions of gender."

The court held that given these complexities, it may be that federal law prohibits discrimination against transgender people because it is a form of sex discrimination, pure and simple. The court will rule on that question in the case after evidence about the nature of gender and gender identity is developed. ...

I previously posted on Diane Schroer in this lavender alert. She is a veteran of the Army Rangers who applied for a position as a terrorism analyst with the Library of Congress. As the ACLU release explains,
Soon thereafter she was offered the job, which she accepted immediately. Prior to starting work, Schroer took her future boss to lunch to explain that she was in the process of transitioning and thought it would be easier for everyone if she simply started work presenting as female. The following day, Schroer received a call from her future boss rescinding the offer, telling her that she wasn't a "good fit" for the Library of Congress.

What's especially noteworthy about this case is that the federal court has recognized a connection between "sex discrimination" as it's traditionally defined, and gender discrimination as it applies to this case. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Keep reading Dreams Into Lightning for updates.

Related post:
Lavender Alert - June 14, 2005