An Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) opinion handed down Friday says transgender
Americans are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The 5-member bipartisan commission
unanimously agreed that employment discrimination based on a person's
gender identity violates Title VII's prohibition on sex
According to gay weekly Metro
Weekly, the opinion was issued in response to a legal
challenge filed by Mia Macy, a transgender woman who alleges she was
turned down for a job at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives after she informed the agency that she was in the process
“[T]he Commission hereby clarifies
that claims of discrimination based on transgender status, also
refereed to as claims of discrimination based on gender identity, are
cognizable under Title VII's sex discrimination prohibition …,”
the EEOC opinion reads.
Gay rights groups called the decision a
game-changer for transgender rights.
“This ruling marks a sea change in
the treatment of transgender people under federal law. After years
of being wrongly and unfairly excluded from federal protections
against sex discrimination, transgender workers will now enjoy the
same protections against unlawful discrimination based on gender
stereotyping as other Americans. Mia Macy and the Transgender Law
Center deserve enormous credit for bringing this historic case, which
has resulted in a landmark ruling that will change the lives of
countless transgender people,” Kate Kendell, executive director of
the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said in a statement.
The San Francisco-based Transgender Law
Center is representing Macy in her lawsuit.
“With so many barriers to gainful
employment in our society, we can't let discrimination be one of
them,” Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law
Center, said in a statement. “The EEOC's decision ensures that
every transgender person in the United States will have legal
recourse when faced with employment discrimination. Having the
protection of federal law is especially critical for transgender
people who live in the 34 states that lack transgender-inclusive
nondiscrimination laws. This is a game changer for transgender