Earlier this month, the House approved legislation that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. It would make it illegal for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.”
Proponents have labeled it a “breakthrough for equality and fairness.” It is the first time that legislation protecting gay rights has passed either house in Congress. However, many LGBT rights organizations have found themselves criticizing the bill.
In an earlier version of the legislation, both gender identity and sexual orientation were protected from discrimination, and religious institutions would have been subject to some of the same standards as non-religious employers. had some restrictions against discrimination. Under the bill that passed the House, people who do not conform to gender stereotypes and transgender individuals are not protected from discrimination. Additionally, faith-based organizations, such as hospitals and universities, could legally fire or refuse to hire people because an individual is or is suspected to be gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual.
Should legislators have attempted to push the initial bill even if it meant that it would not have passed in the House? Should LGBT individuals be protected under civil rights laws in the way people of color and women have been protected? What is the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity? Why has homophobia become less acceptable but transphobiahas not? Why is discrimination only illegal when practiced by some employers but not by others?
Join us this week at Café Society to share your thoughts and learn more about this issue.
About the Speaker:
Courtney Reid isa Senior Director of Programs for the Center on Halsted. The Center servesthe lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community of Chicago, addressing the community’s diverse social, recreational, cultural, and social service needs. The Center offers support networks and programs that meet the cultural, emotional, spiritual, social, educational, and recreational needs of LGBT persons: youth, adults, seniors, or families. Current services include support groups for youth and seniors; psychotherapy services; an info line for LGBT individuals and a hotline for HIV and STD concerns; prevention, treatment, and advocacy related to domestic violence; and a range of life-enrichment programs.
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.