Dems demand Sessions reinstate transgender employee protections
Senate Democrats are demanding that the Justice Department reinstate discrimination protections for transgender individuals that Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back last month.
In a letter to Sessions dated Nov. 2 and signed by 44 Democratic and independent senators, the lawmakers write that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition against sex discrimination applies to gender identity and that Sessions’s actions have put some of “the most vulnerable Americans” at risk of discrimination.
“Actions that roll back the rights of LGBTQ Americans are not consistent with the values of equality and dignity or with Congress’s goals in passing the Civil Rights Act,” the letter reads.
Early last month, Sessions reversed the department’s policy on discrimination protection for transgender individuals, arguing that the Civil Rights Act does not encompass gender identity.
“Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status,” Sessions wrote in a memo to U.S. attorneys.
The Trump administration has been under fire for its treatment of transgender Americans beyond the DOJ policy changes — President Trump called for a ban on transgender people serving in the military, which has since been partially blocked by a federal judge.
In the letter to Sessions, the senators write that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as several federal courts, have repeatedly affirmed that Title VII does encompass gender identity.
“By reversing the Department’s enforcement of Title VII on behalf of transgender people, you are sending a signal that DOJ will now condone and defend those who discriminate on the basis of an individual’s gender identity or history of gender transition,” the letter reads.