US extends non-discrimination laws to transgender people

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The US Justice Department has reinterpreted existing laws to prevent workplace discrimination against trans people.

In a memo released yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said “This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.”

It means that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, will now be interpreted to cover gender identity as well.

The rules apply to any US government job, or any private company with a federal contract. The Justice Department will be able to bring claims for anyone who says they have been discriminated against because they are trans.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality told the Associated Press: “It’s just another message to employers, whether they are public employers or private employers, that it is illegal in every state in this country to discriminate against transgender people in employment.”