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Obama to expand safeguards for transgender workers

Obama Announces Executive Order To Protect Transgender Federal Employees

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is preparing an executive order offering transgender federal workers formal protection from discrimination at work, President Barack Obama announced Monday.

At least two other measures already prevent the federal government from firing people for being transgender, so Obama's announcement is largely symbolic. Still, advocates hailed the move as a powerful act of recognition for transgender Americans by the first American president to even utter the word "transgender" in a speech.

"The majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies to protect their employees because it's the right thing to do and because many say it helps to retain and attract the best talent. And I agree. So if Congress won't act, I will," Obama told a supportive crowd in the East Room of the White House during a reception marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT rights group, praised Obama's announcement as a "crucial and historic measure."

"Each and every American worker should be judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are - like their gender identity," said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Obama in 2009 signed a presidential memorandum saying the federal government shouldn't discriminate against workers for reasons unrelated to their job performance. While it didn't refer to transgender people specifically, the memo was perceived as offering blanket protection to workers whose gender identity doesn't correspond with their gender at birth.

And in a major ruling last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal law enforcement agency, said that the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that bars discrimination based on gender also applies to gender identity.

The White House declined to provide any details about the executive order that Obama has directed his staff to prepare for his signature. But LGBT rights groups said the order will likely mirror one that President Bill Clinton signed in 1998 that barred the federal government from firing workers for being gay and lesbian. Activists said they expected Obama's executive order would include language specifically referring to gender identity, enshrining those protections in a more formal manner.

The move comes just weeks after Obama announced plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against millions of employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Obama had resisted signing that order in hopes Congress would pass a broader non-discrimination measure that would apply to nearly all employers, but changed course amid signs that lawmakers will not take it up in an election year.

In the White House reception, Obama thanked activists for supporting and guiding his administration on same-sex issues and equality policies. He cited influential figures in his own life, including an old college professor, who he said helped shape how he thinks about many of these issues. He also repeated his call for Congress to act to ban discrimination for all workers based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

"We've got a lot to be proud of, but obviously we can't grow complacent," Obama said. "We've got to defend the progress that we've made."

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nick7917 July 01 2014 at 7:30 AM

They have a LGBT month, Black history month, and Mexican history month. When do we get White history month? Oh, wait, that is racist... Seriously. if we all want to be created equal, we all should be created equal.

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8 replies
mpheonix July 01 2014 at 7:33 AM

This is another Obama special....a smoke screen to cover his total lack of ability to fix what is really wrong in America. Do the USA a favor, help the average people....RESIGN NOW Obama....You suck.

Flag Reply +43 rate up
6 replies
laptop603 July 01 2014 at 7:37 AM

Oh......my.....god....safeguards for transgender workers....WTF? What has happened to our country?

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7 replies
redrdstr July 01 2014 at 7:32 AM

Barrack Hussien Obama, making a difference in the lives of Americans everywhere. Jeeeez, what a clown.

Flag Reply +32 rate up
3 replies
rb7583 July 01 2014 at 9:53 AM

I am so glad Obama has the time to address such a high priority issue facing us today. This guy is a joke and he is making a mockery of POTUS position. When is America going to wake up and insist this clown be impeached.

Flag Reply +29 rate up
4 replies
bochemilner July 01 2014 at 7:52 AM

"Each and every American worker should be judged based on the work they do,, "

That's the reason I judge you so poorly.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
2 replies
Ray bochemilner July 01 2014 at 2:29 PM


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Carala Huff bochemilner July 01 2014 at 10:35 PM

so if a rapist or child molester does a good job at work he should be accepted???

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jhancock July 01 2014 at 10:47 AM

This jerk is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO out of touch with what is IMPORTANT to this country. Wasting time on this crap instead of doing his job. FIX whats broken, fix your scandels you moron

Flag Reply +21 rate up
2 replies
johnny blues jhancock July 01 2014 at 3:54 PM

Well said...Bravo

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Nadia jhancock July 02 2014 at 12:34 AM

the safety of transgendered people is not crap, it is required

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plewdawg July 01 2014 at 7:10 AM

Oh goody! Condom dispensers in the break room! But look at Michelle. See the distance and her stance? See her expression? She is there out of necessity but she doesn't want to be. She cant stand him any longer.

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3 replies
leslie July 01 2014 at 8:36 AM

Wow! Another first for the pres!!!!!!!!Guess he's just looking out for Moochell

Flag Reply +10 rate up
1 reply
jdsept leslie July 01 2014 at 12:04 PM

Didn't YOU use to be Bob?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
leslie jdsept July 01 2014 at 12:15 PM

Yea, so bob up and kiss my ........

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Randy July 01 2014 at 2:48 PM

This clown has benefited his mega-wealthy, lavish living, hedge fund and Hollywood types as well as radical and leftist special interest groups. Meanwhile he hasn't done a thing to help or improve the hardworking, law-abiding, taxpaying, decent, moral, patriotic American. Hopefully America has learned a hard lesson and will elect a real President in the next election. Typically the worst depressions and recessions have had the most rapid recovery, but not with this guy. What does the average American have? Significantly higher food prices, continued high fuel and gas prices, still high unemployment, freedoms taken away, and total disregard for the Constitution.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
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