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Talking points

Adapted from Paisley Currah and Shannon Minter, Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists and Policymakers (NGLTF and NCLR, June 2000)

Question: Why is this legislation needed?

Answer:   Transgendered people face serious discrimination, not only in the workplace, but also in housing, and in public accommodations.

Question:  Isn’t this kind of discrimination already illegal? Isn’t it covered by sexual orientation or gender discrimination laws?

Answer:  So far, most courts have not found that laws prohibiting sexual orientation or gender discrimination apply to transgender people.  We would be happy to provide you with a brief overview of the case law on this question.

Question:  Does this mean women will have to share bathrooms with men?

Answer:  This law will prevent people from being forced to use bathrooms that do not correspond to their gender identity.  Like everyone else, transgendered people need access to safe and dignified restroom facilities.

Question:  Will this law encourage cross-dressing in the workplace?

Answer:  There has been no “outbreak” of cross-dressing in workplaces in the jurisdictions that have adopted such anti-discrimination provisions.  The City of Minneapolis has had a transgender-inclusive non-discrimination law since 1975, and there has been no influx of cross-dressers into the workplaces in that jurisdiction.

Question: Are we going out on a limb here? Is our jurisdiction going to be the first to adopt this kind of law?

Answer: As of February 2003, 55 jurisdictions in the US had passed non-discrimination laws that protect transgender people.