Rights & Liberties
2 min

Breaking trans discrimination

BY NOREEN FAGAN – Sometimes the
fight is worth it. In Ireland a trans woman was awarded the equivalent of $47,000 after an equality tribunal ruled
she had been discriminated against on the grounds of gender and disability.

Louise Hannon
claimed that her life was made terrible after revealing to her employer, First
Direct Logistics Limited, that she was transitioning. 

Hannon claimed
that after she changed her name and continued to work as a woman, the atmosphere
in the workplace deteriorated. She was asked to continue using her male
identity while carrying out many of her duties, before being asked to work from
home. When she was not permitted to return after four months, Hannon decided she
had no alternative but to leave the company.

After the
ruling, Hannon said she had no regrets about giving up her anonymity to pursue the
case: “If it encourages people to be more open about their gender
identity then it’s worthwhile.”

Across the
Atlantic, the fight for trans equality and anti-discrimination policies continue.

In the United
States, the Maryland Senate president, Thomas Miller, deemed a proposed trans
civil rights bill “anti-family.”

In an interview
Miller said, “I personally believe it’s anti-family, and so I am going to vote
against it. The problem is this: I have senators that are not going to hire,
uh, people with male sexual organs who wear a dress to serve as receptionists,
OK? Um, and so if they’re not going to do it, if the senators and house members
themselves wouldn’t hire a person in that category, how can we say to
constituents, you’ve got to do this?"

It’s a pity
that Maryland cannot follow the example of the Nevada Assembly. On Monday the
assembly passed a bill that would outlaw job discrimination against trans
persons.

There are three
other bills on trans rights coming in Nevada. One is against discrimination
in public accommodations, another would abolish discrimination in housing, and
the last would make crimes against trans persons hate crimes, subject to longer
prison sentences.

Activists were
pleased that the first and, in their view, the most important bill passed in the
assembly.

In Canada we are waiting until after the
election to learn the fate of Bill C-389. Introduced by Bill
Siksay, the bill would add “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Human Rights
Act and the Criminal Code. It was passed in the Commons but stalled in the
Senate.

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