BREAKING: Jeff Sessions Reverses Non-Discrimination Protections for Transgender Workers

NEW YORK - GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today expressed outrage at United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he reversed a federal policy which was aimed to protect transgender workers from workplace discrimination. In a move that erased a policy issued by the Obama Administration, Sessions issued a memo to United States attorneys arguing that transgender workers should not receive the same protections under the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as other workers receive based on gender and race.

“This outright attack on transgender Americans has proven, once again, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working according to his own ideology and not actual justice,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Sessions joins President Trump and an administration who are stopping at nothing to strengthen institutional discrimination and walk back the hard-fought progress made by the LGBTQ community.”

Currently, there is no federal law that explicitly prohibits discrimination against transgender employees in the workplace, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has previously argued that transgender workers are protected in the workplace as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Now, the Trump Administration is working to dismantle this progress by arguing “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” according to a copy of Session’s memo obtained by BuzzFeed.

Further, today’s announcement falls directly in line with the Trump Administration’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ acceptance from the fabric of this nation. In less than a year, President Trump has worked to ban transgender Americans from openly serving “at any capacity” in the U.S. military, remove LGBTQ Americans from the upcoming 2020 United States Census, and erase LGBTQ seniors from critical Medicare and Medicaid surveys. Find more information to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ extensive anti-LGBTQ record below.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Anti-LGBTQ Record of Attorney General Jeff Sessions

As Attorney General

  • 10.5.17 – Issued a memo to revoke workplace protected for transgender people under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • 9.7.17 – Filed an amicus brief in support so-called “religious exemptions” to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans.
  • 9.5.17 – Announced the end of the DACA program, which protected an estimated 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, including 36,000 LGBTQ DREAMers, from detention and deportation.
  • 7.26.17 - Filed a brief opposing workplace nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the case Zarda v. Altitude Express.
  • 7.11.17 – Delivered closed-press remarks at a Summit on Religious Liberty hosted by the anti-LGBTQ hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom
  • 4.14.17 - Withdrew lawsuit accusing North Carolina of discriminating against the LGBTQ community in response to HB2, despite the similarities of the HB142 replacement. 
  • 2.22.17 - With help of President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Title IX protections for transgender students in our nation's schools. 

Prior to Service

  • Supported the Federal Marriage Amendment in both 2004 and 2006, claiming that "leftists" were out to "destroy the traditional definition of marriage."
  • Equated support for Federal Marriage Amendment with changing the constitution so that it opposed slavery: "When a case comes up of this kind, we can say with certainty there is a likelihood, and many scholars believe a very high likelihood, that the Court would rule that traditional marriage is too restrictive, it has to be changed from the way the people have defined it. We do not have to accept that. We have every right to amend the Constitution. The laws in the Constitution provided for slavery---that was changed."
  • Claimed the Supreme Court's ruling overturning sodomy laws "divorced morality from law."
  • While attempting to defund the National Endowment of the Arts, echoed social conservative claims that "the National Endowment for the Arts showed explicit homosexual activities on the screen using a $31,000 grant."
  • Condemned California federal judge for finding the state's discriminatory marriage ban to be unconstitutional, claiming he "was citing his own views, emotions and feelings" rather than the law.
  • Opposed the nomination of US Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan in large part because of what he perceived as her LGBTQ support. (More here)
  • Reportedly fought to stop LGBTQ conference: As Alabama's attorney general in 1996, Sessions attempted to stop the Southeastern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual College Conference from meeting at the University of Alabama under a state law passed in 1992 that made it illegal for public universities to fund in any way a group that promotes "actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws."
  • While opposing the nomination of a DC Superior Court judge, he cited (and placed on record) letters from viciously anti-LGBTQ groups like the Traditional Values Coalition, which faulted the nominee for her "radical lesbianism, anti-marriage" views.
  • Implied the US Supreme Court was not allowed to find a right to marriage equality and that he might continue the fight: "...what this court did-they can't to do, nothing in the constitution for such a result no mention of marriage in the constitution,' says Sessions. It's an issue that evokes a lot of passion on both sides and may not be over."
  • Cosponsored the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow opponents of marriage equality to discriminate against LGBTQ (or even supportive) customers and contractors.
  • Cosponsored the so-called State Marriage Defense Act, a bill designed to circumvent federal protections for same-sex married couples.
  • Voted against the repeal of the military's discriminatory Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
  • Referred to a gay sexual orientation as having "gay tendencies."