After the House passed ENDA last week, a New York Times editorial called the vote “a significant, if long overdue, breakthrough for equality and fairness.” There’s no question that it was good to see such a high level of support in the House. And there’s no question that it is outrageous for gay men and lesbians to lose their jobs because of their sexual orientation. I am reminded that many gay men and lesbians across the country are much more vulnerable than I am in my employment. They may live with greater economic insecurity, in a social environment more openly hostile than mine, or in a state that provides them no legal protections on the state level.
Yet it’s also frustrating that we will have no vote to measure the House’s support for similarly protecting transgender people – and we are left with the sense that we could have done more. Since the president will not sign this bill into law (if it makes it through the Senate) what was accomplished by leaving transgender people outside the circle of its protection?