New guidelines support Transgender Federal EmployeesBreaking News, Top Highlights Friday, May 27th, 2011
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has praised the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) today for publishing federally-supported guidance that aims to support transgender federal employees.
Gender identity has already been added as one of the protected categories of the equal employment opportunity policy for Executive Branch positions, but the new guidelines on gender expression and identity will further support federal managers and human resources officials who may not be protected under the June 2009 presidential memorandum.
New guidelines include the right to confidentiality and privacy when transitioning as a transgender person, dress and appearance sensitivity including the full right and virtue to wear clothing of the opposite sex, and importantly, the use of names and pronouns that respect the gender choice of the transgender person. For instance, the guidelines specifically state that “continued intentional misuse of the employee’s new name and pronouns… may undermine the employee’s therapeutic treatment, and… such misuse may also breach the employee’s privacy, and may create a risk of harm to the employee.”
Other guidelines include the right to use washrooms according to consistency of gender identity including recordkeeping and insurance consistencies and benefits.
The memorandum states that it is not published to address “rights and remedies” but instead offers guidance for federal employees as transgender people are hired or as they transition into their new identity.
Joe Solmonese, President at HRC, reinforced the new guidelines as an “essential American value” that will aim to support federal workers based on merits instead of appearance, preferences, or sexual orientation. He further thanked President Obama and the OPM, in particular John Berry, for their active role in providing necessary guidance and support for transgender people in the federal workforce.
The newly-instated guidelines come in wake of the HRC program called Blueprint for Positive Change, a series of LGBT-friendly policy recommendations made on behalf of the HRC to President Obama and his administration seeking to provide additional support for federally employed transgender people.
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