Diane Shroer

Transwoman wins LOC lawsuit
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge ruled Sept. 19 that the Library of Congress illegally discriminated against a Special Forces veteran when she was denied a job after announcing her intention to transition from male to female. In a groundbreaking decision, the court ruled that discriminating against someone for changing genders is sex discrimination under federal law.

“It is especially gratifying that the court has ruled that discriminating against someone for transitioning is illegal,” said Diane Schroer, the plaintiff in the case. “I knew all along that the 25 years of experience I gained defending our country didn’t disappear when I transitioned, so it was hard to understand why I was being turned down for a job doing what I do best just because I’m transgender. It is tremendously gratifying to have your faith in this country, and what is fundamentally right and fair, be reaffirmed.”

In reaching its decision, the court ruled: “The evidence established that the Library was enthusiastic about hiring David Schroer — until she disclosed her transsexuality. The Library revoked the offer when it learned that a man named David intended to become, legally, culturally, and physically, a woman named Diane. This was discrimination ‘because of…sex.’”

Sen. hearing on partner benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The first-ever U.S. Senate hearing exclusively on the issue of federal employee partner benefits was held Sept. 24 by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. LGBT advocates labeled the hearing, coordinated by Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), an important and necessary step toward enactment of equal employment benefits for LGBT federal civilian employees.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese stated in his submitted testimony: “Equal pay for equal work is a value fundamental to American opportunity. The federal government should be the standard bearer for fair workplace practices.”

The proposed benefits for federal employees would include family health insurance, pension and survivor benefits and relocation expenses for families who are transferred. For State Department employees abroad it would include access to anti-terrorism and language training, medical facilities and evacuation services.

Adoption group supports gays
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has issued a report that calls for changes to state laws and adoption agency practices so they are more welcoming of gay and lesbian applicants. The report, “Expanding Resources for Waiting Children II: Eliminating Legal and Practice Barriers to Gay and Lesbian Adoption from Foster Care,” provides specific, research-based findings and recommendations about state laws and adoption agency policies.

In a statement, the Adoption Institute recommended that adoption and foster care agencies “assess their policies and practices to ensure that they are welcoming — in recruitment, training and post-placement services — for all qualified family resources who want to provide homes for children in foster care, including gay/lesbian individuals and couples.”

Celebs reveal the deal
HOLLYWOOD — Ending months of fevered speculation, celebutante/actress Lindsay Lohan (“Mean Girls”) and celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson confirmed last month that they are a couple. The pair — who have been fodder for gossip mags and blogs all summer and fall — offered a low-key acknowledgment of their relationship during a radio call-in show. They phoned DJ Stryker to talk about their friend DJ AM, who was burned in a Sept. 20 plane crash. When the host asked them how long they had been together, Lohan responded, “A very long time.”

Not to be outdone, “American Idol” season two runner-up Clay Aiken burst out of the closet a few weeks later in a People magazine cover story titled “Yes, I’m Gay.” He said the impetus for his decision was the birth of his son Parker Foster Aiken (who was conceived through in vitro fertilization). Aiken told the magazine, “I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things.”

Out & Greek in the Windy City
CHICAGO, Ill. — The Out & Greek National Leadership Conference, the first gathering of its kind for undergraduate fraternity and sorority leaders, will be held here Nov. 14-16 at DePaul University, Lincoln Park Student Center. The conference is sponsored by the Lambda 10 Project, an educational initiative of Campus Pride.

The Lambda 10 Project was founded in 1995 to raise the visibility of LGBT members of college fraternities and sororities by serving as a clearinghouse for educational resources and materials related to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. The conference will highlight the progress of sexual orientation issues within Greek Life, introduce a “Transgender Action Guide” and much more. To register or for more information, visit www.lambda10.org/outandgreek.

David Stout is the former associate editor of QNotes.