WASHINGTON, D.C. — The largest union of federal government employees has applauded the federal government’s announcement that transgender federal workers must be able to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The American Federation of Government Employees said the Aug. 18 memo from the General Services Administration affirms recent decisions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies that discrimination based on gender identity is illegal under the same laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex.

“The federal government has torn down another wall of bigotry by rejecting discrimination against employees based on their gender identity,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Every person should be able to go to the bathroom that corresponds to their gender — and it’s up to each person to make that determination.”

The new regulation applies to all facilities that GSA owns, leases or manages on behalf of federal agencies. GSA currently owns and leases nearly 400 million square feet of space in 9,600 buildings nationwide, including office buildings, courthouses, post offices and laboratories.

Joining the federation in their response is the National LGBTQ Task Force.

“We welcome this enormous step forward on the part of the GSA. The new rule, which serves as a model for state and local governments, and to private entities, brings federal government facilities and spaces in line with  already existing sex discrimination law. According to preliminary data from the U.S. Trans Survey, 59 percent of trans people have avoided bathrooms in the last year because they feared confrontations in public restrooms, at work, school, or in other places. In fact,  31 percent have even avoided eating or drinking out of fear of using the bathroom. Because of this rule, more trans people will be treated with dignity and will be less likely to be victims of violence,” said task force Trans/Gender Nonconforming Justice Project Director Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán.

info: afge.org. thetaskforce.org.

Research Roundup

LGBT healthcare

Jillian Scheer, M.A., a doctoral candidate at Boston College, is searching for participants for a study on healthcare provided to the LGBT community with the goal of improving services to that demographic.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the experiences and health of LGBT individuals, as well as the quality of services received by the LGBT community.

Participants will be entered into a raffle for one of 15 $10, 10 $20, or three $50 online gift cards if they wish to participate.

The study has been approved by the Boston College Institutional Review Board.

A free online research editorial outlining major findings from the study, as well as future research directions, is available to interested parties.

info: bit.ly/2bJhcGl.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.