T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation

           

Library of Congress trans bias trial begins
ACLU is representing Diane Schroer

By LOU CHIBBARO JR
Washington Blade, DC, USA
Aug. 22, 2008


A trial began Tuesday in Washington in a lawsuit charging the Library of Congress with engaging in sex discrimination by refusing to hire a
transgender woman as an anti-terrorism expert.


Transgender advocacy groups were hopeful that U.S. District Judge James Robertson, who is presiding over the non-jury trial, would rule
in favor of plaintiff Diane Schroer, who was initially hired by the library's Congressional Research Service Division for a post as senior
terrorism research analyst.

Schroer applied for the position under her former name, David Schroer, and appeared for her interview in male clothing. Library of Congress
officials later rescinded their decision to offer the job to Schroer after she informed her supervisor that she was transitioning to a
woman and would begin her job using her new name and as a woman dressed in traditional female attire.

In December, Robertson denied a motion by the Library of Congress to dismiss Schroer's lawsuit on grounds that federal non-discrimination laws don't cover transgender persons. The ruling, hailed by gay and transgender activists, says Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 appears to cover transgender persons under its provision banning discrimination based on sex.

"Title VII is violated when an employer discriminates against any employee, transsexual or not, because he or she had failed to act or
appear sufficiently masculine or feminine enough for the employer," Robertson says of that ruling.

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union, who are representing Schroer, have said Robertson must weigh the facts
presented by both parties in the case to determine whether the Library of Congress violated Title VII in its refusal to hire Schroer.

In testimony at the trial on Tuesday, Schroer said she now operates a consulting firm and has won contracts from U.S. Department of Defense,
the Coast Guard, and other federal agencies. She said the agencies' decision to hire her as a contractor demonstrates that they don't
consider her status as a transgender person an impediment to her performing defense-related duties.

In documents filed in court, the Library of Congress noted that the official who decided not to hire Schroer expressed concern that her
transgender status could prevent her from retaining a security clearance. The official, Charlotte Preece, also expressed concern that
Schroer's transgender status could hinder her professional relationships with military intelligence officials, with whom she
would be working in her position as a senior terrorism analyst.

The trial was expected to last until next week, with Robertson expected to take an additional period of time to deliberate over his
decision.

(c) 2008 The Washington Blade | A Window Media Publication

                                                          

 

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