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|State employment non-discrimination bill to be introduced in Ga. General Assembly|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Monday, 22 November 2010 14:11|
A Georgia Employment Non-Discrimination Act including transgender protections will be introduced in the upcoming legislative session, it was announced at this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance at the State Capitol.
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, told the some 100 people attending TDOR at the state Capitol that a bill was being worked on to be introduced. Currently it is legal for a person to be fired in Georgia simply for being gay.
Graham cited the federal court victory of Vandy Beth Glenn as the reason now is the time to try to get such a bill introduced.
Glenn, who was fired from her job as a legislative editor at the Capitol after telling her supervisors she intended to transition from male to female, sued in federal court saying her constitutional rights were violated. Represented by Lambda Legal, she won her case; however the state is appealing the decision.
Graham explained that the precedent set in Glenn’s case — that firing a transgender person in Georgia by the state is illegal — opened the door to introducing a state ENDA. However, he acknowledged, the bill will not be easy to pass nor will it come quickly.
State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) also spoke of the importance of Glenn’s victory is and how she, as a lesbian state representative, works to make decisions under the Gold Dome to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are always a part of the discussion.
TDOR was organized by the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth, Atlanta Gender Explorations and the Feminist Outlawz, the Transgender Day of Remembrance was a somber ceremony in which 30 names of transgender and gender non-conforming people from around the world who killed for who they were read off followed by the ringing of a bell.
Also contributing to TDOR this year was Lambda Legal, Georgia Equality, Atlanta Pride, Meak Productions and the Human Rights Campaign.
Numerous activists — transgender, gay, lesbian and straight allies — spoke at the ceremony, urging society at large to recognize that transgender people must be included in the larger queer community.
James Parker Sheffield, executive director of Atlanta Pride and a trans man, recounted how the Trans March held at Pride this year is specifically designed to go through the park and among Pride participants because the LGB people attending are some of the people who need the most education on transgender issues.
Dee Dee Chamblee of La Gender Inc., who has lived with HIV for 23 years, said she is a survivor and believes transgender people are human beings deserving of respect.
At the end of the memorial service, longtime activist Sir Jesse played “Taps” as balloons were released over the Capitol.
To view photos from the rally, please click here.
Top photo: Dee Dee Chamblee, founder of La Gender, speaks at the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance held at the Georgia State Capitol on Nov. 20. (by Dyana Bagby)
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