Sublimefemme Calls for Action!

A dear friend of mine–let’s call her Jen–got a good job and seemed poised for professional success.  However, after she came out as lesbian, her coworkers started making obscene and homophobic remarks to her.   To make matters worse, Jen’s supervisor gave her more demanding assignments than other coworkers and not enough time to complete these tasks. 

Jen filed a complaint but it was not treated seriously by her employer.  As a result, no action was taken to improve her work environment.  This was unfair, upsetting, and demoralizing for Jen and she developed health problems because of all the stress.  Ultimately, she quit her job.  

Jen’s story is one reason why employment nondiscrimination is at the top of my “gay agenda”  (yes, I have one!), and why I think it’s important to educate others about the serious discrimination and harrassment that LGBTQ people face in the workplace.

Do you know that it remains legal in 30 states to fire or refuse to hire someone simply because of  his/her/hir sexual orientation?  And in 38 states it is legal to do so based on his/her/hir gender identity?  

We here at SF Unbound say it’s time to outlaw employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity!   Please support the new gender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which was just introduced in the House. ENDA would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.  It gives no “special rights;” rather, it merely extends the existing federal law prohibiting employment discrimination to protect LGBTQ people.

5 Things You Can Do to Stand up for LGBTQ Civil Rights and Worker Justice:

  1. Go to United ENDA and send an email to Congress.
  2. Urge your Representative to become a cosponsor of ENDA (that’s H.R. 2981) by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.  The operator will connect you to your Representative–you just have to give them your zip code.  Or you can email your Rep at  Write Your Representative.
  3. If you have a blog, use it to help get the word out about the new trans-inclusive ENDA bill.
  4. Join the Inclusive ENDA group on Facebook.
  5. Talk to your family & friends about why ENDA is necessary.

6 Responses

  1. SF,
    Thx for posting this…I’m gonna post about this on my blog manana

    Great, Laura, thanks! xo SF

  2. Just wondering what state your friend Jen lives in, and whether or not she filed a complaint with her state’s anti-discrimination board (or equivalent). From what you imply, she quit her job without trying to bring this harassment to the state’s attention? forgive me if I misunderstand.

    I ask because in general, it’s better to try to have an official record of these things, so that the lawyers and human/civil rights activists have cases to bring before the legislators when they are arguing that anti-discrimination legislation is really necessary, and can point to official neglect when asked why it matters.

    Reporting these incidents puts them into the official record, which can be very useful. In any case, I hope Jen is okay and found other work. This is an issue I also feel very strongly about!

    Hi FG, Jen is a fighter. She made a career change and is doing great now, I’m happy to say. I completely agree about the importance of reporting discrimination, harrassment, and hate crimes–thanks for bringing that up. Jen lives in one of the many states across the country that doesn’t provide specific protections for LGBTQ people. My understanding is she can file a complaint with the state if she believes she was discriminated against by her employer because of her “race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age or disability.” In other words, sexual orientation is not a protected class so the harrassment she faced on her job was legal. It’s worth mentioning, though, that ENDA is crucial even for LGBTQ people who live in more progressive states like MA. According to the ACLU, the vast majority of workers aren’t actually protected by state and local nondiscrimination statutes. xo SF

  3. I really wish more people would pay attention to the ENDA (a trans inclusive one at that of course). I mean what good is gay marriage if you can’t pay for the wedding b/c of job discrimination?

    Yes, passing ENDA would be a HUGE civil rights victory. I hope people will lobby for the bill especially since we know Obama is ready to sign it! Thx for the visit. xo SF

  4. I am on it! I emailed your link to a few of my friends and my soon to be mother-in-law, who is a lawyer, and she organized a few of her people and got the word around…we are organizing a house party fundraiser and donating the money to The HRC specifically toward ENDA…her family has an interesting circle of friends that are very generous people in those aspects of life…and I have called my representative and emailed my both Feinstein and Boxer…again….lol…

    I can’t help it, this is the very reason my I am going to law school!

    I am glad that she is happy with her career change and it is disgusting to know that we still live in a world where this happens and where discrimination is legally institutionalized….

    = (

    Wow! I’m impressed! The house party is a great idea; let me know how it goes. Something else that people can do collectively is to plan a meeting to talk to their Representatives or Senators about ENDA. It’s free, too! Sample meeting request letters, talking points, and more are available in The Task Force ENDA Grassroots Toolkit. Glad to hear that you’re going to law school. Some of my favorite people are attorneys 😉 xo SF

    • Hey….the house party/soiree is winding down, people are going home, and just finished a little cleaning…I think Mexican women have a cleaning gene…lol……..CRAZINESS!!!! I love it! At last count we had a little bit over $9,000…so I am STOKED!!!!

      We have goody bags that have convo starters, info about current legislations and bills in waiting, letter templates, info about organizations…I am tired!

      I love doing this! You know before deciding on law school it was PR….I like it a lot…but I can’t sit and not do anything about shit like this….

      We thought Independence day was a good day to have it…I mean…freedom, Independence….seems cheesy but it worked for us!

      Hi Ez, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Clearly you have a talent for fundraising! Thx for all your hard work. xo SF

  5. Thanks….guess what happened after the clean up session?!?!!? We found out that my gf has a shellfish food allergy…NOT GOOD!!! We had to go to the hospital because her face was getting swollen and her tongue was getting out of hand, and her breathing was slowing down…SCARY! No more shrimp for her, or lobster, or any crustaceans or mollusks!

    How terrible! I hope she’s feeling better today. No doubt you’re taking good care of her. 😉 xo SF

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