Protect Transgender Rights In The Workplace

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Protect our Trans Community in the State of Wisconsin

          In 1982, Wisconsin became the first state to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the workplace, as well as in housing and public accommodations. However, no protection was given on the basis of gender identity, and the same remains true today. As members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community, we realize the importance of the passage of legislation to ensure that no transgender person has to live in fear of losing their job simply because they are who they are. We are four students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire working with full endorsement from the UWEC Pride Club, and we believe it’s time that our Wisconsin representatives and senators take action and write a bill to protect all transgender people.  
          In light of the recent awareness brought to the rights of transgender people through the nationalized debate over bathroom usage, we feel that it is the right time to consider all fundamental rights of transgender people. All people are created equal in the United States, yet there are still debates about which bathroom someone must use and it is still possible to fire someone on the sole basis of being transgender.
          It is not enough to have one county approve of gender identity inclusive ordinances, as gender identity inclusive rights will likely pass in areas like Madison and Milwaukee, with other (possibly smaller) counties never considering the issue as prominent. Securing and maintaining a job and developing ourselves professionally is the key to success in our country. Personal progress is not possible without the economic security employment provides.
           Our goal to encourage the creation of a bill that will ensure the equal and fair treatment of all people in the workforce, regardless of gender identity. As students from UW Eau Claire, we are approaching our Wisconsin State Senators, Terry Moulton and Kathleen Vinehout, as well as our representatives, Kathleen Bernier, Dana Wachs, and Warren Petryk in the Wisconsin State Assembly to make transgender workplace rights a state issue.  We are starting our campaign locally by first coming to our Eau Claire county representatives and we hope that our petition is passed on to representatives of the state of Wisconsin.
            If our representatives feel that this issue would be more properly handled at the federal level, we urge them to show their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with protections based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.