Sex Is Not Enough: How Schroer Teaches Us That Transgender Employees Need Explicit Protection From D
This article first appeared in the Dartmouth Journal of Gender and the Law in January 2010. For the full article with citations, please email Heron at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the CONTACT form.
On June 26, 2008, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on transgender employment discrimination. Among the speakers was retired Colonel Diane Schroer of the United States Army. In 2004, Schroer was hired by the Library of Congress as an expert on terrorism, but when the Library found that Diane, who had applied for the job as David, would be starting as a female, they withdrew their offer. In her testimony at the subcommittee hearing, Schroer said: “I knew that whether I was David or Diane, I would provide a wealth of background knowledge and superb research support to the Congress. I truly felt that my future supervisor would feel the same way.” Her future supervisor did not. The Library rescinded their offer and Schroer took her case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In September of 2008, she won. Judge Robertson's opinion held, for the first time in a federal court, that discrimination against a transgender person was per se sex discrimination. But by finding that “transgender discrimination” was “sex discrimination,” Judge Robertson erased the “trans” and pushed “gender” back under the umbrella of “sex.”