McAuliffe Promises to Include Sexual Orientation in State Employment List of Protected Classes, No Mention of Gender Identity
Newly elected Governor Terry McAuliffe has stated his first executive order will be to rewrite the state’s nondiscrimination policy for state employees.
“I’m not gonna wait for the General Assembly to act on this,” said McAuliffe at a press conference held yesterday afternoon – his first press conference since his win. “I am going to executive order #1, as then Governor Kaine did, no discrimination based upon sexual orientation in the state workplace…”
Governor Bob McDonnell used his first executive directive to re-write the state’s non-discrimination police. He took out sexual orientation and inserted veteran status and used the phrasing “Hiring, promotion, discipline and termination of employees shall be based on qualifications, performance and results.”
Tim Kaine had included sexual orientation in his Executive Order #1 when he entered office in 2006. “This policy specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities,” the list of protected classes read under the Kaine Administration.
There has been no mention by McAuliffe of including gender identity in the list of protected classes in yesterday’s press conference.
Gender Identity, or transgender, is often lumped in with sexual orientation, though trans advocates point out the difference between the two.
“Gender identity and sexual orientation are two entirely different things, and are generally intrinsic aspects of someone’s nature. Gender identity is about who you are inside,” said Wes McWillen, Co-facilitator of Richmond Transformers. “Sexual orientation is about who you are attracted to.”
McWillen went on to explain why protections specifically for gender identity were important in any workplace, but particularly in state employment.
“Someone’s gender expression (their perceived masculinity or femininity) is immaterial to someone’s ability to perform a job,” said McWillen. “This would protect everyone from being discriminated against for how feminine or masculine someone is perceived by others – which protects trans people, but it also protects a straight man who is perceived to be “effeminate,” or a lesbian who is perceived to look “too masculine,” or any other kind of discrimination that happens to people because of other people’s opinions of their masculinity or femininity.”
An email to the McAuliffe Campaign asking them to clarify this issue was not answered by press time, but will be updated when and if the question is answered.
NBC 12 has the entire press conference online and their Political Correspondent Ryan Nobels has a run down of the rest of important talking points from the speech. Watch below – McAuliffe mentions sexual orientation around the 16:50 mark:
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