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Northam’s First Executive Order Expands Workplace Protections to LGBTQ State Employees

The order both extends and broadens a previous executive order signed by his predecessor.

Marilyn Drew Necci | January 13, 2018

With his official term as Virginia’s Governor only hours old, Gov. Ralph Northam signed Executive Order #1 into law this afternoon, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, political affiliation, or against veterans, or otherwise qualified persons with disabilities.

This executive order mirrors former Governor Terry McAuliffe’s first executive order upon taking office in 2014, although McAuliffe’s only mentioned gender identity, not gender expression. The expanded wording included in Northam’s order will not only protect transgender people but also those who fall outside the typical gender binary, including genderqueer, gender-fluid, and other non-binary and gender non-conforming people.

However, neither order extends to those in private employment, which means that the vast majority of LGBTQ people who work in Virginia cannot rely on these protections when it comes to their own jobs. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, and affirms Northam’s commitment to continued support of Virginia’s LGBTQ community during his tenure as governor.

Photo via Equality Virginia