Though our 1982 nondiscrimination law was a landmark victory for fairness in Wisconsin and nation-wide, it is hard to believe that in 2014, trans* workers still are not protected from this kind of discrimination under federal or state law, but it’s true.
Since 1982, current nondiscrimination best practices include protections for trans* and gender non-conforming individuals with the addition of “gender identity and expression” as a protected class.
By modernizing our nondiscrimination policies, Wisconsin will have a new tool to protect our citizens from incidences of discrimination. Current laws protecting public safety and nondiscrimination will stay in place; the updates we seek will ensure that all people, including gay and transgender individuals, will be protected from discrimination.
Seventeen states and more than 100 cities across America – including Madison and Milwaukee – have already passed similar fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections and implemented them successfully, with no increase in public safety incidents.
Many successful businesses, large and small, already have fully inclusive nondiscrimination policies in place. These companies know first-hand that such policies contribute to, rather than undermine, their success, competitiveness and growth.
It’s time for Wisconsin law to change so every worker, including those who are gay or transgender, is judged by their performance and their qualifications – nothing more, nothing less. It’s about striking a balance. We can give everyone an equal opportunity to earn a living and hold everyone to the same professional standards.