Transsexual urges Texas House committee to outlaw employment discrimination

From The Dallas Morning News:

By Wayne Slater/Reporter Dallas Morning News
6:38 PM on Wed., Mar. 30, 2011

San Antonio Democrat Mike Villarreal told a House committee Wednesday that discrimination against gays and transsexuals in Texas is bad for business. He was joined by a transsexual who reinforced the message in testimony to lawmakers. Villarreal is sponsoring a bill that would add sexual orientation and “gender identity or expression” to protected classes when it comes to employment. Villarreal acknowledged to a House committee that getting the bill passed won’t be easy. He appealed to conservative lawmakers by emphasizing economic development. He said companies are more likely to locate in places where they can recruit good employees. And he said many talented, creative gay and transgender people want to work where they’re treated fairly in the workplace.

“Sexual orientation has nothing to do with getting a job done,” he told the committee. “Ultimately, we need to be focused, when it comes to the workplace, on the stuff that really matters – who’s being productive, who’s being efficient, who’s getting their work done.”

Meghan Stabler, a high-tech executive from Round Rock who is a transsexual, told the committee she underwent a sex-change operation several years ago. And while she kept her job, she said many people who have changed their sex face the likelihood of being fired. “We as adults, just because of who we love, just because of who we are, are discriminated against in the workplace,” she said. “We look to see what states embrace us. You don’t have to love us, you just have to embrace us.”

The committee did not act immediately on the bill.

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