Imagine if coming out as trans to four hundred and thirty-five co-workers – some of them quite hostile – was part of your job. For Diego Sanchez, that’s a reality. The Associated Press profiles the former AIDS activist, and senior legislative aide to Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank. Oh, and by the way, he’s FTM (female-tomale): as the first out trans senior legislative aide on capitol hill, part of his job in drumming up support for a trans-inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been walking the halls of the House of Representatives, personally lobbying members of Congress, and very often discussing his gender identity.
The law would make it illegal to discriminate in the workplace against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender performance, or gender identity, putting these categories on par with race and religion. The AP is optimistic for the bill’s passage:
The bill has picked up key support in the Senate, where it was introduced earlier this month by Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley and Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. Even without other GOP senators, Merkley believes it has a good chance of obtaining the 60 votes that likely will be needed to pass the Senate.
However, the Washington Blade (DC’s LGBT newspaper) reported last week that because Congress is jammed up dealing with healthcare reform, the rapid passage of many important pieces of LGBTQ legislation is in serious doubt.