by Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
Great strides are being made when it comes to marriage equality, but it is important for us to remember that the right to marry is not the the final battle in the fight for equality.Â I have mentioned this before and I will say it again, it is still legal in 29 states for employers to discriminate against employees because of their sexual orientation and it is legal in 34 states to discriminate against someone based on gender identity or expression.Â Center for American Progress has a very interesting article on the wage gap for Gay and Transgender workers.Â In the Gay and Transgender Wage Gap, Crosby Burns discusses salary disparities between GLBT workers and their heterosexual co-workers.Â Â I found the following finding particularly pertinent because it ties in with the recent discussion about the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:
Transgender individuals also face significant wage disparities on the job. This is especially true for transgender women. One study found that the earnings of female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third following their gender transitions. Interestingly, that same study found that the earnings of male transgender workers slightly increased following their transition. As such, transgender men may actually experience a wage advantage rather than a wage penalty.
This research strongly indicates that in addition to facing significant workplace discrimination in hiring and firing based on their gender identity, transgender women experience significant gaps in pay largely attributable to their gender.
Burns goes on to make several recommendations for how to address this issue including the passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
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Great points Rachel. Institutionalized discrimination exists in so much of our society, in so many of our institutions. Many folks have no real understanding of this.