President Barack Obama announced Monday that he’s preparing an executive order to ban workplace discrimination against federal employees based on their gender identity.
The move comes after a 2012 ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the federal ban on sex discrimination covers transgender discrimination. Those affected by that rules change say the government hasn’t been enforcing it and they continue to be discriminated against. Specifically, transgender federal employees have been paying tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket health care costs related to their gender transition.
Sarah Vestal, a transgender woman in California who works for the Treasury Department, told The Huffington Post in April that an Obama executive order would help because it would show he’s serious about stemming discrimination within the government.
“It would help eliminate the structural discrimination,” Vestal said. “Transgender people in the federal government are pulling their hair out.”
The president’s announcement comes two weeks after he signaled plans to sign another executive order barring discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors. He referenced that executive order on Monday, but has yet to say when he’ll sign either of them.
Obama made his remarks during a White House reception marking June as LGBT Pride Month.