Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pink Light

Today is Tuesday.  That means it's half-price burger night at my favorite burger place downtown.

It has become almost a ritual for me.  I left work on time, went to the gym for a little pre-pennance, and then headed downtown for my weekly burger fix.  Everyone knows me there so it's not like I'm a stranger.  When Maggie was here we both went there and ate on the back porch.

Don't ever let anyone tell you you can't go home again because you can.  In fact, the simple fact you can is what  makes it home instead of just someplace.  There was a time not all that long ago when I never thought I'd see another Tuesday night half-price burger here again but now it's just as comfortable and natural as ever.

I was a little disappointed that I had to share my yucky looking desk in today's photo, but the scene outside the Pub more than made up for it.  As you may be able to tell by the clock on the church it was almost 8pm when I took this, and the setting sun cast a pink glow onto the white western-facing side of the church.  I'm glad the photo turned out ok because the light was there only briefly.

In a ruling that's making quite a ripple at the moment, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that workplace discrimination against transgender people is, by definition, sex discrimination (story here).  Although things have been moving in this direction for a while the fact that the EEOC unanimously clarified this situation is potentially huge.

EEOC spokeswoman Justine Lisser said the unanimous ruling from the five-member agency does not create a new cause of action. It clarifies that charges of gender stereotyping are considered claims of sex discrimination under existing law.
Until now, Pizer said, it was common for transgender workers to have their complaints rejected by EEOC regional offices and state civil rights agencies due to confusion about the state of the law.
"This is a confirmation that the courts are correct, so public and private employers coast to coast now have the benefit of the EEOC making this clear," she said.
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Washington-based Family Research Council, said the EEOC's decision is misinterpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
''Those who are discriminated against because they are transgender are not discriminated because they are male or female, it is because they are pretending to be the opposite of what they really are, which is quite a different matter," he said.

The irony of that last statement is that these people agree that it's discrimination.  It's just that they find it acceptable based on their own limited definitions.  Regardless, the EEOC ruling carries potential big clout.

I don't know if this is as big as people are making it out to be, but it's certainly a big deal and one that is both welcome and that sets the stage for other advances.  I felt for a long time that by the time ENDA finally passes it will be more symbolic than substance because the rights it ensures will have already become validated in other ways.  I suppose we'll see.

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