Moving Video Explains Why LGBT Workers Are Fighting For ENDA

When Mia Macy landed a job with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in California, she was thrilled. A few days later, though, she claims that the federal agency told her the position had been eliminated, before quietly hiring somebody else.

The veteran and police officer had a strong hunch why: she had told the bureau that she was transitioning to become a woman. Without a job, she was soon ruined financially, losing her family's home to foreclosure. But Macy has no legal recourse.

Macy is the first person spotlighted in a new series by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, as part of its campaign for Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, a federal bill that would ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans (watch the full video below). Currently, it's legal in 29 states to fire someone for being gay, and while California bans transgender discrimination, federal law doesn't (and Macy was seeking a federal job.)

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More: After DOMA: The New Battle For Gay Rights At Work

After the Supreme Court's ruling clearing the way for gay marriage, gay rights advocates have set their sights on getting ENDA passed. On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions handily approved ENDA with bipartisan support, and the bill almost has enough co-sponsors to beat a Republican filibuster.

Macy's workplace troubles, however, were resolved happily without ENDA; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission unanimously decided that discriminating against transgender Americans was illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex. It was a landmark decision, but hardly as powerful as a federal law.

"I will be so happy that Macy v. Holder is just like a footnote in a book," says Macy, "and ENDA or something comes in and trumps it."

Watch her story below, and let us know: Do you support passing ENDA?



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Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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