"Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status", reads the memo, referring to the portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that addresses workplace rights.
GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today expressed outrage at United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he reversed a federal policy which was aimed to protect transgender workers from workplace discrimination.
"I have determined that the best reading of Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status", Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in 2014, according to Buzzfeed.
As Buzzfeed News' Dominic Holden first reported, Sessions on Wednesday rescinded that government policy.
News of Sessions' memo surfaced within a day of the Justice Department filing a brief asking for a federal court in Washington, D.C., to drop a lawsuit challenging President Trump's ban on transgender military service. This spring, the departments of justice and education rescinded the Obama-era guidance instructing schools to give trans students unfettered access to bathrooms matching their gender identities. "Therefore, as of the date of this memorandum, which hereby withdraws the December 15, 2014, memorandum, the Department of Justice will take that position in all pending and future matters". But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has argued they are protected from workplace bias as a form of sex discrimination covered by the law.
The Sessions memo also states: "The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals".
"The Department of Justice can not expand the law beyond what Congress has provided", DOJ spokesperson Devin O'Malley said in a statement. For example, both Attorney General Holder and President Barack Obama came to the conclusion that DOMA, the 1996 law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples, was unconstitutional.
"Unfortunately, the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle, which necessitated [the] action", the statement continued.
The DOJ exists to protect Americans rights - justice is right there in the name, after all.
Several LGBTQ civil rights groups blasted Sessions' directive. Sessions's memo effectively strips Title VII of any important nuance-part of his attempt to help Trump make America great again via regressive policies and practices.