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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Event: June HR Conference

This event seems like it will provide useful information for those who need more information on transgender employees: Talking Gender, Contemporary Issues and Best Workplace Practices, June 1-3, Boston. It offers three tracks: Skill Competencies, Culture Assessment and Career Development.

I took a look at the workshop schedule and I liked what I saw. Although it is entitled "Talking Gender," it will not only address transgender issues, but also issues for gay, lesbian and bisexual employees. There is no explanation in the online materials, but I am guessing that the conference organizers are alluding to the understanding that gender norms affect everyone, and that a significant source of workplace issues affecting gay employees is gender nonconformity. I know some of the presenters, and I am sure they will do their usual good job.

It features a keynote by Congressman Barney Frank, entitled "Federal Policy and Legislative Implications for GLBT Employees' Issues." That should be interesting for two reasons. One is that he is a co-sponsor of a bill, the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act," to create federal protection on the basis of "sexual orientation." The other is that there is a knock-down, drag out fight between policy players: those who want the bill to include "gender identity" as well as "sexual orientation," and those who insist on limiting it to sexual orientation alone in order to increase chances of passage. And it is said by some that Congressman Frank has consistently refused to include "gender identity." When I investigated this issue for an article I was writing in 2004, most of those in the know estimated that the bill could pass if presented to Congress, but was not likely to get out of the Republican-controlled committees. It would be interesting to hear from him whether the situation has changed. Watch for sparks in the audience.

P.S. 5/1/06: Turns out I've been asked to speak. Click here to find out more.

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