Transgender veteran can sue Library of Congress

by Bob Roehr


A federal judge has rejected arguments to throw out an employment lawsuit brought by a decorated transgender veteran against the Library of Congress. The Nov. 28 ruling means that Diane Schroer's case will move forward.

Schroer had a twenty-five year career in the Army. The last third was in special operations, eventually leading a top secret 120-person group charged with tracking and targeting high-threat international terrorist targets. Upon retirement, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a part of the Library of Congress, was seeking to hire a research analyst on terrorism. Schroer seemed to be a perfect fit.

The Library coveted the mix of boots on the ground and command level experience that the it seldom can hire, and it made a job offer to Schroer at the end of 2004. Over lunch with Library official Charlotte Preece, Schroer said he was under a doctor's care for gender dysphoria, was in the process of transitioning, and would begin work presenting as a woman, Diane.

The next day, "after a long, restless night," Preece called Schroer to withdraw the offer of employment. She said Diane would not be a "good fit" with the Library or Congress.

"Did I want to just give it up and walk away? Turn tail and run, or fight it?" Schroer weighed the options for about three hours and decided to fight it.

"After risking my life for more than 25 years for my country, I'd been told I'm not worthy of the freedoms I worked so hard to protect," she said during an extended interview in the summer of 2005. "All I'm asking is to be judged by my abilities rather than my gender."

Schroer sought legal assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They first tried internal administrative appeals at the Library and when those failed, filed suit in federal court in Washington, DC.

Schroer claimed that she was discriminated against because, when presenting herself as a woman, she did not conform to Preece's sex stereotypes. In this latest round of legal arguments, Judge James Robertson agreed that her claim fits within the definition of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

He also rejected the Library's claim that "sex" is simply a matter of chromosomes. Citing case law he said, the Supreme Court has made clear that "'sex' encompasses both the biological differences between men and women, and gender discrimination, that is, discrimination based on a failure to conform to stereotypical gender norms."

The court deferred ruling on the broader question of whether Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination also includes discrimination based on gender identity.

Schroer was pleased by the opinion. She said, "Today's decision makes me proud that I served a country that values equality and fairness."

ACLU staff attorney Sharon McGowan, who argued the case, said, "The court sent a very clear message that employers can be held liable when they make decisions about whom to hire based on stereotypical views about gender as opposed to merit."

The legal proceedings will continue to grind on, unless the Library decides to acknowledge its error and hire Schroer.

More News

MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+