Transsexual wins discrimination suit
WASHINGTON - A federal judge has awarded a former Army special forces commander nearly $500,000 because she was rejected from a job at the Library of Congress while undergoing a gender change from man to woman.
Diane Schroer of Alexandria, Va., applied for the terrorism analyst job while still a man named David Schroer. He was offered the job, but the offer was pulled after he told a library official that he was having surgery to change his gender.
US District Judge James Robinson ruled Tuesday that Schroer was entitled to $491,190 in back pay and damages because of sex discrimination.
Schroer said she was happy the judge recognized her treatment as job discrimination. She said it's a problem many transgendered people face.
"They are hugely underemployed, at best," Schroer said. "If they are fortunate enough to get something, it's well below their capabilities. It's not just about money. It's about knowing you are a valuable person."
The Library of Congress and the Justice Department argued unsuccessfully that discrimination because of transsexuality was not illegal sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. A Justice Department spokesman said the department had not yet determined whether to appeal.
The American Civil Liberties Union had argued the case on Schroer's behalf. Paul Cates with the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project said the ruling was significant because a federal judge said that discriminating against someone for changing genders is sex discrimination under federal law.
Schroer is a former US Army colonel who directed a group that tracked terrorists.