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Texas A&M Nondiscrimination Memo Adds Gender Identity Protection

For the first time in its long and storied history, Texas A&M University will add sexual orientation, gender discrimination, and gender expression, to its nondiscrimination employment memo, reports the Battalion.

The initiative, led by President R. Bowen Loftin, calls on the Texas A&M Board of Regents to adopt a non-discrimination policy that includes the GLBT community.

“Prior to this statement, because Texas is an at-will state, employees could, hypothetically be fired for being GLBT,” one of the activists told the paper.

The actual text of the memo is as follows:

"...It is our policy to not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. Furthermore, we will maintain a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."

The effort to reduce discrimination against LGBT people comes at an important time. As many LGBT people are aware, currently there is no federal law that explicitly bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The closest law to date proposed on the subject was in 2009. It was called ENDA: Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009. Although a version of it has been proposed since 1994, it hasn't yet become law.

Without federal legal protection, LGBT people are reliant on the labor laws passed by their individual states. However, in 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they're lesbian, gay, or bisexual, reports Human Rights Campaign. Texas is one of those states where there is no law to protect gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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