The Library of Congress has lost a major discrimination case brought by a former special forces commander. Diane Schroer (formerly David Schroer) was hired as a senior terrorism analyst, but then denied the position when he informed the Library of Congress that he intended to have a sex change operation. The opinion below is an important victory for transgender rights and a baffling decision by the Justice Department to defend such a clearly discriminatory act.
The decision was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge James Robinson who held: “The evidence established that the Library was enthusiastic about hiring David Schroer — until she disclosed her transsexuality. The Library revoked the offer when it learned that a man named David intended to become, legally, culturally and physically, a woman named Diane. This was discrimination ‘because of … sex.’ ”
Schroer asked her future boss to lunch to disclose her plans for the operation. The next day, the job was rescinded.
The court will next determine damages.
It is remarkable that the Administration would fight such a clear act of discrimination. It would suggest that policy that transgender people are barred from federal employment. It once again raises questions of the ideologues still in control of the Justice Department, which could have scuttled the case in favor of a settlement. It is unclear whether Library will have to file this one under “The Library of Congress’ Fight for Discrimination” or simply “Remarkably Moronic Legal Decisions in the Twenty-First Century.” Perhaps a cross index?
For the opinion, click Transgender opinion
For the full story, click here.
36 thoughts on “Bush Administration Loses Major Case of Transgender Discrimination at Library of Congress”
Thank you, Michael, once again.
I might add, no ethical reconstructive urologist or gynecologist worth his/her salt would perform transgender surgery without a complete psych eval, so as to rule out a psychiatric problem – not to confirm the ‘mental disorder’ which the patient freely admits to upon presentation.
To Diane and others, I say – Congratulations! You Go, Girl!
“The DSM-IV-TR states that, because it is produced for the completion of Federal legislative mandates, its use by people without clinical training can lead to inappropriate application of its contents. Appropriate use of the diagnostic criteria is said to require extensive clinical training, and its contents “cannot simply be applied in a cookbook fashion”. The APA notes that diagnostic labels are primarily for use as a “convenient shorthand” among professionals. The DSM advises that laypersons should consult the DSM only to obtain information, not to make diagnoses”
I am a trained mental health professional and until I retired in 2005 was licensed as such and had been for 25 years. You have the right to feel any way you want about transgender people, but please don’t use the DSM as a backup for your points. Let me explain:
1. The DSM basically puts mental disorders into two Axis, namely Axis I and Axis II. Axis I includes the heavy duty disorders like schizophrenia and psychosis in its many forms. Axis II can roughly be characterized as personality disorders and are generally much less severe in terms of a persons ability to function in society. GID is Axis II and while disturbing to the person, usually does not keep them from performing well in the everyday world.
2. The DSM really is convenient “shorthand” so that mental health professionals can discuss a particular patient. The problem is that mental health professionals often disagree on the diagnoses of the same person. This is because diagnosis in mental health is not science it is an art, at best. It is an art that truly is influenced by the eye of the beholder, the mental health professional.
3. Diagnoses go in and out of fashion and to me that shows the lack of science. When I was in training a lot of people were being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. After a while it went out of fashion to be replaced by a new diagnosis, like a flavor of the month.
4. Look at the DSM’s history and you will see it is “cobbled” together more by consensus, than by science. When I was in training in the 70’s, my training institute literally split in half over whether or not homosexuality was a pathology, a life choice and/or
something you’re born with.
5. Having to diagnose someone as having GID to get an operation is done more out of reducing liability, than it is out of need to provide assistance.
6. Mental Health, psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy are not really science, except in the sense that psychotropic drugs are scientifically developed. Some of it can be quite helpful to people, but that is highly dependent on the practitioner and on the individuals motivation to change their lives. Too many drugs are prescribed without evidence of their effectiveness. One of the ways you can see this is true is in the use of pre-frontal lobotomy’s, which were developed by a mad doctor using an apple corer. It has returned to fashion in recent years and it is barbaric. That’s true for shock therapy also.
7. I stopped doing therapy in the 90’s because I had been running a training center for therapists teaching them a specific technique. They were all accomplished MH practitioners, but most of them had not resolved their own therapeutic issues. I came to realize that many in my field were in the same position and it made me rather cynical about the field’s efficacy. Although I had helped some patients, many just expected me to make them better without any effort on their part. While many MH professionals would keep people like this coming back for years without any real change, I felt that that was unethical and not the way i’d want to earn a living.
Now as to whether you’re right or wrong in your supposition I would say that there is little scientifically to back up either viewpoint. Because of this I would go for the side of civil liberties. If someone wants to change their sex and believes so strongly that they need to, then God bless them. The criteria to judge them should be based on their ability to perform the job and not their sexual choices. I’ve worked with some transgender people, actual and in progress, who seemed pretty sane to me. That being said no one really knows if this is a need or a delusion. given that though I’ll always come out on the side of personal freedom and an individual’s right to be whoever they want to be.
I hate to disagree with everyone but I honestly think the LOC’s attorney’s dropped the ball here.
It wasn’t a case of discrimination. All they had to do was illuminate the fact that Mr Schroer was currently suffering from a mental disorder and was undergoing treatment, which they felt might interfere with his duties, so they instead chose to go with someone who was not currently undergoing treatment for a mental disorder.
If Mr Schroer had waited until after at least the major part of his treatment, the surgery, and his adjustment periods and therapy to it had been completed, then if he had presented himself (now herself) to them as Ms Schroer, I would think there would be a better case for discrimination.
But had I been the attorney’s for the LOC, I would have focused on the fact that Mr Schroer had just admitted to being in the middle of some very radical treatment for an extreme and rare mental disorder that we felt needed to be dealth with first prior to considering him for that position.
Seems to me to be an easy sell, which makes me wonder what the attorney’s were doing.
From Psychology Today:
Gender Identity Disorder
Individual and family counseling is recommended for children, and individual or couples therapy is recommended for adults. Sex reassignment through surgery and hormonal therapy is an option, but severe problems may persist after this form of treatment.
A better outcome is associated with the early diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
National Institutes of Health – National Library of Medicine
Sorry Mercie, but if you’d bother to read the facts before telling others to read about it, then you’d not be so “ignorant” of them, as you accused me of.
GID is a Mental Disorder, and Mr Schroer has been diagnosed with it and informed his prospective employer of his Mental Disorder AFTER accepting a position with them but prior to actually starting work.
Thus it is perfectly acceptable for his prospective employer to reevaluate this candidate for the position, and look at other, likewise qualified candidates who did not disclose to them that they were currently under the treament for a Mental Disorder.
1, September 21, 2008 at 8:20 pm
Several posts to defend yourself? Thou dost protesteth too much! Please take the time to read about transgender persons and their experiences—you will soon understand that your comments are ignorant
Well I did read about it Mercie, thats the point.
And what I discovered is that my earlier suspicions of mental health issues were confirmed.
As for my “several posts”, so? I’m laying it out there for you. Saying plenty that if you’d like to refute, you’re welcome to. Instead you stoop to cheap general insults. Why do you have to call me or my comments ignorant? I’m not the one disagreeing with the facts. You are.
In order to get the operation, one must first undergo Psychiatric Evaluation AND be DIAGNOISED WITH A MENTAL DISORDER.
Thats a fact.
So, given that fact it is perfectly reasonable for an employer to consider their mental condition AND the impact of their “treatment” on their place of work.
And people trying to sound “politically correct” by embracing everything under the sun are why we’re sometimes called “moonbats”.
Because you’re not thinking. You’re going on emotion, which is why you felt compelled to insult me, instead of actually addressing the clear fact I presented that this is a Mental Disorder. And a Mental Disorder is a valid factor to consider when making a hiring decision.
When you can address that point, instead of random insults and general peace love statements, let me know.
Several posts to defend yourself? Thou dost protesteth too much! Please take the time to read about transgender persons and their experiences—you will soon understand that your comments are ignorant. These persons’ brains and being do not reflect their outter looks.
While I agree it’s radical surgery, it’s a surgery that helps these persons live as the persons they feel they are inside. I’m sorry your world is so small and that you can’t have a more open mind.
Sex reassignment surgery (SRS), gender reassignment surgery, or sex-change operation is a term for the surgical procedures by which a person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of the other sex.
It is part of a treatment for gender identity disorder in transsexual and transgender people.
When Mr Schroer invited his future boss to lunch after just being hired, to inform them that he was currently undergoing treatment for a MENTAL DISORDER, I think his boss had every right consider other, equally qualified candidates for the position who were NOT undergoing treatment for a Mental Disorder.
Schroer couldn’t even argue he was “cured”, as there is no cure, only treatment, which is a combonation of surgery, mental health counseling and radical hormone therapy for the duration of his life.
If I were an employer I’d want the option of chosing the candidate who had not disclosed to me that they were in the middle of psychiatric treatement and therapy for a Mental Disorder.
I took this from HealthCommunities.Com, a decade old Physician monitored and maintained site.
Gender Identity Disorder (GID)
Transgender people must undergo psychiatric evaluation before electing transgender surgery and before taking hormones.
The American Psychiatric Association defines the criteria for GID in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
There are two essential criteria. The person must demonstrate a consistent identification with the other gender, which is apparent in the desire to be a member of the other sex.
And the person must demonstrate a consistent aversion to his or her sex and its associated gender role, which is apparent in the desire to escape it. GID causes duress and impairment on social and personal levels.
GID is distinguished from the behavior of some people who do not support stereotypical gender roles and who do not feel an aversion to their genitals or their sex. The desire to transition to the other sex, where the associated gender role is comfortable, by electing transgender surgery or hormone therapy is the distinguishing factor.
So you see that there are reasons why a potential employer, especially one like the Library of Congress might want to question the employ of a person announcing that they are going to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
If they are getting the surgery, then they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health issue, and that is a reasonable thing to factor in when employing someone.
Like I said, the gov lost this case, but I’m not sure they should have.
We toss the word “discriminate” around these days as if the word itself connotes a bad thing. It does not. We discriminate, and wisely so, every day of our lives and we discriminate in hiring decisions as routine. In fact the act of making a hiring decision is discrimination. We discriminate against people who steal. We discriminate against unqualified people, and the inexperienced. If it relates to the job at hand, we discriminate.
You can’t ask a man running a strip bar to hire fat dancers. Doing so would preclude his businesses success.
You can’t ask a cab company to hire blind taxi cab drivers. Doing so would preclude their businesses success, not to mention injuring a lot of people.
You can’t ask the Library of Congress to hire a person as a terrorism analyst who may be unstable psychologically.
And the American Psychiatric Association deems transexuals who undergo treatment to be suffering from a psychiatric disorder, known as GID (Gender Identity Disorder).
In fact, from what I’ve been able to glean from the available data, it appears that prior to undergoing the operation a person must first undergo psychiatric examiniation, and be diagonsed with GID, otherwise the treatement will not be authorized.
These people are clinically at that point psychicatric patients, who are “prescribed” what is referred to as “gender reassignment surgery” in order to be healed. And then they undergo long procedures of hormone treatments which cause drastic mood swings and depression, and can even cause suicide.
Thus, we are asking the Library of Congress not to consider these factors in anyone they’re hiring as a “terrorism analyst”.
A history of psychicatric illness isn’t necessarily a disqualifier, but it certainly should be a factor in a hiring decision of that sort. And like it or not, someone undegoing gender reassignment surgery has been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and thus it is reasonable for a potential employer to weigh such information in a making a hiring decision.
But was his\her Judgement in question?
Thats the question.
Comparing this sort of case to racial and sexual discrimination is a dishonor to the wars against those injustices.
Comparing a conscious decision to undergo radical alterative surgery removing working organs to change ones gender, …well, comparing that to the black experience in this country is shameful.
I’m happy that she won the case – thanks for your article and comments. I think policies that encourage discrimination should be illegal. In fact, Obama is a living testament to how far this country has come in fighting discrimination. Forty years ago he would have been denied many opportunities because of the color of his skin. He would not be running for president today without the hard work and sacrifices made by those who fought for our civil libertieis.
Today we see this pattern of discrimination repeating itself with those of different sexual orientations or gender identities. We should be clear that Diane’s capabilities were never in question.
More thoughts here: http://www.crossdresserheaven.com/transgender-discrimination-is-deemed-illegal/
Perhaps a more striking visualization is in order.
What would you and the democrats say if John McCain announced he was getting a sex change operation?
If John McCain came out on camera wearing a dress, with breasts, make up, a wig, the works, and announced he was really “a woman inside”, does anyone here doubt the progressives, liberals and democrats would challenge his mental competency at that point?
Consider this for a moment.
Remember all of the fuss the democratic and progressive\liberal blogs made over Rudy “Julie-Annie” wearing a dress? This criticism wasn’t coming from “the Bush administration”. It was coming from the left.
Well imagine Barack Obama, coming out on stage, not only in a dress, but with a complete sex change operation. Earrings, makeup, long hair, high heels, the works.
Would the people at that point, have a right to question his sanity? His judgement? His mental fitness to lead them?
How does one address these people, Mr., Mrs., Ms. don’t apply if they come to work with a different gender each day!
Are employers now required to build a bathroom each for transgenders, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and couple of straight ones?
1, September 21, 2008 at 7:28 am
I often agree with you, but on this one I have to state that in Bush’s regime or world you might be right. However, under the rule of law, anyone, even the President should be able to have a sex change without political problems. Now, I am not sitting here with my head in the sand. He would have problems with a lot of people who have their religous blinders on, but that is why we have Constitutional rights and protections. To protect those that want to be
I understand what you’re saying but you are speaking from a purely humanitarian and sympathetic viewpoint, not necessarily a practical one. So let me pose the question to you again.
If Barack Obama suddenly announced to the American People that he had decided to become a woman, and have a sex change operation, would he or would not have his mental condition brought into question, or his judgement for that matter?
Do the American people have a right to question the mental condition of someone choosing such a radical surgical operation because they “feel” they are a woman trapped in a mans body?
Would the American people, or any people of this world for that matter, in any country, just accept such a declartion, or would they be concerned, and rightly so, about this persons mental fitness?
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