Ask Matt: Names, Labels, and Identities
February 11, 2013
Jimmy Kimmel Live Trashes Trans People on V Day With “The Art of Seduction with Christoph Waltz”
February 14, 2013

Federal Updates: New VA Trans Directive & ENDA via Executive Order?

ENDA via Executive Order

On social policy, Obama is reconsidering whether to issue an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. When he decided not to issue such an order last year, the White House said it would prefer to pass a law applying to gays and lesbians in the workplace.

But if Congress seems unlikely to act on the broader legislation — called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — officials have signaled to people working on the issue outside the administration that the president would likely consider issuing an executive order, which can only affect government contractors.

Read more here…

Obama Criticism: Too Many Executive Orders

Obama is taking criticism for issuing too many Executive Orders. Here’s a reality check:

  • Roosevelt: 3,522 EOs
  • Truman: 907 EOs
  • Eisenhower: 484 EOs
  • Kennedy 214 EOs
  • Johnson 325 EOs
  • Nixon: 346 EOs
  • Ford: 169 EOs
  • Carter: 320 EOs
  • Reagan: 381 EOs
  • Bush I: 166 EOs
  • Clinton: 364 EOs
  • Bush II: 291 EOs
  • Obama: 147 EOs

You have to go all the way back to the 2nd presidency of Grover Cleveland to find a president who issued less… Which is sort of a technicality since he was elected twice. He was both the 22th (1883 – 1885) and 24th (1893 – 1897) POTUS.  During his 22nd presidency, he issued 113 EOs and during his 24th presidency, he issued 140. Taken together, he issued 253 EOs – far more than Obama.

Obama Criticism: Too Many ‘Big Govt’ Jobs/It’s SOCIALISM!!!11

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“BCA Research produced this fascinating chart in its latest research note which showed the growth in public sector employment in the first four years of recent Presidencies. As you can see, it has contracted under Barack Obama, as it did under Ronald Reagan; the real “big government” types were the two Bushes.”

Should Obama issue an ENDA executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, it will be huge – changing the nondiscrimination policy of a huge swath of America’s business sector (for instance… and that link is just the top 200). For instance, Exxon is a government contractor who refuse to protect LGBT employees. Should Obama issue an ENDA EO, even companies like Exxon – who believe it’s their American right to be able to fire you or treat you badly just because you happen to be LGBT – will have to step into the 21st century.

VA Issues New Trans Guidance

The VA just issued new guidance on how trans/intersex folks will be medically treated. You can read the directive here. The good news is, nothing changed. The bad news is, nothing changed. Trans surgical interventions are still deemed inappropriate despite practically every professional medical/psychological organization (from the APA to the AMA) asserting its medical necessity. However, all other psychological, medical and post-surgical care is still covered.

Keep in mind, even if you have to pay for your surgery yourself, the costs you incur due to your transition is tax deductible!

Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.