With the latest victory in Hawaii, transgender work rights, although painfully and unforgivably missing in many locales, are improving.
In addition to DC and the 13 states that provide full employment non-discrimination protection for trans people, nine states have executive orders that mandate protection for state jobs. (It would be 10, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, let an executive order covering trans people expire in January.) On the federal level, the efforts of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to establish workplace protection rights have stalled since 2007, although President Obama has voiced his support.
Governor John Kasich’s actions are a fine example of how executive orders should not be trumpeted as ultimate victories for our community. Of course, they are better than nothing — and important while they are in place — but we should always remember how easily they can be reversed by future conservative administrations.