Winning Transgender Protections at Dallas Area Rapid Transit

A few months ago, a transgender Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) employee faced appalling treatment from her employer. She had just transitioned and had her gender-marker changed to reflect her gender identity. DART’s Human Resources department was given a court order to change her records to reflect her gender. But DART’s attorneys didn’t accept the change, instead filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court, which ultimately led to the reversal of the order to change the transgender employee’s gender-marker.

Before this unnecessary, insulting, and damaging intervention, DART had already been treating the transgender employee unfairly. The DART nondiscrimination policy does not include gender identity or expression, and clearly, their treatment of transgender employees took advantage of that. DART supervisors told the employee she couldn’t have long hair, wear skirts at work, or use the women’s restroom. The employee was forced to show up in her uniform and use public restrooms on her bus route.

Given the discriminatory behavior toward this transgender employee, it’s surprising that only three months later, a committee voted to add gender identity to DART’s employment nondiscrimination policy. The Economic Opportunity and Diversity Committee of the board of directors unanimously approved the proposal, which will face a vote by the full board in June. Urge the full board to continue the momentum forward on this measure, and pass this inclusion in their nondiscrimination policy. If the addition of gender identity to the nondiscrimination policy passes next month, the company’s actions will fall in line with their nondiscrimination policy, and treatment of transgender employees will significantly improve.

It’s disappointing that it took allegations of discrimination against a transgender employee for DART to take action and add transgender protections. But perhaps, thanks to the employee who spoke out about her experiences, DART will change their policies to reflect a diverse workforce.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons