(San Francisco, CA, December 18, 2014)—Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice interprets sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as encompassing discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.

“We applaud Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice for taking this principled stand to ensure that all Americans benefit from the protections of our nation’s anti-discrimination laws,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter. “This is a huge step forward for transgender litigants and will have an extremely positive impact in cases involving discrimination against transgender employees. The Department of Justice has placed the full weight of its authority as our nation’s lawyers behind the principled position that transgender people are fully protected under Title VII and other federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination.”

In recent years, courts across the country have ruled that Title VII protects transgender workers, a conclusion the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also reached in 2012 in the Mia Macy case. Ms. Macy, a highly qualified military veteran and former police detective, filed a claim alleging that a federal agency failed to hire her after it learned that she is transgender.

“This is an issue that is currently being litigated in courts across the country, and while many courts and scholars already agree with this view, having the Department of Justice’s support lends it even more credibility and strength,” said Minter.