There is a current trend of passing laws and enacting regulations to establish sexual orientation and gender identity as “protected classes”. A protected class is “a characteristic of a person which cannot be targeted for discrimination”. As I write this, race, color, religion, national origin, age (40+), sex, pregnancy, citizenship, familial status, disability, veteran status, and genetic information are all protected classes.

As these laws and regulations come into effect, it becomes illegal to fire or refuse to hire or remove from housing (etc.) anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I think this is a good thing.

I also think it shouldn’t be necessary, because most discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity should be considered sex discrimination already.

If I fire a woman for doing something that men are allowed to do, that’s sex discrimination. If that something is “have sex with women”, I don’t see the difference. And this basic construction seems to apply to a lot of things relvant to trans* and gender issues:

  • wearing women’s or men’s clothing
  • wearing makeup
  • wearing gender-identified hair or jewelry
  • indicating a sexual romantic interest in a particular gender

Now, I’m not a lawyer, so I’m sure there’s nuance here; but it seems to me that where orientation and gender identity are not explicitly protected, there ought to be a fair amount of protection already.