For the first time in its history, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today has filed lawsuits that claim discrimination on the basis of transgender status violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of “sex,” among other things. The press releases are here and here.
I don’t think that this is sex discrimination within the meaning of Title VII; certainly the folks who passed Title VII in 1964 would have been surprised at this interpretation. ”Sex,” they would have said, means being male or female; it doesn’t mean changing from one to the other. But it will be interesting to see how the courts handle this issue.