Kennedy mum on new version of ENDA – By Lou Chibbaro Jr

Trans-inclusive rights bill faces unclear future in new new Congress

Editors? note: This is the second story in a two-part series looking at the prospects for passage of ENDA. Visit to read part one.

With the Democrats in control of Congress for the first time in 12 years, gay rights advocates are optimistic about a vote in the House and Senate later this year on the long-stalled Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.

An outgrowth of gay civil rights bills introduced in Congress since the 1970s, ENDA has called for banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The most recent version of the bill introduced in October 2003 defined sexual orientation as homosexuality, bisexuality or heterosexuality, whether actual or ?perceived.?

Over the past two years, the nation?s most prominent gay rights groups joined forces with transgender advocacy organizations in calling for a modified version of ENDA that also bans discrimination based on ?gender identity? and ?gender expression.? Legal experts have adopted those terms as a means of defining transgender persons in civil rights legislation.