The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an important ruling in the case of TerVeer v. Billington. In the ruling, the court noted that Title VII, the federal law that bans employment discrimination, prohibits an employer from discriminating “against any individual . . . because of such individual’s . . . sex.” Under Title VII, allegations that an employer is discriminating against an employee based on the employee’s non-conformity with sex stereotypes are sufficient to establish a viable sex discrimination claim. TerVeer alleged that he is “a homosexual male whose sexual orientation is not consistent with the Defendant’s perception of acceptable gender roles,” that his “status as a homosexual male did not conform to the Defendant’s gender stereotypes associated with men under Mech’s supervision or at the Library of Congress,” and that “his orientation as homosexual had removed him from Mech’s preconceived definition of male.” The court found that because TerVeer alleged that his boss denied him promotions and created a hostile work environment because of his nonconformity with male sex stereotypes, TerVeer has met his burden to assert a sex discrimination claim strong enough to withstand a motion to dismiss.
The bloggers of Gender Identity Watch celebrate this ruling, as we have long held that discrimination based on sexual orientation (as well as gender identity) is sex discrimination.