Today, Governor John Kasich issued Executive Order 2018-12K to take a significant step in ensuring that all Ohioans, including LGBTQ Ohioans, are protected from discrimination in state employment. This Executive Order explicitly prohibits discrimination in state employment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and other protected bases such as race, color, religion, age, and disability.
Today’s Executive Order builds on a previous order issued by Governor Kasich, which had only protected lesbian, gay, and bisexual state employees. By adding gender identity and expression in his latest Executive Order today, Governor Kasich showed leadership in ensuring that transgender and genderqueer Ohioans have the employment protections they deserve.
This leadership has never been more important. At a time when the basic rights of transgender people to exist in public, to serve in our military, and to access basic health care are at risk, we applaud Governor Kasich for his recognition of our shared humanity with common-sense protections.
This Executive Order is your success as much as ours. We’ve been sending the Governor your letters with stories from LGBTQ Ohioans about their experiences with discrimination throughout the year, and finding opportunities to grow his familiarity with transgender people and their lives. We worked behind-the-scenes with our friends at TransOhio to lay the foundation for this action to take place while he was in office.
Our friend James Knapp, Chair at TransOhio is also celebrating today. We are grateful for our partnership in this effort. James said: “This is truly an important and historic day–not just for the transgender community–but for the entire state. Today, our Governor stood up and said that workplace discrimination will not be tolerated in Ohio. We are proud to have been a part of this work, and we’re thrilled that state employees will be able to enter 2019 as their authentic selves without fear of unlawful termination.”
We call on the state legislature and Governor-elect DeWine to follow Governor Kasich’s lead by extending common-sense protections to all LGBTQ Ohioans statewide in employment, housing, and public accommodations in 2019.