Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) Letter

October 17, 2007

United States House of Representatives
Committee on Education and Labor
Washington, D.C. 20515

Cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi


Dear Representative:

On behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA), I am writing to urge your support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2007, H.R. 3685, which would prohibit employers from making decisions about hiring, firing, promoting, or compensating an employee based on sexual orientation. The APA also calls for extension of full coverage of ENDA protections to all transgender and intersex populations.

APA is a scientific and professional organization comprising 148,000 members and affiliates, and is the world's largest association of psychologists. Our mission is to advance psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare. APA supports anti-discrimination legislation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) persons "because there is no basis for such discrimination and such discrimination is detrimental to mental health and the public good," as stated in a resolution adopted by APA.

Our policy initiatives are based on sound scientific research. APA members have produced a large body of research to further understand the psychological experience of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender/intersex populations. Studies have found these individuals to be as psychologically healthy as their heterosexual counterparts. Much research has compared lesbians and gay men to heterosexuals with the consistent finding that both groups score in the normal range on psychological tests. As a result of these findings, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed "homosexuality" from the diagnostic manual of mental disorders. Soon thereafter, our association passed a resolution supporting this position.

In addition, psychological research supports the conclusion that people who accept and integrate their sexual orientation and gender identity are psychologically better adjusted than those who do not. To promote psychological well being among workers, individuals should have the opportunity to disclose personal information without the threat of negative ramifications. Furthermore, research has consistently found that heterosexuals who have contact with GLBT populations have more positive attitudes towards GLBT individuals as a group. Taken together, these findings suggest that the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender coworkers does not undermine employee morale or relationships, but rather may strengthen worker rapport.

In conclusion, allowing an atmosphere of intolerance based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace is not only detrimental for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals but also for heterosexuals and employee relations. Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity legitimizes other forms of prejudice and discrimination, including anti-gay violence.

I respectfully urge you to support ENDA and look forward to working with your office to ensure that this proposal becomes law. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Jeff McIntyre in our Government Relations Office at (202) 336- 5500.

Sincerely,

 

Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Public Interest Directorate