- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2009

A federal judge has awarded a former Army Special Forces commander nearly $500,000 because she was rejected from a job at the Library of Congress while undergoing a sex change from man to woman.

Diane Schroer of Alexandria applied for the terrorism analyst job while still a man named David Schroer. He was offered the job, but the offer was pulled after he told a library official that he was having surgery to change his gender.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled Tuesday that Miss Schroer was entitled to $491,190 in back pay and damages because of sex discrimination.

Miss Schroer said she was happy with the judgment but more importantly that the judge recognized her treatment as job discrimination. She said it’s a problem that many transgendered people face.

“They are hugely underemployed, at best,” Miss Schroer said. “If they are fortunate enough to get something, it’s well below their capabilities. It’s not just about money, it’s about knowing you are a valuable person.”

Miss Schroer said she feels more fortunate than many transsexuals who face job discrimination because her friends have helped her get work as a national security and counterterrorism consultant.

The Library of Congress and the Justice Department argued unsuccessfully that discrimination because of transsexuality was not illegal sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. A Justice Department spokesman said the department had not yet determined whether to appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union had argued the case on Miss Schroer’s behalf. Paul Cates with the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project said the ruling was significant because a federal judge said discriminating against someone for changing genders is sex discrimination under federal law.

Miss Schroer is a former U.S. Army colonel who directed a classified group that tracked and targeted terrorists. Miss Schroer retired in 2004 and worked briefly in the private sector before applying for the Congressional Research Service job at the Library of Congress.

After being offered the job, Miss Schroer had lunch with a library official and explained the upcoming surgery. Miss Schroer testified that the official called the next day and said the position would not be a “good fit.”

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