The Obama-Biden transition team is telling prospective employees in the new administration it will not discriminate against LGBT workers.

“The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law,” the Transition team says on its official Web site.

Although the commitment pertains only to transition team workers, LGBT civil rights activists say they believe Obama will issue an Executive Order shortly after being sworn in to extend that throughout the administration.

“The inclusion of gender identity is a bold departure from the past – and it sends a clear message,” said Christopher E. Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel.

“By including sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy, the Obama-Biden transition team makes clear that it will focus on the relevant qualities that actually predict an applicant’s success on the job – professional experience, character, skills and education.”

Although President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 11478, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there are no explicit federal protections from gender identity bias in government hiring.

During the Bush administration, U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch refused to protect LGBT workers. The Office of the Special Counsel is supposed to protect whistleblowers and investigate complaints of discrimination by federal workers.

Bloch’s stonewalling of complaints of discrimination by LGBT federal workers dates to February 2004, when he ordered references to sexual orientation removed from the Office of the Special Counsel website.

A month after the references disappeared from the OSC website, Bloch said gay workers were no longer protected.

After intense pressure from Federal Globe - the LGBT organization for federal civil servants - and from Democrats on the Hill, the White House said it would honor the Executive Order signed by Clinton that assured LGBT workers of civil rights protections.

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