Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 quite literally prohibits discrimination based on gender, but that does not include men and women according to attorney general and evil Keebler elf Jeff Sessions.
More specifically, Sessions says it does not include transgender men and women.
Sessions’ directive, obtained by BuzzFeed News, says, “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”
“Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” Sessions writes. “This is a conclusion of law, not policy. As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress."
The law as written by Congress says employers cannot "discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
That is literally what the law says. For Sessions to say it does not include gender identity is to say that transgender people are not really people, because even if you're a backwoods bigot like Sessions who does not acknowledge the legitimacy of transgender identity, you would still be discriminating against a person based on their gender. You can't separate the two.
And this is absolutely a policy position, not a "conclusion of law," because concluding that "sex" does not include gender identity is a radical interpretation, not the current precedent.
Sharon McGowan, a former lawyer in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and now an attorney for the LGBT group Lambda Legal, countered that Sessions' is ignoring a widespread trend in federal courts.
"It's ironic for them to say this is law, and not policy," McGowan told BuzzFeed News. "The memo is devoid of discussion of the way case law has been developing in this area for the last few years. It demonstrates that this memo is not actually a reflection of the law as it is — it's a reflection of what the DOJ wishes the law were."
The only federal court system in the country that may agree with Sessions is the arch-conservative 5th Circuit, but even that seems like a bit of a stretch.
This is a debate over whether or not words have meaning.