Constitutional Amendment 2 Awaiting Debate
TITLE: To codify current practice that the Association not deny membership to individuals on the basis of gender identity/ expression.
Article II. Membership
Section 2. Membership Eligibility: Provisions and Limitations.
d. The Association shall not deny membership to individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, age, handicap, marital status, or economic status, nor shall any organization which so denies membership be affiliated with the Association.
Article II of the NEA Constitution sets out the eligibility requirements for membership in the Association. Section d2 specifically prohibits the Association from denying membership to any individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, handicap, marital status, or economic status. If adopted, the amendment would add gender identity/expression as an additional basis on which individuals cannot be denied membership in the Association.
For the purpose of analyzing this amendment, the Committee on Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules consulted definitions set forth by the Human Rights Campaign as follows:
Gender identity is one’s internal concept of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither. It includes how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.
Gender expression refers to the external appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut, or voice and which may or may not conform to socially-defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
Sexual orientation refers to emotional, romantic, sexual, and relational attraction to someone else, whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, or use another word to accurately describe your identity. (HRC’s Brief Guide to Getting Transgender Coverage Right, https://www.hrc.org/resources/reporting-about-transgender-people-read-this).
NEA has positions on record against discrimination in any form. For example, Resolution I-46 states, “The National Education Association is committed to the elimination of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and all other forms of discrimination.” Resolution I-49 states, “The National Education Association believes that organizations are strengthened by offering membership on a nondiscriminatory basis. The Association shall use the facilities of and/or participate in programs sponsored only by organizations and/or their auxiliaries that do not deny membership to certain segments of our society on a discriminatory basis when such denials are not related to the stated purposes of the organization. The Association encourages its affiliates to do the same. The Association also believes that its members now holding membership in such organizations should work actively from within for the total elimination of such exclusionary clauses.”
NEA, in accordance with these belief statements, does not deny membership to any individual on the basis of gender identity/expression. If adopted, the amendment would add an explicit prohibition on this category of discrimination to the Association’s highest governing document, but would make no change to NEA’s current practice of non-discrimination.
Frank Burger - MI