Transgender Rights: Not a 'Liberal' Cause?

As the Obama administration works to end discrimation against transgendered federal employees, their advocates aren't liberals, but opponents are quickly labeled "conservative."

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that "Lawyers for President Obama are quietly drafting first-of-their kind guidelines barring workplace discrimination against transgender federal employees." Jim Rutenberg's story on page A-15 followed one iron law to the letter: advocates for the "LGBT lobby" are not described anywhere as "liberal," but their opponents are routinely and repeatedly labeled as "conservatives." Take this passage:

Though transgender men and women are not believed to make up more than a fraction of a percent of the federal work force, their inclusion in the discrimination guidelines is seen as a breakthrough by transgender and gay rights advocates.

"The president is making a very clear statement that transgender people won't be discriminated against," said Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, a group that has been talking with the White House about the new provisions.

The provisions will help give transgender workers avenues within the federal government to protest a job action as discriminatory, though Ms. Keisling added, "There is also a very important symbolic value to that, from our point of view."

The rules are almost certain to stoke criticism from cultural conservatives already displeased with Mr. Obama's stand on gay rights, abortion and stem cell research.

While Keisling's paragraph of liberal/libertine advocacy is in the fourth paragraph, the conservative advocates are avoided until paragraph 20, at the rear end of the story:

Conservative groups were cautiously pessimistic about the new guidelines, which have yet to be completed.

Focus on the Family, a conservative evangelical group, released a statement Tuesday night saying that the law already prohibited managers from taking any job action not directly related to job performance, "making this review an unnecessary political action to appease a special interest group embedded in the Obama administration."

The group also criticized the new policy as "government affirmation" of behavior it has defined as "one of many sexual sins that is outside God's created intent and desire for us."

Notice Rutenberg redundantly employed the label"conservative" twice in two sentences. The text box in the middle of the story highlights the liberal side: "A new avenue for protesting work actions viewed as discriminatory." Viewed as discriminatory by? The "LGBT" lobby.