Washington, DC – DOJ Pride, a group representing the Department of Justice’s LGBT employees and contractors, has delivered a letter to US Attorney General William Barr about the “declining morale” of, and outright discrimination against, LGBT workers. The group cited two main concerns: the lack of a DOJ-issued Equal Employment Opportunity statement, and the results of an October 2018 survey that showed only 31 percent of respondents felt the department valued its LGBT employees. The organization’s survey found that “morale is low among LGBTQ individuals currently employed in the Department, and that the Department is not recruiting and retaining top LGBTQ talent,” the letter stated.
Many survey respondents found the culture at DOJ to be overtly hostile to LGBT workers. In addition, men deemed not masculine enough were passed over for promotions or entrance to the FBI, while LGBT women were outright ignored in hiring. Fewer than 10 percent of respondents felt that the DOJ attracted and retained the best LGBT talent. DOJ Pride’s concerns come at a time when the Department of Justice has been following President Trump’s lead on anti-gay and trans policies.
During his confirmation hearing, Attorney General Barr said that anti-LGBT discrimination should be illegal. In response to the DOJ Pride complaints he said he is “troubled” by their concerns. In a letter April 4th obtained by BuzzFeed News to activists with DOJ Pride, Barr confirmed he had taken steps to sign an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement and would look in to claims of specific discrimination that the activists had raised. “Issuing the statement is not only required by law – as you noted in your letter – it is the right thing to do,” Barr wrote. “Employment decisions at the Department must be made solely on merit and free from discrimination. Every employee should know that I stand by that principle.” (Philadelphia Gay News – Victoria Brownworth at Epgn.com/news/national/14467-lgbt-employees-confront-attorney-general-over-discrimination & BuzzFeed News – John Bowden at Thehill.com/homenews/administration/437485-barr-says-he-will-investigate-allegations-of-lgbt-discrimination-at)