Today President Obama signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees and prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in federal employment. Private employers who are not federal contractors are not affected by today's order. The Executive Order makes it illegal for federal contractors to take an adverse employment action against employees based on the employee's sexual orientation or gender identity and it explicitly bans discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government. It is estimated that 24,000 companies employing approximately 28 million workers are federal contractors and will be required to comply with the expanded anti-discrimination provision.
Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, was present at the signing of this Executive Order. At the beginning of McAuliffe's term of office in January 2014, he signed a similar order, "Executive Order Number 1," prohibiting discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities in Virginia state government. McAuliffe's January order was the first time gender identity had been included in a Virginia anti-discrimination provision.