LGBTQ+

Texas department implements gender-based dress code

The Texas Agriculture Department's dress code says employees must dress in a "manner consistent with their biological gender."

Woman in business attire
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The Texas Agriculture Department has a new dress code that appears to take aim at the LGTBQ+ community.

A memo obtained by the Texas Observer says employees of the department must dress in a "manner consistent with their biological gender."

Business attire for men includes dress shirts, ties, sports coats and trousers. Women are required to wear "businesslike dresses," tailored pantsuits or coordinated dressy separates. They can be accompanied by "conservative, closed-toe shoes or boots."

The memo says supervisors have the authority to flag an employee for their appearance and send them home to change. 

"Staff members will not be compensated for any work time missed because of a failure to comply with designated workplace attire and grooming standards," the memo states. 

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An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union told the Texas Tribune that the dress code violates the First Amendment. 

“State agencies should be focused on doing their jobs and not discriminating against their own employees and trying to make political statements through their agency regulations,” said attorney Brian Klosterboer.

The updated dress code policy comes at a time when LGBTQ+ rights are increasingly in jeopardy, especially in Republican-led states.

The Texas legislature has taken up numerous bills this session targeting trans individuals. 

One bill would ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care to minors. Another bill would make clinicians financially liable should there be a complication with the gender-affirming care over the person's lifetime.  

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