A new study regarding general and sexual identification is being conducted at the Environmental Protection Agency, to create an ‘inclusive environment.’
The program, Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI), focuses on gathering data from EPA employees regarding their gender and sexual identification. This information is said to help “promote equal employment opportunities.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, EPA Chief of Staff Matt Fritz stated in an internal agency email that, “A professional, productive and inclusive workplace is essential to our mission of protecting human health and the environment.”
After first focusing on employees in Midwestern states, the EPA is now opening up the database to all employees so they can answer questions about their sexual preferences and gender, specifying whether they are “male, female, a blend of both, or neither.” All employees will be able to answer the questions early next month.
Mr. Fritz told staff that the program is about everyone and is not centered around any specific demographic as “Both sexual orientation and gender identity are part of our demographic makeup; we all have both a sexual orientation and a gender identity”. The agency has encouraged all employees to participate.
The information is being collected on a voluntary basis and can be completed anonymously if the employee prefers. The SOGI data is stored with other demographic information held by the EPA.
Phase one of the program has been conducted in Midwestern states thus far. However, the database will be open to all employees early this month.
The expense to taxpayers of the SOGI program is not known, but the EPA does claim that the costs are minimal.
From the Washington Free Beacon:
EPA Chief of Staff Matt Fritz sent an email on Monday informing employees that they can attend information sessions on the data collection in each of the EPA’s 10 regions.
“I want to be clear that this pilot is about all of us, not just the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community,” Fritz said. “We all have a sexual orientation and gender identity, and participation in the pilot by a diverse set of people will enable better analyses. Please note that your participation in the pilot is completely voluntary. As an employee, your participation in workforce demographic data collection can help ensure robust data sets, which are vitally important to the success of EPA’s broader inclusive diversity efforts.”
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