MetroWeekly’s Chris Geidner has the scoop, which is a breakthrough for the transgender community’s prospects for employment protections:

An employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person’s gender identity is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to an opinion issued on April 20 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The opinion, experts say, could dramatically alter the legal landscape for transgender workers across the nation.

The opinion came in a decision delivered on Monday, April 23, to lawyers for Mia Macy, a transgender woman who claims she was denied employment with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after the agency learned of her transition. It also comes on the heels of a growing number of federal appellate and trial courts deciding that gender-identity discrimination constitutes sex discrimination, whether based on Title VII or the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

Masen Davis, head of the Transgender Law Center (TLC), says the decision is a ”big leap forward.” TLC advocates, who brought Macy’s case, note that after today’s ruling transgender people who feel they have faced employment discrimination can go into any of those 53 offices and the EEOC will consider their claims. What’s more, the EEOC could take action itself to sue the employer for discrimination.

In Macy’s case, after going through a background check for a job as a ballistics technician, originally applying as a man, when the prospective employer — the lab — was told that Mia was going to report to work, Macy was told that the position “was no longer available.”