Thursday, November 08, 2007

What We Learned

As a trans-person, I am glad that ENDA (H.R. 3568) passed. It is a big step forward the vote was 235 – 184, but I am very disappointed it was not the gender inclusive bill. The Connecticut delegation all voted in favor of the bill: Larson, Courtney, DeLauro, Shays and Murphy.

Looking at the political facts makes it very obvious why gender was dropped from the bill.

Fact #1 – Gay and lesbians makes up about 5 – 10 percent of the general population.
Fact #2 – Transgender persons makes about 5 – 10 percent of the population also, but I feel that those who are politically active and are lobbying for the bill is probability a tenth of that number (0.5 – 1.0 percent)
Fact #3 – We are coming up to an election year.
Fact #4 – The Democrats are looking for the GLBT vote and needed a victory.

Given those facts it is easy to see why we were thrown overboard. The Democrats wanted a win that they could brag about it in the election; they had a choice pass a non-inclusive ENDA or not pass the inclusive ENDA. So they threw us overboard. They can now hold up all the Democrats that voted for the bill and say see we are in favor of GLBT rights. If they had the gender inclusive bill there would be some Democrats who would have voted against the bill and the Democrats would have had egg on their face.
I do not feel this was the right track that they should have risen above politics and taken the high road; instead of politic as usual.

What did we learn from this?
  1. We learned who are friends are and who are our enemies.
  2. We learned which Representatives have a problem with gender identity and we can work to educate them.
  3. We learned what our opponents arguments are against the bill and plan a defense against it.
What does really, really gets me mad is the behavior of the HRC and Joe Solmonese.
  • In March 2000 the HRC added Gender to its Mission Statement.
  • In May I was down in Washington DC at the HRC offices and they said that they would only back a gender inclusive ENDA
  • At the Southern Comfort Conference on September 14, Joe Solmonese said the same thing.
  • The end of September after Barney Franks introduces a non-inclusive ENDA; the HRC said they would remain neutral on the bill. That they would neither support the bill nor opposing the bill and they would not score the Representatives if they voted on the bill.
  • Last week they said that they will only support the bill and oppose any amendments. That they will score the Representatives who voted against the bill.
  • That they had a secret poll done in October 26 that they did not make it public until November 6th. The poll asked: "This proposal would make it illegal to fire gay, lesbian and bisexual workers because of their sexual orientation. This proposal does not include people who are transgender. Would you favor or oppose this proposal moving forward?”
How can anyone ever trust the HRC or Joe Solmonese again?


Peterson Toscano said...

My outrage over them not putting forward a gender inclusive bill outweighs any positive feeling I might have at the bill being passed.

For one, most of us gay guys get crap from people because of our gender difference and our inability to fit properly into gender-normative societal demands. It's the fem guys and the butch gals who have trouble on the job, and this is not because they like folks of the same-sex. Rather it is because they are gender-different.

Two-We need to stand on principle. The conservative Republicans have done this for decades. Even if their platform is unpopular, their attitude is, "If it is good enough to win with, it is good enough to lose with."

Joe Solomonese and Barney Frank went for political expedience instead of integrity and courage. That sucks and now how we go about building a community.

Fleur de Lisa said...

I totally support a completely inclusive bill. I can’t understand why anyone on the GLBT community would want anything less. We face enough opposition as it is so I feel it is vital that we present a untied front!

Rafting Bear said...

I'm a gay guy. I'm glad ENDA passed and will be what I can to get it reallypassed--that is, through the Senate and made the law of the land.

And then, I pledge to you, I will not forget my trans brothers and sisters. We will get a trans-inclusive ENDA passed.

I don't think it will take long before the righties realize that the world didn't come to an end when gays and lesbians couldn't be fired, and that it will be no different when the jobs of transpersons are similarly protected.

Diana_CT said...

You missed the point I was trying to make for the last six months. Even though I am glad the bill passed, I am madder than hell that we were thrown to the wolves.
I believe you in that you will fight for us, but the problem is the vast majority of gays and lesbians will just walk away. This has happen every time before when we were told; “Don’t worry we will still fight for you”, read my blog entry here.

Rafting Bear said...

It appears that the "vast majority" of blacks have also abandoned us now that their own fight for civil rights is on firm ground. (Witness Rev. Martin Luther King's nieces.)

But not all have. Neither have all heteros. Some of us fight for civil rights not because it affects us, but because it is right. And those are the only ones who have ever made a difference.

Where would the civil rights movement be now if blacks had refused to accept the vote until women had it, too?