I was on the closing panel discussion…
National, State and Community Legislative Advocacy regarding Gender
Identity and Expression; 3:30 – 4:15 PM
The Closing Plenary will be a panel discussion and open community dialogue around the Legislative and Policy issues facing us at a National, State and Community level. This four member panel is composed of a broad cross-section of advocates who will speak specifically to the legislative landscape and political dynamics that directly impacts the lives of trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Given the on-going controversy and struggles between many long time activists in the Trans Community with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), we felt it imperative that the community be provided an opportunity to engage in an open and honest dialogue regarding a United ENDA and the opposition being shown by HRC. HRC has kindly agreed to provide a representative from national to listen to and dialogue with the community about these issues. The four member panel will be: Jeremy P, HRC Deputy Field Director, Diana L, Ct TransAdvocacy and Ct Outreach Society, M. Dru L, TransPride organizer, transgender activist and attorney and Jerimarie L, Ct TransAdvocacy Coalition and Queers Without Borders. [There was a fifth panel member added to the panel, Rachael G, GenderPAC]
One thing I have to say about the HRC representative is that it took guts to face such a hostile audience; I do not think that there was one question that was friendly towards them. About two thirds of the way through the questioning someone in the audience asked, “How many here believe him?” and no one raised their hand.
They said that they came to the conference to assess the mood of the community; well they sure got an ear full of what we thought of the HRC.
In the order that we were speaking, I spoke just after Jeremy. One of the topics that he spoke about was the need to go out an educate Congress and that there are very few people who are lobbying from the mid-west. I was asked to speak about the NTCE Washington DC Lobbying Day and my experiences with NTCE Lobbying Day, one of the points that I made was that we had people from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas there to lobby and that there were about 200 people there from around twenty-seven states.
All of the questions but one that were asked during the 45 minute Q&A session were directed to Jeremy, the one question that wasn’t asked of Jeremy was asked to me, “Was the HRC present during this year’s Lobbying Day?”. My answer was, “No, there was not anyone from the HRC that attended the lobbying effort that day, that I knew of”. I forgot to mention that there were other organizations that were present at the meetings like the representative from Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) who attended our meeting with Sen. Dodd staff member.