Saturday, September 29, 2007

Update on ENDA

Today and yesterday, I received literally dozens of emails following up on the exclusion of trans protections from ENDA. It is now official - the inclusive ENDA has been dropped and replaced with two bills, addressing sexual orientation and gender identity separately. Most of the major national gay rights orgs have spoken up against the change, but HRC remains ominously reticent to say anything definitive. De ja vu again.

Here is one message, from NTLC, with links for action you can take. The major cosponsors of the inclusive enda were Barney Frank (MA) and Nancy Pelosi (CA) - Especially if you vote in either of those states, that's who to call.

(I'll leave out the part where they ask you to donate to NTPC. If you want to donate money to a trans rights cause, donate to SRLP instead.)


Dear Friends and Allies

Congress members have decided to eliminate gender identity from the latest version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ENDA) that was introduced on the House Floor today.

LGBT and allied organizations have been working together for years to pass a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under federal employment non-discrimination legislation. We want to see all gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender employees protected from workplace harassment and discrimination under federal law.

The intention behind members of Congress in favor of splitting an all inclusive bill into two pieces of legislation – one for sexual orientation and another for gender identity – appears to be a fear that a bill including gender identity would sink the whole ship. We need to let Congress know that we do not want our communities and our rights torn apart.

Don't let Congress take the ‘T’ out of the LGBT movement.

What can you do?

1. Sign TLC’s petition urging the Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Frank to introduce the original version of ENDA that includes both gender identity and sexual orientation.

Sign the petition:

2. Call your representative today! Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to speak to your representative’s office.

Find out who your representative is:

Here’s a link to all Representatives in Congress:

When the representative’s receptionist answers, you can say:

“Please tell [your representative] that I oppose any version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that does not include both sexual orientation and gender identity. Transgender people desperately need the protections ENDA would provide. Surveys of transgender people have found that more than 55% reported discrimination in the workplace, and almost 60% earned less than $16,000 a year. The entire country has an interest in seeing the transgender community thrive in the national economy. Without protection against discrimination, that is nearly impossible. Congress should pass the original version of ENDA that includes both gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Contact your representative:

Friday, September 28, 2007

De ja vu - No Trans Protection in ENDA

Yahoo news and others report that Democratic members in the House of Representatives are trying to remove language from ENDA that would protect trans people from employment discrimination, because they say Republicans will use it as an excuse to vote agasint the bill. De ja vu.

Many trans folk are still nursing a grudge against HRC from the last time ENDA was up for a vote, and HRC actually encouraged congresspeople to remove the trans-inclusive language, to make it more likely to pass. Didn't work then. Now HRC has apparently changed its tune, but several of the more progressive (on some issues) congresspeople are about to pull the same old shit.

For those of you who like parallels, this is a "we'll come back for you" moment. Kind of like middle-class white feminists saying, "First we'll get job equality for us, and then we'll work on access for poor women and women of Color." It's a strategy that centralizes the needs of those whose needs are least dire (like these guys who are all about "forging a gay mainstream"), damages coalition, and divides community.

Trans people face legal job discrimination in most of the U.S., and even where it's not legal, it happens all the time. One study reported a 60% unemployment rate. It's not a typo. More than half of trans people in that study could not find legal employment. The rhetoric against ENDA often does focus on trans people, and makes untrue claims about the bill such that it would force everyone to use gender-neutral restrooms.

Below is a message from MTPC listing Barney Frank's number (he introduced the bill this time around). I hope some of you will call calmly explain to the good gay representative why this is a fcked up idea.

This is important, please respond today

Hello everyone

It is vital that everyone call Barney Frank's office and let him know
that dropping transgender people from the bill is unacceptable.
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) H.R. 2015.
(202) 225-5931.

Please ask friends and family to do the same... if we are dropped on a
public way this may affect our own bill here [in MA].

Please call and tell them your name and that you are a member of Mass
Transgender Political Coalition and that transgender people are fired
for coming out.

-- Gunner

Find out how you can support HB 1722 -
"An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes"
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wishing I was as Clever as This Guy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated last week at Columbia that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Andy Borowitz responds with this short piece. I feel jealous of his wit.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Trannies in the News

Trans people get kicked out of bathrooms all the time, but we rarely make the news doing it! Check out this TV news story from Seattle, about 2 trans guys who got ejected from a bathroom by mall security. Click here to watch the story via streamed video; click here to read it as text.

I'll ruin the ending now, and tell you that both guys are okay and taking the incident with good humor. Watching this news story is distinctly less traumatic than most other news clips I've ever seen related to trans people.

Amazingly, there is very little gender-cluelessness evident in the reporting. (On the part of the news outlet, that is. On the part of the mall management, well, that's another story.) Unlike most news outlets, this TV station follows AP guidelines that trans people should be referred to by their pronoun of choice. And what really surprises me is that both the anchor and the reporter (or whoever wrote their lines) talk about trans people like they are used to talking about trans people - a tiny but still significant step in demonstrating allyship.

FYI, the "gay rights law" the story refers to is an anti-discrimination statue that took effect in January, 2006. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and so is meant explicitly to protect trans people. Here's some more on that from NGLTF. For the detail-oriented among you, I'll note that the "sexual orientation" bit expressly protects straight people from discrimination, too. So calling it a "gay rights" bill is missing the bullseye on several levels.