Marti Abernathey

Isn't It Ironic, Don't You Think?

Filed By Marti Abernathey | August 17, 2007 10:01 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: HRC, rosen, transgender

During the HRC/LOGO Presidential Forum John Edwards was asked:

MR. SOLOMONESE: Susan Stanton is in our audience tonight. She was, for 17 years, the city manager in Largo , Florida . She did her job well; she was respected and admired. And when it was revealed that she was transgender, she was fired. So my question for you is if a member of your staff came to you and told you that they were transgender and that they were thinking of transitioning, how would you react to that? And who in your life has influenced what your reaction might be?

MR. EDWARDS: I would -- I would support them in every possible way, including on a personal and an emotional level, provide every bit of help and support that I possibly could in going through what they were going through.

And, by the way, can I say about the first point you made in your question, it's the reason we need powerful employment nondiscrimination laws in the United States of America so that people cannot be fired.

Yet, as I look at the list of John Edward's GLBT supporters 1, 2 it doesn't seem to include anyone that is transgender. Both Hilary Clinton and John Edwards have formal GLBT committees that include transgender people. Maybe Joe should have asked him if he'd hire someone that's transgender (or announce transgender supporters).

In other news on the forum, Hillary Rosen recently stated that:

Despite some advice that the only issue worth discussing at the forum was marriage because it was the only issue the major candidates didn’t agree with us on, we quickly decided that we wanted a broader focus. These candidates were unlikely, in our view, to come to this forum and be blown away by the cogent arguments of our panelists and change their position in favor of same sex marriage. "

She went on to say:

"We wanted a discussion of transgender issues since we knew it was unlikely to come up anywhere else."

Who's fault was it that only one transgender question was asked (or for that matter, a lack of questions on HIV/AIDS, DADT, and other important GLBT issues)?

"As we saw in their responses, whether deliberate or not, the candidates often tried to run out the clock on their answers. Each interview went by so fast that we found our selves in the control booth cursing as we gave Margaret her time signals.In the end, the only thing I can really regret is that we didn’t have more time. There was so much more to ask about and so much more to hear."

Can you really put all the blame on the candidates? It's not the candidates fault that only one transgender question (and a softball question at that) was asked. The moderator of the forum is there to MODERATE when the candidates are trying to run out the clock. The moderator gets her cues from the "control booth." If Hillary wants someone to blame, she need only look in the nearest mirror.


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It’s really sad to see all this effort going into nondiscrimination laws when Every One of Them are undermined by the fact that 49 out of these 50 United States are At Will states.
This is and continues to be window dressing that gives people a false sense of security.

Many of us in the Transgender community were and are successfully employed without the aid of these laws.

The “Activists” should be addressing the at will issue.

Take care
Sue

Leland Frances | August 17, 2007 11:55 AM

One thing that your post reveals is something that I've long suspected—and feared. While Hillary Rosen is no longer the "wife" of many years of former longtime HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch; while she is no longer HRC’s official interim ED as she was between Cheryl Jacques’ departure and Joe Solmonese’s arrival; while she’s not listed on their most recent IRS 990 I’ve seen among those on their $6.4 million dollar annual payroll—her position in the “control booth” at the forum seems indicative of her ongoing control of the organization’s operating and strategic philosophies and performance.

The “Birch Years” eliminated not just “Fund” from their name but, in my not so humble nor singular opinion, most of their activist soul while replacing it with a “brand machine” driven by a giant cash register whose unquenchable appetite grows on what it feeds. Mesdames Birch and Rosen may no longer share a bed but it seems evident by how little has changed since Birch left that the all-powerful Rosen shares her, some would say, vision; I would say delusions.

The second thing it reveals is that Rosen feels she can read minds, so certain is she that the candidates were consciously trying to “run out the clock.” My first hearing of that term was long ago at an Indiana high school basketball game. And it often seems to me that gays and lesbians with enough money and influence to insulate themselves from the practical dangers of society’s homohatred [unlike most of us] think of the fight for gay equality as something of an, “Oh, so what? There’s always another day,” game. As Rosen is close to at least one gay Repug who helped elect and worked for some of the most rabidly antigay powers in Washington, perhaps she won’t mind my saying she has a little too much in common with Mary Cheney for my plebian taste.

As for the specific inclusion of transgender issues in the forum and campaigns, I am troubled by your characterization of the question to Edwards as softball. Not just because I think it inaccurate but also because, given that it's the second time on Bilerico it's been described that way, I fear it's becoming something of a "party line."

"Maybe Joe should have asked him if he'd hire someone that's transgender"??? Uh, kinda superfluous. Please note that the question was constructed upon the premise that Edwards would already have at least one transgender employee. And his reply made it clear he's open to it. Or he would not have said he would totally support that person in any way he could—which is the most powerful answer anyone could give in the absence of multiple choice options from the panel [e.g., 1. would you pay for their surgery; 2. would you ask your wife and daughter to go shopping with them for new clothes—or would you were the person FTM; 3. both]. He also made clear that he believes in what is #1 on many transgender's list of political priorities—that transgenders should be included in any federal nondiscrimination protection. Is there an epidemic of "Never Satisfied" spreading?

As for his list of supporters, you concede that you don't know for certain that none are transgender. Idea: contact his campaign. Ask if any are, and if they aren't—volunteer. If you don't wish to be formally identified as a supporter of his candidacy, at least you could offer your expertise and experience to "seed" better understanding and inclusion in the campaign process itself.

I don't believe the LGBT center in LA can even endorse candidates, regardless of whom, but one result of his visit there was HIS bringing up in the forum the issue of homeless gay youth caused by the failure of parents to accept their children as they are. I don't recall any other candidate referencing or being asked about that in any way. Equality legislation is not the ultimate answer to having equal lives.

Marti Abernathey | August 17, 2007 2:05 PM

"Maybe Joe should have asked him if he'd hire someone that's transgender"??? Uh, kinda superfluous."

Actually, I was trying to angle towards him not naming any transgender supporters ON HIS BLOG as a sign he's not really walking the walk. I know he has supporters that are trangender, but he' not publicly stated so.

Leland Frances | August 17, 2007 3:56 PM

"Not walking the walk"? Hmmm. Of course, you’re free to define that the way that is meaningful to you, but I wonder when a reasonable expectation turns into an impossible-to-pass, always-changing litmus test?

By his blog, I assume you mean his official campaign Website. Assuming none of the three dozen or so LGBT-activist supporters named are, in fact, “T,” how many does Edwards’ ark need to make everyone happy? Even after you volunteer to be one of his advisors, there could easily be many others saying he’s still not walking the walk and that you’re just a “token.” How about 1 MTF and 1 FTM? What about race? 1 WMTF and 1 WFTM and 1 BMTF and 1 BFTM? Are we happy yet? What about Hispanic Ts and Asian Ts and physically challenged Ts and vegan Ts and....

I certainly don’t have the answer, but I do know this: in addition to his affirmation during the forum of his support for anyone in his own office that might be transgender, both in the way they pursue their happiness and in job protection, anyone willing to look can find these press releases on his office campaign Net home; emphasis mine:

“The Rights Of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & TRANSGENDER Americans”
"LGBT Americans are entitled to equal respect and dignity under our laws. Discrimination is morally wrong. ALL Americans should have the same freedoms and the same responsibilities." – John Edwards

“Workplace Discrimination
Workers should be judged by the quality of their performance, not their sexual orientation OR GENDER IDENTITY. While in the Senate, Edwards cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He also believes that stronger enforcement is necessary to prevent employment discrimination by federal agencies.

Hate Crimes
Everyone is entitled to live in dignity without fear of violence. We should strengthen the ability of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability OR GENDER IDENTITY. While in the Senate, Edwards cosponsored legislation to give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”

“Edwards Statement On House Passage Of Hate Crimes Bill”
"As Americans, we should mourn the need for hate crimes legislation, just as we lament the fact that 25 Americans are victims of hate crimes every day. Yet today, we should also applaud the House of Representatives for taking an important and historic step in helping law enforcement ensure THAT ALL AMERICANS HAVE THE SAME PROTECTIONS FROM HATE CRIMES.

"Today, the House showed in an overwhelming vote, that it will not tolerate discrimination of any form, when it strengthened the ability of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability OR GENDER IDENTITY. President Bush should back down from his wrong-headed veto threat and work with Congress to enact this important legislation to show that Americans will not tolerate hate crimes OF ANY KIND."

“Edwards Statement on President Bush's Threat to Veto Hate Crimes Legislation”
“EVERY AMERICAN is entitled to live in dignity without fear of violence. NO COMMUNITY should feel that they can be targeted with impunity. But until law enforcement has the tools to aggressively investigate and prosecute ALL HATE CRIMES, some Americans will doubt that the government is on their side. President Bush’s threat to veto hate crime legislation sends just that message. ... As president, I will sign the hate crimes law and make sure law enforcement has all the resources it needs TO PROTECT EVERY COMMUNITY IN AMERICA.”

I don’t know whom she supports, but I think it’s pretty certain at least Gwen Araujo’s mother would take hope from those words.

“Workplace Discrimination
Workers should be judged by the quality of their performance, not their sexual orientation OR GENDER IDENTITY. While in the Senate, Edwards cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He also believes that stronger enforcement is necessary to prevent employment discrimination by federal agencies."

It was fine when I was working in the electronics industry in from the 70’s though the 90’s. I have to ask what did you guys do to make things hard for transgender people that have skills and worked in industry when I did. ?

What did you all do to spoil what we had?
Granted I am retired now but I still can get a part time job but it is harder then it use to be. What have you done to ruin the relationship we Trans-Gender folk had with the straight community?

I would love to hear how y’all ruined what was a good relationship back in the 80’s and 90’s.

We don’t need no stinking civil rights laws, we need to educate and we need to act like good citizens. Not queers.


Sue

Sue,

I'm not sure I've ever been so offended by a fellow transperson.

"We don’t need no stinking civil rights laws, we need to educate and we need to act like good citizens. Not queers."

So, I guess the assumption you're making here are that Queers (I personally prefer the capital "Q" to distinguish it from the slur form) are not and cannot be good citizens?

You also apparently assume that it was something done by our own community, as opposed to conservative politicians stumping for support by demonizing us, that has caused us to have a less congenial relationship with straights. You also apparently dismiss the influence of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, the AIDS crisis, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, a rabidly conservative Congress for the better part of the last decade, and on and on as well, huh?

Personally, I'll take the civil rights laws, thanks...they're really our only protection from people who think like you do.