Alex Blaze

The T is officially out of the ENDA

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 26, 2007 11:38 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: attack ads, Baldwin Amendment, Democrats, ENDA, labor

The Hill is reporting that the Baldwin Amendment failed because first-term Democrats are afraid of attack ads:

Reps. Tim Walz (Minn.) and Ron Klein (Fla.), leaders of the class of freshman Democrats, carried a message to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday that their fellow first-term lawmakers did not want to vote on an amendment extending civil rights to transgender employees.

House Education and Labor panel Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), whose committee passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, said he told the freshman lawmakers at their Wednesday breakfast with Pelosi that the amendment did not have the votes to pass and would not be brought to the House floor.

In addition, Miller told the freshmen he recognized that the amendment exposed the first-term lawmakers to political attacks from conservatives and liberals alike, said two sources who attended the breakfast.

What a great decision! Now there won't be any attack ads in 2008! Democrats will sail right back into Congress since Republicans won't have any reason to run attack ads!

Also, here's the veto threat everyone's been waiting for, coming out of the OMB:

Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget said on Wednesday in its Statement of Administration Policy that President Bush’s senior advisers would recommend he veto the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and restricts religious liberty.

I won't even go into its reasoning.


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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 26, 2007 12:30 PM

Welcome to the United Republican Christian States of America!

I recommend that all non "straight-acting, straight-appearing" LGBT folks keep their passports updated.

The fix has been in since Frank pulled TG inclusion.
Doing the amendment thing was a way of removing blame from Frank and Co.

I and a few others saw this coming and have for the last three weeks been telling transfolk to urge their representatives to scuttle ENDA.

I hope there wasn't anybody who fell for that ploy to reintroduce the trans inclusion into ENDA.

If you did I have a bridge i would love to sell you.
You have been played again.

Take care
Susan Robins

Yeah, Brynn, because camp is what real gay people are made of. How flattering of you to call those who fail in such tasks related to genderqueerness fakes.

Take out your social resentment on the straight men and women who make being genderqueer difficult; don't go around claiming sexual orientation for only those who share gender nonconformity.What a great way to alienate a considerable sum of the community.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 26, 2007 1:54 PM

don't go around claiming sexual orientation for only those who share gender nonconformity.

Lucrece, huh?! How exactly do you read that into what I said?

From analysis I've been reading for the past two weeks, the trans-exclusive ENDA will NOT protect LGB folk who transgress gender roles and rules. Hence, my exaggerated-for-effect advice to those non-straight acting/appearing queers to keep your passports current.

At least in the EU, all LGBT people are protected from discrimination in employment and the delivery of goods and services.

Brynn, to define a behavior and a group of LGB who fit in it as "straight-acting" or "straight-appearing" is pejorative. It implies that this group is not just as much gay as their genderbending counterparts. It is important to note the danger of misappropriation of behaviors and concepts; one's mannerisms should never contain connotations linked to sexual orientation. These sort of descriptions just serve to make a sector of LGB feel as if they don't even belong to the community either because we emulate our common oppressors, and thus we betray the community by adopting "straight" behavior.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 26, 2007 3:40 PM

Brynn, to define a behavior and a group of LGB who fit in it as "straight-acting" or "straight-appearing" is pejorative.

Have you never read the personals? I didn't come up with the phrase on my own.

just serve to make a sector of LGB feel as if they don't even belong to the community either because we emulate our common oppressors, and thus we betray the community by adopting "straight" behavior.

Your words, not mine.

My original comment applied to the trans-exclusive ENDA, which legal analysts state will not protect gender-bending LGB folks. You seem to be spoiling for a fight so much that you're creating strawmen with words in their mouths.

Lucrece,

I totally agree with Brynn here. In this context, "straight-acting", which I've used to describe the non-inclusive bill as well, is not pejorative, it is factual. It's an accurate description of exactly who and what it would protect.

The truth that all the supporters of the non-inclusive bill want to ignore is the one we who believe that civil rights are for all citizens, not just the wealthy and well-connected, will not allow to be swept under the rug:

A non-inclusive ENDA will only those protect those LGBT people who look and act like their heterosexual counterparts. Those who differ from that norm in any way will not be able to seek justice and fair treatment under the provisions of this bill.

It may be an uncomfortable and distasteful truth, but it is, nonetheless, the truth.

"Have you never read the personals? I didn't come up with the phrase on my own."

Neither did the religious zealots come up with with the phrase "she-male," but we can agree that just because someone uses it does not mean the use is appropriate.

"Your words, not mine.

My original comment applied to the trans-exclusive ENDA, which legal analysts state will not protect gender-bending LGB folks. You seem to be spoiling for a fight so much that you're creating strawmen with words in their mouths."

My words, which you do not seem to understand. You can use a pejorative in any context and it will still be a pejorative. It is not that hard to understand the underlying implications under the terms "straight-acting" and "straight-appearing;" just like one would rather be called "transgender" or "transsexual" instead of a "she-male," it is not much of a stretch to more appropriately say "gender-conforming GLB."

"I totally agree with Brynn here. In this context, "straight-acting", which I've used to describe the non-inclusive bill as well, is not pejorative, it is factual. It's an accurate description of exactly who and what it would protect."

How can the term "straight-acting" be factual, for goodness's sake! You are wrongly misappropriating mannerisms to certain sexual orientations. GLB that have sex-gender consistent mannerisms are not emulating straight individuals, just like straight individuals are not "gay-acting/appearing" because they are genderbending. You're implying pretentiousness in this group's behavior by putting in the "acting" part; how is such a characterization not derisive?

"The truth that all the supporters of the non-inclusive bill want to ignore is the one we who believe that civil rights are for all citizens, not just the wealthy and well-connected, will not allow to be swept under the rug:"

How does wealth and connection play any part in the civil rights in question? It is from my experience that gender identity exists regardless of socioeconomic standing. A feminine man or a masculine woman are not happening only in the lower socioeconomic bracket. Furthermore, I did not question the lackings in the non-inclusive ENDA; I'm not sure why you had to bring that up in this discussion with me, although something tells me that you're pressuming my position on the ENDA versions (not the fair thing to do).

"A non-inclusive ENDA will only those protect those LGBT people who look and act like their heterosexual counterparts. Those who differ from that norm in any way will not be able to seek justice and fair treatment under the provisions of this bill."

I repeat, the behavior is not possessed by heterosexuals. It would be arrogant of either sexual orientation to assume that certain behaviors are only characteristic of themselves. It just so happens that these certain variants of behavior were chosen to be promoted by the heterosexual establishment. As for the last part, you're right, those of us who do not fall into the heteropatriarchal norms of the Abrahamic cultural heritage will be screwed.

"It may be an uncomfortable and distasteful truth, but it is, nonetheless, the truth."

So far the only "truth" you have offered is that the bill will fail to protect those who often find themselves in a situation where they need it most. The "straight-acting" bit of justification is simply fallacious, not to mention presumptuous. I should not be defined a gay because of my mannerism, but rather by the actual criteria for the use of the words, which is that I have prevalent romantic and sexual inclinations for members of the same sex. The word should not be highjacked for the privileged application to only those who possess genderbending behavior (talking about "inclusiveness," eh?).

I have no issue with the holistic purpose of your post, which I agree with. I do, however, take offense at such terms like "straight-acting" and "straight-appearing." Just like we scold those hypermasculine gay men who refer pejoratively to feminine gay men as "queens" and "queers," let's show some consistency with the opposite scenario. There is no need to narrow down the criteria for "gayness" by calling those who do not fit the stereotype pretentious.

bill perdue | October 26, 2007 7:25 PM

The real motives behind the gutting of real ENDA are glaringly obvious when the SNAFU methodology Pelosi and Frank used to shove it through Congress is examined.

On a measure of this importance it’s a given that discussion and consensus building are required to avoid deeply bitter divisions. No public discussions were held, just secret ones. The liberal (but very rich) leader of the House of Greed and the Quisling Frank decided not take a open approach to the question because they knew they didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of winning. Instead they had backroom meetings. They correctly concluded that most Republicans and a very large number of Democrats were either bigots and/or they wanted a toothless bill, a bill that excluded transgendered people because that’s what the employers who pay their campaign bills want.
If it were a monster movie we’d call it “Son of DOMA, the Revenge of Barney.”

The Democrats and Republicans are pandering to bosses who hate the real ENDA because they’d have to pay fair wages and benefits, and they support DOMA so they won’t have to treat our spouses like spouses. They get a free ride on wages, benefits and spousal benefits. They literally mint their own money underpaying us and denying us benefits based on gender identity. They only way they could make more money is by merging with Halliburton.

Thanks to Frank and Pelosi the bosses got what they wanted. What we got was a notice, an edict from on high directing us to lie down on the tracks and get run over like good little sheeple. Forget your rights, they told us, forget the union movements struggle for full equality on the job, forget your own communities and do as you’re told. And most of all, they said, join us in picking a sacrificial scapegoat to throw to the wolves. It’s a mark of respect for our movement that only a few spineless reactionaries did. You know them by their new found love for the initials GLB, for their rabid rants about ‘Mad Tranny Disease’ and because of their decided list rightward.

Then the Quislings got the shock of their lives. Slack jawed, they watched in utter disbelief as their authority and influence collapsed under the weight of an overwhelming and resolute rejection of their treachery. Frank warned us that there would be ‘consequences’ if the GLBT communities crossed him that he’d get even. The unseemly rush to get the fatally crippled Democrat version of ENDA through Congress is his petulant payback.

Their goal all along, in spite of Bush’s promise to veto, was a high-handed coup d’état to gut the effectiveness of the real ENDA because, to put it simply and accurately, we’re not the ones who pay their bills and call the tune. .

Quisling, Vidkun (1887-1945) (kw z´l ng) A Norwegian politician, whose collaboration with the Nazis during World War II made his name synonymous with traitor....

"How can the term "straight-acting" be factual, for goodness's sake! You are wrongly misappropriating mannerisms to certain sexual orientations. GLB that have sex-gender consistent mannerisms are not emulating straight individuals, just like straight individuals are not "gay-acting/appearing" because they are genderbending. You're implying pretentiousness in this group's behavior by putting in the "acting" part; how is such a characterization not derisive?"

I disagree, but I do think I should clarify. By "straight-acting" I mean behavior not in concert with that commonly associated with that of heterosexual or conventionally-gendered people. Since straights are considered the norm, so too is their behavior. It's not derisive to call it so...what's derisive is to require an employee to exhibit such behavior as a prerequisite to be protected against discrimination and not to protect those who fail to meet that standard.

"How does wealth and connection play any part in the civil rights in question? It is from my experience that gender identity exists regardless of socioeconomic standing. A feminine man or a masculine woman are not happening only in the lower socioeconomic bracket. Furthermore, I did not question the lackings in the non-inclusive ENDA; I'm not sure why you had to bring that up in this discussion with me, although something tells me that you're pressuming my position on the ENDA versions (not the fair thing to do)."

Very simply...those who are wealthy and connected have the ear of those in power, thus it is they who are heard and who's interests are effectively represented by those in power.

We see the evidence of this quite clearly here in this situation. Hundreds of civil rights orgs band together to fight against a non-inclusive ENDA but are all but completely ignored by the Democratic leadership...until HRC suggests they delay the vote and then Congress instantly responds.

More? How about this? Hillary Clinton's 65-member so-called "LGBT" Steering Committee, all the uber-wealthy gay and lesbian political players...and oh yeah, she has one tranny on there, too. Kinda just like HRC...only they've gotten wise and now HRC doesn't even have that anymore.

This is the Democrats idea of trans-inclusion and representing the interests of the LGBT working class: using us for diversity cred when it suits their own ends, but quickly throwing us off the boat as soon as we become inconvenient.

I'm sorry if you take exception to my terminology, but I feel it is completely accurate and fair.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 27, 2007 4:16 AM

You can use a pejorative in any context and it will still be a pejorative.

Please. Context is everything. My self-defining use of the word "queer" is nothing like some gay-basher's use of the exact same word.

Moreover, I did not create the phrase "straight acting," I lifted it from the personals. A discussion of how I feel about people who so self-define is a completely different discussion than whether or not the gutted ENDA will protect LGB people whose behavior transgresses gender norms.

You say I don't "understand" your words? From the beginning you've insisted--in a snide, combative tone--on a complete misreading of what I said. In the process, you've hijacked a comment thread on ENDA to rant about supposed prejudice toward a segment of our community who, from my perspective, aren't exactly in extremis vis-à-vis the rest of us.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 27, 2007 4:42 AM

i>Their goal all along, in spite of Bush’s promise to veto, was a high-handed coup d’état to gut the effectiveness of the real ENDA because, to put it simply and accurately, we’re not the ones who pay their bills and call the tune.

I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis up to above. Are you saying that they gutted the bill to please corporate interests who donate to their campaigns? In other words, those corporate interests don't mind losing the right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, but want to preserve the right to discriminate on the basis of gender?

I don't necessarily disagree...although it seems a more elaborate explanation than the one in which Frank and Pelosi project their acute discomfort with trannies outward onto the rest of the world, then act in a high-handed way and expect everyone to follow.

"I disagree, but I do think I should clarify. By "straight-acting" I mean behavior not in concert with that commonly associated with that of heterosexual or conventionally-gendered people. Since straights are considered the norm, so too is their behavior. It's not derisive to call it so...what's derisive is to require an employee to exhibit such behavior as a prerequisite to be protected against discrimination and not to protect those who fail to meet that standard."

You disagree, but you fail to say why you disagree. Also, if "straight-acting" behavior is behavior not in concert with that commonly associated with heterosexual people, then how is it "straight-acting?" There, you said the proper term for 'straight acting," you said "conventionally-gendered people."

Your terminology for the most part is accurate and fair, but "straight-acting/appearing" is not. I don't think it's your fault, though; it is a term that has gone unchallenged in the gay community for so long that most of you have grown to be unaware of its connotations.

"Please. Context is everything. My self-defining use of the word "queer" is nothing like some gay-basher's use of the exact same word."

Well, explain how the word "she-male" changes in context, because I possibly can't come up with another connotation under any possible context other than a pejorative. Also, don't kill the debate on the proper use of the word "queer" just yet. Just like there is still debate over the proper use of the word "nigger" within the African American community, there is debate on whether the use of "queer" under any context is truly appropriate.

"Moreover, I did not create the phrase "straight acting," I lifted it from the personals. A discussion of how I feel about people who so self-define is a completely different discussion than whether or not the gutted ENDA will protect LGB people whose behavior transgresses gender norms."

Keep repeating that same tired old mantra of "I did not come up with it;" it might just fool you into actually believing it. Just because a word is conventionally used, for example, faggot, it does not mean the use is still correct, even if you were not the one who came up with it. You are basing your use on the ever popular argumentum ad populum. The topic has not changed because I've called you out on an offensive terminology.

"You say I don't "understand" your words? From the beginning you've insisted--in a snide, combative tone--on a complete misreading of what I said. In the process, you've hijacked a comment thread on ENDA to rant about supposed prejudice toward a segment of our community who, from my perspective, aren't exactly in extremis vis-à-vis the rest of us"

Translation: I don't feel like admitting accountability for my ignorant terminology, so instead I will change topics and accuse you of derailing the thread in order to avoid the situation.

There is no possible misreading as to your use of the words "straight-acting/appearing." They have well-defined connotations that you refuse to acknowledge, and for some reason, maybe because you've grown accustomed to its popular use (recall the "that's so gay" phrases), you keep trying to insist that the words themselves have neutral connotations.

Also, just because a comment is talking particularly about one topic does not mean it is exempt from having its wording questined. If that were the case, GLAAD would have no case in denouncing a newspaper article for its use of "toe-tapper" to refer to gay men. I'm not asking you to abandon this topic or to change your viewpoints on the current ENDA version's long-lasting impacts. I am encouraging you to notice the demeaning connotations behind the use of "straight-acting/appearing" so that you may remove the use of them in future comments. See, Rebecca had no problems coming up with more neutral alternatives, like "conventionally-gendered." I am sure you can come up with other terms for LGB who do not fit the classical image of genderbender while not calling them pretentious in the process.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 27, 2007 2:06 PM

explain how the word "she-male" changes in context,

Obviously, in the context of personals ads where she-males are looking to hook up, and fans are looking to find them, the phrase is not pejorative.

I may not like the phrase, you may not like the phrase. But newsflash: we're not the whole world.

Translation: I don't feel like admitting accountability for my ignorant terminology, so instead I will change topics and accuse you of derailing the thread in order to avoid the situation.

No. Believe it or not, just because you say it doesn't make it so.

Moreover, from your first comment, you have been out for a fight, not a respectful exchange of opinions. It's clear that the only outcome that will be acceptable to you is if I tell you "you're right," which I simply don't believe.

We're at an impasse.

Jeepers creepers...

Can y'all see what a divisive effect Frank's actions have had on our ENTIRE community? I hope that trans-folk haven't been blind to the incredible groundswell of support that has surged through the grassroots and the activist organizations on their behalf. I, for one, actually picked up the phone and called my congressperson for the first time in my adult life (I should be ashamed for waiting until I was 40) to urge them to vote AGAINST any version of ENDA that wasn't T-inclusive.

Barney Frank should be ashamed for BOTH his ignorance AND his arrogance. I hope his constituents have been paying attention and that he suffers consequently at the polls next November.

"Obviously, in the context of personals ads where she-males are looking to hook up, and fans are looking to find them, the phrase is not pejorative.

I may not like the phrase, you may not like the phrase. But newsflash: we're not the whole world. "

The phrase is still pejorative in connotations; it still implies a mixed bag trying to pass as a certain sex. In personal adds and pornography, the word "bitch" is commonly used; the fact that people don't get pissed off by its use in them does not mean the term is not pejorative; it is rather the pejorative quality that most often attracts people who are looking for distinct tastes, tastes which form a minuscule minority of the population. For all other intents and purposes, you will have to be cognizant of the fact that the common usage of the word does not fit the "neutral" context, assuming there is any, that you would like to use it in, especially in a topic so emotionally charged as the ENDA debate. Seeing the context in which you're using the word, your terminology is still incendiary.

Yes, we're not the whole world, but it still doesn't prevent me from questioning your irresponsible use of the term.

"No. Believe it or not, just because you say it doesn't make it so."

I'm not in the mood for imaginary escalation, thank you very much.

"Moreover, from your first comment, you have been out for a fight, not a respectful exchange of opinions. It's clear that the only outcome that will be acceptable to you is if I tell you "you're right," which I simply don't believe.

We're at an impasse. "

Of course, now I get the blame of inciting you when it is clear that the one who first introduced inflammatory terminology was yourself, especially in a topic so emotionally charged, where many T's have projected their sense of betrayal at the hands of Barney Frank unto other LGB's who are gender-conforming. Newsflash: The fact that over 300 LGBT organizations, most of which have gender-conforming LGB's, support you should be a sign that LGB's are not out to screw you over.

We are not at an impasse; we're at the peak of hypocrisy, where you demand that your sensibilities be covered and accepted, but you're unwilling to respect the sensibilities of others.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | October 27, 2007 7:43 PM

Bill Perdue --
A#1 Super fine analytical rant. My hat's off to you!

Alex --
I darned near choked on a grape tomato when I read this: "Now there won't be any attack ads in 2008!" Thank you for trying to inject the light of some well-deserved sarcastic humor into a huge downer of a story.

bill perdue | October 28, 2007 2:31 AM

Brynn,
“In other words, those corporate interests don't mind losing the right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, but want to preserve the right to discriminate on the basis of gender?”

Yes.

But I’m not sure there’s a lot of disagreement here. Let me know what you think.

Legalese is not my language of choice and it took me more than one try to actually get what Lambda Legal and our law Profs were saying. They say the effectiveness of the bill is measured by its ease in making our case before commissioners, judges and juries and that if it’s not gender inclusive most, if not all of our cases will get shot down in court.

The exception that proves the rule are the rare cases when a dim-witted bosses broadcasts their motives and intent to injure. If ENDA just includes a few toothless provisions then its just window dressing for politicians but bad law, i.e., bad for us and bad in the sense that it won’t win cases but good for the bosses who can still fire us at will.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 28, 2007 5:06 AM

the effectiveness of the bill is measured by its ease in making our case before commissioners, judges and juries and that if it’s not gender inclusive most, if not all of our cases will get shot down in court.
The exception that proves the rule are the rare cases when a dim-witted bosses broadcasts their motives and intent to injure. If ENDA just includes a few toothless provisions then its just window dressing for politicians but bad law, i.e., bad for us and bad in the sense that it won’t win cases but good for the bosses who can still fire us at will.

Bill, that's my understanding, too. So it does make sense that corporate interests would prefer a toothless law to one that actually had some power.

Personally I'm ashamed that I worked so fucking hard to get three new Democrats to office here in Red State Indiana - Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Baron HIll. Have they stopped the war? No. Have they protected my family from hate crimes? Baron Hill did; that's it. Do we deserve to be protected from discrimination in the workplace? Apparently not all of us.

Democrats? Pshaw. We have cowards in office more worried about attack ads than what's good for their constituents.

Pathetic.

Looks like we in the Trans community have been taken for a ride again.So maybe we should form our own group and leave our "friends" in the GLB to fight there own battles?

Cathy

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 8, 2007 12:53 PM

Cathy -- I don't think you're going to get rid of some of us GLBs that easily anymore than SPLENDA is likely to become law without gender identity inclusion anytime soon, no matter the efforts of the HRC/Frank/Pelosi cabal and their GLB separatist buddies like Aravosis and the Advocate.

We have lots of work to do together preparing for introduction of an inclusive bill in 2009 -- this time authored by someone worthy of our trust.

This will involve transgender-focused advocacy groups as well as broader-focused LGBT advocacy groups committed to inclusivity. I'm a member of NCTE and I'm just a garden variety lesbian, so don't think you'll be non-T-queer free if you limit your activism to transgender-focused advocacy organizations. I'm hardly alone among non-trans Qs who put our money and action where our inclusivity-spouting mouths are.

We mean it when we say we're in this together -- because we are. Severable is just plain unthinkable to a large and rapidly growing number of us -- over 360 of our organizations were willing to put it on the line in this fight, don't forget. Don't be fooled by the fact that this current battle in a long war has brought some old anachronistic separatist trolls out of their hiding places. They're anything but the wave of our shared future.

Actually, that they've exposed themselves is a good thing as you cannot change what remains hidden and unacknowledged. Some are even otherwise good people who, right now, are fighting tooth and nail because, as good people, they have to fight that hard to maintain the denial of the ugly thing in the mirror. Some will not be able to keep that up and, if they are given a path to change, will. Some won't and we'll then just move on past them, leaving them stuck in the mud of their own making with nobody left to sling it on but themselves.