Marti Abernathey

The Many Faces Of Mara Keisling: The Death of United ENDA?

Filed By Marti Abernathey | March 07, 2008 4:55 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Barney Frank, HRC, Mara Keisling, NCTE

Is one of the key players in the United ENDA movement, Mara Keisling, signaling its death? Recently Keisling said:

'We have to show Barney Frank 220 votes,' she said. 'If we show him 220 votes, nobody is going to work harder on this. The same with HRC... It's going to happen again next year. '- After ENDA, the Fighter's Resilient

According to Donna Rose's blog :

3/1/2008 - They're currently planning to hold hearings in Congress specifically about transgender workplace issues in April. Whereas original plans were to tightly control those hearings, Rep. Frank has largely turned over control of gathering the stories to NCTE/Mara Keisling (who's home in DC with pneumonia). Mara has been diligently working with many of us to identify potential speakers who can come to Washington DC to speak and I expect she'll be finalizing that to give to Barney shortly.

Frank later emailed Rose and said:

3/5/2008 - ...at the request of Mara Keisling, I agreed to meet with her to discuss the hearing. In fact, my office has met with several groups for input, but Ms. Rose's assertion that I 'largely turned over control of gathering the stories to NCTE/Mara Keisling' is wholly baseless. In fact, the Committee on Education and Workforce has jurisdiction over this bill and therefore, the 'control' was never mine to turn over. And while the blog referenced NCTE, the fact is, several groups have been working to identify potential witnesses -in fact, the ultimate decision about who is ultimately selected rests with subcommittee Chairman Rob Andrews and full committee Chairman George Miller, after consulting with me.

On a later entry, Rose said:

During our conversation today HRC came up several times. Joe (Racalto, Barney Frank's senior policy adviser) went out of his way to assure me that HRC is taking the lead in these hearings in many ways. As far as our community is concerned I'll take his word for it and let it all unfold....

It's interesting to timeline Keisling's comments about the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):

05/23/2007

(concerning the Matthew Shepard Act)

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) did an incredibly skillful and professional job as a lead organization on lobbying for the bill.Their work and efforts were absolutely everything that any LGBT person could hope for--they really did ALL LGBT people proud. And they as individuals and as an organization are putting their hearts into transgender work and we should be very appreciative. - (posted to TGv Advocacy)

In that same post she said about ENDA:

Our Allies: Years ago, we didn't have too many. We had to educate and, yes, fight our way back into the LGBT movement. I know there are still imperfections and I know that some trans people are still skeptical. Yet, I can tell you without hesitation that the entire organized LGBT movement is with us now. Our education worked. Our indignation worked. It is our moral responsibility now to embrace the people we asked and demanded to be our allies. If we do not believe in education, in persuasion, in redemption, we have no right being in civil rights. Why educate if not to win over? Why win over if not to embrace and move forward together? HRC really is an LGBT organization now and getting a lot of great work done for us all. Congressman Frank and Senator Kennedy too. Let's move on together. - (posted to TGv Advocacy)

7/1/2007

(concerning protesting)

Anyone (and again I am not saying you are suggesting this) who would still hope to positively impact ENDA or LLEHCCPA by protesting allies who are really getting the job done for and with us--allies like HRC, Rep. Frank and Sen.Kennedy--in my opinion, simply would not be seeing or else not understanding what is going on. - (posted to TGv Advocacy)

10/10/2007

We consider this action a kind of 'family intervention'. We believe that HRC is misguided in their response and lack of action on the ENDA legislation. While we appreciate the support that HRC has given us in the transgender community, we are disappointed with HRC at the moment, - Transgender Activists Protest HRC Dinner

10/13/2007
(concerning HRC's "brokering" of the inclusive ENDA [2015] putting it off to be heard in the future "when it has the votes to pass.")

HRC's 'new deal' is entirely spin meant to undermine the unprecedented grassroots efforts of hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals in order to allow movement of their vanity bill that no one including Speaker Pelosi or Congressman Frank says they really want. - NCTE's Daily Update

01/24/2008

'Our official position right now is we are extremely disappointed and angry at HRC. ... The real bottom line is right now NCTE will not do anything that will rehabilitate HRC as a legitimate spokesman for transgender people ... until they stop actively hurting trans people', said Keisling. She characterized HRC's advocacy of the sexual orientation-only version of ENDA in the House, as well as its expected lobbying to pass the bill this year in the Senate, as hurting trans people.

As for NCTE's future plans for ENDA, Keisling said that after the election she expects advocates to lobby a new Congress and a new president in favor of passing a trans-inclusive ENDA bill.

'It is our expectation that in 2009 Congress is going to hear from a very united LGBT movement,' said Keisling. 'Whether that includes HRC I have no idea.' - Trans-HRC schism widens

3/5/2008

'We have to show Barney Frank 220 votes,' she said. 'If we show him 220 votes, nobody is going to work harder on this. The same with HRC... It's going to happen again next year.' - After ENDA, the Fighter's Resilient

As recent as yesterday, HRC was lobbying for a non-inclusive ENDA.

In an email from Cuc Vu to the HRC Steering Committee, she writes:

Lobby ask: continue to build support in the House for HR 2015; request the Senate to take action to prohibit workplace discrimination.

Since the non-inclusive bill (3685) has already passed the House, asking the Senate to take action to prohibit workplace discrimination is asking them to support 3685. Essentially it's business as usual for HRC. Nothing has substantially changed in their lobbying efforts. They've had no "rehabilitative" moment or change of heart. If you take Keisling's words to heart, the only other conclusion that seems logical is that United ENDA is dead.


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I don't know much, but I do know one thing - the trangender community can trust Mara Keisling to do the right thing. I have never met anyone more committed or qualified to represent our interests.

Much the same was said about Neville Chamberlain. Your point is?

I'm just not following your point, Marti. You seem to be holding Mara responsible for what Cuc Vu said. I suppose that I might be missing dots that I haven't connected. If so, you'll need to connect them for me. But Cuc saying that HRC will still be lobbying for non-inclusive ENDA doesn't seem to effect United ENDA's future, or Mara's connection with it.

Marti, what does a former prime minister of the UK have to do with United Enda? I agree with Rory. I miss your point. You posted several quotations, from several sources, in a haphazard fashion that skip forward and backward in time and relevance. Please clarify whatever it is you are trying to not specifically say. It is impossible to agree or disagree with innuendo.

You don't know the history, of Neville C.?

"NCTE will not do anything that will rehabilitate HRC as a legitimate spokesman for transgender people ... until they stop actively hurting trans people'"

vs.

"HRC is taking the lead in these hearings in many ways."

It seems to me that's EXACTLY what they're doing.


I strongly suggest listening to my interview with Donna Rose when I have it posted. Things are going on and the parameters of the debate are changing as we speak. While I certainly don't always agree with Mara, I certainly understand why she's taking the tone with Barney Frank she is right now.

One thing I can guarantee is that there will be more, much more, on this. Another thing I can't guarantee, but am working on right now is getting Barney himself to speak on this. There's stuff going on that gives even me pause, and makes me inclined to wait and see what happens here.

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 6:58 PM

Now you're eating your own? Why am I not surprised? Anyone seen Tammy Baldwin lately? Is she in hiding in the Pissed Off A Transgender Protection Program?

In writing, "HRC was lobbying for a non-inclusive ENDA" you, once again, misrepresent the facts. Lobbying for a bill that will pass at the present time that necessary-to-such-passage does not include transgenders is NOT the same as lobbying FOR not including transgenders any more than driving a two-door car that will run means you're anti four-door cars when the issue is simply that the four-door you have won't run until it's worked on.

Marti -

The hearing to which you refer via Donna Rose's blog, said it was about "transgender workplace issues". Since that isn't an issue in the current version of ENDA, my assumption was that it isn't going to be an ENDA hearing. Come to think about it, since the current ENDA already passed the House, they wouldn't be holding a hearing on it.

Do you think it's inappropriate for NCTE to be working on a "transgender workplace issues" hearing?

No advocate or organization can veto who else a member of Congress speaks to. The quote you cite from your own post to make your case, "HRC is taking the lead in these hearings in many ways", is not from Mara, which you imply in the comment section. It's from a Congressional staffer.

If Frank asks other organizations for imput, that doesn't mean they are coordinating or collaborating with one another.

Marti Abernathey | March 7, 2008 7:22 PM

Rory...you're making an assumption that I never stated. Please don't put words in my mouth.

I never stated that Mara said anything close to what you say it implies. You think Donna Rose a liar? Or Joe?

For the record, I support Frank's hearings. This has nothing to do with the hearings and everything to do with United ENDA.

Now you're eating your own? Why am I not surprised? Anyone seen Tammy Baldwin lately? Is she in hiding in the Pissed Off A Transgender Protection Program?

Oh yes, printing other people's words is cannibalism, eh?

In writing, "HRC was lobbying for a non-inclusive ENDA" you, once again, misrepresent the facts. Lobbying for a bill that will pass at the present time that necessary-to-such-passage does not include transgenders is NOT the same as lobbying FOR not including transgenders any more than driving a two-door car that will run means you're anti four-door cars when the issue is simply that the four-door you have won't run until it's worked on.

Quite eloquent , as usual Michael. You mean they were lobbying for a transinclusive ENDA? That could be added in the Senate version, if you haven't taken a look at the legislative process... so your point's moot.

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 7:36 PM

Now you've lost me entirely and.....I don't care.

Which isn't to say I don't care about transgender equality, because I do. I just don't care about....

But I do gladly salute Rebecca [despite having frequently disagreed with her] for her wait-and-see attitude. Now if she can just keep from getting hit in the head by jerking knees.....

>"Rory...you're making an assumption that I never stated. Please don't put words in my mouth."

I'm trying to understand what you're saying, and have been asking for clarifications - apparently unsucessfully.

>"I never stated that Mara said anything close to what you say it implies. You think Donna Rose a liar? Or Joe?"

Now please don't put words in *my* mouth. Where in the world did you get that I was accusing anyone of anything? I really don't understand.

>"For the record, I support Frank's hearings."

So what's the problem with getting good witnesses for the hearing?

>"This has nothing to do with the hearings and everything to do with United ENDA."

How?

Marti, I respect you and your opinion but nothing here makes any sense.

"NCTE will not do anything that will rehabilitate HRC as a legitimate spokesman for transgender people ... until they stop actively hurting trans people'" stated by Mara Keisling on 1-24-2008

vs.

"HRC is taking the lead in these hearings in many ways." stated by Donna Rose in response to correspondence with Barney Frank from 3-5 2007. You do mean the 2007 BEFORE we were betrayed by HRC, correct?

This innuendo just doesn't make any sense. Try going back to the drawing board and writing something coherent. And if you are even dreaming about insinuating that Mara Keisling is somehow pandering to Barney Frank or HRC or in some way behaving cowardly you need to WAKE UP and apologize. BIG TIME. Keisling has repeatedly put herself into the pit with the DC vipers fighting for YOUR equality. Maybe you should do what Rebecca says, and wait until you know what is going on before you say anything else. Refrain from attacking leaders within our community until you can provide something conclusive and substantial. I hate it when Michael Bedwell is right. You are just making it easy for him.

If you READ what I wrote, you'd see that what I'm saying is UNITED ENDA IS DEAD.

Nothing more.

I'm not sure how printing HER WORDS are attacking. You're making about as much sense as Michael, as I've done nothing but lay out Mara's own words. Please explain how Mara works with HRC on the hearings, but still retains any kind of "United ENDA" movement? It makes no sense.

Anyone seen Tammy Baldwin lately? Is she in hiding in the Pissed Off A Transgender Protection Program?

Michael, I think raising the question of "eating your own" is a perfectly reasonable discussion to have. However, there are several things in the above statement that bother me, and I'm not sure that is your intention.

When I read that statement, it seems as if you are extrapolating one specific incident of a trans person criticizing a trans person into a justification of the "angry tranny" stereotype. Frankly, no matter how heated the rhetoric may get, I don't think anyone would require a program to protect themselves from trans people. Even as a joke the image of such a program is, well, disturbing. An angry and pissed off trans person is no more or less dangerous and no more or less common than an angry and pissed off non-trans person.

And it's not as if trans people are the only people who get pissed off and criticize each other. We could make jokes about a "Pissed off an Obama-maniac Protection Program" or a "Pissed off a Feminist Protection Program" or practically any group of people engaged in politic struggles. In most cases, it would be inappropriate hyperbole to make a jab like that.

So I'm left wondering how much you thought about all this. If you stop and think, and consider the concerns I'm bringing up, is that a statement that you really support?


(Oh, and as a sidenote, "a transgender" is commonly seen as an awkward and improper use of language. It's on the same level of "a gay." You know, as in "Are you a gay?" Usually it's not even worth mentioning, but in this case it makes an already frustrating statement feel just a tad more offensive)

Marti,

IMHO nothing stated indicates that United ENDA is dead. United Enda is a loose knit coalition of organizations that categorically support ONLY trans-inclusive language and legislation. They are all alive and healthy, and to my knowledge none have reversed their position on ENDA or trans-inclusion.

The hearings that you refer to were taking place - according to the time line you privided - before United Enda existed, in early 2007. Before we were betrayed by HRC.

As far as attacking Keisling, when you refer to her "many faces" and the death of United Enda in the same title, it apears to be an attack whether intentional or not. As does your reference or inference to Chamberlain.

Tobi, thank you for correcting Michael. I would recommend he read Donna Rose recent post on Bilerco concerning the issue. Our community is suffering from a lot of raw nerves. We have a right to that anger, but we do need to direct it in a more constructive fashion.

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 9:09 PM

Tobi: in simple semantic terms would, "Is she in hiding in the Pissed Off A Transgender PERSON Protection Program"? I'm sincerely not trying to make light of your terminology point.

However, I AM trying to make light of the histrionics and hyperbole of SOME transgender commentators which I have thought a great deal about. By focusing on the anger of some in this thread, one is not, of course, suggesting that ALL transgenders are angry all the time, though in a recent much belabored thread a couple suggested that was much the case. Note again the phrase used the singular grammatical "article" "a" not "Pissed Off Transgenders Protection Program."

While any extreme behavior is possible, I'm far more worried about the threat to intelligence, common sense, fairness, truth, and our combined movement for equality and justice some individuals present and perpetuate.

For example, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought ENDA United was about passing an inclusive bill in Congress not simply a Destroy HRC association.

[I would like to see HRC shrivel and die for other reasons, but that's beside the current point.]


Yeah, that would be the better way to say it. Personally, I like the truncated "trans person" myself.

Also, I understand the comment doesn't indict all trans people as angry, but I question the need to call it out as a trans character trait to begin with. If you're upset about the level of anger certain folks on this blog have, then maybe we should be joking about the need for a "Pissed off a Bilerico Commentor Protection Program."

Essentially, you seem to be implying that Marti is a pissed off trans person. But while calling out her trans identity, you link anger and trans-ness. Otherwise, why not talk about a "pissed off activist" or a "pissed off blogger." Any of those would be just as accurate and serve the purpose you want without playing to a commonly used anti-trans stereotype. We can talk about anger without making the issue be about trans anger.

As for United ENDA, I certainly agree that it's not designed as an anti-HRC coalition. I mean, it was formed before the HRC made public their perspective on ENDA. I don't think your perspective or intention is unreasonable. In fact I'd like to have a more detailed discussion about it at another time, but right now it's hard for me to focus on that.

Saying she has many faces, is some how attacking? That's a bit of stretch, isn't it? She certainly has had quite the evolution in her thinking about HRC. I'm not sure how describing that (or the fact that UE is dead) is a bad thing. Wasn't the point a unified community? By HRC taking the helm in these hearings, and NCTE participating, and suddenly it's a crime to point to the death of ENDA?

I am sorry, Marti. Either you are confused or I am. At this point, I don't even think that it matters. We are all on the same side. Be well...

Okay, correct me if I am wrong, but isn't HR 2015 The Inclusive bill filed by someone as a protest to the non-inclusive bill?

If so, then it looks like they are building support for a different bill in the house to try and pass later.

This is all pretty much a moot point anyway, since Bush has already said he would veto the bill once it hit his desk. It is what happens later, after Bush is finally out of the picture and his adimin is just an unhappy nightmare of the past, that really counts.

I for one will not be holding my breath on this issue.We shall see what comes out even money on a very watered down bill that may not include Transgender folks.

I always saw United ENDA as a temporary alliance that formed to fill a void in terms of a voice advocating for trans inclusion in ENDA. I believe the point was to make up for the lack of representation being exhibited by the classic players (Frank, HRC, Pelosi, etc.) rather than to create any type of replacement organization for HRC.

Most of the organizations that were part of United ENDA are not organized for national lobbying efforts. It takes focus from their primary (mostly local) missions to act on a national level like what happened late last year. I certainly welcomed and applauded the effort, but the long-term strategy has to be getting the groups who are organized to lobby at the national level back on track.

If that is happening, then I don't see it as the death of United ENDA so much as United ENDA having fulfilled its temporary purpose and its member organizations getting back to business as usual.

diddlygrl -

HR 2015 was the original trans-inclusive version that was taken off the table in September of 2007 and replaced with HR 3685, the sexual orientation only version.

I think that's where the confusion is...why is HRC lobbying for a bill that never made it out of committee?

I can see why people maybe confused with what Marti posted, but I was able to follow it easily. I know why. Both Marti and I have been so deeply involved in the events that to us, this is just a review. Those who haven been involved all along, then it can be confusing. Sorry if I can't be any more helpful.

I want an inclusive ENDA. I want to see effeminate gay men, gender queers, butch Lesbians, and trans-people all included.

I am willing to wait for a few years for everyone to have these basic human rights at the same time, because it will be decades for those left behind otherwise, decades i which the bigots and haters will exploit every weakness in the current bill, and there are many.

In the late 1860's, black men and white abolitionist women lobbied at the same time for the right to vote. It was offered only to black men in the end, and the women who had worked hard for abolition aked them to wait, to work together for inclusion. Instead, incrementalism triumphed and it was 70 years til women got the vote

It has been nearly twenty years since the G/L community got ENDA-like protections in Massachusetts; they are finally coming back for the Trans.

Tis the Trans have workplace prtections, they will be subject to poverty, homelessness, be forced into prostitution to survive which will continue their horrendous HIV rate.

They are being murdered at an epidemic-like rate. Leaving them behind, telling the haters that we don't care will feed the fires of bigotry against them.

I cannot live with blood on my hands, perhaps others can.

We go forward---Together!

diddlygrl | March 8, 2008 3:39 AM

I think for the most part, it is over until after the election. No matter what version gets passed, it is going to be vetoed. There will be no movement forward until after the present administration is gone.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 8, 2008 3:56 AM

This is like the situation we faced during the Clinton years when he pledged to lift the military ban. Later, when pollsters warned him that it wasn’t popular he had to be rushed into surgery for an emergency spinectomy and we ended up with a bigot inspired law called DADT in return for our votes. In September of ’96, with the White House and Congress up for grabs in just two weeks Clinton anxiously rushed to sign DOMA after its overwhelming passage by 85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House. The Democrats immediately began running ads featuring a proud Clinton boasting about signing DOMA on bigoted religious radio stations. This produced howls of anger from the GLBT communities. It was even too much for HRC!

The anger over DOMA, following on the heel of disaffection because of DADT and very widespread hostility among unionized working people to NAFTA, welfare cuts and deregulation forced Clinton to back down. The ads were stopped and the Democrats made assurances that they loved us after all, in spite of DADT and DOMA, and demanded our votes and money.

This time around, after controlling Congress for two years they haven’t lifted a finger to repeal DOMA and DADT. On top of that they gutted ENDA and toss it and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill in the trash basket to distance themselves from us. That and the steady drumbeat of hatred and bigotry from christians and most Republicans contributed greatly to the election year climate of bigotry and violence. The rash of murders in February is the direct result.

Stunned by the massive, militant GLBT reaction against them the Democrats are again reassuring us that they love us after all and again demand our votes and money. And if pollsters say it’s expedient they may revisit ENDA or the hate crimes bill, but if not they won’t.

In any case remember that a Republican candidate is a loud-mouthed over the hill baboon in a people suit with a theocratic christian attached at the hip. A Democratic candidate is a Republican in drag.

Also, I understand the comment doesn't indict all trans people as angry, but I question the need to call it out as a trans character trait to begin with. If you're upset about the level of anger certain folks on this blog have, then maybe we should be joking about the need for a "Pissed off a Bilerico Commentor Protection Program."

If you're in need of such a program, and you're a hot boi, you'll be relocated to St. Etienne, France. Otherwise, we'll send you a glasses-nose-moustache at your expense.

"...the trangender community can trust Mara Keisling to do the right thing."

With just a minor amount of editing, this sentiment would be exquisite. It needs a " 't "added somewhere.

Those who can be honest with themselves know exactly where.

Michael Bedwell | March 8, 2008 1:44 PM

Pat, I'd like to buy an "H."

Habitual

Hamhanded

Hackneyed

Hyberbolic

Histrionic

Hysterical

A-historical

Half-cocked

Humbug

Hennessey

marti.abernathey | March 8, 2008 2:03 PM

Two words to you Michael Bedwell.

Irony

and

Mirror.

My apologies for my committment to human equality, Michael. I forgot that entitled men speak for all of us. Of course you know what is best for transsexuals, as well as for Lesbians like me.
Not seen and not heard.

Which is exactly where a stripped down ENDA would leave so many.

Michael,

You're a * and a **.

Kat


Footnotes

* TOS-able insult of your choice.

** Some other TOS-able insult of your choice.

Kat, perhaps you could explain your opinion? Or are you just attempting to be witty? Keisling represents our community - in entirety - with credibility, dignity, and grace. She is probably one of the best public speakers I have ever heard. I would put her up against anyone in an open debate concerning LGBT issues - including Clinton or Obama or Barney Frank. She would destroy Solomnese, but he wasn't even a challenge to Stephen Cobert. One thing I will assure you, she would not stoop to innuendo to argue her position. Or try to be cute in the absence of actually making a comment. She is totally committed to gaining support for full trans equality, and does more than blog about it. She is on "the Hill" arguing for our rights on a consistent basis. Unless you are committed to doing the same, I would suggest that you just thank her for her efforts. Be well...

Jeri,
You may trust Mara Keisling to do the transgender community's business, but the people who've been burned by her over the years or are concerned about NCTE's uncomfortably close links with an organization that has a decade long history of screwing us (HRC) don't.

Monica,

Considering that NCTE was founded in 2003, there aren't very many years available for Keisling to screw over anybody. If she has, it should be fresh in someone's mind. She has been the trans communities sole voice on the hill since that time. Unless of course, there are other organizations of which I am unaware that are consistently focused solely in pushing our legislators for transgender rights and equality. Keisling was the driving and unifying force in creating United Enda. Her personal alliances with PFLAG,NLGTF, and HRC (before their betrayal)and her relationships with our legislators were tremendous assetts. Frankly, I have never heard of ONE SINGLE INSTANCE where Keisling has burned anyone in our community. If you can make a specific reference, I will be more than happy to discuss the issue. Presently, I am ignorant concerning any such instance.

"Keisling represents our community"

Show me the plebiscite by which she can make a claim to represent anyone's interests other than those of herself and those who conveniently fund her.

Kat,

Is a referendum necessary for NCTE to serve as a presence in Washington to lobby for legislation that is inclusive in representing equality for the transgender community?

May I ask how Keisling is solely representing her own interests or the interests of those who fund her? Please be specific.

NCTE is a 501-c-3 not for profit. The funding is public information, as well as the budgetary expenses. Feel free to dissect it and comment accordingly.

Before you do, you should know that NCTE is not HRC. Expenses are minimal. Dollar for dollar, it is an extremely efficient organization. NCTE does not own an office building, and doesn't have chapters all over the Nation to support funding. They are provided with some shared office space by the NLGTF. There are 4 paid staff members. None are paid exorbitant salaries. Almost certainly, their annual income would increase were they to seek employment in private industry. The NCTE staff works tirelessly on behalf of the transgender community. Does that include you? And as far as I know, Keisling has made no claim to serving as a "leader" of our community. She is an extremely modest woman. When I stated that she represents our community, it was my personal observation in regards to her efforts. Perhaps you could be more specific or constructive in your criticisms?

Well, well, well. Here again we are having at it because someone doesn't do things with which we agree 100 %. Okay. That's fine.

But while some of whine and complain about how bad things are, Mara is working very hard on behalf of the gender variant community. I personally know that.

No. She is not a perfect person, and she doesn't do things perfectly all of the time, but by golly, she is doing something. How true is that for people for the people so eager and willing to criticise her?

Here is another fine example of the deep divisions within the gender variant community.
We'll never get anywhere to gain public acceptance or put an end to the violence if we keep shooting ourselves in the foot.

We don't have to agree with everything, but we do have common goals. If we get together and work for them without hurting others who are working for the same goals, I believe we will get farther faster. That's the starting point here: What are our goals? Once those are identified we can move on from there. Discussion of the methods of reaching those goals can come later.

JerinDC... The reason you don't understand what I'm saying is that you're what's referred to by most as a lackey. No one is 100 perfect, and your absolute demagoguery of Mara gives you zero creditability when discussing this. If you want a review of who she's screwed over, you only need go read transpolitical.blogspot.com or Monica Robert's blog, for a little history.

She is NOT "on the Hill" arguing for our rights on a consistent basis, simply based on the fact that NCTE IS a 501 C3. Even with the 501(h) election, NCTE is limited in the amount of lobbying it can do. Either you're trying to puff up NCTE, or you don't know what you're talking about.

Regardless, this post wasn't about the goodness or badness of Mara Keisling or the role of NCTE, but the death of United ENDA. It makes no sense to me how you can on the one hand work with HRC (because they ARE heading these hearings) while on the other end say that United ENDA is alive and well. Like it or not, these hearings will put HRC back on the mantle as the leader in speaking for transgender people.

Marti,

Pathetic. Now, i am a lackey? Referred to by whom? The Ku Klux Klan? Demagoguery? Credibility? and I should refer to another BLOG to gain insight?

I addressed specific questions to Monica Roberts in this blog. She has not yet replied. I am more than certain that she is entirely capable of expressing her own opinion.

I am going to repeat to you - for the last time - that the "hearings" you are referring to (at least in this post) took place before HRC betrayed us in September 2007. While HRC was supposedly still working on our behalf. While HRC still had support from our community. And while HRC was still considered THE organization to approach members of Congress, and permiited regular access to their offices.

I owe allegiance to NO ONE. I defend Keisling because ahe supports our rights. i would defend you for the same reason. I will NOT, however, defend or tolerate specious attacks on members of our community who are sweating their blood for our defense. And shame on any of you for being part of it. Shame.

My name is Jeri Hughes. I live in DC. I am easy to find. Kindly look me up on your next visit to our Nation's capital. If any of you who would refer to me as a lackey feel so inclined, please do so to my face. Please. Por favor.

Marti Abernathey | March 9, 2008 2:47 PM

Pathetic. Now, i am a lackey? Referred to by whom? The Ku Klux Klan? Demagoguery? Credibility? and I should refer to another BLOG to gain insight?

How are you not? I'm referring to you as such. It's been quite obvious from the bloviating responses that either you have no knowledge of past history or you're a sycophant.

I addressed specific questions to Monica Roberts in this blog. She has not yet replied. I am more than certain that she is entirely capable of expressing her own opinion.

Your response here is childish and misses the point. There is history and Mara ain't the snow princess you portray her to be.

I am going to repeat to you - for the last time - that the "hearings" you are referring to (at least in this post) took place before HRC betrayed us in September 2007. While HRC was supposedly still working on our behalf. While HRC still had support from our community. And while HRC was still considered THE organization to approach members of Congress, and permiited regular access to their offices.

This shows how OUT OF THE LOOP you are. Please pay attention. THERE ARE HEARINGS UPCOMING. NCTE is participating and HRC is LEADING the hearings.

I owe allegiance to NO ONE. I defend Keisling because ahe supports our rights. i would defend you for the same reason. I will NOT, however, defend or tolerate specious attacks on members of our community who are sweating their blood for our defense. And shame on any of you for being part of it. Shame.

Because you are the defender of the trans community? Sweating blood? Please. Mara gets paid. NCTE is a corporation that she runs. She ain't doing this out of the kindness and piety of her heart. She's done some positive things for the community, but painting her as the patron saint of transgender people is pure fiction.

My name is Jeri Hughes. I live in DC. I am easy to find. Kindly look me up on your next visit to our Nation's capital. If any of you who would refer to me as a lackey feel so inclined, please do so to my face. Please. Por favor.

Was that bravado? Jeri Hughes, I'm not sure why you're so angry. Even Mara's closest friends wouldn't pour the adulation upon her that you have. Up next... beatification and veneration.

Marti,

I am glad that you finally worked up the courage to make a statement on your own behalf, rather than using the term "lackey" as a reference made by others. It shows me that you are growing a pair. Good for you. Cowards are so....Pathetic.

I did not at any time represent Keisling as a "snow princess", nor did I make a "childish response". Monica Roberts is perfectly capable of making her own comments. And with her, I am certain she will speak openly. She won't make statements like "referred to by others."

You know how to write, so I find it difficult to understand why you would pretend to be so ignorant that you can not read what you have written. In no place on your post do you refer to "upcoming hearings". You solely refer to the hearings held in early 2007. In 2008, your only reference to Keisling states that she supports HR 2015, the trans inclusive version of ENDA. And that she does not support HRC. Kindly read what you wrote. If you have information concerning new hearings, kindly make it public. Don't leave poor ignorant trans women like myself out of the loop. Dear.

"Mara gets paid." Do I sense resentment? Perhaps you provide all of your services for free? Or, just perhaps, you "get paid" too. Don't worry, I won't criticize you. I can appreciate you have to pay your bills and make a living. It is common decency to provide that consideration. As far as patron saints, I am not religious. Religion has caused too much harm.

Bravado? No, just a challenge to cowards who would call me names anonymously. Name calling irritates me. That wasn't really bravado. Cowards are never much of a real problem face to face. And I don't feel adulation for Keisling, but I do respect the work she has done on behalf of our community. If her accomplishments are so easily duplicated, please feel free to start your own organization and surpass her efforts. It would be highly appreciated. I think, anyway. Then again, who knows? Some covetous ne’er do well might criticize you without any real substance.

JerinDC,
I'm a person in the middle. On both sides of this discussion are my friends. Mara is not perfect and she will be the first to admit it. She will also admit she has made mistakes. It's kind-a like a requirement for being a human being. (Duh)

On the other side are people who have experienced some of Mara's "mistakes" first hand, but they will never see them as mistakes. There are always at least two sides to every story. In the transgender community, there are always far more than two. Remember that.

Transgender people have memories longer than elephants and some cannot let go of hate, or forgive. I cannot tell my friends to forgive Mara. The only thing I can do is to be vigilant when working with any other leaders in the transgender community, including every one who writes on this blog. It is not a good idea to put anyone on a pedestal, especially transgender community leaders. None of us deserve it.

Monica H,

I am not, and have no intention, of providing anyone with a pedestal. If Kiesling has made a mistake(s), please provide the specific instance(s). For the purpose of this blog, I have yet to see anyone provide anything of substance. Simple.

I respect you, And many others who contribute to the BP, even when I don't agree with you one hundred percent. For the most part, even when I do disagree I can appreciate an opposing opinion. Frankly, I detest innuenda and name calling. And bickering. And it appears that is where this particular thread is heading. In the spirit of good will, I will make no further comments on this thread. It will be interesting to see who will take advantage of my silence. If someone speaks on my behalf, it won't be me.

I am glad that you finally worked up the courage to make a statement on your own behalf, rather than using the term "lackey" as a reference made by others. It shows me that you are growing a pair. Good for you. Cowards are so....Pathetic.

Worked up the courage? Pfft. Seriously, who the hell are you?

I did not at any time represent Keisling as a "snow princess", nor did I make a "childish response". Monica Roberts is perfectly capable of
making her own comments. And with her, I am certain she will speak openly. She won't make statements like "referred to by others."

It's the epitome of childishness! You're making statements that are put down with even a mild google search. You can read her posts, or Vanessa's for that matter. But you don't, because that wouldn't fit into your narrative.

You know how to write, so I find it difficult to understand why you would pretend to be so ignorant that you can not read what you have written. In no place on your post do you refer to "upcoming hearings". You solely refer to the hearings held in early 2007.

False. Please READ what I wrote. I quoted Donna's blog from the FIFTH of this month. She said:

During our conversation today HRC came up several times. Joe (Racalto, Barney Frank's senior policy adviser) went out of his way to assure me that HRC is taking the lead in these hearings in many ways. As far as our community is concerned I'll take his word for it and let it all unfold...

If you need a lesson in reading comprehension, "is" is present tense, not past. So in the context of the post, it should be obvious to anyone who knows what the tense of the word "is", should be able to understand that I wasn't talking about the past. I dated everything in this post for CONTEXT.

In 2008, your only reference to Keisling states that she supports HR 2015, the trans inclusive version of ENDA. And that she does not support HRC. Kindly read what you wrote. If you have information concerning new hearings, kindly make it public. Don't leave poor ignorant trans women like
myself out of the loop.

I assume that my readers have basic reading comprehension and grammar skills to understand what I'm writing by the words that are used.

"Mara gets paid." Do I sense resentment? Perhaps you provide all of your services for free? Or, just perhaps, you "get paid" too. Don't worry, I won't criticize you. I can appreciate you have to pay your bills and make a living. It is common decency to provide that consideration. As far as patron saints, I am not religious. Religion has caused too much harm.

I beg to differ. Religion is based on faith, and your blind faith is obvious.

As far as resentment, please... I work 2 days a week and make close to what Mara does working 5. I do what I do out of a sense of need. I don't want to do what I do, but I do it because no one else is. I have no problem with Mara making a living, by running a corporation. But when you make statements that relegate her to sainthood (that she's giving her own blood! Nailed to a cross, maybe?), it's a bit much. The reason for your violent response is obvious. It's hard to admit that you're a lackey, but any objective look at your comments in this post PROVE IT.

Bravado? No, just a challenge to cowards who would call me names anonymously. Name calling irritates me. That wasn't really bravado. Cowards are never much of a real problem face to face. And I don't feel adulation for Keisling, but I do respect the work she has done on behalf of our community. If her accomplishments are so easily duplicated, please feel free to start your own organization and surpass her efforts. It would be highly appreciated. I think, anyway. Then again, who knows? Some covetous ne?er do well might criticize you without any real substance.

LOL, I think someone just did.

I'm one of the most open transgender people out there. I'm not sure how that's anonymous. And honestly, because I don't broadcast my accomplishments for the transcommunity, doesn't mean they don't exist. I'm not here for your kudos or affection.

Get back to me when you're up to speed.

I'm a person in the middle. On both sides of this discussion are my friends. Mara is not perfect and she will be the first to admit it. She will also admit she has made mistakes. It's kind-a like a requirement for being a human being. (Duh)

This was my point to Jeri, and the main reason I called her a lackey. In her comments, there is no room for critical analysis. Only pure adulation.

Transgender people have memories longer than elephants and some cannot let go of hate, or forgive. I cannot tell my friends to forgive Mara. The only thing I can do is to be vigilant when working with any other
leaders in the transgender community, including every one who writes on this blog. It is not a good idea to put anyone on a pedestal, especially transgender community leaders. None of us deserve it.

Agreed. One thing though, I'd ask anyone a question when saying that I've attacked Mara. Please point to ONE example in the post where I've attacked Mara (My commentary only takes up one paragraph in the entire post!). I simply showed an evolution of her thinking about HRC, and posted about the upcoming hearings. Regardless of what you think about Mara, the fact that NCTE is taking part in the hearings that HRC is LEADING, is a sign that the United ENDA coalition is dead. That was my only comment.

The fact that others have taken the position that I'm attacking Mara is chilling. When it means that any critical analysis of the current conditions is an attack on Mara, that is a very scary time in deed.

Jeri is right about one thing...and I do apologize. The date was wrong above.

jerindc,
I'm not sure you have heard of this brand new feature on the Internet that allows you to find things. They call it "Google." If you go to www.google.com, you will have access to finding all the proof you need. You were told where to look to find the proof you keep insisting you want. If you missed it, reread the comments directed to you. Marti or Monica R. don't spoon-feed people because those people don't want to take the time to do the research.

bill perdue | March 9, 2008 11:39 PM

UnitedENDA isn,t important because of this or that individual, and it’s certainly not ‘dead’ because someone plays footsie with the Democrats. Their gutting of ENDA, like their reactions to the hate crimes bill, DADT and DOMA were part of a worried Democratic effort to distance themselves from us at the urging of the Clintons and Obama.

If their pollsters and astrologers tell them they need us the Democrats will again make gestures in our direction, and some people will fall for it.

But that hardly means that UnitedENDA is dead. The only critical thing we have to remember about UnitedENDA is that it’s an overwhelmingly militant and massive rejection of the latest round of backstabbing by Clinton, Frank, Pelosi, Feinstein, Reid and Obama. It’s not our Declaration of Independence but it is the GLBT Boston Tea Party. UnitedENDA is not a group or an individual; it’s the first roar of a new found militancy that will be heard against as soon as they start stabbing us after the elections.

Julia DeGrace | March 10, 2008 10:56 AM

Marti,

Damn it all. We need to move FORWARD as a community and not go on attacking one another. We have enough people out there who will be attacking us soon enough. Forces are massing to prevent passage of even this watered down ENDA in the Senate. There IS going to be another fight for us and it is coming soon.

Yes, I was extreemly hurt for being stripped out of ENDA last November. I argued with Marty Rouse about it at an HRC dinner. I later told Joe Solmenese during a conference call that sincere apologies and believable explainations were needed. I have been waiting to see positive actions working toward our healing. In some areas I've seen them and in other areas I have not.

The major thing we all have to do right now is to educate the public that we are just a natural diversity of the human race, and no threat to the safety and morals of women and children. We all need to do that in whatever ways we can. Some of us can reach the hearts of vast audiences; others can reach only one person at a time. Every person we can reach to explain who we are and why we are will help. Let's put our energies to that task instead of wasting them on analyzing where a blame might lie. Let's stop giving our enemies fuel to demonstrate that we as a community don't even know what we ourselves want.

I support Mara all the way and I am grateful for all she has done. Everyone I know in our San Antonio transgender community supports her. Personally, I would have a hard time putting up with all the abuse she has taken lately for trying to do the most difficult of jobs and doing it on a shoestring budget to boot.

Last week I learned that Barney Frank sent a POSITIVE statement to the Massachusetts Legislature supporting a bill that will help transgender persons. That is a positive demonstration of intent. I also talked personally to Joe Racalto in Barney Frank's office. I came away from a most cordial telephone call with a better knowledge of what is going on. I suggest that everyone else call Joe to talk about ENDA as he has asked us to do. Let the anger go.

Julia,
I'm not sure where you're getting that I'm attacking Mara by pointing out her statements, and then pointing out that HRC is leading the upcoming hearings, and that NCTE is taking part in these HRC lead hearings. If you read what I've written, only a paragraph is my writing. The rest are quotes.

I didn't say that it was good or bad. The anger that I've had towards those that have attacked me for simply doing so.

OK, folks, lets all take a deep breath, and step back for just a moment.

What some folks are doing on this thread is creating an environment where people will be afraid to step forward and try and do a damned thing for the T community. Why should they if everything they do is criticized.

I think we need to forget the past if we are all to have a better future.

Someone will do as I just did, and read the entire thread of these comments. This does not
paint a very pretty picture of our community.

Frankly, I'm ashamed. I'm out of here for a while until people can calm down a bit.

Mara Kiesling deserves respect and admiration from every person in the LGBT community. Why do you think a T-inclusive hate crimes and ENDA were even INTRODUCED in the first place??? Because Mara played an absolutely indispensable role in convincing HRC and Barney to introduce these bills. No trans advocate in the U.S. has spent more time walking the halls of Congress collecting support. Of course she has to play nice with Barney -- he's the lead sponsor of the bill, after all! Mara walks a fine line just like everyone in D.C. But unlike HRC and others, every time the integrity and dignity of the trans community is truly on the line, Mara does the right thing. She deserves our respect and DONATIONS!!

The demonization of the HRC over ENDA is ridiculous, naive and unnecessarily divisive.

Politics is politics.

Politics is dirty---there is rarely honor, integrity, nobility or to-the-T principles involved in political dealings even though these may be the impulses driving political action.

I think HRC is taking the long view. Ever play chess? If you haven't then you better learn it because it teaches a political sensibility very quickly....that is: it teaches you to plan many moves ahead and make compromises that may hurt right then, but which will eventually put you in a better spot to win.

Politics is war and you don't win every battle flying a banner that reads: integrity, honor, justice, principles...unfortunately this is because we are dealing with people.

I, for one, look at HRC as being politically savvy by making that (horrid) compromise...and I have no doubt that my interests as a gender variant individual were not scuttled...only parked for the moment while the plan is recouped and strategies are reorganized/rethought.

I also don't understand why so many t-folk are taking this personally....the political is the personal, certainly, but it is not as though HRC has on its agenda to deliberately sabotage the trans community.

I also don't understand why so many t-folk are taking this personally....the political is the personal, certainly, but it is not as though HRC has on its agenda to deliberately sabotage the trans community.

First of all, writing GI out of ENDA isn't about transgender people, but ANYONE gender variant. Under 3685, if you're gay you would be protected. But anyone that is gender variant, INCLUDING FEMININE MEN OR MASCULINE WOMEN OF ANY SEXUAL ORIENTATION, wouldn't be covered if they were discriminated because of their gender identity.

Secondly, my biggest beef is that I personally know that HRC had wavered in May about opposing ENDA if it didn't include gender identity. Then Joe went down to Atlanta and made this statement. If you don't think that wasn't purposeful, then I have some land to sell you in Florida. They miscalculated. They thought that most of the GLB community wouldn't care that they would so easily drop gender identity. They were wrong.

There's a huge difference between Barney Frank, who made a political decision, and Joe Solmonese, who made a unethical miscalculation.

Transgender people aren't as politically naive as you think.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 27, 2008 1:03 AM

The HRC and Barney Frank, irrespective of their maneuvering, made the same decision about ENDA and related parts of our equality agenda. They did it for the same reason that Clinton, breaking the promises he made to get elected, boasted about his support for bigoted laws like DOMA in 1996. Their goal, then as now was to eliminate the possibility of the Republicans using us or any part of our agenda as a wedge issue.

Historically it’s been the Dixiecrat Clintons who’ve led the attack on us in the Democratic Party. In 1996 they rammed DOMA through Congress and in the final few weeks before he was up for reelection Bill Clinton hustled over to ultraright religious broadcasters like Pat Robertson Jerry Falwell and paid for campaign ads boasting about his role in passing and signing DOMA. During the 2004 election campaign he counseled Kerry to support state DOMA laws. To this day he maintains that same sex marriage is the ‘kiss of death’ for Democrats.

Hillary Clinton’s superstitious religious opposition to samesex marriage carries over into her antagonism to outright repeal of DOMA. True to her Dixiecrat/Goldwater heritage Hillary Clinton mimics George Wallace and says it a ‘states right’ issue. (The fraudulent Democratic Party doctrine of ‘states rights’ dates back to 1860 when it was used as a excuse for secession, treason and to protect slavery.) Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Barney Frank and her lapdogs in the HRC led the divisive fight to trash ENDA and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill last December so they couldn’t be used as ‘wedge’ issues. At the same time Dianne Feinstein led the successful campaign to get Democrats to vote for the appointment of gaybashing Bush nominees to the federal circuit court and as US Attorney General.

This pattern explains the unfolding story of homophobia in the DNC by people like Brazile and Daughtry, the continued mulish opposition of Clinton and Obama to same sex marriage and their pandering to bigots, the decision of the Democratic majority in Congress to dump ENDA and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill and the blatant racism and muslim baiting of the Clinton campaign. They’re proof that the Democratic Party is a cesspool of bigotry and that far from being able to transform American society it mirrors and perpetuates the ugliest traits of American society.

Thanks for your reply. I'd like to respond:

1.) I'm not even going near your first comment because it goes without saying.

2.) I didn't say that the trans community is politically naive--I said it's politically naive to conflate Joe Whats-is-name with HRC. Boycotting HRC for his lack of commitment is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

HRC is a tool--the person who happens to be at its helm at any point in time is not the soul, heart and essence of HRC, but a face/talking head. Sometimes duds get into critical positions of power---the US seems to be in a crisis of low-grade leadership in influential positions lately, it feels like (witness the debacle and farce of "democracy" as manifested in the White House).

3.) So what happened? Why'd this guy waffle? What's going on after he so publicly avowed commitment to making ENDA inclusive...it's not because he has a personal beef with the trans community; possible scenarios include: if anything, it probably has more to do with his lack of strength and will and he choked/buckled under pressure. That's not HRC, thats Joe Whats-is-face...it's not a flaw in HRC, but a flaw in Joe Buster's character and integrity.

Political wheeling and dealing...the guy probably felt/thought he had to make a hell of a compromise and made that compromise. Unfortunately (and this is what is wrong with hierarchical systems of organization) he had the power to make that compromise, which he should not have had in the first place. That's a systems issue.

4.) If you had personal knowledge that HRC was getting flaky, why didn't you disclose it so that the trans community could have organized a pre-emptive pressure protest?

It just irks me when people get so rattled that they demonize an organization that has done a lot and will continue to do a lot. Yeah, it's upsetting, but that's life. You take your hits and you keep planning, organizing and revisiting the drawing board, you don't burn the drawing board.