Bil Browning

Possible meeting between HRC and trans activists

Filed By Bil Browning | July 31, 2008 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ENDA, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, negotiations, peace treaties, transgender

The comments on my recent post about the HRC dinner dust-up have gotten off-topic with discussion of a possible meeting between HRC staffers and some transgender representatives. I thought I'd open up this post to be a thread about the idea so we're not hijacking another post's topic. In order to make the discussion as productive as possible, please read the comments on the other post to catch up with everything that's been said already.


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I guess I'll start this off. Cathryn made a statement that caught my interest and I would like her to restate what she said to go in this string and then elaborate. My further comments may depend on her approach. Thanks.

I just can't resist jumping in on that. Don't be passive agressive, Monica. Your further comments depend on yourself - not someone else. Take possession of your own experiences and claim your actions. It'll keep arguments down and move conversation forward.

That's true for all of us. Since the last comment thread was a little rowdy, I'm willing to go lighthanded on the TOS, but I want to establish the ground rule that this thread isn't meant as a "You did this to me so I'm gonna..." or a "You said XX 20 years ago" or place for debating bathroom politics.

Let's stay on topic, walk through the issue together and express ourselves clearly while leaving all overt hostility at the door. It's good manners; let's act like ladies and gentlemen. Dana is offering to walk a line of fire to do this. The least we can do is not throw gasoline.

I will repeat, for the sake of clarity:

I will be willing to attend this function.

I will not be willing to do so during SCC.

Bil,
I cannot agree more. I still would like to hear what Cathryn has in mind. We may hardly ever agree, but I will never deny the fact that she is brilliant.

But, that said, I would like to do a little review for the audience out there just to ensure that everyone knows where this is coming from and why Bil figured it was worthy of a seperate post.

A few months back, Polar made a comment that HRC would do themselves a lot of good if they were to set up a meeting with their harshest critics in the transgender community. She listed some names, and I was on her list. I said I would consider it, and Dana contacted me to try and set this up.

(Even though Polar said she shouldn't be at this meeting, I think she would be one of the best people to attend. I've had the pleasure of lobbying with Polar and I am always impressed on her ability to grasp things some of us usually miss.)

Kat was on Polar's list and she has already stated she would be there. She has raked HRC over the coals more times than many of us put together and also has a brillant mind.

So, Dana and I continued to talk and then things went quiet, until recently. Alot of the communications took place on the other string. HRC wants to put on several restrictions to this, limiting the numbers and limiting outside scrutiney.

I stated that it would be unfair to have any trans HRC supporters at this meeting because it would filter Joe's participation and it would pit trans against trans, diverting the dicussion away from HRC and them answering our questions. Plus, if there is a numbers restriction and most are their supporters, then that would also be unfair. It makes no sense to attend a meeting where we don't have the numbers and we we have our questions filtered by other trans people.

This is the empass we have reached. They want to stack the deck and we are suppose to be satisfied with them starting off with the advantage. They have had the advantage for 2 decades and we get table scraps. We have sat at the children's table long enough. I was told once that if someone doesn't want you at their table, you just sit down. Well, this is our version of taking our place at the table.

So, as Sherlock Holmes once said, "The game is afoot."

The other day I was listening to a "Fresh Interview" with an author of book on Cold War politics and I think there's a number of lessons to be learned from that. For example, there was an on-going tension between some conservatives, whose POV was that the Soviet Union was inherently evil, so any negotiations with them were pointless (Barry Goldwater even opposed negotiations during the Cuban Missile Crisis!); vs. other conservatives who thought that while the Soviets were untrustworthy adversaries with goals that differed and even conflicted with ours, engagement still made sense, as well as negotiations in areas where there were shared interests.

Likewise, American diplomacy has had a weakness in assuming that one is either fighting or talking, whereas other countries have no problem with simultaneously fighting and talking at the same time.

What does this have to do with HRC and a possible meeting? I don't think HRC is an axis of evil, though I do think they've got their own agenda and proven that they've broken their promises. Nonetheless, I think is still makes sense to engage them.

The meeting is a bit of a no-win situation. Refusing to meet only plays into HRC's hand because they can say that they tried to bridge things and the trans communities refused. OTOH, going into a meeting with a stacked deck isn't ideal either.

But given the Hobson's choice, the former is the worse outcome. If trans leaders do meet with HRC they can make the list of attendees an issue, i.e. meeting with friendlies isn't exactly getting feedback from the people who are pissed off. They can also make clear that any discussions will be on the record and they will share publicly what's discussed.

I also think it's perfectly reasonable for trans activists to demand moving the date of the meeting -- after all we wouldn't expect Joe and company to meet during one of their fundraising dinners. If HRC refuses, then raise hell about that. Frankly, flexibility about the date is no different that the sort of "trust building" over minor points that's a routine step in many difficult negotiation settings. I.e. if HRC isn't willing move the date out of respect to the trans community, then that casts into doubt sincerity of the whole meeting itself.

As far as any promises HRC might make this meeting, I'll refer to one of the few points where I agree with Ronald Reagan: "trust but verify." I.e. hold HRC's feet to the fire to provide detailed criteria about how they plan to fulfill those promises -- criteria that is specific enough that they can be held accountable. (FWIW, I think it's only fair for HRC to ask the same of the trans communities.)

On a related note, we shouldn't demonize people who choose to attend this meeting, nor folks like Diego Sanchez who cross the picket lines to address HRC events, merely for doing so. Diplomacy means meeting with your enemies as well as your friends. Talking to one's enemies may not convince them to change their positions, but not talking to them is almost certain to fail to do so. That said, we can certainly hold these individuals accountable for the positions they espouse. If we don't feel like they're representing our POV, we should let them and others know.

None of this precludes the trans communities from also continuing to urge boycotts of HRC's fundraisers etc. until HRC's actions demonstrate that they've changed in ways that are satisfactory. But as part of that, I think it's important for trans activists not just say "don't support HRC" but also to provide alternatives. For example, there's been some criticism about the SF protest hurting fundraising efforts to fight Prop. 8. Which could be easily be countered by pointing out where else people could donate money that they would've otherwise given at the dinner.

We also need to be able to present a clear, concise story to the vast majority of LGB people who aren't familiar with the ENDA debacle. As well as why gender identity/expression affects everyone, not just trans people. When I've done so, I've generally found people understand why we're pissed off and are supportive. Likewise, being about to provide the 60-second education about how T people have been involved in LGBT activism for decades. My quickest version of that is pointing out that CA gays and lesbians are enjoying marriage equality thanks to the efforts of trans man Shannon Minter, the lead attorney in the case -- and what if he'd decided not to get involved because of the LG (OK mostly gay men) activists who argue T issues have nothing to do with LGB issues?

(FWIW, I think there's also a story to be presented about how HRC's attitude and actions on ENDA are reflective of similar issues with the larger LGB communities, i.e. their treatment of local LGBT organizations, their focus on presenting LGB people as "virtually normal" and shying away from LGB people who aren't straight-acting, etc. Again, it's a matter of making people realize our fight has things in common as their fight.)

The fact of the matter is that the PR war does matter. HRC has proven itself to be pretty inept at it -- at least among those who know the full story -- we don't want to be equally inept.

This meeting needs to take place. Six on each side does indeed make for manageable and productive discussions. Right now the trans community needs this meeting more than HRC does, by offering they put the ball in your court. There are elements of the lesbian and gay communities that are losing patience. How you handle this is of vital importance right now to maintaining some input into the future events and standing with the greater LGB communities. Be careful to send people who's buttons are not easily pushed.

First, everyone involved knows the complaints of the other side so any time and energy spent finger pointing is going to be counterproductive. What is required is a clear set of realistic objectives for both sides and a willingness to compromise on both sides. A joint press conference afterwards with photo op would be a grand idea.

Cathryn;
A very sound set of suggestions. Well done. From the standpoint of a Lesbian activist this would be an outstanding show of good faith and desire to work as a community on the part of the trans-activists.

Hummmm. Okay, Cathryn. These are important things to consider. Very good suggestions. Now, how will Dana respond.

Cathryn, I have a question. Many feel that to move forward, a public apoplgy from Joe would "grease the wheels" on something like this. Do you agree?

Joe is willing to have this meeting, asking him to lose face with the ambivalent portions of the lesbian and gay communities towards the trans communities would weaken his standing at the very point you need it to be unfettered.

John R. Selig | July 31, 2008 7:25 PM

I think it is a good idea that the HRC meet with the transgender community. The HRC is an important organization serving lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. We need to get beyond this.

However, the HRC, which should be a lead organization, was out of step with the rest of our community. Personally, I have been extremely underwhelmed by Joe Solmonese's poor leadership and abysmal handling of this issue. For virtually all of the LGBT organizations on a national and local level to agree that only the inclusive ENDA was acceptable and HRC to be out of step shows how out of touch Solomese has been with the rest of the movement. I realize that Joe answers to a board but a stronger executive director would have pointed out how the community has felt about this issue and that the HRC shouldn't be out of step with the movement.

I have also been less than impressed with how Joe has handled himself in the media; I saw him on a cable news show with r representative from the religious right and Joe missed a number of crucial opportunities to discredit the person's arguments Unfortunately, it was long enough ago that I don't remember the details of which show and who he was arguing with. I do remember how incredulous I was with his lack of ability. Joe is not even close to being in the same league as Elizabeth Birch or Cheryl Jacques. Our community deserves better. We're faced with critical challenges and I don't think that Joe is the best person to head up our premiere legislative lobbying organization. This is not just my opinion as I have heard grumbling from many other activists whom I respect.

According to information that Michael Petrelis recently posted on his blog, the 2007 IRS 990 Forms from the HRC showed Joe Solmonese being paid $259,096 last year.

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2008/06/hrcs-solmonese-breaks-quarter-million.html

I don't know about the rest of you but I don't believe that the LGBT movement has received $259,096 a year worth of service from Joe.

I agree with Bil, we need to get past this. But I also think that our community and the HRC would be best served to get past Joe Solmonese. I hope that the transgender and HRC representatives have a productive meeting.


John Selig | July 31, 2008 8:11 PM

I think it is a good idea that the HRC meet with the transgender community. The HRC is an important organization serving lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. We need to get beyond this.

However, the HRC, which should be a lead organization, was out of step with the rest of our community. Personally, I have been extremely underwhelmed by Joe Solmonese's poor leadership and abysmal handling of this issue. For virtually all of the LGBT organizations on a national and local level to agree that only the inclusive ENDA was acceptable and HRC to be out of step shows how out of touch Solomese has been with the rest of the movement. I realize that Joe answers to a board but a stronger executive director would have pointed out how the community has felt about this issue and that the HRC shouldn't be out of step with the movement.

I have also been less than impressed with how Joe has handled himself in the media; I saw him on a cable news show with r representative from the religious right and Joe missed a number of crucial opportunities to discredit the person's arguments Unfortunately, it was long enough ago that I don't remember the details of which show and who he was arguing with. I do remember how incredulous I was with his lack of ability. Joe is not even close to being in the same league as Elizabeth Birch or Cheryl Jacques. Our community deserves better. We're faced with critical challenges and I don't think that Joe is the best person to head up our premiere legislative lobbying organization. This is not just my opinion as I have heard grumbling from many other activists whom I respect.

According to information that Michael Petrelis recently posted on his blog, the 2007 IRS 990 Forms from the HRC showed Joe Solmonese being paid $259,096 last year.

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2008/06/hrcs-solmonese-breaks-quarter-million.html

I don't know about the rest of you but I don't believe that the LGBT movement has received $259,096 a year worth of service from Joe.

I agree with Bil, we need to get past this. But I also think that our community and the HRC would be best served to get past Joe Solmonese. I hope that the transgender and HRC representatives have a productive meeting.


One thing REALLY bothers me about you posting this. Bil, you continually bitch about people demonizing HRC, but you've posted how many posts on HRC and the transcommunity?

That being said, I think this meeting needs to take place. If the community is going to be part of the GLBT family, there needs to be healing.


I know that the intentions of transfolk who would be involved with such a thing are honorable, so I see no reason to attack them, but I really don't know how they could possibly be trusted.

I will try to expand more on this tomorrow, but for now, I'll just say this:

This meeting needs to be open to the public. I suggest that there be a live audio feed of the meeting made available for any media that wishes to carry it. HRC surely has the media resources to pull this off as would many others.

If this thing is not open to the public, if the process is not open to scrutiny and comment by the greater community, then it is of no value in the healing process. We were all affected by HRC's actions and therefore we must all be a part of the resolution, if resolution there is to be.

Angela Brightfeather | August 1, 2008 1:40 AM

I met with HRC one time almost six years ago when NTAC wrote and doumented the "Big Payback" white paper that decried HRC backlobbying Trans lobbyists with Congressional offices. They wanted the Big Payback taken of the NTAC website and they did not appreciate the truth being spread about their covert lobbying activities.

So in order to find some reconciliation, I had the inventive idea that we might bargain with them since we had at least one chip for the anti, removal of the damning evidence from the NTAC website.

I met with Burmeyer and Seaton at the HRC offices in DC. Our offer then was to take the evidence of the website if they would agree to having Transgender speakers address their fundraising dinners and to choose them from a list of speakers that the Transgender communtiy would provide them.

They never even got back to me. During the meeting they lied to me about having any control over who spoke at the dinners.

It took them years to be able to cultivate a few Transgender people who they thought would be able to address their dinners. I listen to Diego Sanchez now and think back to that meeting and wonder why it was such a bad idea then and such a good idea now.

So, I will say it once again. HRC will give us nothing until they are ready to.

No apologies for the lies at SCC until Joe Solomonese leaves and finds a better place to go. Then and only then might they apologize.

No indication of how many Congress people they have converted to an inclusive ENDA in the last 11 months with their lobbying.

They will not provide us with any results from Frank's straw poll that might indicate which Congress person we might be able to lobby in their home districts. No joint lobbying effort to convince the no votes of 11 months ago.

They will not be able to explain why every Democratic Candidate in the primaries was fine with an inclusive ENDA, along with 300+ other GLBT organizations and Senator Obama. But they are not.

They will not ask that the Senate stand down on what the Congress has passed on to them as an ENDA law. They will not stop lobbying the Senate to pass the exclusive ENDA.

They may or may not back the efforts of Transgender delegates to the Democratic Convention to include gender language in the party platform in a few months. No one is sure about that, but I would give it a 30% chance of happening.

They definitely will not sign on to United ENDA with the 300+ other organizations.

They will not agree to stop their insulting "win back program". I say it is insulting because it is so obvious and provides no progress for an inclusive ENDA while placing the burden of creating unity on their local oraganizations while deflecting responsibility for creating unity, and the orginal problem, from their national organization and Board.

So what is there to meet about if they aren't willing to do at least a few of those things now, instead of five years from now?

ENDA is pending and will reach the yes or no vote in the Senate before the end of next year or sooner.

The only thing that HRC seems to understand or give some ground on, is when they loose members and they lose money. We saw it before when we picketed their dinners and their offices and we need to keep on doing it until they understand that an attitude change is in order quickly.

But, have a meeting. By the time it gets put together it will be October. By the time HRC makes up their mind to do anything it will be January (if you hear anything back from them at all). By the time they decide to act on anything, it will be to late to do anything. But hey, that's a typical game plan for them.

UdontKnowme | August 1, 2008 1:59 AM

I agree with Becky Juro that there needs to be some level of transparency. Back room meetings, attendees sworn to secrecy, are never very trusted.
If a meeting is being discussed, this is a step forward and welcomed opporunity to heal this rift.

HRC has absolutely been divisive at a time when solidarity is needed most. They take credit for that.

Thoughts after a long day and catching up:

1 - Cathryn, *that* is the voice that I always expected to hear from you. Thank you, and I agree fully. Shock enough to me that I have to say this.

2 - The HRC is not to be trusted. That's the while point of this meeting (or at least my understanding of it): to work towards gaining some level of trust back.

3 - I love the transparency issue. I think a broadcast, even an after the fact release of a recording, would be huge.

4 - I also do not think an apology should even be put on the table at this point. There's nothing that can be healed by such an apology, and only more harm can come from it. Besides, at this point, I want sincerity, and that's one of the things I don't trust them to provide. Especially now.

5 - So... When?

A number of points to be made here:

1. Monica H., and Dana: thanks for whatever roles you have been playing in bringing this even this far - and I say that not knowing exactly how far this has come, and where this will end up.

2. This isn't about an apology. Remember the words of Monica R (whose not going to be able to comment on this until tomorrow, as I've been rebuilding a computer for her today): deeds, not words. At the same time, as Cathryn says in fewer words, Joe S. cannot be expected to put himself or HRC in a position to appear to be capitulating to demands, or to lose face. I think that's achievable.

3. This IS about asking for deeds, to show good faith on HRC's part. One would be a question I would ask, to ascertain at what point HRC knew T would be removed. Another would be to obtain the so-called "whip count" naming offices that are willing to vote for ENDA without T, but not with - I want the tools this community needs to pass an inclusive ENDA next year to be in hand. Another one be to ask that HRC allow 2 T people to hold an information table in the reception area at each of their galas, with the proviso that they comport, groom, and dress themselves in a businesslike manner appropriate to the occasion. I don't think these are unreasonable requests.

4. There is no one supreme leader of the T community. In fact, at this time, more than any other in the past, nobody can lay claim to that title. There isn't a T leader that has the standing Joe S. has in the GL community. He has no peer in our community (apology in advance to Cathryn, as I know you don't see a T community at all). At best, this is a loose confederation that speaks with many voices, this blog has long been a testament to that. For that reason, it will be hard for the group meeting with Joe S. to make concessions, because none of us can say we speak for many more than ourselves, but perhaps some can be found. For instance, no promise to end HRC gala protests can be made, as individual T people can choose to do that if they wish. However, the group can promise that deeds done will equal favorable public comment.

5. Those chosen for this project need to, indeed, be long time critics of HRC, or else there is no point to this. However, in the context of this meeting, the tone must be frank yet respectful. They need to see that those of us who have openly criticized them are, in fact, reasonable and businesslike people who want human rights as much as they do, and simply have different priorities and approaches. They need to see a diverse group. They need to see people who are all business in appearance and demeanor.

6. I think it's highly unlikely that HRC would agree to a public meeting, or a meeting that is videotaped or broadcast. Diplomacy and negotiation is simply not done that way. I think it IS possible that they may want to do a post-meeting press conference, and those attending should be prepared for that. I would suggest that a youtube be done of that, and that Joe be allowed to put it on his weekly XM show, or tape a segment for that with the attendees. As Cathryn said, they cannot be expected to lose face in public.

7. I don't know how many can be in this meeting. I don't particularly care if it's equal numbers on each side. I have a list in my mind of who should probably be in it, and it is too long. Sorry, Monica H, my name isn't on it - if it isn't on a Thursday or Friday, there's no way I can be there in the first place, as I haven't been in my job long enough to want to take days off. Your name is. If Dana's organizing it, she has to be there. There need to be transmen, T people of color. Dare I say it, a person identifying as HBS would be wise. I think at least one attorney present. I have a mental list of who I think should be there, and it is too long. I'm only on it in an emergency, and if the meeting were on a Thu or Fri, as stated. There are many, many others who should be there ahead of me, but I'll help anyone who is named, prepare.

It might work. It might not do any good at all. But HRC continues to act as a gatekeeper. This situation is becoming dangerous, both to our chances of being included in 2009's ENDA, and in danger to protesters. Working around them is a logical thought, but an impractical one. At the same time, for not one moment can we forget what they have done to the T community in the past. But to refuse to negotiate and engage in diplomacy, if diplomacy is possible, is totally unacceptable.

Thus endeth my William Shatner imitation.....I feel like the Priceline negotiator.


"Those chosen for this project need to, indeed, be long time critics of HRC, or else there is no point to this."

That cannot be emphasized enough.

I am seeing the patterns forming here from different people, all of which are giving me ideas and helping me adjust my approach. As a former submariner, I was instilled with the life and death importance of working as a team. I see us working as a team on this list and I am impressed. We still haven't heard anything from Dana, so I'm patiently waiting. The question that still hangs heavy in all of this is, "Will Joe agree to this meeting with the slight adjustments that have been suggested here?" None of us have the pull to get him to agree. Let's see how this comes out.

People I would like to see there (If they can make it:)
Kat
Cathryn
Monica Roberts
Angela Brightfeather
Polar
Marti

This is not a complete suggestion list. Ethan says he does not wish to attend.

Like a fine German Riesling, I do not travel well. My health and economic situation precludes my taking part.

Monica
The Quote "Keep you friends close and your enemy's closer" may very well apply here! I don't really think that HRC or Joe S. are enemy's It would seem more that we are, and have been an embarrassment because we are so different from them? Yes, the T- community should meet with HRC! Most positive major changes For LGBT have come about due to back room discussions that have led to public meetings and good out comes for us! Your list of attendees for that meeting is great! We have to move forward and effect positive gains on being equal! Hope the meeting with HRC goes well! Regina

Sorry to hear that, Cathryn. You have a perspective that the rest of us don't AND, you have the experience to present it in a reasonable way. Please continue to add that perspective here in this discussion.

Regina,
I appreciate your excitement on this, but I need to caution everyone that there is nothing set up and as much as we may want to do this, HRC may not. Think of this whole thing as us in the process of building a skyscraper. At this point, think of these discussions as the architect sharpening his pencil, as he stares at a blank sheet of paper. That's where we are.

I hope that when this discussion gets further down on the Bilerico's front page list, that at some time, Bil would consider moving it back to the top of the list at least once so we can continue this in front of everyone.

Here is what I think:

1. Time and place of meeting. Since Southern Comfort was the site of Joe's promise to support a trans-inclusive ENDA and since a potential date for the meeting overlapped with Southern Comfort, why not suggest to Joe et al that Southern Comfort is the appropriate time/place for a meeting with trans activists? It would bring Joe to the table at an event that is the largest gathering of trans activists in the U.S. and it would be a sign of his respect for trans activism and his humility in meeting w/ trans people at their event, rather than in his office.

2. Attendees and agenda-setting. Not knowing all of the folks who posted, I respectfully suggest that at least some attendees be Trans people and/or Trans allies from Washington DC who regularly and routinely plan and implement lobbying strategies and can bring that knowledge to bear on the conversation. Some of the posters are very well-informed; can't tell about everyone who posts. But there is value in having at least one or two people at the meeting who work directly with HRC on strategy and tactics re: ENDA, if winning a trans-inclusive ENDA is the Big Goal of the meeting.

3. Angriest at HRC attending the meeting. If the meeting attendance is cast in terms of who has been most critical of HRC's behavior, strategy and tactics, then the conversation is likely to veer towards how those harsh critics can be neutralized or won over, especially if harsh critics do not themselves represent members of an organization or an identifiable constituency. Again, if work towards a trans-inclusive ENDA is Big Goal, harsh critics only may not be the right group to meet with Joe et al. Then it could become a PR discussion, rather than a strategy discussion.

4. United ENDA. I believe that at least someone from the United ENDA team needs to attend, if trans-inclusive ENDA is the Big Goal. This loosely organized coalition roared mightily about the strategy to exclude gender identity/expression from the bill; an exclusion that affects a great many LGBT people, both trans and not trans. Get someone in the room from this coalition so that the perspectives and views of those 350+ organizations can be expressed to Joe et al. By not including United ENDA, meeting organizers are letting HRC off the hook, since the absence of United ENDA allows HRC to not be held accountable to the views of this coalition.

Toni Elizabeth | August 1, 2008 12:36 PM

I've been reading these comments with great interest for days because although not T myself, I have great affection for and affinity with the T community. But I had to post at least this:

Please wake up, everybody. You are perceiving HRC as having way too much power and authority. HRC had nothing to do with having Ts removed from ENDA. It obviously would have loved to have pushed through a fully inclusive bill, claim victory for the whole community, and take credit. It wasn't able to do that because CONGRESS drew the line at Ts. There were not nearly enough votes. Those of you who say that there were enough votes are simply in denial. You really think that a Congress with a bare majority of Dems, many of those Dems conservative southerners, would vote in favor of a bill protecting Ts with such fierce opposition by the right wing and Republican fundies? Please.

Also, I am with you that HRC has acted horribly here, but mostly because it promised us never to support an exclusive bill and then breaking that promise. That was the sin. Making the promise was stupid. Joe never should have done that, because legislation in DC always, always is incrementalist. Did the African-American community say no to the Civil Rights Act of '64 because it did not cover affirmative action or voting rights? Or because it did not cover disabled African-Americans for disability rights? Did women say no to the CRA because it did not cover gender expression explicitly? Of course not! Those came later. And the additional protections were made easier to achieve as a result of the earlier, partial victories. That is how it works.

And those of you who like to say, 'but United ENDA said it was possible,' and '300 groups opposed the inclusive bill," etc. Well, let's get mature here. That was all smoke and mirrors. One of the United ENDA 300, the executive director of a NATIONAL organization, told me privately that he would have done exactly what Joe did in supporting the LGB only bill, and that he signed on to United ENDA just because it was no skin off his back and was good for "atmospherics" - his word. Pretty mercenary, but true.

And if you are so confident that the 300 groups can get the Ts back in, well then, why aren't they doing it? HRC isn't the gatekeeper. Anyone can lobby Congress. Where are they? Are they preparing testimony? Are they prepping witnesses? Are they meeting with Congressmembers? Are YOU? Really, what are YOU doing other than attacking the messenger, HRC?

I love my trans brothers and sisters, but beloveds, trust me when I say that you are shooting yourselves in the foot. The more irrational and impratical and distant-from-reality you seem (and many of you already crossed that line, I'm afraid), the easier you make it for Congress to say, 'we're not even close to ready to tackle T in ENDA since that contingent is in such disarry." The T political movement MUST get professionalized, or you'll do nothing but drag yourselves down (and perhaps the rest of the LGBs with you).

And think deeply about this: if the tables were turned and you were protected before LGBs under law, would you turn down that protection until EVERYONE were covered? You would? Well you already haven't since there are a number of judicial precedents providing protection for Ts that are denied to LGBs. Oh, and by the way, has the T community decided never to get civilly married in states where L/G marriage is banned because the Ts wouldn't want to enjoy a legal right denied to gays? Doubt it.

So I would respectfully and lovingly warn you that the hypocricy is just as apparent as the irrationality, and neither plays well in Washington, sorry to say. If you're playing the game of legislation, we must play by the rules of Congress. And HRC does not make those rules. You might want to think that HRC is the enemy because it's an easy punching bag that actually listens to you and cares about what you say, but HRC isn't your target. It is Congress. It is the president. Your focus should be on THEM.

Toni Elizabeth | August 1, 2008 12:38 PM

I've been reading these comments with great interest for days because although not T myself, I have great affection for and affinity with the T community. But I had to post at least this:

Please wake up, everybody. You are perceiving HRC as having way too much power and authority. HRC had nothing to do with having Ts removed from ENDA. It obviously would have loved to have pushed through a fully inclusive bill, claim victory for the whole community, and take credit. It wasn't able to do that because CONGRESS drew the line at Ts. There were not nearly enough votes. Those of you who say that there were enough votes are simply in denial. You really think that a Congress with a bare majority of Dems, many of those Dems conservative southerners, would vote in favor of a bill protecting Ts with such fierce opposition by the right wing and Republican fundies? Please.

Also, I am with you that HRC has acted horribly here, but mostly because it promised us never to support an exclusive bill and then breaking that promise. That was the sin. Making the promise was stupid. Joe never should have done that, because legislation in DC always, always is incrementalist. Did the African-American community say no to the Civil Rights Act of '64 because it did not cover affirmative action or voting rights? Or because it did not cover disabled African-Americans for disability rights? Did women say no to the CRA because it did not cover gender expression explicitly? Of course not! Those came later. And the additional protections were made easier to achieve as a result of the earlier, partial victories. That is how it works.

And those of you who like to say, 'but United ENDA said it was possible,' and '300 groups opposed the inclusive bill," etc. Well, let's get mature here. That was all smoke and mirrors. One of the United ENDA 300, the executive director of a NATIONAL organization, told me privately that he would have done exactly what Joe did in supporting the LGB only bill, and that he signed on to United ENDA just because it was no skin off his back and was good for "atmospherics" - his word. Pretty mercenary, but true.

And if you are so confident that the 300 groups can get the Ts back in, well then, why aren't they doing it? HRC isn't the gatekeeper. Anyone can lobby Congress. Where are they? Are they preparing testimony? Are they prepping witnesses? Are they meeting with Congressmembers? Are YOU? Really, what are YOU doing other than attacking the messenger, HRC?

I love my trans brothers and sisters, but beloveds, trust me when I say that you are shooting yourselves in the foot. The more irrational and impratical and distant-from-reality you seem (and many of you already crossed that line, I'm afraid), the easier you make it for Congress to say, 'we're not even close to ready to tackle T in ENDA since that contingent is in such disarry." The T political movement MUST get professionalized, or you'll do nothing but drag yourselves down (and perhaps the rest of the LGBs with you).

And think deeply about this: if the tables were turned and you were protected before LGBs under law, would you turn down that protection until EVERYONE were covered? You would? Well you already haven't since there are a number of judicial precedents providing protection for Ts that are denied to LGBs. Oh, and by the way, has the T community decided never to get civilly married in states where L/G marriage is banned because the Ts wouldn't want to enjoy a legal right denied to gays? Doubt it.

So I would respectfully and lovingly warn you that the hypocricy is just as apparent as the irrationality, and neither plays well in Washington, sorry to say. If you're playing the game of legislation, we must play by the rules of Congress. And HRC does not make those rules. You might want to think that HRC is the enemy because it's an easy punching bag that actually listens to you and cares about what you say, but HRC isn't your target. It is Congress. It is the president. Your focus should be on THEM.

I will be in California during Southern Comfort from Oct 1 to Oct 5 to attend my oldest's wedding. Also, to have Joe take our time away from our responsibilities at SCC would not be a respectable move. Just my thought on that.

Monica,
I hope you get all the attention you are looking for with this meeting. It is by far, the dumbest thing you have ever done. I hope you realize that you will get nothing out of this and I ask the rest of you to NOT attend.
I'll repeat myself once again.
THE ONLY THING WE NEED TO HEAR FROM JOE SOLMONESE IS THAT HRC WILL ONLY SUPPORT AN ENDA BILL WHICH ONLY INCLUDES SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY.

That will help heal our community. This isn't a freakin' game.

I meant to say ...which includes both sexual orientation and gender identity.

A few things from your friendly neighborhood Lesbian:

Toni Elizabeth: You cannot hold the T community accountable for things that we L/G's did. No one in Massachusetts or New York waited to get married out of solidarity with Caliornia. There is no reason to expect the trans community to do what we did not do. Plus, depending upon the state and the dynamics of the relationship the canard that the T's can get married is simply false.

Ethan: If the T community does not agree to participate in the hearing it gives the HRC a wonderful and telling talking point about the Trans community's inability to be a "Team Player". Ethan, we've had our moments, but I truly believe that you are one pf the people that needs to be at this meeting and one of the voices that they desparately need to hear. Please reconsider this. Do you want to hand the HRC yet another thing with which to bludgeon you?

Cathryn: Sorry to hear about your health issues; it is always suprising to remember that our "old school" activists in the various parts of LGBT are in fact older activists now; one of my favourite activists, a fiery Lesbian who is a retired school teacher, is now approaching 80.

To the T community:
I am of the opinion that you cannot afford to pass this up because of the value to your opponents of a refusal to participate. Toni was right about 300 organisations not being able to help you all. You damage yourself with your non-trans allies if you reject the offer

A Suggestion:
Rather than listing individuals to attend, make a list of T-related organisations that ought be represented at such a meeting and have the organisations send representaives.

I know of only two T related organisations, TAVA and NTAC, but I am sure that the rest of you know of more and can list them. Ask the six organisations that you finally choose to send one representative each..

Just a suggestion.

First, Bil, thank you for setting up this thread. Brilliant idea!

Second, I'd like to apologize for not noticing this thread until now -- I just recently returned from school and I'm trying to catch up at work and with my board responsibilities, in particular the Basic Rights Montgomery campaign.

Third, I find many of the comments (not all ;-) ) here very constructive, including those who are recent additions to this discussion.

Let me repeat up front -- I am a facilitator. I am not doing this as an HRC Governor, nor as a trans woman. I am both and more; I am trying to move people across the bridge to greater understanding.

Also -- HRC has set no conditions; I've set the conditions. Joe and Mary told me they're game, so I'm trying to do this. I'm speaking from my political experience that this should not be an open-air meeting, though I believe a press conference or some sort of joint statement is a good idea.

I have imposed no filters -- this is about the national "trans community," however YOU define it -- not I. I'll be happy to be there, as a participant or facilitator.

This is not about Joe -- Joe is just one person, and we should be focusing on winning over the Board of Directors and senior staffers. build up enough of a alliance and Joe won't buck it, even were he to want to do so, which I don't believe is the case.

I also understand that there are a rather large number of people who want to attend, but as others have stated, a large meeting is just unproductive by virtue of size, with no offense to anyone in particular.

It can't be the first weekend of October, because the SCC and HRC National Dinner conflict -- however useful the symbolism. We will have to find another time.

Please keep the thread going -- I'm feeling better about this all the time.

Btw, I hope to be meeting with Allyson Robinson next week. We haven't had the chance to talk yet since I was out of town when she moved in.

Ethan,
You views have been known for quite awhile. I appreciate them. But, none of us march 100% to someone else's drummer. How often have we not agreed? And, have you been right 100% of the time?

As far as getting attention, if that's what people want to think, then I will easily walk away from the meeting after it is set up to allow others, like Angela, Kat and Monica Roberts to get all of the attention and credit. I don't need it. I'm not important in all of this and I have had more than my share of limelight. I don't seek it like others do.

What is needed is an attempt to, "HEAR FROM JOE SOLMONESE IS THAT HRC WILL ONLY SUPPORT AN ENDA BILL WHICH . . . INCLUDES (both) SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY." I tried to quote you the best I could. He doesn't seem to want to do it himself, so some people may need to push him in the right direction. Is there any harm in trying? I already know your answer.

Dana,
It appears we need to have the Board Chair at this meeting, too.

Toni Elizabeth | August 1, 2008 3:12 PM

Maura, thanks for your thoughtfulness. I agree with you on almost all counts, but disagree with your points that Ts can't get married civilly. They do. All the time. I've attended two marriages in the last 5 years in which one of the couple's members was a T person. It's totally legal as long as the person's legal dox are changed to the post-transition sex. And I certainly did not expect these friends to hold off on marrying until L/Gs in those states were able to legally marry. They're still not able to do so in the states in which my T friends got married civilly.

This is completely analogous to the ENDA situation. One part of the community should not begrudge the other part enjoying the fruits of incremental progress, especially since the all-or-nothing approach gets us absolutely no progress at all and delays the ultimate achievement of the "all." Again, HRC is not the enemy. HRC is simply the messenger. And the conspiracy theories, allusions to warfare, and online sniping is juvenile and, sorry to say, cowardly. Especially since the true targets should be the members of Congress who need educating and cajoling. Enough with the infighting.

Toni,
It is important to understand that marriage does not fall high on the priority list for trans people as it may for GL people who pass for straight and are not worried about where their next meal is coming from. You see, this is why employment is so important to us. Too many of our people can't live paycheck to paycheck because they don't have a paycheck. Why would you focus on mariage if your stomach is empty, or you're sleeping under a bridge?

Then, or course, marriage can be far more complicated for trans people. It would take a whole article to explain all of the things that have happened and how the various laws affect us. I think that would be a great article for Kat to tackle, since she is very knowledgable in this area. I would hope that if she wrote one, Bill would post it here.

Well, you are certainly all putting the lie to the legend and myth that "trans cannot get together on anything" which I believe that some of your opponents count upon.

Here are the "old school" of trans-activists working together along with some more recent arrivals to create something positive out of a difficult situation, and all of you putting forth constructive suggestions and being mutually supportive.

If success comes from this, either in the short term or when it comes in the long term, people will owe a great deal to the women here who cast differences behind them into the dust as they moved forward together towards something better..you are setting an incredible example and a new standard for the entire LGBT community

Monica, Marti, Dana, Cathryn, Becky, Angela, Kat...well done, bloody well done!

I think there is to much division within the Trangender and transsexual communitys for any real good to come out of an hrc meeting right now.One thing the HRC could do that would help is to explain why they have been reluctant to fully embrace the T community and some explanation to there actions.This shouldn't be viewed as an apology but as an explanation.In return the T community meaning both T's should review this information and see if there is something the T's can do to bring the two sides together.At the same time those in the T leadership positions should either address the inhouse arguing between Tg and Ts and seek to find common ground or seperate the T's.Pretending there isn't valid disagreements and sweeping them under the rug does no one any good.If the leadership is not capable of doing so they should move out of the way.Simply shouting the loudest doesn't qualify one as a leader.

Maura,
I appreciate your comments. I have to re-emphasize that I am NOT doing this for recognition. I can easily bet none of the others you mentioned are doing it for that either. I have personally had my recognition for my lifetime, and even helped some people along the way. All of those women have helped people as well. The bottom line is that this is another way to help.

I may not have started off this process on the other post with the best intentions, but it has become something beyond what I would have expected. It's because Bil made it a seperate posting, which forced it to a higher level of importance. The suggestions have been great.

Please hold back on any praises until we all stand together for that press coverage. (I'll let others stand at the podeum.) I'll help set this up, but if people begin to suggest I'm out for the attention, then I'm out. It's the process and not the people in the process.

As I promised above, I want expand a bit on the need for transparancy here. Dana, it doesn't matter if most things have closed-door meetings to plan first. The fact is that we are dealing with an organization which has proven itself untrustworthy, an organization which is has shown that it can and will tell us one thing and then go behind our backs and do the opposite. Such an organization has forfeited the right of the benefit of the doubt from our community and the right to expect to be trusted outside of the public eye.

This is a community-wide war and therefore, if there is to be peace one day, it will come as the result of a community-wide resolution. To hold yet another closed-door meeting and then hold a carefully-vetted press conference afterward is a frankly useless exercise in my opinion. We've heard enough speeches from these people, and we know that just because Solmonese says it in a speech there's no reason to have any faith whatsoever that he's actually telling the truth. If HRC isn't going to talk turkey on ENDA honestly and openly in full view of the community they have betrayed, then as far as I'm concerned this is just more pathetic HRC PC window-dressing and I will continue to define it as such in the media I create to whomever is reading or listening.

Monica;
I know quite well that you are not doing this for recognition. But, woman, the lot of you have taken a step that many less than friendly L/G activists thought could not happen.

I felt compelled to thank you all for putting the lie to that. And Monica, please do stand with the others for the pic. I've absolutely no idea of what most of you look like so could not wave you down to join me for a drink were I to run into any of you...plus, the lot of you could meet my poor wife who reads this blog largely over my shoulder...

One thing that I've noticed missing in this blog is any blame for a non inclusive enda being placed on the Democratic Party.Remember it was thru them that dadt and Doma were born.They may not be leading the charge against gay marriage or gays in the military but they've played there part in contributing to it.Now since this is about enda and T's one could ask how does dadt and doma play into how hrc handled enda. They were pressured into playing politics by the democratic party.The T became a hopefully temporary sacrificial lamb.We can all stay bent out of shape about it or we can look at how it brought attention to the t community and our needs.Now the spotlight is starting to dim and the window of opportunity is closing is the leadership going to let this great opportunity for the T community to shine against all odds slip away in anger or are they going to take a leadership role address the division within the T community and the greater lgb and plot the way forward.By address I don't mean sweeping those in disagreement under the rug.I mean actually show enough effort that even if both sides still disagree they respect each other for trying.

Maura,
If you and your wife are ever coming to Atlanta, I would be glad to have a drink with the both of you. You have my respect and my friendship.

But, back to the process at hand . . .

Amy,
You can be very assured that I also blame the Democratic Party. But, a link to getting a stronger message to Congress is not only do more of our own lobbying, but having others supportive of us to also lobby for us. HRC does have a lot of access to Congressional offices. We would need them to remove their "firewall" for trans activists access to those offices and give us a chance to talk directly to the Congress person. Polar can attest to this happening for years. Congress is not off the hook, but it isn't the current focus.

Monica I would be extremely surprised if they had a firewall in place to Republican Congressional offices.I have heard many explaining how are needs and wants at this point are different then the lgb's.One big issue for us is life expectancy whether because of suicide or simply brutal homicide.Obviously the Republicans are backed by big religion (compassionate conservatives).I believe as T's we should take the lead on calling out the compassionate conservatives on their compassion.Ts's have quite a bit of medical proof backing up our condition as one we're born with.Yet the religious right doesn't recognize the guidelines for our treatment and practices reparitive therapy a dangerous and not recognized treatment on young lgbt children.I believe with them we could agree to disagree on treatments but unite on our safety issues and possibly are need to have gainfull employment. Let's see if we can't make progress with them on the things that if they don't agree with would cause them to lose face.

I, too, am very impressed by the agreement we have reached. I dare say our ability to do so is even more important than having the meeting itself. The more we can work together, the more productive we will be. And that includes those who work from within as well as those who work from without. Both are necessary and have their place in activism.

I would like to remind people that I am not doing this as an HRC Governor, nor as an NCTE board member, or Vice President of Equality Maryland or Vice President of Maryland NOW . . . When I speak as a representative of an organization I will identify myself as such.

Monica, one of the board co-chairs, Mary Snider, is on board, and she will ask her co-chair to attend as well.

See when you can get people together sometime after the election, and I will do so as well. Let's hope we can find a common time. If anyone else has ideas, please let us know. The timing is not critical, as the dialogue can go on as it has, along with the resistance.

I am just about out of vacation time. My son's wedding will use up the rest. After the first of the year. IFGE has its convention in Feb in DC. Many of us will already be there. A meeting at the early part of the week, Mon or Tuesday, would work. I'll give you a specific date when we have finalized the convention's specifics.

Monica,

I look forward to it. That's a good idea.

Dana,
We have a time frame settled on. We still have to iron out some of the details.

Would neutral ground be more realistic? If so, I'm suggesting a balance of seven and seven. (And, I'm not talking about the drink.) You wanted six, and I was hoping for at least 8. Can we discuss these two parts?

Monica,
I'm sure that Joe So is going to listen to you above everyone else he has spoken to. He's meeting with you because no one else will do it. It should be a nice show. I do pitty Joe So, for the first time ever.

Maura,
You have no idea what our community has gone through and honestly, I don't see how any of this is any of your business. I don't recall addressing you.

If it's none of Maura's business, then by extension it's none of mine either. Or any of the LGB community, for that matter. And aren't you pissed off because HRC split the community and told ya'll that ENDA was "none of your business"?

Bil

when did HRC say that ENDA was "none of your business"?

Sally - I'm referring to HRC's exclusion of transfolk in ENDA.

Ethan;
Most respectfully, I do have an idea of what the T commnity has gone through; what happens to the T's also affects the gender transgresssing portions of the other communities under the LGBT moniker. Perhaps I am not aware of every acronym, nuance, and previous wound accumulated. Still, I am certainly aware of the meta-narrative of T civil rights.

COnsequently, as a Lesbian activist, it is my business and the business of all LGBT's, and beyond that, all persons committed to human rights.

You can opt out of the meeting. That is of course your choice. But, it is unfair to assail those who wish to cease senseless wailing in the darkness and counterproductive attacks upon every move that the HRC makes and who wish to take any available opportunity that might move the dialogue forward or that will at least prevent the further marginalisation of the T community. Further, that kind of negativistivistic action is weakening the favourable views of T inclusion of many LGB allies.

No, you did not address me. I do not recall any rule in the TOS limiting responses to only those to whom somethig was addressed. I was respectful of you, Ethan, I did not deserve the response that I got, dismissive and condescending in tone.

I want to see an inclusive ENDA Ethan, I would support any action that had the vaguest chance of motion in that direction. I support the T community and will support any action that prevents damage to it and its' marginalisation.

Some brave women have spoken up here, Ethan. Bil has shown fortitude and patience sans pariel in supporting this initiative. People have buried old hurts and agendas to step forward. They have risen beyond petty and personalised attacks to do something important, something necessary, in unison.

Again; Most Respectfuly;
Maura Hennessey

Dana:

Count me as surprised that HRC would want to bring a contingent of transgender people to DC at the same time as their national dinner - and consider some kind of joint public appearance. Especially given the protests at dinners around the country - and just before an election.

It would seem to go against all of experience with their operational procedures for controling meetings & the message what gets in the press. To think they would consider this at the time when they have the most press coverage & presence before politicians would be unprecedented.

I'll admit to being intrigued if this is the case - can you share Joe's words on this proposal? A brief statement of some sort on the commitment to the meeting & the parameters he envisions.

Toni Elizabeth | August 2, 2008 4:30 PM

Ethan,

Really, yours is exactly the kind of intransigent, coarse attitude that keeps the T community on the margins. If the plight of Ts is not Maura's or the rest of the LGB community's business, then why the heck are you insisting on blocking ENDA until gender ID is included? Why are you even talking about HRC, which is predominantly LGB? Is its affairs any of your business?

Perhaps you are right. Gender identity/expression and the plight of Ts are none of the gay community's business. Perhaps we should go our way, achieve all the legislative and judicial advances we can muster, and you and the rest of the trans community can struggle alone. On the margins.

Way to win friends and influence people, Ethan. Once again, I say to my T brothers and sisters, with love: Grow up. Mature. Professionalize. Be grown-ups in DC advocacy. Until you do so, there will be no T-friendly legislative advances.

(And I say this as a gay person fully committed to universal trans inclusion, since gender identity and expression protections benefit all of us. But I tend not to mind my business.)

Maura, Ethan's a friend, and a very brave man. I'd march with him into Hell to confront Lucifer himself. I respect his point of view, even while I disagree with it, for he's been in many of the same battles I've been in. If I disagree with him on first reading, I reread and consider what he's said, and ask myself why he feels as he does, especially since another old friend who'd I'd want in that battle with Lucifer, Vanessa Edwards-Foster, apparently feels as Ethan does. http://transpolitical.blogspot.com/2008/07/season-of-weird-for-hrc-siders.html

As Monica H said early in this blog, apparently an idea I threw out on a posting some months ago, got planted, and now we have seedlings. Beyer and Helms have watered and fed the seedlings, and now we have to ask whether the seedlings should be shot with paraquat, or whether they might grow into something worth keeping. The ultimate answer lies in letting them grow, and after my years of watching this community's gyrations, a wait-and-see attitude is probably wisest. Also,
I abhor the notion that people should not negotiate with other entities they have issues with - that is exactly the trait I hate the most about the present Administration, their trait of not speaking to perceived enemies. So, no, I don't favor Paraquatting this effort quite yet - but later, that could happen. Don't get your hopes up.

The notion of putting this in abeyance until after the election seems reasonable, in any case. Indeed, the election results dictate whether it's even necessary: if John McCain is elected, and/or a GOP Congress, there won't be much point. It'll be every person for themselves, and survive any way you can. We do have an election in very few months, now, and nearly all of us are involved in some sort of election effort, be it local, state, or Presidential. Without widespread victory this fall, from California's marriage initiative to local Senate and House races to Obama/McCain, to the Monty Cty. Maryland issue, none of this matters.

We are verging here, also, on repeating past mistakes, that being one of trying to plan something in front of God and everybody on the internet. Been there, done that, and still bear the psychic scars for having tried. As Robert Townsend wrote in "Up The Organization", if you were to discover a way to eliminate air pollution for $1/state, the worst thing you could do would be to announce your discovery - the smart thing to do is to just simply do it.

Polar,
It is correct on all that what you say, and your evaluations of Ethan and Vanessa. The question I have is, "Where is the line drawn between being 100% in step with them, or stepping a bit out of step and risking the 'Wrath of Kahn'."

I consider both a friend, with Ethan one of my best friends. But, I get the impression that some friendships come with conditions I wasn't aware of. Do I risk losing one of my best friends for a "gardening experiment," to play off of your analogy? I didn't accept my parents putting conditions on their love. Should I accept conditions from a friend? I haven't cried yet, but it's right there.

I don't fear dying unknown, unloved, unappreciated and totally forgotten. If I have helped just one person because of being trans, then I will know why God made me this way. I don't want to be considered a "hero" if this works, and I'll take the heat if it fails. It's like stepping up to the $100 blackjack table in Vegas. You bet big, knowing you can win big or lose big.

My first card is a five of diamonds. "Hit me."

Monica;
Friends are precious. I've lost a few in my lifetime and I still miss them, particularly best friends, sisters in a very real emotional sense, who not only disagreed with turns that my life made but in the end could not deal with looking at me and picturing what and with what gender I spent time in bed with.

Don't lose your friends, Monica. Find some kind of accomodation whereby you can agree to disagree.

Ethan, I do respect you and your opinion, though I disagree that only the T community has any stake in this. I am stepping out of this. What the T cmmunity decides to do, it does. The other Lesbian activists and I will deal with whatever the outcome is and do our best according to our beliefs and according to our lights. Mine involve an inclusive model. How that happens I leave to your collective wisdom and experiences.

Toni, whether or not you participate is up to you, really. I do recognise the point that Ethan is trying to make, that the T community really needs to decide upon tactical dirction amongst themselves, sans concerns about impact on other parts of the community.

Polar, my very best to you.

Again, only my best wishes
and with all respect;
Maura Hennessey

A last word:
Be aware that the impact of whatever course that you all take will affect other parts of the LGBT community. I will always be a friend. I cannot speak for the others, but I am fairly sure that many will not give the same response.

I say this not as any kind of threat, just a gentle reminder between friends. I know many Lesbian activists. I know what it is being said. It is not always what people here think is or wish were being said.

Wow, everything has just flipped on its ear.

Some of us just don't want to see people running back only to be scapegoated or ejected once again. Especially from an organization that's taken the approach of "ignore the problem and it will go away" rather than even attempting to make an insincere show of being sorry.

Without the HRC learning that there are consequences for dumping the T (and not just the T) when its convenient, there will be no reason for them not to do it again.

Whichever way everyone goes, just please watch your backs and don't stake very much on this. And no personal vilifications of anyone please.

Mercedes,

I encourage activism inside and out. There is no reason to let up. Our voices need to be heard.

Kathy, I haven't delved into details with HRC staff because I didn't have a date and sense if the trans community would agree upon attending, let alone a format. As Monica and Polar have discussed, this was an off-the-cuff suggestion that led to talks between Monica and me which had quieted somewhat until recently here online.

Monica, I think the IFGE week is a good idea, and when you get me the precise dates I will broach it to HRC. Maybe we can do it at the conference hotel if it will be close to the city. As for seven, I think I can go with that. I'm really more concerned with getting the people into town from both sides. When I originally thought of the national dinner weekend, I knew the HRC people would be in town and I expected a group of trans protesters would be as well, so it would have been relatively easy to arrange. During IFGE week I don't know what the senior staff's schedule will be, so I would appreciate as much lead time as possible.

I welcome Ethan's voice, and Vanessa's as well, though I do wish she had rediscovered her sense of humor and didn't cut and paste me as crudely as she did. I thought I was somewhat witty, actually.

Once again -- this is about dialogue. Don't expect miracles. It is only one conversation. There will be others at dinners and conferences and in the halls of Congress and at Denver. Keep talking.

Dana,
I'm not trying for miracles either. The only things I come to this as is that I'm not an employee or former employee of HRC, nor have I ever been on any of their boards or committees, locally or nationally. The organization I'm with has no ties with HRC and has not worked closely with them. We were given $500 in early 2004 for our first March to the Wall, less then what they probably pay weekly for toilet paper in their building. (If people can't do the math, that was 4.5 YEARS ago. That's ancient history in trans years.)

I will not be coming to this unarmed. The TAVA Survey has some rather depressing stats when it comes to unemployment, under employment and job discrimination. You also need to consider the fact that our survey has 300 more people who took it then the so-called survey HRC took in October of last year. And, that's 300 more from a possible population of as little as 300,000, versus 30 Million.

Monica might I suggest that if your having the meeting that far out that you ask for an explanation (not apology)from HRC as to why they have taken the previous actions.This will allow you an opportunity to study there reasoning before the meeting and hopefully help to ensure success for both sides at attaining a point where we (a united lgbt)can move past this.It would be great if this explanation was to be posted for all to see T and lgb .I would hope I'm not the only one uncomfortable with anyone involved in the political process requesting that I have faith in there closed backdoor policy making.I also feel the rights that we should all ready have shouldn't be reduced to politics or partisan politics.It's to convenient for everyone to use partisan politics to explain why their not acting in a bipartisan way and getting the job done.I have no agenda simply a will to live a descent life free of fear of physical harm or murder and discrimination something a Democrat or Republican should easily comprehend and be willing to do something about.


/if you are expecting a meeting to get an apology from Joe So you may already have it
/if you are expecting a meeting to tell you why it happened the way it happened you may not get it
/if you are hoping for change then get a new president elected

From BAR today

HRC President Joe Solmonese argued that both sides of the ENDA debate have the same end goal in sight – passage of a fully inclusive bill – but have diverged on how to achieve it.

"There have been occasions when different groups of people marched down different roads but those roads end in the same place. While I regret the pain and distance that sometimes comes from taking different paths, those of us inside this room want to arrive at the same place as those outside this room so that GLBT people have the same rights as every American," he said. "We may differ on how we get there but get there together we will."

"HRC President Joe Solmonese argued that both sides of the ENDA debate have the same end goal in sight – passage of a fully inclusive bill – but have diverged on how to achieve it."

Frank:
It would be wrong to assume there is only one goal. And that one of the goals isn't to change HRC. Or that changing HRC isn't a prerequisite to other goals.

HRC hurt the transgender community in Congress, locally and within the LGBT community in the enda process last fall. When they fabricated the poll saying 70% of lgb people supported exclusion, it didn't help us pursue our rights on the fedral level or on the local level. It didn't help the perception with politicians that supporting transgender equality was viable and it caused some in the community (like that poster over at KOS this week) to continue that argument using the false data. An exerable action particulary given they released a poll done by Hunter College showing exactly opposite results 2 weeks later. And they had knowledge of polls showing no difference in the general public in support for lgb or t non-discrim legislation. For years.

http://www.washblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=15436

http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/news/2007.shtml

That they went even further - punishing Congresspeople who supported the inclusive bill is something else I'd like to see them change.

That they don't give transgender issues the same weight in the Corporate equality index and don't have transgender board members are other things I'd like to see changed.

These are goals. And they're goals that are wholly within HRC's power to achieve. And achieve quickly. I would also note that how one gets to a goal can be every bit as important as achieving it.

But let me be clear - lieing about the amount of support that exists for transgender civil rights and punishing politicians who support transgender inclusive legislation isn't a viable strategy to achieve the goal of the fully inclusive enda Joe indicates he supports.

And a pretty speech isn't a substitute for actions that match your words.

This posting is about to fade into Bilerico's archives. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your particapation and comments. We don't know what the future holds with this, but time will tell. Just don't hold your hopes on anything being cleared or resolved.

Just so you are all aware, there are those out there who are so opposed to this that they have sent me hate mail. I've been called a "dumb ass" and a "f--- nut." Yet, I'm just following through with an idea brought up by another person and that person is not getting any hate mail. Go figure.

There are already four confirmed who will attend. There are others who need to be there as well. I hope some of the long-time activists who have been chritical of HRC will consider joining us. Their particapation will be valuable.

Monica, you are neither stupid or a nut. You are a brave woman and one of character and vision.
You are taking a path, making a choice, to tay and improve the political situation of those who transgress gender roles. Anything that I can do for you, now or in the future; you've only to ask...

Maura,
I'm at monicahelms@earthlink.net