Marti Abernathey

The Song Remains the Same

Filed By Marti Abernathey | August 28, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Barney Frank, ENDA

On Tuesday I attended the HRC/Victory Fund luncheon and on Wednesday I attended the LGBT caucus at the convention center in Denver. Many stories were broke in the past few days, but one event passed by without a word. In a very consistent manner, Barney Frank again signaled that when ENDA is introduced, it will not be fully inclusive.


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Speakers including the likes of Tammy Baldwin, Diego Sanchez, and others have repeatedly spoke about the hopefulness of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but that seems more like a wish, than even close to being a reality. Some in the activist community have commented that I've "given up", but I'm not a believer in false hope. Barney Frank is the shepherd, and we are the sheep.


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He ain't *my* shepherd, sweet pea. He's an object of contempt in this house. He "pragmatically" dumps us to get ENDA passed, *still* doesn't get ENDA passed, apparently doesn't see the ramifications of that (or the irony!), then has the nerve to say he's "disappointed" in the transgender community, that WE haven't been willing to "do the hard political work?" There are no words for this man. The thought that someone this clueless about our struggles and pain might lift a finger to come back & help us up if he DID get a non-inclusive ENDA passed is ludicrous. HE DOESN'T CARE. We can clearly fuck off and die in his book. If he was ever a humane person he's clearly lost that quality.
...and on the subject of gay white men who don't care, I came across this:
http://boycotthrc.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/where-your-hrc-donations-are-going/

Hello? Did you miss the part where transfolk got thrown to the wolves & ENDA *still* didn't pass? WE are not the kink in the hose here. Then again, not many of *us* respond to blatant injustice by saying, "So?"

It might be my ears from this head cold, but I'm having a hard time actually making out what he's saying and I can't find the moment when he indicates the 2009 ENDA will be non-inclusive.

Anyone feel up to transcribing that statement?

Tobi,
He said "I think it's probably a question of time." He's saying that the first bill won't be inclusive.

"So? It will never pass otherwise."

Never? I'll agree it's never passed yet - but you can't blame that on transgender peoples rights being included in the bill.

When 40% of the populace already have this coverage - never seems awfully close. Especially given that it's about 50%? for sexual oreinatation. In a year where we have the first African American major party candididate and had the first serious woman candidiate for President - it seems a smaller vision than the times embody to say - eh - we'll never pass a nondiscrimination bill that includes all lgbt people. Even if one doesn't believe Rep. Baldwin's vote count - the worst case was close enough to almost pass.

If the Dems pick up the seats I hope they do - and if we have a President who supports such a nondiscrimination bill - never ain't so far away.

Why - even Cincinnati has a nondiscrimination bill that covers gender identity. Along with Dayton, Toledo, Oxford and Shaker Heights, OH. What's really telling is that Ohio has passed 5 nondiscrimination laws covering gender identity - but "liberal Massachusetts" has only passed it in three. Hell - even Pennsylvania has 13 of these laws.

Yep - never happen.

Kathy,
I might agree with you if the new Congressmen would all be progressives... but just because they'll be Democrats doesn't mean they'll vote with us. It's my understanding that we currently need 17 votes to meet the threshold for a victory with GI, but in all honesty, I agree with Barney that a commitment from 17 more Reps doesn't mean that all 17 are going to vote yes...in the end. I think you'd have to get 27 more to commit to yes before he'd even consider it.

Marti:

I'll stick with 17 for the sake of argument - partially because it's the vote count number, partially because yes some people will commit and not vote - but some people don't commit publicly and do vote and I've had some Rep's tell me when visiting their office that while they couldn't vote for enda - they could be out of town that day.

There's also the assumption in the discussion that the bill will be managed by Rep. Frank next time around - at this point that is just an assumption. It's more usuall for someone on the committee that is responsible for a bill to mangae it - and there is someone from the community on that committee. After the next election - what if there's two?

But - sticking with my 17 number - even if all of the new members aren't progressive, surely some of them wll be. And that's a mere 3% of the House. A new Pres coming in with new majorities hardly even has to break a sweat on those numbers. If he wants it. Particularly if the issue gains more support in the interim - which it has every year.

Tobi, no need to be polite. It's the way he speaks; it's this gargling sound that, while amusing, is rather inconvenient.

Still, Frank is the best man qualified to know the proper approach to such legislation. All the protesters lack high-ranking insider experience.

That doesn't seem to be the problem, though; they just don't care. It's about political expediency, which they criticize Frank so much for. They're willing to anchor gay rights for their own benefit.

Just because he's a damn Congressman doesn't make him right. It's not just that he wants to leave us behind. He doesn't want to EVER include us. You need to follow the history.

I can't hear what he's saying either way. I take it from the comments that he doesn't say what is being purported, though.

He's saying that "it's a matter of time." As in, not this time but the future. Both Diego and Tammy tried to frame the next ENDA bill as an inclusive one, but Barney Frank resisted that twice.

They're willing to anchor gay rights for their own benefit.
As was done in Wisconsin. And Massachusetts.

Oh wait, that was Gays anchoring Trans rights for their own benefit. Rights which haven't been granted in the succeeding 2 decades. Not a 2 year delay, but 30 years and counting.

We don't believe you'll "come back" for us. Not when there are so many like Chris Crain and John Avarosis who've said they won't lift a finger once their own rights are granted.

How's that anchoring? Did we advocate for putting a legislative piece which would imminently provide trans protections on hold because the gay rights piece was lacking support?

How can you prove that it would not have been the same 30 years had gays and lesbians gone with an ultimatum demanding that trans rights must be included?

I somehow recall it was you who said that gay issues and TS issues were separate ones. Why is it then unreasonable to dedicate ones' resources for a certain cause over another? Do you cover gay and lesbian issues equally in your blog? Do we hold the African American and Women's Rights movement accountable for not including gays and lesbians, much less TS's?

More importantly, why does the issue really bother you? Is it because you know that support is not widespread enough unless riding the coattails of the gay rights movement? Because you feel that stalling the passage of gay rights until it can pass with TS rights will prevent more TS murders from being treated as manslaughter should these protections be enacted?

Explain to gays and lesbians who could be receiving alleviation from discrimination in many aspects of their lives why they should wait a decade or two more?

And Barney is STILL saying "people with Transgender"

OMG I thought that before the hearing we helped his staffers correct him for prime time...

sheesh

Meghan,
I don't think you're gonna teach that old dog new tricks. ;)

And as I've said in other places in the comments, when he says "I think it's probably a matter of time" cements his earlier comments that the bill won't be fully inclusive.

Marti - the clip that is running says nothing about a continuance of a non-inclusive ENDA, is there another segment? I agree that he is not saying or has ever said that "only an inclusive ENDA will be moved forward with a changed ( Obama ) administration". But do you have a clip of him saying this during the luncheon or caucus?

thanks

Megs

Did we advocate for putting a legislative piece which would imminently provide trans protections on hold because the gay rights piece was lacking support?
Yes. The whole Gay Marriage Fiasco caused such cases as Kantaras, Lawrence etc. We got caught in the backlash.

Currently, some TS people in some states can marry, if they're straight. Others in other states can marry, if they are gay. Others can't marry anyone, anywhere. Unlike gays.

How can you prove that it would not have been the same 30 years had gays and lesbians gone with an ultimatum demanding that trans rights must be included?
Lacking a parallel universe transport device, I can't. I can show though that in other states where the legislation was inclusive from the start, the maximum delay was 5 years from first presentation to passage.
I somehow recall it was you who said that gay issues and TS issues were separate ones. Why is it then unreasonable to dedicate ones' resources for a certain cause over another?
Because organisations like the HRC claim to be GLBT, not GLB only. Any group that does not claim to speak for transgendered people is free to privilege GLBs only, and I'd have no complaint. But if they do claim to speak for the transgendered, as they do, then such discrimination is unacceptable.
Do you cover gay and lesbian issues equally in your blog?
No - but I do pay them rather more than lip service, and in the"Today's Battle" section, I've shown that I actually do something.
Do we hold the African American and Women's Rights movement accountable for not including gays and lesbians, much less TS's?
If they're called the African American and GLBT movement, or the Women's and GLBT's movement, then not just yes, but Hell yes! If they don't claim to speak for GLBTs, why should I?
More importantly, why does the issue really bother you? Is it because you know that support is not widespread enough unless riding the coattails of the gay rights movement?
Yes, exactly. I prefer "marching together" rather than "riding the coat-tails", as transgendered people have been, and continue to be, in the forefront of the fight for GLB rights, not just T ones. But yes, the historical record has shown that unless we get rights the same time you do, we get sold down the river by you one time in four. That's a fair assessment, either we get rights with you, or we don't get them at all. Call that what you will.
Because you feel that stalling the passage of gay rights until it can pass with TS rights will prevent more TS murders from being treated as manslaughter should these protections be enacted?
No. What it will do though is reduce the number of premature deaths. Because of the "cost of entry" - surgery - and a $100 a month "hormone jones", many young TS women of color are forced into survival sex work of the riskiest kind, just to eat. Murder is a relatively small proportion - 1 in 7 - of the total deaths. The other 7 are due to other forms of violence, HIV, substance abuse, all the traps that ensnare the young. 1 in 8 in this situation make it to their 30th birthday. Enabling them to have a chance at employment, not quite as good a chance as gays do without ENDA, but a chance at least, will reduce the death toll. Otherwise it's the 70% unemployment rate in the worst spots, and 40% on average.

It is imaginable that a gay city manager could have been fired, as Susan Stanton was. It is inconceivable that nearly 2 years later, a gay city manager with such experience would not have found a replacement job. Susan's still unemployed, and not for wont of trying.

Employment is the single most important issue to the transgendered. Without it, they can't get hormones, and without those, they are virtually unemployable.

Imagine if Gays had to buy a $50,000 license to have a decent life, and lesbians $100,000. That's the cost of surgery. See how that disadvantages women of colour?

Explain to gays and lesbians who could be receiving alleviation from discrimination in many aspects of their lives why they should wait a decade or two more?
The historical record shows it's 5 years on average, 7 at the most. But there is often a delay, sure. And the answer is because young transsexual women of colour are dying, not in ones, or tens, but hundreds every year.

Some don't think that's a good enough reason, and I can't argue against that. But I can make darn sure that they know what the consequences are, and can't pretend they didn't know. Then it's up to them.

Thanks for the good questions. They were cogent, to the point, struck at the heart of the issue, and needed answering.

Sorry, 3 years on average, 5 at the most.

A typical "Hurray for me and to hell with everyone else" attitude that made me write my article,
"The Cause of Anger in the Transgender Community." You should check it out.

"How's that anchoring? Did we advocate for putting a legislative piece which would imminently provide trans protections on hold because the gay rights piece was lacking support?"

Actually - in Massachusetts - yes. MassEquality chose to put the statewide gender identity nondiscrimination bill on the hold and advocate for marriage rights for people who don't even live in the state. That was just this summer.

June: Mass Equality's political director, Matt McTighe, was asked what he thought about widening Mass Equality's mission. He said:

"We feel like it would be unfair to raise the bar [this year] and say, thank you for your vote last year, but where do you stand on the transgender bill or MassHealth Equality. … After November it's quite possible we will reassess and broaden our criteria."

A month later - it was more than fair to raise the bar. You might argue that gay people getting federal employment protections is a higher value than the risk to them a better bill theoretically poses. But it's hard to justify marriage rights for those who don't live in a state having greater value than employment and public accomadation protetctions for those who do live there. Particulalry given most of the people married will move back to states where their marriage won't be honored or garner them any rights.

But - let's be clear - trans people alone can't hold a bill back. We have no members of Congress and don't have equality within the main lobbying group on this bill. But - don't expect us to not do everything we can to be included. If those efforts gain us enough straight and gay allies who agree with the view that the bill should be passed when it's inclusive - the power being exercised & the decision being made is hardly ours alone. Though I do look forward someday to actually having some people in positions of authority.

It's also ironic that when MA held back transgender rights this year to get vapor wear rights for people who don't live in the state; California achieved marraige rights in no small part to the transgender man who argued the case in the Supreme Court. And eveyone in the lgbt communities supported this - because everyone was included in the rights already obtained on employment, hate crimes & public accomadation.

Just as in NJ - civil unions followed the incrementalism of including everyone in employment, hate crimes and public accomadation first. So - when people say they support incrementalism - I ask - what version of incrementalism? The kind where you get everything first and others wait - or the kind where all of our rghts are incrementally won?

Cause I know, when you look at the big picture - who's been holding who back.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 28, 2008 11:46 PM

Barney Frank is developing quite the reputation as someone who’s no longer on our team, if he ever was. He’s famous, if that’s the word for it, for taking a hatchet to ENDA and for opposing the struggle for same sex marriage in Californian.

He went after ENDA because it would have vastly increased our ability to sue for redress, which was deliberately crafted to be very restrictive by bipartisan obstructionists in Congress. That’s why so many civil rights and legal groups representing women, African Americans, immigrants as well as the LGBT communities liked it so much.

In politics, as Deepthroat famously said ‘Follow the money” It’s the most reliable motive for explaining politics in societies like ours which are run by and for businesses, and certainly not by and for working people.

So whose profit margin shoots off the top of the graph because they can arbitrarily cut wages by holding the threat of discriminatory firing over our heads? They’re the same ones who paid to have it hacked to pieces. It’s the owners and managers of business, big and small, who are represented by those motherless rats in the Chamber of Commerce. They win every time because they have the Barney Frank and his ilk to do their dirty work.

Mark Hanna, a Republican leader in the 1890’s told the Ohio attorney general, who had the audacity to sue Standard Oil, the Microsoft of its day, to drop the suit. 'Come on,' Hanna said irritably, 'you've been in politics long enough to know that no man in public life owes the public anything." Barney’s Hanna’s kind of guy, a politician who once he gets bought stays bought. That’s why Frank said what he did.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 28, 2008 11:50 PM

Oops.

With Democrats like these who needs Republicans.

It is truly time for someone to run against Barney Frank for his Congressional seat. Either that, or have Obama make him Secretary of the Treasury, and get him out of our way.

LOL. good luck with that. Defeating Barney Frank would take a lot of time, money, and effort that would be better spent by our community on building our own access.

Thanks for the answers, Zoe.

I do agree that these organizations should be honest about who they truly represent. Methinks they just emptily slap the T in because inclusiveness sells. They're afraid that if they do not cater to the popular acronym, they might lose donors. Well, it's time for them to learn that fooling people for cash, and experiencing harsh backlash for not producing results on falsely advertised aspects, can be even worse.

You've left me with a question, though: Shall gays and lesbians hang on to the rights that are so close to them, or shall they sit it out in solidarity with the TS/IS movement? I must say I don't quite have the answer for this question. Do I look out for gays and lesbians having it miserably in states like Alabama and others, or shall I wait for protections that cover the Susan Stantons and Angie Zapatas of the world?

Do I look out for gays and lesbians having it miserably in states like Alabama and others, or shall I wait for protections that cover the Susan Stantons and Angie Zapatas of the world?
Lucrece, I don't know.

I do know that the average delay for gays in a trans-inclusive bill is 3 years, the maximum 5. The average delay for trans* in an exclusive bill is 14 years, the maximum never (over 30 years and counting).

We should start with that, acknowledging it. Then make a decision, paying whatever price it costs.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 29, 2008 12:04 PM

unless riding the coattails of the gay rights movement?

Lucrece, if anyone's been riding coattails, it's the mainstream gay rights movement! People like Barney Frank, who as a member of Congress had to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the closet, and John Aravosis, who wouldn't be where he is now but for his white, male privilege and the work of a long line of LGBT activists who risked everything to get us to where we are today. These two and others like them who are willing to abandon trans rights are riding the coattails of the Women's Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam War Movement, as well as the early LGBT movement--which, btw, moved forward with transgender activists right in the forefront.

Get your history right.

I have my history right; I just happen to filter through all the tired rhetoric you have to offer.

Really, I would have considered engaging you in thoughtful conversation; but when all you have to say about Barney Frank is mockery about being "dragged out of the closet", or attack him with "white male privilege" buzz words, I can't help but roll my eyes.

For someone advocating sensitivity, you sure seem completely devoid of it, especially with people who have had trouble coming out of the closet. That was just tasteless.

I will point out that, in places like Alabama and Kentucky, Lucrece, to the general public, there is no difference between GLB and T - we are all freaks together, the rednecks don't differentiate. The notion that somehow saying yes to GLB and no to T rights will mollify the 'necks, is a fantasy in Barney Frank's mind, one reinforced by HRC's behavior last fall. The 'necks are going to vote GOP in the South, anyway. "We got 'us a couple queers!" can mean the 'necks catching a well-dressed gay couple leaving an upscale club, a couple lesbians returning from a concert, or a couple transpeople leaving a support group meeting. They don't differentiate. They don't discriminate, they hate us all equally, and they still hate black and Hispanic people, too.

i will say this, as I've said it before: Barney Frank is right when he says that the T community hasn't lobbied well. Barney judges our efforts by the efforts of HRC (how many lobbyists do they have on the Hill at any given time?), or the NAACP, which has many professional advocates on the Hill, or AARP or NRA. What he doesn't understand about the T community is that there is no money, people have no or poor jobs, and our best lobbyists are generally working at state and local levels - that's where the action is, and they have no money to travel to DC more than once per year. As a community, we can talk to our Congressmen at home - I do - but that's not what Barney's looking for.

A local T activist in my hometown used to do T101s for GL groups; her opening phrase in her presentation was "it cost me $50,000 upfront to be my kind of queer - how much did it cost you to come out of the closet as G or L?" That was before the cost of career loss, family loss, etc, in which we share a stake. It opened eyes in our area, to the extent that we were included from that point forward. too bad Barney never saw her presentation. When you have to spend $50,000 to be who you are, then probably lose your career and take many steps backward in societal and career status to be that person, you have the anger and reason to lobby Congress, but not the money to do so. Whether Barney would even care is certainly debatable, what he really thinks is hard to say, but his history with T people isn't a good one.

I don't hate Barney Frank, not the way I absolutely hate the Marilyn Musgraves and Mitch McConnells of the world - people like them, I'd really like to see get crushed by a bus. I wish Barney well in his career path, I recognize how far things have come for him. His time is soon to have passed, and it is time for him to get out of our way and let others do the leading, now. He's a dinosaur and a creature of the past. The present and future includes T.


I'm quite sure Frank isn't trying to get the Southern low class vote. Rather, the representatives sitting on the fence, which see the moving support toward gay rights, but the still absent approval of TS rights.

If the T has to lobby to get an inclusive enda it would help if we knew the names of the congressmen who are against it Democrat or Republican.That is what I meant when I commented that a better explanation from hrc is needed.If Barney Frank won't bring an inclusive enda because of lack of support let him name names instead of "just well it won't pass so I'm not introducing it".I don't hold Hrc solely responsible for this but I do see the politics of division at work here and their being a willing accomplice.While many T's don't have money to lobby at the federal level with names progress may be able to me made in the senators home states through lobbying or protests maybe even the media.A complete list of who's for and who against in both the united enda form and the stripped form would benefit not only the T but the lgb's as well.

Barney Frank is disappointed against the transgender leadership? He can go ahead and be dissapointed in our leadership, because we are certainly disappointed the the G leadership. He specifically mentioned the Miller meeting which I was a part of. The meeting was not about ENDA but about George Miller taking his time to meet with has trans constituents. We are putting the hard work and finding ways to do this without the HRCs, because those who are claiming to represent us are only misrepresenting. At the Miller meeting, George Miller brought up ENDA, he was aware of the rift and said at the time of the vote he was told (by whom I wonder?) that an ENDA dropping gender protections was 'how the community wanted to move forward'. He clearly sees how it really is now. Barney Frank can be disappointed all he wants, because other representatives are clearly having their eyes opened to the less than virtuous gay lobby. If he doesn't like us meeting with our representatives (which he had previously said WE didn't do enough of) then tough. Walk it off Barney.

Barney Frank owes no one.

He represents a small section of MA that loves him to death.

HE is, pretty much, untouchable.

Especially on the issue of trans inclusion.

HE is also a bigot.

Nothing new -- bigots have been getting elected for years.

In 1994, transfolk could marry in every state in the union.

Today we cannot.

Transfolk cannot *but* work on behalf of lgb issues. We are lgb. And s, too.

Not working for trans issues means you are not working for *all* lgb people.

Just some.

Hello, family members. Diego here. I generally don't get to spend as much time as I desire to read or write on blogs, and today is no exception.

As I write this, mine is the 36th entry to Marti's original post. I'm glad to see the engagement, and I truly embrace the passion, no matter how inspired or how it's manifested. People saying things mean that they're still engaged, even if they are writing to say they're not. Saying something is saying something.

If you want facts from me to clarify some mis-statments (just because people hear history passed along sometimes if not directly involved, I am sure) stuff in some things people have written in 1-35, read 1-13. If you want my brief opinion, go directly to 14-15.

I'm writing only because there are some errebiys things here that I can clarify only because I've been directly involved or know for a fact the things that I'll address here.

1. While most of what I'm reading addresses GLBT issues in those terms, I'm going to use the words of law and policy -- sexual orientation and gender identity [and expression when all is fair or when our brilliant lawyers like Lisa Mottet, Shannon Minter, Cole Thaler, Masen Davis or Kylar Broadus, and others, get their hands on it].

2. The explicit words sexual orientation were joined in the new Democratic Party Platform, by the explicit words gender identity, for the first time. As the first transgender person ever appointed by a DNC Chair (Gov. Howard Dean) to a Standing Committee -- and for me, it was Platform, I had the honor of hearing my own Gov. Deval Patrick tell us our charge of getting the Platform done and approved. He said that the Party Platform is the 'vision of America in the eyes of the Democratic Party that distinguishes our Party from others.' That means that the Democratic Party overtly included the words 'gender identity' connected to workplace non-discrimination, and we did it unanimously, meaning without exception or objection.

3. Gov. Dean appointing me to the Platform Committee indicated the Party's intent to include us, to include people who need the words 'gender identity' to be overtly expressed to be treated equally human for anti-discrimination in employment.

4. Right after my appointment, Ethan St. Pierre interviewed me on TransFM and asked that tough question -- whether I expected for us to be included in the Platform. I said yes, and I offered the explanation in #3 above. His interview is in archive, and you can listen to it if you wish.

5. MassEquality was not formed and therefore was not involved when Massachusetts passed anti-discrimination laws in 1989 in Mass. Think: GLAD in Boston, NGLTF's Sue Hyde and HRC's Mary Breslauer. There were so few of us trans people active that we thought it was inclusive. We weren't at the table (we had no table), and all 3 listed above are involved with getting out state bill done here now.

6. MassEquality was formed, following some of us working in smaller numbers in something called the Freedom to Marry Coalition, along with GLAD, NGLTF and HRC locally nationally, especially HRC funding. Freedome to Marry was started with about 5 of us, and we know who we are -- two key leaders were Josh Friedes now with Equality Washington (state) and Valerie Zachary-Fein, MD. It grew later, and some of the leaders moved to MassEquality (Jeremy Pittman and Marty Rouse now with HRC), and Freedom to Marry sustained and worked in partnership. Some of the Equality groups in states include people who were powerfully formative in the early marriage work.

7. I was heavily involved, as were several other trans leaders in Massachusetts, in negotiating how gender identity protections would be prioritized after same-sex marriage, as well as how and when trans people would be involved in same-sex marriage visibility and work. It was a tiered approach and there are plenty of interviews that trans people I list below and I have talked about it. And marriage leaders who are not trans are included in those stories and verified that what we've said is true. Sue Hyde of NGLTF is one you can Google and find depth about that. If you look at how it was constructed, especially when the concept that later became MassEquality and all of the coalitions and legislative work needed, you'd understand why we wanted to go right after marriage equality. MassEquality came later, well after the community agreements about role and timing. By the time it was formed, we had already been working on marriage for years, but its formation, and GLAD's legal case that Mary Bunato won, were critical, clearly.

8. Matt does not set Policy for MassEquality. Its Board does. I served -- along with 3 other trans people (Grace Sterling Stowell, Gunner Scott and Holly Ryan) along with GLB and straight allies involved heaving in equality work in Massachusetts in a statewide focus group convened by MassEquality's Board to set its agenda post same-sex marriage (also included in the DNC Platform, by the way, explicitly) in MA.

9. The outcome of the Board's decisions following the focus groups are heavily reported in Bay Windows (New England's largest LGBT paper) and are on the front page of MassEquality's website. There are 5 priorities and LGBT including transgender equality is listed first.

10. MassEquality is one of our partners with the Mass. Transgender Political Coalition (www.masstpc.org) to secure passage of HB1722, which adds hate crimes to employment, housing, credit, public education and public accommodations, to add gender identity and expression wherever sexual orientation exists in our anti-discrimination laws in MA.

11. The 'they only have 3 cities in MA' was done by design, by us in MTPC. Our goal was always a state law, and we strategically chose 3 cities to get local laws done here, and to learn to organize testifying and lobbying legislators. We had great and direct help from HRC (national and our local Steering Committee, on which I am Diversity Chair), NGLTF (Mottet), NCTE (of which I'm a Founding Board Member).

12. Congressman Frank at the DNC in the HRC/Victory Fund Forum said 'people who are transgender.' I was a speaker, too, at his table, and my remarks, and his, will appear from a direct-feed mike on HRC's BackStory soon. I'll be writing to HRC's folks today so that this, at least, can be cleared up. It's Labor Day, so I don't expect it up today. We all just got back from Denver and some people went directly on holiday. I spend plenty of time with Congressman Frank and he has given enough attention that he did not say what he used to say. Play the poorer quality recording (and know that the direct feed will sound clearer) and listen for both before falling to the familiar. It's all I ask. Look, I can hear wrong, too. Someday ask me about the ferry over Cape May and me thinking a woman asked me if that was my 'GUY dog' when she was asking about my "EYE dog" as in seeing-eye dog, and she was mortified when I said her daughter could pet him. We're human. Stuff happens.

13. The Democratic Candidate for Pres. of the U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in his home state approved fully inclusive (sexual orientation and gender identity) anti-discrimination laws. He's not a stranger to this, and his words directly in his remarks and in his own Party's Platform are explicit.

14. I am doing this work because I, as a person who grew up not being able to swim in public pools because I'm not white, believe and KNOW that changes that might feel impossible can occur -- well before never. Change takes passion and smarts, like so many have expressed here. It also takes cool, calculated delivery. My expression of the former is the latter.

15. My task is to do the work to help deliver what we need done, and I'll stay focused on that. I won't judge anyone for giving up hope. I would ask that no one judge me for not doing so. My life experience tells me I must keep trying. With respect, Diego

Diego,
It's nice to read a history lesson from you here, but nothing in what you said shows us that Barney will still not introduce a fully inclusive bill and HRC will ONLY support a fully inclusive bill.

The Platform is not worth the megabytes it was written with if Barney doesn't give a shit about trans people and does what the hell he wants to do. And, if HRC acts like his puppet and goes along with him, then what good was the Platform? There are no Platform Police to whoop Barney's ass if he doesn't follow it to the letter. Anyone who believes the Platform will make a difference with ENDA is sadly diluting themselves.

Only Obama can make a difference if he insists he wants it inclusive. And if Barney doesn't listen, then his transphobia will be on record.

HA -and by errebiys - I meant erroneous. (I can't get my Apple + thing to make the type size bigger. Dang, I am old!). Diego

Well, Marie just told me that the lady on the boat over Cape May asked me about my "GUIDE" dog (not 'eye' dog), to which I still thought it was my "GUY" dog, Campari, who turned 15 on Aug. 1. To his mama Marie, he is 'gender fluid,' and is still always ID'd as 'she' by people who approach Campari to give pats.

I want to thank everyone who's offered such comprehensive & thoughtful comments here. It's given me the opportunity to work through at least *some* of my rage, and to back up some of my deeply-felt feelings with details, facts, & history. All this, in a far less condescending fashion than Barney Frank's Great-White-Father lectures to us poor deluded transfolk on "how politics works." For that I am appreciative.
However. The bottom line, as viewed by someone happy not to be a politician, is that HE SOLD US OUT. He was willing to throw us to the wolves for a perceived benefit that never even came to pass. If he'd sacrificed himself for others that would be noble. Sacrificing others for your own good? Not so much. It may be different in "politics," but by any ethical standard of behaviorworthy of aspiration, people are not chess pieces.
Another thing: the trans community is not separate from the LGB comunities. We encompass many who ID as L,G, or B. And we stand for and with many who identify primarily as L, G, or B, but are not gender-normative--who couldn't "pass" if our lives depended on it (and sadly they often do, and we pay the price.) What's going on here is that Frank & his like are advocating solely for the rights of those who can fit in a specific narrow range of appearance & behavior, the shiny happy upwardly mobile LGBs who know how to behave at a cocktail party, whose presence at a fundraiser is actually lucrative for the likes of Frank & the HRD, those who aren't too "obvious." NOT those who actually need the legal protection the most; NOT those who routinely take the hard hits from society's homo- and trans-phobia.
"Where principle is involved, be deaf to expediency." This is the maxim guiding true leaders and statesmen. Frank is neither. He's an opportunistic politician practicing politics as usual. Thank you but no.

I'll stick with 17 for the sake of argument - partially because it's the vote count number, partially because yes some people will commit and not vote - but some people don't commit publicly and do vote and I've had some Rep's tell me when visiting their office that while they couldn't vote for enda - they could be out of town that day.

Barney isn't going to let this go without a solid number of yes votes. It's not a matter of yes votes, but a solid commitment to make that vote.

There's also the assumption in the discussion that the bill will be managed by Rep. Frank next time around - at this point that is just an assumption. It's more usuall for someone on the committee that is responsible for a bill to mangae it - and there is someone from the community on that committee. After the next election - what if there's two?

Kathy, you know as well as I do that just because something is managed by someone, doesn't mean that another person has no say in it. Frank is one of the most powerful men on the Hill. Any GLBT bill on the Hill WILL go through him.

But - sticking with my 17 number - even if all of the new members aren't progressive, surely some of them wll be. And that's a mere 3% of the House. A new Pres coming in with new majorities hardly even has to break a sweat on those numbers. If he wants it. Particularly if the issue gains more support in the interim - which it has every year.

I'm not saying we shouldn't push forward with it, but we shouldn't spend our time protesting Frank/HRC, when the reality on the ground is what is keeping us from being in the legislation. If we aren't in ENDA, we have one person to blame... and I'll be handing out the mirrors.

My comments were factual corrections with attributions where they were readily available, not a history lesson. I'm no historian, I've just been involved in some of the things mentioned. I corrected what wasn't true.

I'd have to be someone I haven't yet met to know as truth what is asked both about Congressman Frank and HRC. What I do know is that both have been clear about their commitment to delivering a fully inclusive ENDA and their conditions.

I appreciate your comments about the Platform. I have only been involved in Party politics nationally since 1980 and at state levels since 1972. I feel confident from my own experience with the Platform's role and it differs than the doubt someone mentioned.

We have just added gender identity this year. That's progress and the first time we've been included. I can't speak for Sen. Obama, but I believe that both his history and his stated commitment have expressed his position and intent clearly.

While we've done a lot of education, I think we can do more and some of it differently than we have.

The immediate work is to get Sens. Obama and Biden elected, to add to both Chambers the incredible new Dem candidates we met in Denver this week and to ensure that everyone already in office running for re-election who is with us remains in office.

And we need to hit the ground running on Day 1 and stay solid in those valuable first 100 Days.

But first, we've got a very nearby election.

I forgot to say: With all due respect, I disagree about what the bottom line is. I have a former CEO I worked for who always said you never get ahead looking in the rearview mirror. I agree.

For me, the bottom line is that we need, and don't have, an inclusive ENDA bill that protects gender identity and sexual orientation.

And my eyes are on hate crimes, which we also don't have for anyone yet.

Our lives are at risk, and we are not seen or treated as equally human, and that's not right.

We need to focus on the elections so that we can achieve that bottom line, in my view. Diego

As we work on elections, we need also to keep pushing from every corner of our community to keep the volume up to continue to make clear that when leaders say that protections for all Americans is mandatory, that includes us, punto.

I'm going to take today to share a day at the beach with Marie and our aging dog Campari to bring all three of us a little rest and needed shared time. Best to all, and keep up the good fight. We're right to be doing all we do, so let's all keep this a three-dimensional effort with our eyes on the prize.

Angela Brightfeather | September 3, 2008 8:55 AM

Diego,

Lets imagine for a minute that a press release comes out tomorrow and it hits the media that Barney Frank has passed away quietly in his bed the evening before and was discovered by his partner.

My bet would be that a huge breath of gasping air would be heard in Russia, coming from every Trans person in America. There would be a few GLB people who would give credit to his pioneering principles and credits. But even in the GLB communities there would be a feeling of some kind of relief, because they would feel less contrained or controlled by posterity, and more free to move ahead without the "permission" of the Great Pubha any longer.

There would be a huge huddling mass forming in the HRC building lobby and Joe Solomonese would become temp help in an instant, with no old ally to fall back on and plan with.

But the general concensus of the great majority of the GLBT community would wake up the that day, say a prayer to their respective higher being, and hope that Barney gets assigned a nice dress and 4" heels to wear for eternity before he is admitted to the pearly gates, as punishment for his transphobia and need to control the masses. The sun would come up and everyone would say "It's a wonderful and brand new day for GLBT people."

I just thought to throw that in for a refreshing view of what the future really holds for us, instead of the pie in the sky view being shopped to the Trans community through your eyes.

It's great we are in the Dem. Platform now. It's great that we have possibly three supporters in Congress after the election that are for Trans inclusion in ENDA. It's great that we will have a President and his lovely wife who "get it" about Trans inclusion. All we have to do now is try to find a way to get one, big, old problem out of our way to move ahead as a united community.

Unfortunately, God isn't listening to the majority of us right now. She is sitting up there thumbing her nose at us and saying that we have to suffer longer for the things that we need to live and isn't willing to call in the avenging guardian angel of the rest room patrol.

Actually, I think that the only people who are doing a lot of praying right now for Barney to continue to be protected by God, is Dobson and his bunch.

11. The 'they only have 3 cities in MA' was done by design, by us in MTPC. Our goal was always a state law, and we strategically chose 3 cities to get local laws done here, and to learn to organize testifying and lobbying legislators. We had great and direct help from HRC (national and our local Steering Committee, on which I am Diversity Chair), NGLTF (Mottet), NCTE (of which I'm a Founding Board Member).

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That can't be right Diego. MTPC was formed in 2001? Cambridge passed it's bill in 1997? No design on the three cities there. I lived in Cambridge at the time. You should know that people out of state say - Provincetwon doesn't have an anti-discrimination law??????