Monica Roberts

Dear Diego

Filed By Monica Roberts | December 22, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: GLBT, LGBT history, Monica Roberts, open letter, transgender POC

Dear Diego,

ts-diego sanchez1.jpgThis may come as a surprise that you're seeing this open letter from me, one of the more vehement critics of HRC and your new boss, but congratulations on your new senior legislative policy adviser job starting January 9 in Representative Barney Frank's (D-MA) office.

Contrary to what many peeps may surmise, I have been observing and admiring your historic rise through the Democratic Party hierarchy. Know that I'm extremely proud of you and I'm confident that you'll be an excellent role model as well. The fact that you're doing it as an out and proud Latino transman makes your historic climb even more remarkable and noteworthy.

We may have been on opposite sides on a few issues in the transgender community, but I presume we're on the same page when it comes to seeing that all transgender people attain full citizenship rights.

I know you're the second out transperson hired as a senior staffer after Susan Kimberly in Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-MN) office, but you're the first transperson of color to earn that distinction and I presume the first out transperson to be hired as a senior staffer in the House of Representatives.

Diego, you are someone the entire community can point to with pride and say, transteens, here is an example of what is possible if you bust your butts to get that education and dare to dream big dreams. This is a message that transpeople of color need to see and hear as well, in addition to seeing transpeople like you in positions of power and authority.

I hope your hiring also empowers other transgender staffers that are rumored to be employed in various offices on The Hill to feel comfortable enough to come out.

ts-DiegoSanchez_BarneyFrank.jpg
But my joy over your hiring is tempered by who did it. I hope and pray it signals a profound change in Chairman Frank's thinking about transgender inclusion in ENDA, but I long ago subscribed to deeds, not words when it comes to people whose past exclusionary deeds outstripped their flowery rhetoric.

I hope your hiring signals, like Barack Obama's election to the presidency, that historic change has actually come to the office of the representative from Massachusetts on transgender issues, but only time and the progression of legislation authored by Chairman Frank through the 110th Congress will tell in that regard.

Once again, congratulations on the new position and achieving a historic milestone, and I hope I'm blessed with the opportunity to personally congratulate you the next time I'm in Washington DC.

Sincerely yours,
Monica Roberts
2006 IFGE Trinity Award Winner


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Dear Deigo;
Congrats and the new post is certainly well deserved. The New York State Lesbians with whom I am associated applaud loudly and know that you will be a tireless supporter of Rep. Frank in all of his undertakings, including LGBT issues with an appreciation of the needs of the entire community.

I'm happy for Diego. However, I am suspicious of Barney Frank's intentions for him. As a T, I can't trust Rep. Frank, and must judge him by his deeds - and his past deeds aren't good, where our community's concerned. Likewise, Diego must do the same. If Barney intends for him to educate reluctant Congressmen on the need for T inclusion, that's exactly right, and the T community will help. If Frank intends for Diego to educate the T community on why we should accept being excluded, I hope he has the balls to tell Frank to perform an anatomically impossible act I won't describe here.

Diego, you are someone the entire community can point to with pride and say, transteens, here is an example of what is possible if you bust your butts to get that education and dare to dream big dreams. This is a message that transpeople of color need to see and hear as well, in addition to seeing transpeople like you in positions of power and authority.

I couldn't agree with you more, Monica. I'm so freakin' proud of Diego.

And let's keep in mind, Diego got where he is not by being trans or Latino or any other -ism. He did it through a lot hard work and education. Trans issues aren't the only thing he's known for or capable of. His work surrounding HIV/AIDS, for example, has been stellar. I'd hate to pigeon hole him to the point that if ENDA passes, he's out of a job! :)

Congratulations, Diego! What a wonderful moment for you, Congressman Frank's office, and the trans community. I know you'll work wonders on Capitol Hill.