Kate Kendell

We Will, Ultimately, Prevail

Filed By Kate Kendell | February 13, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Creating Change conference, gay rights movement, lesbian, LGBT, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Earlier this month, I was in Denver for Creating Change, the annual activist conference sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The event was packed with LGBT folk of every description, from all over the country. I reconnected with many dear friends and colleagues whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know in my twenty or so years in this movement.

Just as importantly, I met many people for the first time. Seeing so many new faces and feeling a major buzz the entire weekend was both energizing and exhilarating; I could feel progress in the air. While we all still feel that sting of the ballot measure losses in California, Arkansas, Arizona and Florida--an ache that I fear will not subside quickly--the main vibe in Denver was a mixture of hope, optimism and bad-ass insistence that we will not be defeated. Combined with an appreciation of how hard the road ahead might be was a steely resolve that we will--we must--move forward.

As we plan and carry out our work, we do so wiser for the lessons learned, and with a deep commitment to be even more strategic. In any given conference session and in the hotel lobby at any time--especially around midnight--you could find old lesbians, young boyz, radical feminists, business-attired professionals, and post-movement gender queers all talking together with lots of laughter, hugs all around and ambitious plans for the future.

I love my people, because of exactly who we are: a people who are creative and strong and brave and free. We will, ultimately, prevail.


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A former city operations assistant at a Charlotte maintenance facility has sued the city, claiming she was fired because she had a sex change.

The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that Anne Marie Clukey said she was fired because she did not conform to her supervisor's "gender stereotype." The 60-year-old Clukey worked for the city for nearly two years. Court documents said she had "gender reassignment" surgery in May 2001.

Clukey worked at a maintenance facility where police and other city vehicles are repaired. Co-workers at the facility referred questions about Clukey to city officials.

City attorney Mac McCarley said a legal response has not yet been filed, but that the city will deny any liability. He said transgendered individuals do not have any rights under the federal employment discrimination laws.

You know, when some crazy hotel owner fires someone who's gay for being gay, it makes headlines.

But when a city does the same thing to someone who's TS - and post-op even - and doesn't even bother about manufacturing an excuse - it's "dog bites man", nothing unusual, it happens all the time.

We will overcome, but it's been 30 years since Wisconsin provided employment rights for gays. TS people are still waiting their turn there.

I hope that the solicitor for the city holds to that argument and states it clearly in court.

A similiar argument was stated boldly in Tronetti v TLC Healthcare and Tronetti won the right to sue as the argument's first known use was in the infamous Dredd Scott case and judges seem loathe to support such a disreputableline of reasoning.

Charlotte has a county ordnance forbidding anyone from doing this to Gays of course.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | February 14, 2009 6:57 AM

Hello my Aussie beauty. I feel your pain. The good news is that there are any laws on the books. The bad news is that you would still need a fortune to sue for "justice" in America. I gave up on a store discrimination lawsuit against the elderly in Florida. Litigation is too damn expensive and "law" in America amounts to who can afford the best attorney.

It is damn unfair! It is totally frustrating and it is real. I wish I had an answer that gave comfort.

"The first thing we do,let's kill all the lawyers"
Henry VI

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | February 14, 2009 7:00 AM

Hello my Aussie beauty. I feel your pain. The good news is that there are any laws on the books. The bad news is that you would still need a fortune to sue for "justice" in America. I gave up on a store discrimination lawsuit against the elderly in Florida. Litigation is too damn expensive and "law" in America amounts to who can afford the best attorney.

It is damn unfair! It is totally frustrating and it is real. I wish I had an answer that gave comfort.

"The first thing we do,let's kill all the lawyers"
Henry VI

It was great to see you at Creating Change, Kate. I loved the short bit of time we had for conversation in the lobby.

i doubt we'll "arrive," but it's worth working towards!