Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

ENDA support...but can you please drop the transgenders?: Florida's Lincoln Diaz-Balart

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 18, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Florida, Lincoln Diaz-Balart

The Employment Non-Discrimination, one of the only LGBT protections likely to be put in place this legislative session, is haunted by a giant shadow of the sordid past.

Lincoln Diaz-BalartThat shadow is the effort by our "leaders" to pass ENDA in 2007 by stripping out gender identity provisions that would protect members of our clan who are not gender-conforming, whether they be transgender persons or gay men or lesbians or even straight people.

Over 400 LGBT organizations rose up to state that they would never support a "workplace fairness" bill that intentionally leaves out part of our community, and some progressives in Congress voted against the anti-trans bill.

It's starting again. In Miami, of all places, by one of our would-be allies. In all fairness, the message came through an aide, and he represents a "difficult" area, so it likely reflects a lack of awareness than any active hostility.

Still, though...Now is the time to nip this in the bud.

Fortunately, Rep. Frank has publicly stated that "we are beyond that" sort of thing, and so, thankfully, we do not have to be (overly) concerned about that actually happening. We are within 5% of the votes needed in both houses of Congress to pass ENDA, and no one has, as yet, had the bad taste to raise the giant shadow of the sordid past.

That is, until yesterday, when Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart's office told a constituent that he will support ENDA -- as he did in 2007 -- and even co-sponsor the bill -- but questioned the need for gender identity provisions.

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, of Florida's 21st Congressional District, represents Miami and its northeastern suburbs. He is good on many issues. But not, apparently, up to snuff on this one. His brother, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who represents Florida's 25th Congressional District, has not yet revealed his position on HR 3017.

We need to educate our would-be allies about what it means to be LGBT in the 21st century. We are done accommodating to the needs of straights to be acceptable. We are past the time when women have to conform to gender expectations of skirts and heels and lipstick in order to be "acceptable" lesbians. We are through with the idea that gay men have to be tough-talking machos in order to avoid being subjected to taunts, discrimination and violence. We are not okay with the idea that transgender people have to live in a nether-world of discrimination, unemployment, prostitution and violence.

If you let them -- our would-be allies, with the best of intentions -- could, without understanding what they do, dictate the terms of our lives, and put you in a box so tight you will be less yourself than ever. That is not victory. That is not what we have been promised. This is not what we are fighting for.

This is not about transgender people. This is about who gets to determine what it means to be a member of our community, and who gets to determine what is acceptable.

Please call Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart and help educate him about the importance of an inclusive ENDA. Be nice. It won't help to be nasty. But tell him to support HR 3017. Tell him that workplace fairness includes all of us, not just some. Explain to him that our movement is about freedom to be ourselves, not to be put in a slightly larger box. Tell him to learn about what it means to support the LGBT community.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-21) 305-470-8555 Click here for Email

Please call now.


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I'm embarrassed by how non-progressive Florida is....

Nikki Hatch | August 18, 2009 11:39 AM

I called the office of Rep. Lincoln Diaz- Balert this morning to express my outrage but was told they would call me back later. Since I live in Broward County, I'm not holding my breath. I think it might be easier to send an e-mail but I do not have his e-mail address.

Nikki Hatch

The email address is next to his name in the post.

I called and got their DC # of 202-225-4211. I will call back on my last break because they are having "phone problems" in DC. This is where using my title of being president of TAVA comes in handy. Veterans can open doors.

Wow. You just gave me goose bumps! I'll definitely be spreading this post. Keep up the good work!

Who cares about ENDA?...it's a totally gutted ghost of the original without meaning, teeth, any means of enforcement. It's a "feel good" sham.

Support the ERA.

If "gender identity" was replaced with "post operative transsexuals" this issue of gender would disappear from ENDA. Gender identity, as the hold up for ENDA must be maddening to the hundred of thousands of gays and lesbians. Doesn't really matter to true transsexuals anyway, for the most part we are employed and don't face any discrimination to speak of.

Marja Erwin | August 18, 2009 8:01 PM

There is systematic discrimination against transsexual people. Most of it is directed against pre-operative, can't-operative, and non-operative transsexual womyn. However, some of it also impacts post-operative transsexual people. For example, the Schroer case, the various states which refuse to correct birth certificates even post-op, the ways both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages get invalidated, etc.

This discrimination intersects with other forms of discrimination, e.g. against poor people, against people of color, against anti-war activists, against immigrants, etc. Some people rarely face discrimination. Others often face it - again and again. I am an anti-war activist and a police brutality survivor, and have severe PTSD.

The more discrimination someone faces, the less likely they are to scrape together the money to pay for surgery. I've never, ever, ever had access to that kind of money. I didn't choose to be can't-op.

rapid butterfly | August 19, 2009 8:28 AM

Fantastic, more blather about "true transsexuals." After all, we know that one's status as a "real" transwoman is entirely dependent on the approval of others (passing and stealth). And if you can't get these things, or if, perhaps, you need to remain employed while working on those things (i.e. skills needed to "pass")? Well, you neither deserve rights nor are "truly" a woman. Right?

twinkie1cat | August 24, 2009 12:17 AM

Just as with gay and lesbian persons, a transgender is who they know and express who they are. I have known a few who never, rarely or have stopped crossdressing, two who stopped because they are concerned it would re-trigger a drug abuse problem.

Having a sex change has little do do with whether a person is trans. It is a state of mind, who the person is. Surgery does not change that as proven by the children born with the organs of both sexes whose parents decide which to remove and how they will raise the child, or with the genitalia of the sex opposite their DNA. When they reach adolescence they realize something is "wrong". They discover that their body does not match their mind. Few transgenders actually have a sex change, especially "bottom" surgery. Whether it is money or fear of being cut, the issue is not as much where one's body is as much as where one's head is.

If we could just get the gays, lesbians, and transgender to stop speaking for us as though they have some inherent investment/privilege/right to do so, we'd be just fine.

Those tranny penises in women's showers have never been addressed.....it will sink ENDA in the end..a

Gays, no woman is gonna agree to penises in women's showers, ever. Dump the TGs.

Lesbians and women with histories.....support the ERA, that's real equal rights without religious exemptions, no coverage of public accommodations or housing or anything else. Dump the gay men, their sexual excesses will sink you, have sunk you.

Trannys....in your best case ENDA would only allow you to pee at work. Wake up, the rest of the time you aren't gonna be covered anyway. You have been sold a bill of goods too. When the DSM-V comes out you will be declared officially fetishists and no legislator will ever support civil rights for a sexual fetish.

Stick to subjects you actually know about, rather than making things up out of hate. Showers are not an issue, T-girls have never sought to share places of communal nudity like that.

the hell you say.........the comments here and on Pam's are filled with crossdressers demanding exactly that.....

twinkie1cat | August 23, 2009 11:47 PM

Showers, no, but trannies in major companies than believe in equality do allow them to use the restrooms of their expressed gender. (And at how many jobs do people take gang showers, not many unless it is an emergency decontamination and then other issues are paramount.) A transwoman at IBM, while she started off with a separate restroom was eventually allowed to use the Womens. All but one co-worker were ok with it. That one, a religious fundamentalist,was told that if she objected she could use the facilities on another floor but they were not going to discriminate. This is information that was told to me by the transwoman directly. It is not an urban legend.

Your suggestion of supporting the ERA is a good one, except for the fact that no ERA is currently pending. I would also note that there are 12 states and over 100 cities with ENDA laws in place, so the extension to a federal bill is not such a leap.

I believe that the ERA was recently re-introduced.

The ERA has been introduced every single year since 1923 when it was first introduced by legendary suffragette Alice Paul.

This year it was introduced July 21st, at 10 a.m. by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

You have the ERA, you don't need a watered down ENDA, at least if you are a woman.

You answered me with the numbers game, too few like me to matter.....newsflash, I'm a woman and last time I checked we, as a demographic, outnumbered the LGBt by a huge huge amount seeing as we are 1/2 the population. So my reply to you is why throw in with a minor minority like gays when you belong in a group with real numbers?

Dear Radical B:

"You answered me with the numbers game, too few like me to matter.....newsflash, I'm a woman and last time I checked we, as a demographic, outnumbered the LGBt by a huge huge amount seeing as we are 1/2 the population. So my reply to you is why throw in with a minor minority like gays when you belong in a group with real numbers?"

I like this question, as it neatly points up the differences between the ERA and ENDA. My answer is that the ERA would not address private discrimination, but only government action. Thus, employers and others would still be free to discriminate against me.

In addition, even in regard to governmental actions, the question of whether it would be interpreted to cover me, as a woman of transsexual experience, is unresolved. While I identify as a woman, some courts have disagreed with my self-identification. The question is whether the US Supreme Court would interpret "sex" to include gender identity. On that note, I recently wrote a law review article in the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review suggesting that the US Supreme Court might very well do so, if the most conservative jurists on the Court follow their own doctrine of "textualism." The article is available here: by clicking here Thus, while I support the ERA, it does not replace ENDA, and does not obviate my coalition with gays, lesbians and bisexuals. (I also identify as bisexual.)

Thus, joining the women's movement does not, by itself, take care of my concerns.

Are you forgetting the Richards decision? Tronetti v TLC Healthnet? I know it's popular among TGs to ignore these two because they deal with legal sex before and after surgical correction but the fact of the matter is, one provides coverage for medical model trans women pre-correction and one acknowledges the legal sex of a post corrected woman.

Tronetti also established, once and for all (at a considerable cost to herself since she is actually intersexed and could have pursued a slam dunk on ADA grounds) the EEOC Title VII rights as recognized treatment for a recognized medical condition sidestepping prior mixed decisions.

In civil rights circles it's considered a landmark case. In trans ones, it's ignored.

And I know this case inside and out as I am a good friend of Dr. Tronetti who discussed the case almost daily with her as it unfolded.

The ERA would cover me. It would not cover Monica Helms.....and I have no problem with that.

I am aware of both the Richards decision and the Tronetti case. I like the Richards decision, but unfortunately it's not an employment decision, and, in any event, that approach has mostly been ignored by courts. I have strong sympathies for the medical model argument, but believe that non-medical arguments should be allowed as well. I don't believe I should have to justify my decision to have sex reassignment surgery to a judge in order to live my life.

Most courts, unfortunately, seem to favor the Seventh Circuit's Ulane decision, which held in the 80s that transsexuals are not discriminated against on the basis of "sex discrimination" when they are fired for being trans. The lower court decision in Ulane, which upheld Karen Ulane's discrimination case, used the medical model language, only to be slammed down hard by the appeals court. Many courts have followed this bad Ulane decision. I discussed this in detail in the context of the recent Schroer case, where the judge issued a medical model opinion at first, but then changed it a couple of years later. My discussion of that is here: http://bit.ly/2B4S5

But back to reality. In the several federal courts that have disagreed with Ulane, they have not used the medical model. Instead, they have used the theory that anti-trans discrimination is sex discrimination because it is "sex stereotyping," i.e. saying a man can't act or dress like a woman, or vice versa. So, in my opinion, that is our best shot at Title VII protection, even though I have strong sympathies for the medical model argument.

As for the Tronetti decision, I can't agree with your characterization of it. It does not, in my reading, demonstrate coverage for medical model trans women. In Tronetti, the court explicitly noted that Tronetti was not claiming coverage as a trans woman, medical model or otherwise. The court states "Tronetti, however, is not claiming protection as a transsexual. Rather, Tronetti is claiming to have been discriminated against for failing to “act like a man.” (page 4 of the opinion)

dr. weiss, thanks for a great post! i wish i lived in florida and could help on this one.

yes, ENDA has been weakened over the years, but it's still a good step forward, and we need to fight for it. we'll never win everything overnight. but we have a real window to win something now, and we've got to do all we can to help it along.

let's be kind to gay men. i know a lot of them that are doing a lot to help the trans community. also, a lot of trans folk are not straight. i'm both trans and queer - when you're talking about gay men, you're talking about me.

Dr. Weiss,
I spoke with the LGBT Legislative Aid in his office in DC and he said that his was a totally false rumor. He supports a fully inclusive ENDA, that protects gay, lesbian, bisexual and TRANSGRENDER people from employment discrimination, which includes crossdressers, pre-op, non-op, post op, intersex, genderqueer and classical transsexuals, whether they want protection or not.

Dear Monica:

Thank you for getting this info. I am in awe of your ability to get through to the Congressman's LGBT aide. I will check with the Congressman's office and upon confirming this info I will issue a correction and apology.

Dear Monica:

I called his office yesterday to get the correction, but several messages got no return call. I also understand from people down there that he, in fact, is not yet in support of HR 3017.

As a fully qualified spokesperson for all transgender people everywhere, I give my consent to withdraw all gender terminology from this legislation. Whether they want it or not.

gender identity provisions that would protect members of our clan who are not gender-conforming

So, as a gender conforming woman, post-correction, I wouldn't be covered if I were in the United States?

Unless someone defines me as gender non-conforming, I suppose.

Dear Jessica:

The "unless" is the big part. Although you define yourself as gender-conforming, and I respect that, many others define gender conforming as conforming to birth sex.

Dr. Weiss

I think this is the point many here have been making--do I remain my birth-assigned sex, and presumably gender, when I never was male in the first place? And it was only because of socialization in error that I was brought up--or my parents attempted to bring me up--as masculine?

Do you agree with this imposition of birth-assigned sex even after hormone replacement, transition and corrective surgery?

I believe this is one of Radical Bitch's concerns--being called a man even after all of this we have gone through--and the refusal to accept our lives as they are.

Christopher Shelley, the Canadian author of Trans People, has described this as repudiation, clearly a reality that seems, from much evidence on this site, to come at least as much from those who identify as transgender and seek to impose this on those who do not wish it, as from those who do not identify as transgender.

There is a name for this when done to any other minority--but when it comes to transsexual people this prohibition, what one might call common decency, is suspended.

Dear Jessica:

You ask "do I remain my birth-assigned sex, and presumably gender, when I never was male in the first place?...Do you agree with this imposition of birth-assigned sex..."

It is my opinion that the sex assigned at birth by the doctor for birth certificate purposes is not necessarily one's true sex.

The current US usage of the term "sex," in my opinion, includes both biological and gendered attributes, many of which will only be known as the child matures. I discussed the historical background of the term, and argued that gender identity is an element of "sex" in my recent law review article on the meaning of the term "sex" in US legislation.

miss wild thing | August 18, 2009 11:13 PM

I can't support ENDA if it includes Cubans. Makes as much sense. Everyone know the Diaz-Balarts are cousins to ....Fidel and Raul Castro.

In regard to those of you who have commented on the limitations of ENDA, the problems of lumping transgender and transsexual identities together, and the issue of who should represent the trans community -- all important issues -- thank you for commenting. I have a lot of empathy for these issues, though for myself, I have determined that my rights as a transsexual woman are tied together with transgender and other non-conforming people, as well as the GLB community. I believe that, just as I have the right to determine my gender identity, so too, do others, even if their gender identity is quite different from my own. The issue is the right, not the identity. In fact, I have a law review article coming out in the fall, asserting that there is a constitutional right to determine one's own gender identity. A bit controversial, I know, and considering how I shrink from controversy, quite surprising, n'est pas?

How do you propose to keep your viewpoint from harming the rights of non-GLBT women whom your activism affects? It is obvious that both positions cannot co-exist- one must win out.

So by this statement I take it that you have declared yourself against anyone who isn't part of the transgender paradigm. You are willing to trample their rights in pursuit of your own because you have decided your interests "are tied together with transgender and other non-conforming people, as well as the GLB community". Is this correct?

Marja Erwin | August 19, 2009 8:28 AM

What?

I'm trying to figure out ONE way that defending transgender rights actually harms cisgender womyn.

And yet you've already mentally separated yourself from women by using that ridiculous "cis" garbage.

Penis people in women's showers....and in the last year and a half the internut discussions have been overrun with TGs demanding exactly that....

If you thought like a woman instead of a trans something perhaps you'd gain a perspective you clearly lack. Your very first response to me was to say I hated. Nice opening to dialogue. You then proceeded to tell me to shut up about that I know not about in blissful ignorance that I was fighting for trans civil rights when you no where to be seen (delete speculation on where you were and were doing then). I'm not part of the transvestite communities (a much more accurate 'umbrella' term for those who aren't classic transsexed at birth)

I will not fight for a community that uses terrorism, tells women to 'shut up' and claims the right to define and enforce those definitions on those who want no part of their nonsense. Like the Progressive Revolution that is awakening in the face of Obama ignoring their issues, post corrected women are starting to finally speak up and say "enough is enough" and state loudly and clearly that these self appointed transvestite activists do not speak for us, never spoke for us and actively work against our interests and already done real, tangible, harm to our lives and civil rights.

Marja Erwin | August 19, 2009 2:12 PM

"Your very first response to me was to say I hated."

Where?

"You then proceeded to tell me to shut up about that I know not about in blissful ignorance that I was fighting for trans civil rights when you no where to be seen (delete speculation on where you were and were doing then)."

What?

"I'm not part of the transvestite communities (a much more accurate 'umbrella' term for those who aren't classic transsexed at birth)."

Neither am I. I am a womon with a birth defect, but was assigned male. I shouldn't have to prove my womonhood. All my close friends up through the age of seven, and many since, were other girls. But then, many cis girls were friends with boys. I have never liked the thing attached to my body. I just can't afford the surgery.

"I will not fight for a community that uses terrorism, tells women to 'shut up' and claims the right to define and enforce those definitions on those who want no part of their nonsense."

Terrorism is a fairly nasty accusation. Somehow, I don't think you're talking about murder, whether on the streets or from the sky. I do think these accusations need to begin at the top: all the governments and would-be-governments in the world are engaged in terrorism. Other organized criminal groups are engaged in terrorism. Beyond that, the definition gets stretched too far. However, rights apply to individuals, not communities.

"Like the Progressive Revolution that is awakening in the face of Obama ignoring their issues, post corrected women are starting to finally speak up and say "enough is enough" and state loudly and clearly that these self appointed transvestite activists do not speak for us, never spoke for us and actively work against our interests and already done real, tangible, harm to our lives and civil rights."

It's certainly important to distinguish transsexualism from transgenderism. However, even if we are only concerned with protecting the rights of transsexual people, we ought to:

1. Protect the rights of people in transition.

2. Protect the rights of people who cannot afford surgery. [like me]

3. Protect the rights of any people with intermediate brain sex.

4. Protect the rights of any womyn who are seen as too masculine, and any men who are seen as too feminine. It's not that long ago that therapists routinely blocked treatment for lesbian trans womyn and gay trans men.

For the record, I used terrorism in it's exact,legal meaning because I have been personally subjected to crimes directed at me by TGs to silence myself and others like me.......crimes. Death threats, attempts to disrupt all my communications including snail mail, attempts to leave me homeless when I was providing housing for other women....and much much more I've recounted here more than once.

I'm not sure to what harm you refer. Could you elaborate a bit more?

Jillan, I and others have been writing, essaying, blogging for years on exactly what harm. If we weren't silenced, banned, marginalized, threatened, barred from the discussions perhaps you'd have a better handle on this.

You pretty much appeared recently out of no where to be yet another trans saviour.....do the work, read our blogs. Until the trannys clean up their own house they are the ones who should shut up, not us.

Click on my nick, read the back essays on my blog, check out those blogs I link to.....then ask me again if you still don't get it.

Dear Radical B:

You ask: "How do you propose to keep your viewpoint from harming the rights of non-GLBT women whom your activism affects? It is obvious that both positions cannot co-exist- one must win out."

My viewpoint is that extending protection on the basis of gender identity will not harm the rights of non-GLBT women. I understand your point that the public has begun to realize that many transgender people do not have surgery, and incorrectly lumps transsexual and transgender people together. This is not something that can be cured by demanding apartheid between transgender and transsexual people. In addition, the numbers of those who have surgery and are politically active are so small that it would be impossible to get any political leverage by ourselves. I respect your opinion that there is an important difference between transgender and transsexual people. However, I don't think there are enough people of your opinion to win any political leverage. Though I am different from many transgender and gay people, I do recognize a common cause in the prejudice that harms us all. I have no problem being a part of that rainbow coalition.

I also understand that it appears that I have come "from nowhere." While you may have become aware of me only recently, I note that I have been researching and writing on gender issues for the past ten years. However, I disclaim any intent to be a savior. That's impossible. I speak only for myself, and if people find those words valuable, so be it.

We must live in different worlds then because I simply do not experience all those woes from having a medical condition in my background that was corrected.

I do not buy the numbers game argument either since I believe that nothing good comes from association with transgender when you are, in fact, a woman. I do my activism as a woman on women's issues and want nothing to do with the transgender movement that totally disrespects the realities of my life, my identity, even my body......see the comments made M Helms in another entry here.

Political leverage, as you put it, comes from a united women's movement. Yes, I definitely want that apartheid precisely because the vast majority of the prejudices, hatred, bigotry and attempts to totally disrupt my life all came from the transgender communities.....not the world in general. I view the average transgender exactly the same as an abusive spouse. I am far from alone in feeling this way.

If the transgender communities ever clean up their house, denounce the haters and abusers in their midsts, perhaps I would lighten my position but over a decade of experience with these people while having tried to help them tells me this "ain't gonna happen".

This is not something that can be cured by demanding apartheid between transgender and transsexual people. In addition, the numbers of those who have surgery and are politically active are so small that it would be impossible to get any political leverage by ourselves. I respect your opinion that there is an important difference between transgender and transsexual people. However, I don't think there are enough people of your opinion to win any political leverage.

Are you saying I am not a woman? Because that is what it sounds like here. Did it ever occur to you that the reason post-corrected women are not active in your cause is the taint of transgender fetishism and the requirement to denounce our own womanhood as some third gender? Do you have figures for those of us post corrected working within the Women's movement or as lesbian activists? I don't but I do know I'm not the only one and guess what, because we are women and not transgendereds, you won't get those numbers. We work on behalf of women, for women as women.

This tiny numbers don't get rights crap is crap and assumes we aren't actual women as it's basis.

There are so many comments here that I am finding it hard to keep up.

I said: "However, I don't think there are enough people of your opinion to win any political leverage."

Then you asked: "Are you saying I am not a woman? Because that is what it sounds like here."

Here's my answer:

You are clearly a woman. The concern I am expressing is whether the courts will recognize that when the ERA is passed, which I just explained in more detail in another comment here.

Around 12 or so years ago I was in a face to face with a very very very conservative republican member of the House, one with influence. He gave us over two hours of his time, missed several roll call votes to do so.

One of the things he told me was if we separated from the GLBs who were selling us out (HRC was actively pre-lobbying against us then) there was considerable support for our civil rights on his side of the House. No one wanted to hear this then or now. At any rate, ten years of women with penises 'education' made damn sure that ship sailed. Back then there was considerable sympathy for the plight of transsexual women. Now we are erased from public view, the very word 'transsexual' stripped of it's meaning, decades of building public understanding and acceptance tossed out the window.

Back then we had actual civil rights legislation within reach that would have covered all trans and gender transgressive gays and lesbians but the transvestite activists needed to 'educate' that they didn't want surgical correction and that women have penises. They pushed us out, shouted us down, banned us from all political action email lists.

What harm? Back then if you got outed the public assumption was you were post corrected or soon would be, today it is you are some she-male, chick with a dick freak. That harm alone extends across your entire life and is far from the only harm done.

I cannot tell from the picture to your comment, but are you gender non-conforming?

This should be apparent from your appearance and not an intrusive question, say, about your sexual orientation or genitalia--which I don't really believe are any of my business.

By your commentary, ENDA only covers gender non-conforming people--certainly this covers gay and lesbian people, many straight people and, as a recent human rights complaint in Canada declared, two spirit people (as, defined in the complaint, are aboriginal GLB people).

Do those people born with the condition called transsexual also have to identify as transgender--as best I understand gender non-conforming means--to be covered by ENDA?

Or can we just be covered by being who we are?

Dear Jessica:

Good questions. It would be incorrect to say that ENDA only covers gender non-conforming people, though it is designed to help those. However, because the language covers anyone discriminated against because of "gender identity", this would include gender-conforming people who are discriminated against because they are gender-conforming. One need not identify one's self as transgender, transsexual or anything else in order to be protected by this provision.

As far as my own gender identity, I identify as a woman of transsexual experience, but I will also answer to transgender, gay, or hey you.

Another major difference as calling me a transgender is probably the worst insult you could hurl at me. One does so at their own peril.

Dr. Weiss,

I, myself, don't usually respond to hey you, nor, as I was apparently known in some quarters of the Ottawa gay men's community, that bi tranny bitch. I believe as a woman, a person of transsexual experience and a person, I am entitled to respect and common decency--as I freely give it.

Nor does this mean I will not be direct, even blunt, in dialogue--I expect this in return--and believe this is the path to greater knowledge and understanding.

In Canada, the argument for the inclusion of gender expression in human rights and hate crime legislation is very much as you have argued here for gender identity alone.

The belief is that, given the paucity of legislative experience, but much psychological/psychiatric experience, that gender identity will be interpreted as applying to transsexual people and gender expression will be interpreted as applying to transgender people.

The purpose of advocating for transgender and transsexual people and gender identity AND expression is to form the very coalition you suggest.

Gender expression is a much wider net and will bring together not only transgender people, but also gay and lesbian people and heterosexual cisgender people also.

The argument being that even including transgender people in a coalition will not be enough, numerically, to make much of a dent in public opinion--or at least the opinion of members of Parliament and members of provincial legislatures.

In strict human rights consideration, numbers are not important, in fact, human rights is intended to protect those whose numbers in the general population are so small that we are, by definition, minorities.

It used to surprise me that those who are minority in the general population, but are majority in what some call gender and sexuality minorities, turn around and act precisely as they have been treated by the majority to those whose identities and/or lived lives are different from theirs--and their numbers smaller.

A word on coalition, something rarely seen in any part of what might be called sexual and gender minorities--even as we see in these comments, even as we see in response to the use of transgender and transsexual people.

The history of the gay rights movement, both before and after Stonewall, up to and including Frank's stripping of gender identity from earlier versions of ENDA--and the HRC's support of this--shows quite clearly it is not a coalition, though transgender and transsexual people have always been part of it.

My own experience is much as another Canadian author, Viviane Namaste, has put it, unless I articulate my advocacy through the prism of sexual orientation it will be repudiated and erased.

I once expected this from heterosexual, cisgender, cissexual people not gay and lesbian and not transgender people.

Experience, though not universal, has taught me the reverse is closer to the truth.

You make a lot of good points here, Jessica. The one that stands out for me is that numbers don't matter for human rights consideration. I agree. However, the judicial system here that should understand that has ruled, by and large, that I am not entitled to human rights consideration. Thus, I am compelled to turn to the political system for my rights.

Numbers do matter for political consideration. Here in the United States, there are 278 legislators from all over the country who must vote yes to get me the protection I deserve. Right now, we've got about 265 likely yeses. In 1996, the legislation lost by one vote.

I am doing what little I can to get this legislation passed.

http://www.change.org/actions/view/please_urge_the_us_supreme_court_to_hear_this_perceived_disability_case

The above link is to a Petition urging the US Supreme Court to hear the "perceived disability" employment discrimination case in which I've been representing myself Pro Se for the past three years. Many citizens in this country, both straight and LGBT, are unaware of the scope of these human rights and "human resources" abuses.

This is particularly important to the LGBT community because the LGBT community faces enough discrimination already without being secretly discriminated against due to past surgeries, particularly sex-change surgeries.

Federal EEOC laws are regularly ignored by many corporate and government employers, preferring to "risk" discovery of such discrimination, to adhere to the illegal "advice" of their health insurance underwriters, "self-insured," in the case of government agencies. If you've ever been given a medical questionnaire (HIPAA violation) to complete as part of an employment application package, you can thank a "risk manager." This is how government agencies and corporations keep "undesirables" from being hired and from being covered under their health insurance, and yet another reason why a single-payer option is crucial, as no citizen should EVER be denied employment based on "perceived disability," as is defined by ADA.

Carol Tucker, MA
Court Reform-NOW

Dear Carol:

This sounds like an awful case. I would like to hear more about it.

twinkie1cat | August 23, 2009 11:34 PM

I'm not. They still have a Republican governor.