Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Lady Gaga: Are You Listening!

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 05, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Barney Frank, Congress, crazy bullshit, employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA

I am starting to get discouraged with the progress of ENDA. I go through these periods. It's called being human. Thumbnail image for Lady Gaga at the National Equality March

The last word from DC was that they were supposed to do a whip count on April 12, when they returned from Easter recess, and move to a markup and a vote. I know they're doing the count, but why is a count that started on April 12 still ongoing on May 5?

What's the hold up? What's with the lack of communication? Can anyone blame us for being impatient? Are you listening? Just do it, already.

Waiting can make you crazy. I went off on some poor soul yesterday, and I thought I would share it with you. I really don't have anything more pressing to share. There's zero news on ENDA, so what's there to say? I could post about Lady Gaga. Oh yeah, remember when she stood at the platform at the National Equality March, and her voice screamed from the speakers with a resounding echo: "Obama! Are you listening!?" I loved it.

Lady Gaga's National Equality March scream and my crazy over-the-top rant after the jump. Because I have nothing better to report.

So I was reading a discussion about online organizing, and someone who I like a lot wrote that we shouldn't disparage orgs that have real budgets and staffs doing the grinding day-to-day work that is organizing, and heap praise on grassroots groups that do things with chewing gum and chicken wire. The right-wing machine didn't spring up from nothing, it was grown through smart use of considerable resources, careful collaboration, and compelling messaging.

I lost my mind. I did. I went OFF. This is what happens when DC leaves the rats-in-a-cage without food and water for a year. Message to DC from the Donner Party: your counsels of patience are wearing thin.

Here's what came out. Self-aggrandizing, sure. But minus the delusions of grandeur, I still think it's about right. What do you think? The silence on the list afterwards was profound. I could feel them poised over their keyboards, looking for the "Next" button. But my rant was ignored. I felt a little better afterwards, and then worse. This morning I'm just discouraged. Here's what I wrote:

"I agree with you completely. So where's our "considerable resources, careful collaboration, and compelling messaging" on ENDA?

Why haven't I seen the type of organizing that Obama did on health care happening among our monied classes? Why don't I see software sending advocates names of people in the swing districts to callers in other states to urge them to lobby members of Congress? Why do I hear Barney Frank grumbling about the fact that we don't lobby effectively as a community. Why do I hear of Congressmembers saying *I* get no calls on ENDA? *I* have had no lobbyists in my office on ENDA?

Why have I been compelled to spend the last year with my little chewing gum and chicken wire writing up spreadsheets on where votes are in Congress, sending out blogposts and Facebook status messages and tweets to get people to call and hearing not that much from our moneybags?

Why, a lot of those people were quietly whispering in January that ENDA is dead. A lot of those people are even now putting messages out that ENDA can't win because of the trans people. A lot of those people are whispering that I'm a loose cannon.

It's nice getting praise from people for my work on ENDA, but frankly, I shouldn't be getting that much credit. I'm just a fool who just couldn't let the whole rig go down in flames like in 2007 without a fight, even at the cost of my relationship, my income, my academic work. Why I am I feeling like I'm in the wilderness like a wild-eyed Old Testament prophet?

Frankly, I could have put together a better campaign than the money orgs in my effing sleep if someone gave me $10,000 bucks, let alone millions.

Am I bitter? Eff yeah.

But I'll keep on fighting because it's who I am. Not promising y'all will always like the results."

By the way, I am glad those organizations with the money are there. We'd be worse off without their work. But are they getting an A in my class? Nope.

Oh, and did you write your Representative today? Do your homework! Yes, you have to do it every day. Then you get to listen to Lady Gaga. Here's the link.

Anyway, Lady Gaga's scream at 0:40. It just feels good.


Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


I can't freaking believe how quiet it is right now about ENDA.

There are two people I want to SCREAM AND YELL AT!

Calpernia Addams and Andrea James.

Two very famous transsexual women that are doing a lot to help others in the transgender community but when it comes to ENDA? One single post on Adrea's site and that was it.

These two women seem to be very comfortable in their own life. So much so it seems it really doesn't matter if ENDA passes (for them). Perhaps they are trying to figure out how to attach someway to charge for helping with ENDA.

Okay, that was my "went OFF" moment.

While I am at it I want to yell at the Huffington Post for dropping the ball with ENDA.

Several of our contributors - including me - are Huff Po bloggers too. What would you like to see there and we'll see if we can't whip something up. :)

Hi Bil!

There have been a couple of articles on ENDA in the last several months but it just seems HuffPO doesn't think it is that big of an issue. DADT? Front page news. ENDA? *poof*. The articles get maybe 7 or 8 comments for the most part which tells me they put a very low priority on it.

If ENDA doesn't pass soon how long will we have to wait? A decade? longer? This is so important yet HuffPO treats it like a non-issue. Maybe that is just my interpretation but it is frustrating.

Kathleen of Norfolk | May 5, 2010 10:44 AM

People have different styles of activism. They have different targets. That these individuals are engaged at all in the social movement is good.

By my count there are about 25 working days left in this session of Congress before everything is off the table except the fall elections. Maybe less. I'm sensing that ENDA has been capped far more effectively than BP has managed to do with their oil rig in the gulf. I truly hope I am wrong. Tick, tick. May as well dream of 2024.

SarasNavel | May 5, 2010 12:45 PM

Deena, I believe you are correct. I also believe that they may be planning on showcasing ENDA at the last minute in order to drum up support and votes all around.

Just a possibility, but think about it: a knee jerk issue to get both the LGBT and the GOP bases motivated to get out and vote. Of course nothing will actually come of it regarding ENDA as it will then be allowed to quietly die again. You don't kill the golden egg goose and all that. But yes, unless they do something totally out of character and pattern, it has been capped.

Jayne A Maynes | May 5, 2010 12:07 PM

It appears to me that like all campaign promises nothing is going to happen. those making the promises got what they wanted, if they had to tell a few lies to get it what difference no one of value got hurt. RIGHT???? nothing is ever going to happen if those making the promises are held accountable for their promises. So just who is it that isn't following through? I know Jillian is I see it everyday in her posts here on BILERICO, but were is everyone else? How many of those who can don't? Jillian I can fully understand your frustration, I understand because I too am frustrated with how things seem to work. How those in the transgender community seem to get thrown under the bus and in the doing everyone in the LGBT community end us there also.

Isn't it time that those in the LGBT stood together and pronounced sentence on those promise breakers who can say all the right things to get our trust but can't follow through once they get what they want. This Country isn't a for the government by the government County. it is a BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE Country. The people have to stand up and be heard or they will lose. We need to make our voices heard. We need to make sure those making the promises know if they don't keep them they will be replaced by someone who will. ENDA affects all of us, and we need our rights back. We need to stand tall and let the world know that doing the right thing still counts.

Ok I'll put my soap box back until I feel I need it again. Thank you for letting me vent.

SarasNavel | May 5, 2010 3:11 PM

Jillian, if it helps, THANK YOU for everything you've done to keep us informed. THANKS for motivating us here dirt-n-worms grassroots folks to call, write and corner our reps in person. At least our voices have not been silent, only ignored. Everyone that has been involved in the greater fight for equality should be thanking you. And I don't even trust the current ENDA at all, not the people, not the process, not the document as much as it is known. But even the flawed document we may have today would not be possible were it not for your efforts.

Dana, regarding a possible part of the reason some of the big names are staying away... They could be making money off it via their in-place income engines if they felt like getting into the spotlight. My guess is that they don't want to either because they've "moved on" from that stage due to burnout, other interests or whatnot or...they don't feel this ENDA is "the one" and might not want to be remembered for something less than what it could have been.

Let's face it, we've been played. The groundswell of greater support has been less than the potential because this bill is still an amorphous unknown. Had the sponsors and equality activists been able to proclaim at the start, "Employment equality is non negotiable", there would be a lot more voices being heard right now, from all sides. There would be a lot more action.

So, Charlie Brown makes his run and Lucy pulls away at the last second...again.

We need to take our ball and go home on ENDA.

At this point if things proceed as they seem they will, we need to capitalize on the resulting emotions. We need to organize and recheck the communication conduits between all those 2007 United Enda groups, N.O.W. and every women's rights groups we can find. And once we do, we need to go after the real prize. We need to create the machine to effectively encompass the ERA and ENDA via a new equality fight based on sex. One by one, we need to add "sex, or gender" to every non-discrimination law on the books at the state level. In states without, we need to create them via the legislature and avoid the ballot box. Then we go for Federal. No shortcuts, lots of precedent setting along the way. The key will be the size of the coalition (= re-election votes) and a very loud, very public calling out of the hypocrisy of our opposition. No religious compromises, no disparate impact compromises, no questions of double recovery.

Full equality by definition cannot be a compromise between the victims of discrimination and their oppressors.

Yeah, totally agree. No transparency, no outcry, and the angriest people in the community don't care because they want a nice, neatly-packaged symbol that shows that society loves us. ENDA is not that - it's just an invitation to start to take our work to court over the next century.

I wonder about that with all the attention DADT is getting. Will these people all sign up for military service if DADT gets repealed?

The right-wing machine didn't spring up from nothing, it was grown through smart use of considerable resources, careful collaboration, and compelling messaging.

Oh, I go off on people who say that sort of thing all the time. I don't think they've really thought it through or know what doing what the right does actually entails.

The NRA has 4 million members across the country. The HRC has 750,000.

We need to do what the right-wing already accuses us of doing: recruit. And I don't mean "converting" people, but getting more LGBTs to be more politically active.

I've been told that spending resources in sparsely populated areas is a waste of resources...by the very same people who think we ought to mirror the right. Guess what? Rural areas is where the right wing recruits members. They are totally unashamed of recruiting members and they leave no stone unturned.

It's the grassroots LGBTs that tend to recruit LGBTs to be more politically active, not the large orgs. Although even grassroots orgs that are stationed in urban areas sometimes overlook rural districts. Like, it's just too hard or something.

But LGBTs are already in those rural areas, they're just not being called on to do anything...other than getting emails to donate money, which they don't get anything in return for. If LGBTs in rural areas want to be politically active, they have to go online, search and be self-motivated.

I also think this strategy of just letting everyone prioritize issues as they see fit without debate or question is not a terribly good one. It spreads our already anemic political power even thinner.

Thank You Jillian for your hard work. I know I have called, written, emailed. I personally think they are pulling bait and switch tactics to keep both ENDA and DADT out of reach. Get interest in one, then switch to the other. Keep supporters of each confused and then nothing gets done in the end. This tells me someone does not want either passed really.