Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

The Year of Magical Political Thinking

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 15, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: midterm elections, November, politics, voting

I have spent the past year working intensively, day in and day out, on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.greedy-politicians-small.jpg

I have learned a lot from this experience.

One thing I have learned is this: the idea that politics or politicians are going to save the people who most need saving is magical thinking of the most childish kind.

Only people who need no saving, and who have millions for political campaigns, are going to be saved.

I am done with politics.

Apologies to Joan Didion for borrowing from the title of her excellent book, The Year of Magical Thinking.

I have been reaching this conclusion gradually over the past few months. It's not a threat, not a promise, not a definite of any kind. I'll surely weigh in on political issues in the future.

But I've given up thinking that politics or politicians are going to help us. There are so few transgender people, and so few of us in a position to do anything but scramble to try to make it through another day. Spending time on politics is simply a luxury that our community cannot afford.

I'm not mad at President Obama, or the Democratic Party, or Barney Frank or Nancy Pelosi or any of them. They're good people trying to do good work.

The operative word is "trying."

Nancy Pelosi's announcement last week that ENDA would be put off indefinitely was no surprise.

Here's how I knew I was really done thinking of politics or politicians as potentially helpful.

I have been asked to present on November 4 at the American Bar Association Labor & Employment Section's Annual Conference in Chicago on "Best Practices for Implementing Workplace Policies to Accommodate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Employees.

My first thought was "I can't go -- it's election day!"

My next thought was "Hmm, vote for feckless, continually disappointing Congressmembers, OR go educate a hundred lawyers who advise employers on how to make workplaces better for LGBT workers?"

My answer is that I will be in Chicago on election day.

Why? It's not because I want Republicans in office. But there are choices to be made in life.

I hear some of you audibly gasping. Don't I remember the Bush years?

Yes, I remember them. There was much to be disappointed in. But was life intolerable? Not for me. During the Bush years I managed to get a job as a secretary, then go to graduate school on a full scholarship, and then to get a tenure-track job as a professor in a college in the Northeast.

Is my life much better under the Democratic Party? It's okay. Frankly, I think President McCain would have fuddled his way through the economic crisis and the BP oil disaster and the wars about as well. The Democratically-controlled Congress hasn't done anything spectacularly better than the Republican-controlled ones, as far as I can see.

I was never much interested in politics over the course of my life. I learned my disinterest from my family, Jews of Eastern European heritage, who had pretty much been the losers in the game of politics, over many countries and many generations.

In fact, I rarely read a newspaper for many years. Practicing law is pretty much all consuming, and I enjoyed spending the little time I had with my family, rather than anonymous people blathering on about nonsense.

But, of course, I haven't got much of a family anymore.

My efforts on ENDA were born of the frustrations of working as an academic on the issues of transgender workplace law and policy, and seeing how the inability to get a job devastates our community.

I was very personally devastated by the events of 2007, when the transgender community was thrown out of the ENDA bill like so much trash. When the bill was reintroduced in 2009, I was determined to do my utmost to see that did not happen again, and to help pass the bill. My first post on the issue of ENDA was on June 9, 2009.

As my polisci teacher told us on the first day of class thirty years ago, politics is a way of allocating resources. Not just material resources - public and moral goods too -- the right to be included in public life, the right not to be spit upon in the street, the right to marry, and raise children, and have a job and be yourself without fear or favor.

Here's what I learned from my year of political thinking: Political activism can change how resources are allocated. It can also be all-consuming. It can also result in remarkably little. Even when there is a vote, the inevitable necessity of compromise takes away a lot of the force.

Oh, I'm not against the political process, or the compromises involved. It's just that I write so remarkably slowly.

Let's see, about 200 posts over the past year, and I spent about two to three hours on each one. That's about 400 to 600 hours. And then there was the Inclusive ENDA Facebook page, with over 5,000 members, and the RallyCongress petition, and coordinating the blogswarn, and a dozen other side campaigns. What could I have done for my community with that time? How many employers could I have educated? How many more books and articles could I have written?

I have learned something from my year of intensive work, day in and day out, on a major political issue like ENDA, and getting to work with lots of very interesting political people around the country in places like Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina and Alaska.

It wasn't worth the time.

Oh, I'm not saying politics is never worth the time. There are lots of example of how our community has been helped by politics, like funding of AIDS research and medicines, anti-discrimination laws all around the country, and marriage equality.

But I now think my time would have been better spent making actual improvements in the lives of our community.

Oh, I'm glad I did it. It was a wonderful learning experience. I do think many people who had never heard of our issues learned something. So education did occur.

But the Democratic Party which swept into office with President Barack Obama has delivered very little for my community.

President Obama himself I believe to be sympathetic, and his Administration has done some good things for transgender and transsexual people, as well as for the LGB community. I'm grateful to him for that, and I would vote for him again.

I believe he will continue to do good things for us here and there.

But the Democratic Party itself? That has been a big bust.

I thought they were a progressive party, but I see that they are run by the Blue Dogs, which in my book is another name for Republicans. I don't see a big benefit in voting for one group of thieves over another with a different name and ad campaign.

I'm particularly angry, of course, about ENDA, but I'm also dissatisfied with progress on health care, financial reform, immigration reform, and climate change.

When President Obama started talking about hope and change, I responded to that message, and I and many others came out to vote in the Democrats. We've been promised, time and time again, that ENDA would be voted on and we've been working hard on lobby for those goals. It appears, however, that we are not, in fact, very important to the Democrats.

Their main goal seems to be keeping themselves in power, rather than accomplishing justice with that power. People who just want power, but not to use it for good, don't deserve it.

To the members of Democratic Party who have worked hard on LGBT issues:

Thank you for all of your efforts. Thank you for your friendship. They are much appreciated. But, as a whole, the Party has failed to be the progressive force for change that was advertised. It's the same old laundry soap with the words "New and Improved" on the packaging.

That's why I'll be in Chicago in November.

Do I want Republicans in office? Well, that's the wrong question.

The question is how badly do I want Democrats in office?

The answer is that I want Democrats in office, but I have other priorities, just as the Democratic Party had other priorities than me.

I'm not saying this to try to "get them back," or anything so childish. I know they would have voted for ENDA if they could have. But the truth is that the Democratic Party is too weak to make much happen.

Meanwhile, my community is suffering. If I were on the Board of Directors running my life, I would say that we've backed a weak horse to try to help the community. Better to put our time and effort into something that is actually going to make a difference for our people.

I'm not against the Democratic Party. Let's just say that I'm not a strong advocate.

No, I don't really want Republicans in office. It was upsetting to live under Bush and his policies, and he made a lot of mistakes. But his conservatism was moderated by a lot of influences, and the truth is that a lot of Congressional Democrats cooperated in making those bad decisions.

I'm over the idea that politics is going to save us.

I really will try my darndest to make it for the 2012 election.


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Kathleen of Norfolk | June 15, 2010 11:04 AM

While I have appreciated your efforts, I'm very happy to hear this. You are a talented person who can do much good by taking on bite sized projects. A little bit change is better than swinging for the fences and getting nothing. Of course, legislative nothing is what our national institutions are designed to produce. If you want to make change, the private sector and state or local levels is where it is at.

Perhaps more importantly than all of that, take your life back.

The following comments are not meant to say that Jillian did not help out individuals. I suspect she did more than most of us to help people one on one. But she is the exception.

I have one thing to add to Jillian's comments. For most LGBT activists known on the national level I have to wonder how much time they devote to helping individuals affected by their pet issues. I'm not talking hypothetical help as in "If I get ENDA passed a TS somewhere, some day might get/stay employed due to my efforts."

Instead I mean things like taking an hour to personally speak with a TS and give them advice on their job search as a MTF TS did for me six years ago. Or even better give them a strong job lead along with a reference as a gay guy did for me also six years ago. These two people did FAR more good for me than all the many nationally known VIP activists who could give a flip whether I or any other individual LGBT live or die.

IMO we have entirely too much fuss and bother at the high visibility side of things, like working in the public eye nationally on ENDA, and far too little activity at the local level, often invisible to the public, of simply lending a helping hand to each other.

Nerissa,

I don't know if you are including the National Center for Lesbian Rights in your assessment of national level orgs, but they do get involved on the personal level, and have done so for 40 years. I don't know that they could give you a job lead, but they definitely give individual legal advise, and get invovled with a lot of court cases. really, I feel they are much more action-oriented than politically-oriented, though they certainly are involved in politics too.

Carol :)

Oh Dr. Weiss you are in so much trouuuuuuuble for this...the LGBT Democrats are gonna pick up their pom-poms and shake them at you for being less than enthusiastic toward our "friends."

Those people will simply never understand what it means to be political. They want to write a check or put a sign on their front lawn and think that is what is required to participate in politics. Fawning doesn't produce results. Pressure does.

If you ask me, the failing that stings the most comes from our LGBT fellows that are willfully ignorant of the importance of applying pressure and insist upon non-critical / absolute support of one Party. That ignorance is more maddening to me than the political machinations of the Democrats. The Democrats are expected (in the minds of the aware) to be full of shit.

We should be expected to make them do better. They have no other motivation without our constant campaign of pressure.

I wouldn't say you haven't succeeded in helping advance the cause of transgender Americans. You may have done more than anyone else has in the past year to raise the level of discourse around transgender issues - and political activism.

Maybe you can vote absentee?? But maybe you can't find a pen that works...and I wouldn't blame you in the least. My favorite task on election day is writing in the name of a candidate I truly like instead of voting for any Democrat on the ticket.

"We should be expected to make them do better. They have no other motivation without our constant campaign of pressure."

More "magical thinking." The only pressure you can put on a politician is with polling data. You can't change their minds until you change the minds of their constituents.

Demands, no matter the volume, without a real threat are NOT "pressure," they are a delusional waste of time.

Jillian has a made a big difference by applying understanding, not faux pressure.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 15, 2010 11:20 AM

Fighting against the senseless and often brutal treatment of LGBT folks is the onlyway to live our lives.

I have no fondness for lobbying as a strategy but I have great respect for those who do it unstintingly to advance our cause.

I have no respect at all for the leaders of the Republican or Democrat parties or their partisan GLBT apologists but I have great respect for people who learn from their experiences.

Jillian Weiss is one of tens of thousands who've learned the same lesson in the last year. And learned it honestly.

I spent two hours last night helping a friend find the strength to develop a coming-out and transitioning strategy. That conversation - and the countless conversations like it that take place on a daily basis - do more to advance the community than advocacy has ever done.

Jillian, I agree with you 100% on this issue. Politics is the allocation of resources. But politics can never, ever take the place of a sympathetic ear, or a mentor, or a smart lawyer, or a simple how-to on surviving the present-day LGBT climate. If dropping political activism meant that I could help one more person achieve their dream of being fully realized and accepted as a member of their chosen sex, I'd take the person. Every. Single. Time.

I have voted in every election I was eligible to vote in since I came of age. I'm now in my sixties. In the past couple of decades I felt good about someone I voted for exactly once...Eliot Spitzer. Since Clean Gene McCarthy the last other politician I voted for instead against was Jimmy Carter against Reagan.

I may be done with voting altogether now. Everything just keeps going more and more fascist, today's liberals are somewhere to the right of Barry Goldwater. Democrats are as bad as the Repugicans, the only part of the Bill of Rights left intact is the government promises not to quarter British troops in my living room. After Obama chats with the British and BP even that one may be gone.

BP dealt a death blow to the American economy that we will not be able to come back from and the Gulf coast states will soon not be viable places to live and work regardless of what is done from now on. No wetlands, no coastal safety in hurricanes that will increase in intensity. Gulf seafood might be safe to eat at the moment, in a couple of months the entire body will be a huge dead zone.

My father's family is descended from John and John Quincy Adams, my mother's side first came to the US in the 1630's for religious freedom and I am still fighting a four year battle just to have our religion recognized by our local government despite being recognized as such by the Federal (501 c3) and State government, the ACLU blew us off as "those weird witches".

Buying an antique navel cannon is looking like a better and better idea every day because Amerika ceased being a nation of laws a while back now and it's clearly everyone look out for themselves.

And not once in my life from 1963 could I look at an American flag with pride because of my family history, not in spite of it. I was born on Bunker Hill day, now it's known as Watergate breakin day.

Have the Dems figured out they lost their base yet? Obama failed to restore a single civil liberty lost under Bush....that's no change at all in my book. No trials for the openly confessed war crimes, torture still being debated as possible public policy along with indefinite detention as "legal"......and you expect fairness for those considered sexual deviants? Dream on.

This is kind of beside the point, but you really don't have to sacrifice your vote, just get an absentee ballot

Good point, Vene. I'll see if I can include it in my schedule. It might have to wait until my holiday shopping is done.

"I'm over the idea that politics is going to save us."

That's great news Jillian. There is no "political solution" to LGBT Equality.

Everyone appreciates your enthusiasm, your commitment and your untiring efforts on our behalf. We also appreciate your honesty.

I am hopeful that you will remain a vocal part of our collective efforts. Your voice makes a difference - a real difference - because it leads to understanding. Understanding works.

Leigh Anne | June 15, 2010 2:11 PM

“I am sick of our electing officials who in no way represent us. I am sick of our stupidity in believing candidates who promise us everything for our support and promptly forget us and insult us after we have given them our votes."
- Larry Kramer, 1983

"I don't see a big benefit in voting for one group of thieves over another with a different name and ad campaign."
- Dr. Jillian T Weiss, June 15, 2010

Does each generation have to learn the same lessons, always the hard way?

Some of us have gone away and licked our wounds, suffered in earlier losses, and returned to the political arena for the long haul, expecting little more than disappointment, but knowing that the fight must continue.

Or we will NEVER prevail.

I came to the conclusion that politics is pretty much a feeble choice when it comes to getting our equality. I am relying on good lawyers and our Constitution to provide it.

As important as your efforts are/were, I do not think anything will get done without some direct action. Be it rallies, marches, or demonstrations (often called "riots" by the press -- who will then print photos of the most marginalized in our community).

Think Act Up, or some of the early Gay Pride marches (the ones without corporate sponsorship).

It seems there has to be a "radical" side before a "middle" can be recognized.

I suspect part of the problem with direct action is that many of us are victims of our (however limited) success.

"I suspect part of the problem with direct action is that many of us are victims of our (however limited) success."

No, it's because we understand that protests do not help change minds or garner any support.

In 2006 more than 4 million people took to the streets in 160 cities in America demanding "immigration reform." It was ignored.

This year, in cities across America the Harvey Milk "Week of Action" drew less than 2,500 people.

5 million people or 2,500 people "demanding" doesn't change anything. It may make people feel better, but it doesn't accomplish anything.

We need to engage in actions that change minds or build support. Angry demands, no matter the volume, don't do that.

Leigh Anne | June 15, 2010 4:17 PM

Well said!

While I don't agree with you 100%, it's nice to hear from someone who gets it -- and continues to vote. Please don't give up! 1963 was practically yesterday in the struggle for human rights. And yeah, I was around back then.

Jillian you have served us well in your efforts. Thanks for all that you have done. You still have the opportunity to vote if you file a early ballot or absentee ballot. This can be done through your local Board of Elections before you go to your event in Chicago.

Hey, I'm thinking about giving up on America completely. You're not the only one, Jill.

But then the alternative - for me, France - is going through its reagan years right now under sarkozy. Things will probably get more conservative here as well.

well, at least you have the closeted gay kid Mickey D's ad! woohoo!

LOL! It's all worth it just for that.

Well Jillian, my take on the whole ENDA bill is that Barney Frank wants and has always wanted a bill without gender identity. He has maneuvered well and is planning on pushing it through after the election and before the next Congress is sworn in. He was burned along with Joe in 2007 and decided to teach the "T" supporters a hard lesson. The only way to derail Barney is to vote him out and even then he still has time to implement his strategy. But, does GLB have the will to do that and the sense to recognize his treachery?

Like you, I have become less and less enchanted with the continuing circus freak show that is American politics. I gave up on it once before, when I moved the Canada at the beginning of the first Bush regime, and I should have known better than to return, at the height of the second Bush regime.

Right now, I've given up on not only politics but this country in general. It has its priorities completely and utterly screwed. It talks a great game about peace and brotherhood — and then turns around and does everything it can to force those two concepts into the trash. Sorry, I cant take it anymore. This place has gone so far off the tracks that, right now, it's 85th in terms of being a peaceful country to live in.

85th.

That's pathetic.

And I have no intention of wasting whatever time I may have left and whatever tax dollars I have to fork over to finance this continuing lunacy. Unlike you, Jillian, I suspected ENDA and DADT were dog and pony shows of the first order, all deigned as some monumental shell game to appease us while dragging things out past the next election. But with those races getting tighter, the Dems and their powerful majority are throwig out everything even remotely progressive... so as not to frighten the fence sitters on Election Day.

Were the alternative — a return to Republican power — not so appalling, I might see some reason for hope... wow, anyone remember "hope"? And "change"? But there's little reason left, save to make sure things dont get any worse than they already are... as if that's possible, I suppose.

Angela Brightfeather | June 15, 2010 8:27 PM

Jillian,

This past GENDA vote in NY was a real blow to me and my motivation. ENDA is going to pass some time, as well as GENDA. I have faith and hope in both of those things because I have seen the progress and know that things definitely have changed over the years and for the better.

To those who say a person can accomplish more for another Trans person than ENDA by counseling, I think quite frankly that your wrong. But that does not mean the we don't keep on doing both, counseling and helping each other and pushing for legislation that protects us. It isn't a one or the other arguement at all, and if it was, then we would never had made the progress we have made to this point. Only those of us who have never experienced not hearing about Transgender issues for year after year, really know how important and progressive it is to hear the POTUS actually say out loud that word, when speaking about his support for an inclusive ENDA.

The facts are the facts. It's never easy and success almost never falls in your lap. But today we have Trans people being voted into political offices and some time in the future we will have a Trans person who is in Congress. No one can stop us, they can only delay us, because no matter what anyone says, discrimination is discrimination and that is the bottom line to what we are fighting and why we continue on with the fight.

Politics change and politicians change and party platforms and issues change. No one could have predicted that we would now be absorbed in the Gulf oil crisis last year or that Bill Clinton would still be swaying voters, or that a Black man could be President. If anything, it's our job to keep the issues alive and in as much the forefront as we can and to continue to help each other and remember that our issues are matters of life and death to many people. That urgency in itself justifies continuing to fight and not walk away from them and pretend that they don't exist or that we can't do anything about them.

What has happened with ENDA is just another flutter step in the progress we need to be committed to.

Jillian, your competent and a great communicator, but I sense that being a quitter is not in your DNA or you would not be where you are today if you were. Losing one battle is not the same as losing the war and with people attending rallies wearing guns, perhaps our issues are even more important and pressing than we think.

Something I learned through the GRS delisting in Alberta and the lobbying that went with that was that you can change the hearts and minds of many of the politicians, you can change the hearts and minds of media figures and you can change the hearts and minds of many of the electorate, but you can't change the heart and mind of the political machine. The first order of business for any governing party is to ensure that it maintains the right to govern, and if you contribute enough to their campaign or command a large enough sphere of influence to help with that, you're golden -- otherwise, you're subject to the whimsy of political tides.

And yet,

In the process of that, you have helped change some fairly key hearts and minds. And that, in fact, is far more the point than the legislation itself in the long run -- even if you might never see the tangible effects of that. I don't mean to denigrate what ENDA and rights legislation is and accomplishes (if I thought it was worthless I wouldn't be so big on C-389 here), but there's a bigger picture. For the sake of those who would directly benefit, I hope we do get rights legislation -- but even in a worst case scenario, we've won something vital.

I say that because I want you (and those who've made the phone calls and wrote or spoke to their legislators along with you) to realize what you *have* accomplished, and take heart in that.

And

You've helped make it difficult or impossible for the powers that be to drop the T. It would have happened by now otherwise. It's something.

I respect what you've done this year very much (although I wasn't available to pitch in, being, you know, not American and all), but do what you need for you. It's too easy to dash ourselves upon the rocks of activism.

Take care

Thanks for your kind words, Mercedes, much appreciated. And good luck with the efforts in Canada. You're right - every little bit helps.

Hi Jill,

We spent the day in Albany yesterday, kicking around the ashes of GENDA to see if there was a phoenix in there.

In my heart, it all helps. Anything that raises trans visibility to the 99% single gender world helps.

I am used to small victories and use the defeats as learning experiences. I wish I had all the answers or even some of them but I don't.

Sorry you couldn't join us yesterday. Your passion and smarts are always needed. But there was a 21 year old trans guy named Theo who joined us and boy, did he get a one day education.

So, perhaps for the future?

Erica Keppler | June 16, 2010 1:23 PM

Hi Jillian,

First, I want to thank you profusely for the time and effort you have put in to political work. Your sacrifice means a lot to me, is inspirational to many people, and was not in vain. It's unfortunate that it did not produce the outcome that you desired. That does not mean that it was without benefit.

Politics is an endless struggle. It is the nature of our political system and human nature itself that the fight over issues and interests will continue in perpetuity, albeit with different combatants replacing old as time goes by. You have done your tour of duty, and for that I am as appreciative as I am of anyone who served in our military and fought in a foreign war. I respect your decision to step away from this work. Politics burns out the people who do it, especially the people who do it for reasons other than the advancement of their own egos. Politics is a world that appeals to and is populated primarily by narcissistic personalities, and those who try to accomplish something greater than themselves in that world run constantly up against that harsh reality.

There is this very beguiling appeal of taking the most obvious and direct route to equality. We can obviously see the people who possess power. We have seen in the past where they have used power to forcibly create equality for marginalized minorities. It's just so seductive to gaze into the light of that power and to move toward it in pursuit of our goal. The problem is that there is that there are valley, obstacle courses, and mine fields that lie between us and that light. The bright glare of that light obscures the fact that they are there, but you don't have to move far in the direction of the light before you start stumbling over them. The obstructions were always there. The problem is that they were obscured by the bright glare of that light. Do you become angry at the system for not being what you thought or wanted it to be from the beginning, or do you taste the fruit of knowledge, learn to see the world for what it really is, and figure out how best to make progress in the face of reality?

Here's the reality. There is no one clean, neat, strait path to equality. In fact, there is no one path at all. Equality comes on slowly, like a change of season. It happens gradually, all over the place. There are little indications here and there. A melting of ice. A blooming of a flower. A trans person getting a job. An employer creating an inclusive anti-discrimination policy. However, change was happening all along leading up to these singular noticeable events. They're just minor indicators that change is occurring, but change happens everywhere.

So too it is with the progress toward equality. The move toward equality can be seen in people willing to live out, TV programs being sympathetic to our causes, employers hiring trans people, and in legislation being proposed that is supportive of us. It's an enormous sign of progress that ENDA is up before Congress at all. We should pause a moment to celebrate that. The flow toward equality is happening, but such flow is never smooth. It's always turbulent. Every marginalized minority has faced a turbulent flow toward equality. Sometime the flow is forward. Sometimes it's back. Sometimes it's violent.

Whatever the outcome of ENDA, I believe firmly that we will be further ahead than we were before the issue ever came up. The mere fact that we are being discussed, our representatives are being interviewed, our people are being motivated to contact their representatives, etc., elevates our profile and to many people increase our acceptability. I'm sure that there will be trans people who will find a job as an indirect result of ENDA being up before the Congress, even if it fails. The fact that anti-transgender discrimination has been debated in the highest centers of power in our nation will lead some employers to realize that the discomfort they feel about transpeople is in fact prejudice, and maybe they should give these people a shot before writing them off. ENDA has been a valuable tool for advancing our community, even if it fails. You have worked to advance ENDA, and with that you have advanced our community. Maybe it wasn't everything you wanted it to be, but that's just what politics is. Still, we all owe you a debt of gratitude for the progress you have most certainly achieved.

Considering that the political process isn't quick easy and direct, and considering that change happens everywhere, the natural conclusion is that politics is just one area that contributes to the general climate of change. Any work in politics, successful or not, is a contribution to change, just like living out, being a good ambassador for the trans community, connecting with other communities, etc. When equality is ultimately won, it will be through some act of government, but it won't be a grand leap forward, but will be a sign of progress that has already gone on everywhere else. The people who get that legislation through or that court decision won won't be the saviors of our community. We won't have a transgender messiah. We'll have a transgender Neil Armstrong. Armstrong has always resisted the limelight because he said he just rode the rocket. Getting to the moon was the accomplishment of a huge number of people. Getting to equality will be the accomplishment of a huge number of people. The person who takes us over the line will simply be the one at the tip of the wave, riding on the accomplishments of everyone who went before them.

I respect the choice you've made. I'm glad to hear that you will continue your work toward equality in another context. Every context is important. Every context contributes. If you feel your energy is better spent working with employers, then by all means please do that. Every generation of tranpeople needs to feel out the political climate to see if our time has come. You have done your part to carry out that experiment. If it doesn't produce result, it will not have been in vain. The next generation will have to repeat the experiment, and the next, etc., until equality is won.

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | June 16, 2010 3:04 PM

Jill,
I am as frustrated and angry as anyone, perhaps even more so as I see things not happening as they should and opportunities apparently wasted and leadership just lacking.

Perhaps I'm spoiled because of what we did in Jersey where many LGBT organizations , political leaders worked together with progressive, moderate and religious organizations to give transgender protections in employment, housing and public accommodations.

We had folks that said no, folks that said we shouldn't even try, people behind the scenes fighting us, but we did not quit and we played the game sometimes the way "we" were played and we finally won.

Politics can be messy, but so is life. You are an inspiration, we need more of you, we need to remember that our enemy never quits. Never!

We need to fight on many different levels! We've not always agreed on everything, but we need what you have been doing, we need more folks to step up and keep fighting!

Babs

Jillian, as always, you are so insightful. I'm just an itty bitty straight ally. I sometimes see the fight for LGBT rights as a vicious circle or a catch-22. Do we fight to change laws,fight to change social views? Well, I think the answer is both. Actually, the answer is probably there are a mllion ways to change the world for LGBT people.

I think as long as everyone tries to do something, that is all that really matters. If you touch one person, change one person's heart, help a person in need, that is what matters.

I admire you and now I admire you more.