Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

This would not be happening if you were not a lesbian

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 04, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, Kimya

Kimya has a master's degree in social work and nearly two decades of experience in the field.you_re_fired.jpg

She was the manager of a unit of a long-term care facility for sufferers of Alzheimer's and dementia.

She enjoyed her job, and was good at it.

She suffered through a year of threatening messages, vandalism to her car and slurs uttered in the halls.

In 2003, she was fired, her supervisors telling her, "This would not be happening if you were not a lesbian."

Kimya sought out legal help. Nothing in Michigan law protected her from being fired because of her sexual orientation.

This is one of the stories of discrimination that ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would address.

But our political leaders are standing idly by, while the chance to enact such legislation dwindles. Why? But there's a much more important question.

Why are we letting them?

Kimya's story is from Stories of Discrimination, found on the Human Rights Campaign's Pass ENDA Now website.

HRC has done a tremendous amount of work on ENDA, including public education, advocacy efforts within LGBT communities around the country, and lobbying of public officials.

But it hasn't been enough, because our public officials are still ignoring our calls for action. Speaker Pelosi is still blaming the LGBT community for not "making" her push ENDA.

What does it take to "make" a public official do something that she has declared her "number one priority," but everything else comes before?

How many people have to live through Kimya's year-long nightmare before Speaker Pelosi, our LGBT community "friend," and her Democratic pals up on Stratos get the message?

More importantly, what will bring the message home to 30 million LGBT people in this country that they don't have equality and that's not cool? If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

When we wake that sleeping dragon, that's when things will start to move.

And one must remember to be kind to dragons, for thou art crunchy when toasted and taste good with ketchup.


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"If you're not angry, you're not paying attention."

Is that because anger will change votes? That has never happened. If you have some examples of "anger" leading to changed minds or votes in the last 20 years - I'd love to see it.

As to awakening the 30 million members of the LGBT Community it isn't about anger or even insulting people because they are not angry - it is about providing a strategy to win. It is about holding tactics and methods accountable. It is about being effective.

Most of us are frustrated Jillian, not angry. We are frustrated because we don't have enough votes in the US Senate and simply getting angry isn't going to change that. Pelosi can't change that reality either. Getting angry at her and trying to embarrass her isn't going to change anything. It just makes us look stupid.

The LGBT Community "dragon" isn't sleeping. The dragon understands we cannot pass anything LGBT-related in the US Senate and the dragon knows yelling, screaming and stomping our feet doesn't change that.

The dragon would like a strategy to win, not more childish behavior that is a waste of time, effort and money. It is counterproductive.

Yes, I would like a strategy to win as well.

Those of us who remember the civil rights and antiwar movements might disagree. Outrage at a perpetual denial of equality, civil liberty and fundamental human dignity is not only a just response but a politically powerful one. In our post-Bush world, it is anger from the teabag throng, even without benefit of reason or fact, that has frightened the Democratic majority into paralysis on progressive issues-- including ENDA.

As a public and medical policy geek, my daily reality is centered on research, communication and strategy. However necessary, these are often not sufficient to shift opinion. Anger has throughout history been an essential ingredient of social change. Anger, for lack of a better word, is good. Anger works. (with apologies to Oliver Stone)

Angela Brightfeather | August 4, 2010 5:24 PM

"Is that because anger will change votes? That has never happened. If you have some examples of "anger" leading to changed minds or votes in the last 20 years - I'd love to see it."

Kent State
The Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Woodstock Nation
The riots at Stonewall Inn

Wake up Andrew. Those actions of anger still affect the political landscape when the majority of voting Americans called the "Boomers" remember what happened back then and why.

In fact, I would credit the many white votes from middle America for President Obama as stemming fromt he innate desire for "change" and the opportunity to make it finally happen, when they remembered those acts of anger just before they pulled the voting booth tab. I was one of them and I know from past history, that if I was thinking that way, so were a lot of Americans.

Those who lived through those seminal moments of anger, have never forgotten them and still judge what is right or wrong today, based upon their feelings at that time. They bacame part of our DNA and if you were born between 1945 and 1970, you also happen to be in the majority.

I'm glad to see some of these discrimination stories getting highlighted. It's one of the areas that bumped DADT repeal higher than ENDA, I think. We heard stories of out/closeted soldiers, but we just don't hear much about employment discrimination cases that happen every day.