Chaz Bono gave an interview to New York Magazine on Tuesday, talking about his documentary, shown on the OWN Network.
In the interview, he was asked "What do you think is the main issue for the trans community right now?"
His answer? The Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
This man gets it. It would have been so easy to give a glib, nonsensical answer, as so many celebrities have done. Clearly, Chaz is more than a nice suit. It's refreshing to see a celebrity who actually knows which end is up.
More on his answer after the jump.
In response to the question of the most important issue for the trans community now, Chaz said:
I think at the forefront of all this is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, for the whole community, with trans inclusiveness. I feel like as far as the media coverage [ENDA has gotten], it's taken a backburner to sexier issues like don't ask, don't tell and marriage equality, both of which I think are important issues, but I still feel that ENDA affects the entire LGBT community. It's really a silly argument [to leave out trans protection], because the people who are going to be against ENDA are going to be against it whether transgender people are included or not. I think those people probably don't even know the difference between "gay" and "transgender," so I find it really hard to think that they are getting people who will vote for it, but only if they keep transgenders out of it.
Bing-o! Yes, employment discrimination is the key issue. And media coverage of ENDA has been awful, despite the fact that ENDA affects the entire community. And throwing trans people under the bus won't make it easier for the gay people, because the haters think we're all the same bunch anyway.
Of course, there's no chance that ENDA is going to happen on the Congressional level now because of the Republican majorities. We need to be going after employment protections by other means, like federal regulations (on which the Obama Administration has been making good progress), federal court decisions, and state statutes.
I don't think there could have been a much better answer to this question. Chaz gets big street cred in my book. Go Chaz!