Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Time For Direct Action In New York Today

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 23, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: direct action group, Get Equal, GetEqual, Join The Impact, LGBT Leadership Council, marriage equality, New York, Queer Rising, Sheraton Hotel

natl_equality_march.jpgWith the nation holding its breath over whether there is, or is not, a crucial 32nd Senatorial yes-vote for marriage equality in the Empire State, dueling lobbies chanting and praying in the NY Senate building, and a U.S. President who is "evolving" but seems stuck in the Jurassic period, three organizations known for direct action are organizing demonstrations during President Obama's Manhattan LGBT fundraising visit today at 5:30 pm.

The lobbyists are in full swing in Albany, and we pray that their efforts will be successful, but lobbying and praying only goes so far. It's time for direct action to speak up and say to the Democratic President -- who is our fierce advocate and will be enjoying elaborate floral centerpieces and authentic Moroccan finger foods at an LGBT fundraiser at the LGBT Leadership Council at the Sheraton Hotel today in an effort to raise One Billion Dollars -- it is time to speak to him about moving out of Jurassic Park on LGBT rights.

The press release says "'A Demonstration for Full LGBT Equality' will take place just outside of the perimeter of the largest LGBT fundraising event this election season, with proceeds going to assist the re-election campaign of the 'still-evolving on marriage equality candidate,' President Barack Obama."

GetEQUAL, Queer Rising and Join The Impact announced plans to demonstrate for full LGBT equality. The event is being called "A Demonstration for Full LGBT Equality", called by the organizations to give the LGBT community and its allies an opportunity to gather together in unity as they raise the urgency for full LGBT equality now. The press release notes that the New York marriage fight highlights the importance of continuing to work for full equality. "As we've seen from one of the hardest fought legislative sessions for LGBT equality in New York history, freedom isn't free and the work for full LGBT equality will continue."

I find it interesting and important that these organizations are conducting "A Demonstration For Full LGBT Equality", rather than "A Demonstration For Marriage." Yes, marriage equality is important, and motivating. But it should not be seen as our be-all and end-all. We must not settle for the trappings of equality without actual equality itself, including rights like employment rights and immigration rights, and, more broadly, social and economic equal opportunity for all people. Don't forget that, in the move to get a vote on NY marriage equality, the New York Gender Non-Discrimination Act, which has enough votes to pass and been waiting in the wings for more than a decade, has been shunted aside yet again.

For more information on the demonstration, visit A Demonstration for Full LGBT Equality on Facebook.

WHERE: Sheraton New York
811 7th Ave On 53rd Street (New York City)

Attendees are encouraged to bring candles for a vigil and to demonstrate their passion and claim to full equality - win, lose or no vote on New York's Marriage Equality Act.

Jillian Weiss is a member of the Board of Directors of GetEqual


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at this poit is there any difference between "full LGBT equality" and "gay marriage" when national level groups are concerned? Has Queer Rising done ANYTHING for ANYTHING other than marriage ever (not to mention the past year)?

Why aren't any of these groups protesting ESPA for sidelining a bill that would have passed and may have gotten out to the floor if there was some pressure to do so?

New York, ESPA specifically, did everything they could to intentionally chop trans people out in 2002. Scott Woodledge etc. played martyr, and got angry, every time a trans person would point this out and questioned ESPA's level of commitment to GENDA.

So, yeah, this was their chance - they screwed us again, and their activist buddies are to busy dreaming of a "destination wedding" to notice that trans people are still being crapped on.. legally.. Again, Jill - or anyone - why do we still support this? What is the RoI for this? Hasn't 40 years of no movement unless they give the green light long enough?

Thank you! Marriage and "equality" are NOT the same thing!

For the record.. I hope marriage wins - I honestly do. It is a bitter pill, since it means historically trans people have to wait 10 more years for the momentum that was spent on marriage builds even a fraction enough to get any real attention of employment. It stinks to feel betrayed when a group you care about is moving their issue forward - it's almost like a second betrayal.

So while I may have problems with the groups and all the unbalanced atte4ntion and pressure placed on marriage vs. basic trans protections - I'll be happy when I can attend the marriages of my friends.

Tina (IL) | June 23, 2011 4:17 PM

i also hope the marriage equality bill passes. my problem with some (I don't put a % on it) in the GL crowd is that they are willing to throw us under the bus to "get theirs." With that said there is another portion that won't. The problem is telling the two apart...and you often can't until after the fact. As one who has been burned by LG "friends" in the past, I tend to be a little cautious.

Jay Kallio | June 23, 2011 5:48 PM

I'm thrilled about the momentum being built by perhaps winning the marriage equality bill in NY. I know GENDA is next on the list, and the win on that will be fantastic as well.

I was sad that I haven't seen many other trans people working actively and contributing for marriage equality when I have had the strength to participate. I fully support every LGB person and the many, many straight allies I have worked with on this issue over the years, and I deeply appreciate their support on GENDA.

"I know GENDA is next on the list" - like in MA and NH?

"I deeply appreciate their support on GENDA." - right, token lip-service from an organization who specifically removed trans people from the 2002 SO - only legislation means my level of support for marriage is vast in comparison.

Jay Kallio | June 24, 2011 12:50 AM

Support for trans rights legislation is held up in significant measure by the endless battles and disagreement between trans people on the terminology used and details in the legislation and more than anything, by the fact that most trans people, if they fully transition, go stealth and do not identify with or participate in activism and trans issues. With few, if any trans people actively participating, it is left up to LGB people to fight for our trans legislation, and many do not want to get involved in that not because they don't care, but because we cannot agree on what we want, and we have factions who are bitterly opposed to the other side. I wouldn't want to get involved in such a bitter, raging family fight, either.

As a trans person, I usually rather work on LGB issues than deal with the unproductive and incredibly nasty infighting between trans people. LGB people have always welcomed me, and supported anything I brought to their attention in terms of trans issues. They are a great deal friendlier and more respectful toward me than trans people have been, so it's a pleasure to work with them. And yes, GENDA is their next priority. I expect it will take a long time in most states. They have managed to get their foot in the political door, and they are keeping it there for us to squeeze through as well.

Sorry if you don't want to hear all this, but I strongly feel that if trans specific legislation does get passed someday, it will be to the credit of LGB people for using their political capital that they have earned over many years of sacrifice, and to the credit of the few real activist trans people who have taken the courageous stand to be publicly "out" as trans or queer, and choose to work with the greater community.

Jay, how is it that trans rights were being won in the 1950's in some of the most conservative states if we are so beholden to the LGB? How is it that there is a 50% chance that trans language will be dropped from a bill to pass gay-only laws? How is it that NH passed gay marriage the exact same day they unanimously voted against GENDA? You are right the LGb is amazingly supportive.

Have you talked to trans activists in MA? The level of "support" for GENDA among the LGB is miniscule.

How is it that every single trans woman I know says that cis straight men are far more likely to "get it" than cis gay men? How is it that every trans woman I know will tell you that straight people are far more respectful than cis gay people? I think having our movement constantly sidelined, used as bargaining chips, and scapegoated is the reason our steady legislative wins slowed as LGB wins started.

Look, Jay, I was there in the state level groups. Doing HIV education and staffing phones to try to counter the 2002 DOMA in my state. I was involved and invested. Then 2007 happened and gay men started to vocally, and without really any challenge from their peers, question trans participation in the movement. As if my hours and my money and my work didn't actually happen. The LGB has a history, and rarely does it show anything positive for trans people.

So, given the history, the anecdotal evidence that cis gay men are harder to educate than cis straight men, the erasure, the appropriation, all of it.. what exactly are we getting from the LGB? Is it worth what we are sacrificing (time and energy educating outside teh movement rather than within the movement)?

Jay Kallio | June 24, 2011 3:10 AM

When trans people get on board for our own rights and present a coherent position platform then we will win them, and not before. Blaming others for not wanting to get involved in our dysfunction will not get us anywhere.

I know plenty of trans people who are very busy saying disgustingly homophobic, hateful things about all gay people, and that decidedly will alienate them. I can understand them not wanting to see homophobes be included in their cause, it's not fair to ask them to support people who hate them. The more trans people trash gay people, then truly they won't want to support us. It certainly does alienate me, I want nothing to do with homophobes. Or racists. Or any other bigots. It's important to see both sides of the issue. I refuse to scapegoat gay people for the fact that we do not yet have equal rights.

It is also true that gay people have repeatedly put their own legislation goals in jeopardy, and delayed passage of their own rights and protections in order to insist on including trans people. I think that is an extraordinary sacrifice. I honor that sacrifice, and am not certain it is the best strategy for them. But it is certainly honorable.

I will be the first to say there are some really insufferable gay people also, who definitely do not play well with others. And there are those who will use the first homophobic comment by a trans person that they hear to turn away and abandon us. That's life, and there is plenty of hate on both sides. I'm in favor of having realistic expectations of each other, and not expect that others will understand or support your concerns and issues unless they are educated to. Even then, many will never have the generosity of spirit to embrace anyone else's needs, or pain. Most people will not support anyone else's needs unless there is some material benefit for them to do so. Fortunately, there are some people on both sides who will support others based on a sense of justice, principle, and compassion.

"I will be the first to say there are some really insufferable gay people also, who definitely do not play well with others"

Right after you skip history, make excuses, switch blame in weird convoluted ways, and begin to minimize... THEN you will admit some gay folks can be kinda pesky and stuff...

"It is also true that gay people have repeatedly put their own legislation goals in jeopardy, and delayed passage of their own rights and protections in order to insist on including trans people. "

Really, when? 2007, when ENDA wouldn't have been signed? When did the LGB seriously delay any state-level legislation so trans people could be included? Honest question.

Homophobic trans people... sure.. I guess... I mean I knew a 70 year old trans woman who was one of the early SRS recipients, and she wasn't really cool with gay folks. I will guess that more trans people are involved in gay-specific groups than gay people are involved in trans-focused groups. Also, if we look at the people with the actual ability to have their opinions represented in any movement, the openly (and not so openly) transphobic gay men and lesbians have far more influence than any mysterious homophobic trans people (John Aravosis, Liz Birch, etc. vs. 70 year old cranky trans lady).

One thing that you seem to miss is that one thing that seems to unite the various factions within the trans women's community is a general frustration and growing dissatisfaction with how the LGB and T is (not) working. How after 40 years we are still educating on the exact same things with them - often it is the same people needing/ asking for the education.

In business, there comes a time when one looks at a project or a relationship or partnership and determines the Return on Investment (RoI). What has been our RoI with the movement? Why are we not spending our limited resources and energy on the cis straight men and women who date us and have a vested interest in removing the stigma of being trans and have every reason to and the tools and power to effectively work with us for the same goals... not use us or work against us?

Don't forget the impression it leaves too when every time there's a post going up here the first person to comment is usually a trans woman who says, "What about the trans people? This sucks because we're not in there too!" And it's not just here either.

It's one thing to repeatedly advocate for your rights. It's a wholly different thing to continually poo-poo anything but your own concerns - especially when the constant complaint is that it's what LGB people are doing to transfolk.

Bil, I can appreciate that perception and I was actually afraid that my posts would feel that way to you (because I think you do get it and you are an actual ally and I genuinely appreciate the space you have given to trans women - and because I sometimes see it as well).

I can try to give a different perspective, but that just seems silly since perceptions are important and one should acknowledge that a perspective exists. So, I'm sorry for contributing to that perception Bil. You are probably the last person I want to make feel like I'm "poo-pooing".