Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Socarides On Trans Rights: Eat Your Cake And Have It Too

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 22, 2011 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Equality Matters, Jennifer Boylan, New York Times, Richard Socarides, transgender rights

Back_later_cake.jpgTwo weeks ago, Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote an extremely powerful op ed in the New York Times, entitled "We Want Cake Too." In her own inimitable style, it provided an extremely clear outline of what the trans movement is and its path forward, with that patented sense of wry and poignant humor of hers. She noted that, while she celebrates the progress on marriage rights, trans rights have lagged far behind, and said "Enjoy your cake, folks. Meanwhile, the rest of us remain at risk for discrimination and violence."

Richard Socarides, President of Equality Matters, a campaign for full LGBT equality, most famously known for his role as the White House special assistant for gay rights to President Clinton, replied in a Letter to the Editor in yesterday's New York Times.

Mr. Socarides says in his letter that he shares frustration with the slow pace of progress on civil rights for transgender Americans. "But I think she misses the point," he adds. He argues that same sex marriage rights will bring transgender rights in its wake.

This sounds like a logical argument, but it is all too wearily familiar to the ears of trans people. As Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said, a page of history is worth a volume of logic.

This is nothing more than a new variation on the arguments we have heard, starting in the 90s, that equality statutes including only sexual orientation, but not gender identity, would bring trans rights in their wake. This argument is called "incrementalism," the idea that getting some rights now gets our foot in the door, and then we can put in other rights later. It's not a bad argument, except for the fact that it mostly hasn't worked that way over the past twenty years, and except for the fact that we're not merely talking about leaving out some rights -- we're talking about leaving out an entire segment of the community that has consistently been left out in the cold.

In response to her op-ed, "We Want Cake Too," he says that letting the same sex marriage movement eat all the cake now will allow them to save some cake for us later. What was that Anita Baker song about the cake left out in the rain?

Twenty years later, the same old refrain about them coming back for us is simply a denial of history. Mr. Socarides' letter not only did not reassure me; it immediately put my back up. I understand that marriage equality excites a lot more people than transgender rights. I am reconciled to that, but I am not fooled. Marriage victory will lead to more marriage victories, not transgender rights.

I know that many people will roll their eyes at another angry transgender person raining on the marriage parade. Actually, I've overcome much of the anger I felt in the 90s, after I fell off the face of the earth when I transitioned. I've been successful in regaining much of the ground I lost after most of my family and friends, job, income, and social status skittered away. I have supported marriage equality, as have many transgender people, knowing that marriage equality will help us marry too. I'm not angry about marriage equality. I think it fair to say that I am a fairly reasonable voice in the transgender rights movement. But I'm also aware that won't buy me anything at the rights auction.

It's also reasonable to say that I and many transgender Americans are justifiably tired of hearing, yet again, that gay rights will bring transgender rights if we'll just be patient.

Only last week, Melissa Sklarz, a long-time New York Democratic political activist and a transgender advocate, went to a progressive Democratic state Senate event in New York City to listen to a panel discussion on the post-marriage LGBT vista in Albany. She couldn't believe her ears when the Gender Non-Discrimination Act wasn't even mentioned. GENDA has been languishing in Albany since the 2002 debacle in which the gay advocacy leaders insisted on incrementalism, leaving out gender identity from the LGBT rights statute, but making solemn cross-my-heart assurances that they'd be back for us the following year. The efforts of the New York Democratic Party to make GENDA happen have been pitiful, as I discussed last year after that awful committee hearing. What did Ms. Sklarz hear at the post-marriage panel? Did she hearing people discussing how to circle back and make GENDA happen? Not even one mention.

"The vista is more gay marriage." she noted on her Facebook page. "15 years of work in the Democratic Party and back to being invisible. And the electeds, the panelists, and their staffs are all friends. I made a scene when I stormed out, but it could have been much worse." I'm sure that they shrugged and rolled their eyes when she reproved them and walked out. Nothing has been heard from the New York Democratic Party after that.

This is but one example. The idea that marriage equality is going to help transgender rights is a theory that has no evidence to back it up. Mr. Socarides' chiding of Jennifer Boylan when she brings up the question of "whither trans rights now?" demonstrates that he, like many other gay advocacy leaders, really have no understanding of what is happening on the ground. "Be quiet and you'll get yours" is the message of Mr. Socarides' letter.

I can't help noticing that Equality Matters, the organization of which Mr. Socarides is President, doesn't even include the word "transgender" under its Issues list, and a search for "GENDA" brings up zero, although there are many articles on its "New York" page.

Ms. Boylan did not miss the point, Richard Socarides did.


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I love hearing people try and champion the incrementalism approach. "We'll come back if you help us now! Honest!" My momma didn't raise no fool; give away the farm and people will take it.

I don't see a solution in sight for the trans crowd that doesn't involve leveraging our support of marriage, but if we capitulate and take one for the team for marriage equality there won't be a team left when we need it. JFB makes this point crystal clear.

Richard, Richard, Richard... like father like son. :(

Angela Brightfeather | August 22, 2011 11:13 AM

Here's the deal folks. Melissa should never have gone to that meeting alone. She should have brought about 200 other Trans people with her and dominated the meeting.
Until we get a few things in our heads, we aren't going to go anywhere.
Firstly, this is all planned. HRC and a few other major groups made up their minds that after EDNA last time and the formation and kickback they got from United ENDA in the major media outlets, they aren't going out on any limbs again for the Trans Community....NO WAY. Bad PR and besides, if anyone can not smell the incrmentaism seeping out of every corner of their arguments about furthering Trans rights, then, at a minimum, you have lost your sense of smell.

This avoidance and turn to incrementalism is a total abdication of our issues to protect themselves and their issues. It is deflection and excuse-making at this point, because we can't cheer loud enough or raise enough people to consecrate any victory, thus it lacks any PR appeal for groups like HRC and others. So why should they risk losing GLB members and cause internal fighting in the Board rooms, when all they have to do is tell us to wait our turn. Do we really have any choice in the matter?

What gives the GLB community the right to abdicate any Trans issues, is US. If we are not at the same meetings that Melissa goes to, or informs us to go to, then we are at fault. If we can[t take a few nights out of every month and show up at meetings at Community Centers, political gatherings and such, then we will continue to hear them tell us to wait our turn (which never comes). If we dont act like the ill-content and complaining people they are painting us, then we are letting them get away with it, at no cost to them. We may not be the roses they would want us to be, but we sure can be the thistles that we have to be.

To those who think that being loud, forceful, demanding and disruptive is not the path of a more gentler and educated nature to follow, it's time to get out of the way or find a better way to do it, because we are out of options when incrementalism rears it's ugly head. We have no option but to fight back at that point and with an election coming up, this is the best time to do it also. If you can't get some concrete promises during an election year, then you simply are not affective and have no right to consider yourself part of any community that claims to be progressive.

Three years ago there were more Democratic Transgender Delegates to the National Convention than ever before. Jane Fee set the standard and many followed. Next year, I expect fewer Trans Delegates in Charlotte, NC, because even though we were finally written into the party platform, it seems that they have forgotten that and certainly the HRC's in the GLBT Community have gone along with that, and with the Democratic Senators who refused to bring ENDA to a vote the last time because the Blue Dogs and a few others refused to follow the party platform.

Time is up folks. If we don't stand up for our rights and be heard in Charlotte, we will be cast aside and told time and time again to wait our turn and take one for the team. If Obama wins next year, we will be asked to wait again if we have not left the National Convention with anything but incrementalism. If Obama loses next year, then everyone should move to Canada, which is far better than being sent to a rehabilitation center in Minnesota, or being made to wear something on your clothes like a patch that says TG, CD or TS on it so that everyone else knows who they are dealing with and can deal with them more harshly when they get around to writing laws that makes all of us Gender Outlaws.

Well said. While appreciating Dr Boylan's boundless enthusiasm for anything and all things that Prof Boylan writes. . . table thumping and point listing rarely provides much except short term gains in attention seeking. As I noted, in praising Boylan's visibility and influence, she did *not* provide a tangible plan for concrete political action. It was all metaphor and innuendo about deserts, ventriloquists, and various puns on Marie Antoinette. Not exactly overt action.

I'm sensitive to this because, here in Vancouver, there was quite a fuss from certain segments from the trans community here that the 'T' in the GLBT pride parade wasn't T-enough. (I'm being vague here, because the protesters never gave concrete examples of what they expected, or why it was owed to us.) All it did was annoy people.

I appreciate Dr Weiss fears some degree of eyerolling from her readers. However, when I keep hearing the same unmodified refrains from her and her circle of friends, then my pupils do tend to shift downward.

Well of course same-sex marriage leads inevitably to human rights for trans people if they don't have them before! Just look at the record.

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont all offer marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Iowa and Vermont both has explicit Trans rights in 2007, before marriage equality. Connecticut had implicit Trans rights enforced by the courts, and later made explicit.

So let's look at how same-sex marriage has led to trans rights, in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York.

It hasn't. Ever.

In New Hampshire, as part of a backroom deal to ensure same-sex marriage was passed, even the sponsor of the trans-rights bill was forced to vote against it - thereby making sure the issue couldn't be revisited in that session or the next.

The evidence so far is that granting marriage equality means that there's no rights granted to Trans people thereafter that weren't there before. None. It's the kiss of death.

You may not like that; and it may change, in a year, or a decade, or a century. But there's zero evidence that it will change, and quite a lot that it won't. Certainly in all three states, the prospects of Trans rights are less now than when marriage equality was granted.

That's what made this victory for simple justice and common humanity in New York so bittersweet for us.

It's the same old story, coupled with the same old lie. What we've now seen over and over is that once marriage is won in a given state, Gay Inc., the celebrities, and the media coverage all disappear and head to the next marriage battle, leaving transgender people to fend for ourselves. States like New Jersey where LGBT activists worked together to gain trans rights before marriage are the exception, not the rule, and even here it took 18 years after anti-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians were won.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: How many times does it have to happen before we stop believing this nonsense and those who are trying to sell us this snake oil?

Proxy, my ass. What this is, simply put, is class warfare. Give us what we want, the wealthy and connected tell us, and we'll come back for you later...really we wiil, you can trust us...just keep on waiting, over there please, we're still too busy partying right now, but we'll get around to you sooner or later.

Oliver Wendell Holmes was a very smart man. History is indeed the guide here. More to the point, don't trust anyone who tries to tell you that the right to marry is more urgent than the right to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head. It's not at all a coincidence that it's only those who don't have to worry about such issues are also those who'll try to sell you that particular brand of snake oil.

Nice article. No matter what happens, we're lucky to have such articulate spokespeople like you and Jenny. Seeing your columns here and Jenny's in the New York Times--well, it just makes me happy.

I have been hoping lately that the New Democratic Party in Canada would be able to add "gender identity and expression" to Canadian federal human rights law. I heard they tried; it failed; they're trying again. (But I think they'll fail again.)

The reason being that, "But in Canada..." seems to be a good argument in blue states, and, well, one more tool for the toolbox sure couldn't hurt.

Jillian-

Could you please include a link to Richard's letter to the editor. I'd like to read his response in full.

Thanks!

Here's the link to Richard's letter, and I put it in the main post as well.

The Transgender community is the focus from which TBGL rights will finally emerge throughout human society. Legislation and litigation can only accomplish so much, and, given the universal ignorance throughout both "gay" and "straight" society of pretty much everything there is to know about sex and gender, is the only channel through which final victory will be achieved.

Fortunately, transgender people are visibly psychologically and mentally superior to the bulk of humanity by virtue of their high empathy and lifelong examination at a personal level of the foundational and totally incorrect ideas about sex and gender on which human society rests.

We know that concepts like heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, gay, lesbian, and all other social manifestations of sexuality have nothing to do with gender and are simply labels assigned by the ignorant and unobservant (including the classically recognized "professions"--medical, religious, legal) to things they do not understand at all and have made no serious effort to observe. We know that gender is the expression of social affinity.

It is our responsibility to lead humanity into the New Age of sex and gender freedom, where it is recognized and understood that "transgender" is the NORMAL state of human sexual maturity, while the rest (especially exclusive heteronormative cisnormative erotic behavior) are all states of psychic immaturity in which proper maturation and development has been prevented by fear systematically and violently inculcated our failed social systems.

We are the destined leaders of the New Age, not politicians, preachers, or lawyers. Where we are presently involved in sustainment of the status quo, we must step back and set society on a new and better direction. Straights and gays will never achieve this alone, because they don't know and accept who and what they are. Only those who have fully transcended the common delusions of sex and gender are qualified to show the way.

The Transgender led reformation of human society is at hand. Those past age humans who will not get on board are no longer relevant to the advancement of human social progress and will quickly pass from the scene. Those who willfully obstruct progress will be removed.

The future is ours. The destiny of human society is in our hands. Let us take charge, leading and shaping a new, loving, true, good, and beautiful society. Once we illuminate the way, no sane person will want to stand in our way.

Keep smiling, trans humans, there is a fabulous New Age on tap and we are here to serve the world from the keg of erotic joy and personal freedom!

Re "We Want Cake, Too" (column, Aug. 12):

I share Jennifer Finney Boylan's frustration with the slow pace of progress on civil rights for transgender Americans. But I think she misses the point on the transformative impact of the marriage equality movement; it is not just about marriage per se.

Marriage is, in many ways, a proxy issue, a stand-in. What we are really fighting for is recognition that gender-nonconforming people are entitled to exactly the same rights as other Americans.

The right to marry has been our focus because it is so emblematic of and such a big step forward toward that larger goal. It holds a special place in society and has traditionally been restricted in discriminatory ways. When we gain the right to marry, we gain a hugely symbolic right on the road to full equality.

Like many things with Richard Socarides, consistency is not his strong point. I find an incrementalism argument from a man who has been yelling at Obama that he is not moving fast enough on DADT to be highly inconsistent.

Marriage is, in many ways, a proxy issue, a stand-in. What we are really fighting for is recognition that gender-nonconforming people are entitled to exactly the same rights as other Americans.

I literally have no clue what the fuck this means. The fight for marriage is really a fight for the recognition of gender-nonconforming people? What? Can we say stretching an argument really far? The fight for marriage is many things - but recognition that gender nonconforming people should have exactly the same rights? Uh, no.

I guess he needs to justify his $250,000 salary somehow.

I did hear from Richard. He noted that there is a good amount of trans related content on the site if you visit it over time, and you can search for past articles here: http://equalitymatters.org/search/index?qstring=transgender&x=0&y=0

A slightly more effective search that reveals a bit more about EM's focus when it comes to trans issues:

http://equalitymatters.org/search/index?qstring=transphobia&x=7&y=7

Surprise here is that there *is* something.

The viewpoint that he presents in his outlook may not be his personal one, but rather his professional one.

However, regardless of that, the assimilationist, incrementalist approach he's relying on is inherently based in ciscentric understanding of the questions around marriage, around sex, and around gender, which is decidedly different in its understanding between the Trans population and the cis population.

This is akin to the concept of a man saying that women should support men doing something to promote them since women will benefit from anything that goes well for men.

This is why understanding the nature of ciscentric thinking, and the concepts around that are related to aversion, anxiety, and animus is so important.

Until person's in leadership roles such as his come to understand that, and start to speak to that issue, we will continue to hear this same bleating as if there is some true value to trans people in it.


Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 22, 2011 12:55 PM

The fight for same sex marriage stands by itself and in the larger scheme of movement goals things is a minor front in the fight for equality from our point of view. Victory, if it ever comes, will be a minor victory, more important as a defensive win than anything else.

The right to marry will not be the kind of fundamental change we have to accomplish, which begins with criminalizing bigotry and forcing bigots to STFU or be punished by confiscatory fines and spend time in venues where they can be robustly educated about their crimes.

It was the rightwing - Democrats like Clinton and Obama, and Republicans like Bush and Rove - who kicked off the attack same sex marriage and used it as a very effective wedge issue to win elections. Defense against these assaults by right wing Democrats, including Socriades, HRC, EQCA and their Republican cousins is imperative and it means, first and foremost, being independent of these bigots.

Without question that means that gays, lesbians and bisexuals and their organizations will need to focus their efforts to pay catch up on the equality struggles of transfolks. That will never happen effectively as long as those groups and individual militants are in the Democrat party. Secondarily, it will be next to impossible to take even elementary steps in solidarity with our Trans brothers and sisters until we convene a national conference to militants and activists to give real leadership to each of the GLBT communities.

"Becoming transgender or being gay is about much more, as Ms. Boylan no doubt knows" - Kathleen Paylor

This from the other letter is just as bad, in a different way. You see, being gay is a state of being - it just is. Transgender, on the other hand, is a thing someone becomes. Rather than an innate state like sexuality (I suppose), to Ms. Paylor, being trans is an action, a decision, a... choice, an option among many.

This is the root of the issue with the LGB. They demand that everyone deeply understand sexuality and how it plays out for gay people. While simultaneously, refusing to do the same regarding trans people.

I'm asked, again, why are we in this? Why is our energy and very limited resources spent propping this up? How can old Richard say ANYTHING about trans- whatever, if his own group refuses to put the word on their site? No LGB person has ever been able to give me a really good reason for me to rejoin LGB(t) advocacy - except to claim they "need more education". That's not an investment that has paid off in the last 10 years...

Rachel Bellum | August 22, 2011 10:28 PM

"Becoming transgender or being gay is about much more, as Ms. Boylan no doubt knows" - Kathleen Paylor

Thanks for bringing up this line from the other letter. This leapt out at me as well. It seems too constructed to be accidental from someone who should be quite aware of the whole nature vs choice debate in general. It does seem to suggest how the two groups are categorized in her mind. I expect better from people who put themselves in leadership positions.

Kathy Padilla | August 22, 2011 1:31 PM

"I share Jennifer Finney Boylan?s frustration with the slow pace of progress on civil rights for transgender Americans. But I think she misses the point on the transformative impact of the marriage equality movement; it is not just about marriage per se."

"Marriage is, in many ways, a proxy issue, a stand-in. What we are really fighting for is recognition that gender-nonconforming people are entitled to exactly the same rights as other Americans."

These arguments would carry a modicum of weight were gay marraige ever passed in a jurisdiction that didn't have gay nondiscrimination laws first.

I think the honorable thing to do is to recognize we have different interests, and that each has the right to fight for their own interests first.

Really, in the context of NY - THAT is what you have? When it is because of the LGB we even have to have a separate trans law a decade later??!!

It is a pity that it was a decade later, but why are LGB responsible for that? Do you think the same about separate laws concerning african-americans? Are they also responsible for trans rights? Are they also guilty if they get a separate law?

Lu - it's not that it was a decade later. It is, and still no progress.

If we'd only had to wait awhile before getting equal rights to gays - 2 yearsm or 5, or 10, or 20.. at least we'd get them. The way things are going now, it will never happen. It's already been a quarter of a century with zero progress in some places.

We're further away now in every state that granted marriage equality than we were before, and still going backwards, due in no small part to attitudes like Mt Socareides'. Now do you get the picture?

Lu, do you know what happened in NY? How about NH? Want to take a stab at MA?

It is a real shame if it happened something like what Zoe Brain says above: "In New Hampshire, as part of a backroom deal to ensure same-sex marriage was passed, even the sponsor of the trans-rights bill was forced to vote against it - thereby making sure the issue couldn't be revisited in that session or the next."

The people who did this - if they did it - should be made responsible for it. But this doesn't imply the entire LGB movement. In some cases trans people were helped by being included in legislation promoted by LGB people (also by trans, but LGB have many more resources and money...). In other cases trans people were damaged by the association.

I don't know if the total balance is positive or negative. But I think that it is clear that it is not the same movement, not the same interests, and in my opinion it would be better to separate.

Well Lu, in part I agree with you. Trans people should cut ties with the LGB and work individually on issues that impact us as people. However, we have the situation where for the past 20 years LGB groups have been holding all the access to government and insisting they speak for trans people. So now we have situations like NH where the LGB can trade basic protections fro trans people for the ability to get married.

Are we to hold the people who claim to work and speak for us accountable or are we to just quietly slide off, start our own thing and just keep silent, like the past never happened?

There is also the issue that every single gay-only non-discrimination law passed used statistics that included trans women's unemployment and violent crimes. In many cases trans women spoke in front of legislators only to find later that the law they helped pass wasn't protecting them.

Again, though, I agree with you. I'm often asking why trans people are still expending our limited resources on fighting BOTH mainstream society's biases as well as LGB people's feelings of entitlement, disregard, and general willful ignorance. It's no secret that straigh men are FAR more likely to "get it" than gay men... ask any trans woman.

I don't know, laughrioTgirl. This entire LGBT invention created a mess that is hard to disentangle from, and I don't know how to do it. But I think we must start to clarify things.
Trans people should state clearly that they are not represented by LGB, and LGB organizations, in states where they have been harmful, have of course a moral duty to work to correct the situation.
Meanwhile, any organization that has LGBT in its name, has either to work for everybody, or else be honest and change the name. That is basic.

>Trans people should cut ties with the LGB and work individually

Go ahead! Nothing, no one is stopping you as an individual from this course.

Why the group-think-herd-mentality of "trans people" should do this?

You folks are like a horse after the gate has been opened, Go! You're free! Be an individual, go out and speak for yourself.

Renee Thomas | August 22, 2011 8:33 PM

OK Lu riddle me this, what do you do with the not insignificant number of us who are both gay and trans. Which part of our humanity do you feel more privileged is discounting?

I don't discount anything. To me that is a similar situation as any lesbian finds herself in: being both a woman and a gay person, she can be a part of both the LGB and the women's movement, without trying to force those two movements to become one.
And an african-american lesbian transwoman can be a part of four movements. If she doesn't try to force the african-american, or the women's, to become one with the trans movement, why force the LGB?

Rachel Bellum | August 22, 2011 10:40 PM

The reason these groups work together is because they are conflated in the minds of the hetero and cis normative people/societies that have acted in oppressive ways. No single letter of the LGBT will be completely free of oppression until they all are.

In some ways I find talk of separation a blatant act of privilege: Why don't you trans people just learn from our success and fight your own fights without interfering with us?

Renee, by 'gay', do you mean you are attracted to women? Maybe your experience is far different from mine, but I have found that in the vast majority of cases, lesbians (by this I mean FAABs attracted to other FAABs) do not consider you a lesbian (or me either, but then I don't consider myself one either), at best a third gender who is attracted to women, and at worst just a str8 man playing at being a lesbian. Really, I think the only way trans women as seen as gay is if they are attracted to men. It seems to me that this is the only way trans women fit in the 'gay' (GLb) community, is if they are dating men, esp gay men (and that is how trans men fit, is if they are still dating lesbians, which most seem to do, in my limited experience).

If the gays and lesbians accepted trans women who see themselves as gay as part of their community, why would they see us as so icky, and recoil at including us, and even use us as bargaining chips?

Rachel Bellum | August 22, 2011 10:48 PM

Whether chosen for themselves or applied by others I would assume that there are proportionally few trans people who have never carried an LGB label.

Renee Thomas | August 23, 2011 5:59 AM

To your question Carol, yes, I am attracted to women. So I suppose for convenience sake that makes me a lesbian. Now I am, having worked in gay community activism for some time, more than well aware of how politically charged that label can often be. Nevertheless I've dated gay and queer women who were well able to see past the external noise to the whole person beyond who loved them (and all that they intimately and socially were) to distraction. To those dykes who are hung up on the pointless bitchiness of assigning labels that utterly fail to capture my individual humanity I have only this to offer; girlfriend, you have no idea the good and tender lovin you're missing out on.

I agree with working together as allies, but not as being the same movement. I know that cis- hetero- normative society sees us as the same.

They think gay people are just frustrated heterosexuals because they are not satisfied with their assigned gender. And they get utterly confused by the existence of gay trans people.

Therefore, of course we must work together in many cases. However, never as the same LGBT! Don't you think it is extremely sad that we let cis- hetero- define our own identity? If we talk about LGBT people that is exactly what we are doing, we are letting them define us.

Moreover, our interests only overlap partially. Within an artificial LGBT movement, trans people will always come last. Organizations have to survive, and they survive by donations given by people that expect their interests will come first. LGB have most of the money, it is that simple.

I don't have the right answer, but I think that it is simply wrong to let others define our identity, and it is wrong for people to belong to a movement where they know they come last. That only breeds resentment and disappointment, and it is a waste of time. It is a matter of self-respect.

Sorry, the above was an answer to a previous comment.

Rachel Bellum | August 24, 2011 12:47 AM

Lu,

I'm guessing from the context you were addressing me so if I'm wrong please forgive me.

You know, I believe I understand the position, but I just don't see it as letting others define us. I would need to think about it more, but I might even consider separation more of "letting others define us" than remaining to work together.

I think the current position of trans people in LGBT organizations correlates well with the former position of lesbians in gay organizations. Complete separation might have been the natural and for some the only acceptable solution. But instead they achieved spotlight and leadership roles. Being a part of the leadership allowed them to ensure that their needs were being appropriately met as well.

I think trans people need to do the same. I think getting trans people in active leadership roles in organizations across the nation would have a transformative effect [pun intended :)]. I think Bilerico itself makes a nice example of this.

Renee Thomas | August 22, 2011 8:35 PM

Excuse me . . . in discounting

In addition to Mr. Socarides letter, there is one from Kathleen Paylor. I found her second paragraph to be a complete validation of how many (not all) LG&B don't understand we transgender people.

"Becoming transgender or being gay is about much more,....."

Becoming transgender? Kathleen, when did you "become" G L or B? In fact she made quite a distinction by following "becoming transgender" with "being gay". Maybe I am over sensitive, but like you Ms. Paylor, I didn't become anything. To quote the great philosopher, Lady Gaga, "Baby, I was born this way!" Much like I am sure Ms. Paylor feels about herself.

I know that there are many within our alphabet soup that do understand transgender people, but when a person with a title from a national organization that is supposed to represent us all makes a statement such as this, I question how they can represent any LGB&T's when they don't understand a segment of the group they are supposed to be representing and advocating for.

We don't become Transgender, We ARE Transgender.

Rachel Bellum | August 22, 2011 11:19 PM

While the history of this debate is very much one of incrementalism, I believe what Mr. Socarides is trying to suggest here is more along the lines of "a high tide raises all boats." And to be honest, I don't necessarily disagree with that. I, at least try to, apply that philosophy to many aspects of my life. One way or another many trans people have had access to marriage for some time depending on a variety of factors. I think the only proper response to this history is good for them.

No, I am not convinced that marriage equality is the most pressing issue. And as a person who currently lives in a small town in a conservative state it can only have limited, at best, significance to my life unless I move or until there is action on a federal level. But it does seem to be very helpful to some, powerfully symbolic, and the fight does seem to affect straight people in a way that arguing over employment rights doesn't. I'm not a "hater" on the marriage issue.

Also, I think the "end" of DADT left trans people completely behind in a very problematic way that marriage doesn't necessarily. That is, both LGB and straight people seemed to agree, "Yeah, look, all these shower goblins and stuff with LGB people is crazy, but, yeah, trannies are a whole different matter."

However, I found Mr. Socarides letter to JFB insulting on a very personal level. If he was genuinely attempting to speak with her, which I assume he wasn't, the letter seems to imply that he views her as ignorant of the issues perhaps to the point of questioning her intellect. If what he was trying to do was address trans readers, I feel the same still applies. Perhaps the only people who would find Mr. Socarides letter completely convincing are straight and LGB people who are ignorant of trans issues, which not only seems to point to the problem but possibly helps explain why trans people find it troubling.

Rachel Bellum | August 24, 2011 12:52 AM

I felt I was being unfair by forgetting to add that I appreciated that Socarides appeared to describe the entire LGBT community as "gender non-conforming people." I would like to see more of that and in non-trans discussions as well.

All I can think of when I read Socarides is "with all deliberate speed." It wasn't good then and it still sucks now.

I volunteer with Basic Rights Oregon here in Portland and one of the things that makes me hopeful is the inclusivity that has been instituted over the last few years. This includes working with groups for immigrant rights, reproductive freedom, workplace justice and racial justice

Transgender Justice http://bit.ly/rq9ftD - Social Justice http://bit.ly/nrv69K

We recently had a big victory when the City of Portland added trans-inclusive healthcare for employees: City of Portland wins trans-inclusive health care! http://bit.ly/oApIFS

We are now working for trans-inclusive health care state wide.

As has been true here--though, as a cis man, I won't speak for others--I see--and have always seen--the fight for equality as all-inclusive. We must all work together and not leave anyone out.

"Libby, Libby, Libby on the label, label, label." Labels are for packages and cans, not people. "I'm a trans woman and gay, but I like women, so I guess I'm somewhat gay, but maybe a lesbian, yet I could be a confused gay man that likes women . . . yadda, yadda, yedda" Please people! This thread is loaded with TMI. If you're trans and still alive, then celebrate that and lets not expend so much time an energy in trying to label yourself or others. You like women, fine. You like men, fine, you are asexual, still fine. Keep it in the bedroom. But, if you marry yourself to a label, it's hard to get a divorce from it.

The subject here was the touting of incrementalism by another clueless gay man, and not what labels you stick all over yourself.

I was addressing a specific issue related to acceptance of trans women in the gay community, and by extension, how this might affect the gay community's support of trans women. And it seems that most of the gay activism is gay men, and a lot of the 'ick factor' is expressed by gay men (Barney Frank is the ultimate, of course), which directly relates to this thread. :)

Hello all.

I'm not so certain that the various aspects of the acronym here described as LGBTQ do indeed have different interests.

In serious consideration of the overall effort's similarities and differences, I think there is more in common than different, and I'm also willing to point out that the idea that there is are different interests is ciscentric thinking.

I also question that the notion of each part being entitled to fight for their interests first. In point of fact, this kind of thought process reinforces the ciscentric viewpoint, since the division that is implied there is a cis/trans division, or a sexual orientation/gender identity division, both of which actually undermine trans needs and issues and thusly trans efforts.

Others have noted that the whle is seen as commingled, that the education of the cis community is lacking, blah de bloody hell blah blah.

We, as trans people, know the problems.

However, the reason why there are all these varied letters is that for nearly a hundred years, they were all the same damn thing, just different ways of expressing that same thing (which, I'll note, is still something stated against us using the same exact arguments today that were used 110 years ago).

Originally, it was just the G. THen the L separated. Then the B and the T separated. Then the Q came out. All of it is a separation that already existed, but various social forces made each of them need to differentiate from the other.

And all of them have different *specific* needs, and all of them have the same basic needs that ultimately define the movement.

All of which I say despite the fact that I personally think that the push for marriage is costing lives, and I've gone to lengths to prove that, but no one really gives a damn because the one really big division that no one in power appears willing to touch is the economic one.

But that's another issue.

Trans people are separated from the LGB already -- this is why there is a T at the end of it. And our fights, if one uses historical trends as a modeling pattern, are going to go on long after all the LGB issues are over.

That separation is really along the lines of cis/trans, as well -- and must be because we don't actually work within the structures of sexual orientation as they are currently set up "officially".

Colloquially, we've established that roughly two thirds of the trans population identify as L,G or B (or Q, when asked).

And while your argument of them being members of two groups is a rational one, it ignores the simple fact that the cisGLB are subject to much of the same discrimination we are and for much th same reason. Even within their own individual letters.

Butch women, nelly men, horny screw anything bisexuals -- they all get it. And one thing that the leadership hasn't figured out, because the leadership is pretty heavy on the whole assimilationist sort of personal lives and all that (including the person who's comments inspired this) is that so long as they don't address the issues of gender disparity -- what we usually call gender expression issues -- they won't win what all of us are really fighting for, and what the *increments* that incrementalism is all about are leading towards.

You do know what that is, don't you? What the reason for all this bullshit is about?

I hope you do. Because if you forget that all of this is really about one thing, of which marriage is one small part, of which medical treatment coverage is one small part, of which jobs and safety and all the rest of what you describe as "different goals" are all just one small tiny bit of, then you actually fall prey to the idea of incrementalism, and the nastiness that lies within it -- that it is all about the *parts*, and not about the end goal.

And that end goal is a common one.

The people with the money, right now, also have the power. And what they want to do is get married. They don't give a rats ass about the rest. They give money to get married -- not for other things.

They have jobs or incomes, so they are privileged over many others -- not only trans, but gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.

What you are thinking about is the "pieces". The increments. A big piece -- the piece that we as trans people feel is most important, is usually work related, because a lot of us know that you get us jobs, we're going to have money, and we need a crapload of it just to really come out of the closet.

This is another reason why Mr. Socarides' commentary is so destructive -- it depends on the idea that the pieces are more important than the whole.

And that tells us that he's lost sight of the whole already, that he's placed the means to the end as more important than the end itself.

Which is a faulty argument -- and one that Lu and others are doing to further, not help, in calling for greater separation twixt the T and the LGB.

Then there is the issue of that cis/trans split. If we splt off, we are, ultimately, givng into the pressure of a ciscentric social structure instead of standing up to it. We lose when we do that, and we make the mountain we must climb to achieve that end goal even higher.

THe goal is not just jobs or medical stuff or the latest changes to the DSM or who can go and die for their country or any of that. All of that is just a piece of the whole, a bit of it, symptoms of the illness that sits there over everything.

And while we can fight each symptom one at a time, like we have been doing, we aren't doing anything to cure the disease, to make right the wrong, to fix the thing that is broken.

So it is a matter of allies, all working towards a common goal.

And in case anyone has forgotten what that goal is, having had it obscured for you by the constant horseshit about marriage and how fucked up the leadership has been the last 50 years and how in *every* one of those letters there are people who will always say that they aren't a part of it and they will cast aspersions and hurl epithets at the others, I'll remind you (and, not too coincidentally, Mr. Socarides, should he deign to read such):

Equality. The ability to not be told we are inverted, or perverted or bad or wrong or sinful. The ability to know that we can have just as much a shot at the good life as everyone else in this country.

Freedom. Human rights.

That's the goal. And it is one that all of us share. and that all of us are denied for the same reason.

There is no universal ill that goes across all the groups. Not all lesbians think of trans people as not lesbian. And not everyone can agree on what makes a trans person lesbian because the underlying measure for such presumes that one does not change one's sex or gender or both.

That's a ciscentric measure that fails in a trans aware space. It is a ciscentric concept.

Its useful and used only because it is all we have right now.

Just like for a long time all we had was "gay".

Therfore it is not merely othes who see us as the same, it is even ourselves that do so -- evidenced by using a construct that doesn't take us into account at all to define us within a paradigm that shouldn't even exist (mostly becuase its convoluted as all hell and fails the test of occam's razor).

And that's ignoring that so long as women are subjected to oppression, lesbian rights will never be achieved. That so long as men are limited in the options they have in life, gay men will never be equal (even though as just men they do have social power over women). That so long as trans people are oppressed, gay rights will never be achieved.

One cannot accomplish one without doing all the others, and the problem in making that happen is not solved by separating, since they cannot be separated *at this time*.

Maybe once there is greater awareness of the diversity of trans people, of the underlying issues of cis privilege and similar stuff -- but right now, to do so would be to cut our own nose off to spite our face.

And make it even harder to get to that end goal than it is right now.

And they *know* that.

No, we need to stay in there, to get our place at the table and to argue with voices over and over again in as much unity as we can muster that if they want to truly make a differences for the livs of people other than themselves, then they need to stop looking at what the small picture they focus on all too often, and start looking at the larger one.

As much as I loather citing MLK, I will point out that his famed speech talks about more than skin color. It speaks about character -- a universal.

Freedom from oppression is what we seek, simple as that. And that's a pretty huge commonality that isn't going to be achieved by separating when we are already separated, but rather by joining with those who we are not joined to by anything else.

Hello Antonia,

I think common history and cis- hetero- confusion is a reason for us to be strong allies, but not the same movement. We all share the same overall goal of equality, but it is apparent that we have many other different goals, and that we are not being able to solve all at the same time. Thus, problems and talk of priorities appear, together with resentment.

This forced alliance in the same movement is leading to mutual insults.

Trans people insult LGB when:
- they say the LGB movement started with them (ignoring all the pre-Stonewall history, and all the parallel organizations, and heterogeneity of the movement)
- they call LGB mean-spirited for putting LGB-only interests first (this is selfishness, but it is universal human selfishness, so why single out LGB?)

LGB people insult trans people when:
- they appropriate T experiences to advance their interests (trans history, trans discrimination...)
- they add T to their organizations name for cosmetic reasons and ignore T interests in practice.

What can be done? Given the strong imbalance of power, I think LGB will always come first in LGBT organizations, and if T complain too much we will eventually separate in bad terms. If T stop complaining and start being grateful for the crumbs, then we can maintain a rotten peace. But of course that is not right, that is an insult to trans people.

Which is why I think it is best if we separate in good terms: that is, remain allies and work together when possible, but agree each is primarily responsible to fight for their own rights. If I think this, it is because I am not idealistic. I do agree that the ideal position would be to have all movements unite in one and work together for the common goal of equality. I don't think it is possible, given that we are humans.

First - marriage is not just a gay issue. Yes, it's ridiculous that in states where gay people already have other basic human rights protections and trans folks don't that the basic human rights protections for trans people don;t come first.

Then again, in New York, the legislative priority was (a) Dignity for All Students (which is trans-inclusive) followed by (b) GENDA, followed by (c) Marriage Equality.

Unfortunately, advocates do not control the legislative priorities of the politicians. The politicians see a lot more gay voters than trans voters. THe politicians se money coming in as the result of marriage licenses and taxes from marriage-related businesses.

The politicians also go where the media goes - and the media, by and large, treats marriage as a mahor issue, while relegating trans coverage to the sideshow in the back pages, if at all.

In NEw York, GENDA is *the* primary legislative priority for LGBT activists, incuding a lot of people who worked on marriage. The marriage ambassadors I worked with are on board with pushing GENDA.

I understand that GENDA may come up in 2012 in New York, but in the Republican-controlled state senate, the question is "what price will be required?" For marriage, a compromise had to be offered involving "religious" protections for certain organizations other than churches. I can see potential demands that may be unacceptable, being pushed onto us because people do not want to wait for after the 2012 elections.

In New York (a special case, yes), redistricting mandated by the 2010 census will bring a Democratically-controlled Senate for 2012, even with Republicans still drawing the lines. I expect between redistricting and the backlash against tea party extremism, that 2012 elections will bring a 35-27 Democratic majority to the state senate - which will make Ruben Diaz irrelevant. If we spend 2012 educating our allies and making sure they "get it," shoring up the support we already have, and then working on the elections to get that majority, then we can get GENDA passed in 2013 without compromises. (And if it does not work out and Republicans are still in control, we are likely to still be able to make the compromise if waiting until 2015 isn't viable.

I don't buy the idea that *advocates* should put marriage ahead of trans rights, on the legislative side. It's one thing if the politicians decide to move marriage first, it's quite another if the advocacy groups do the same. (I am not referring to the marriage-specific organizations, tmariage is all they do - I'm referring to the LGBT general national and state advocacy organizations.)

There are a lot of reasons why marriage moves before trans rights bills - and unfortunately, the advocacy organizations ae not the ones that move the agenda, it's the mainstream media and the elected officials. It did not matter that the New York governor was told by the ED of the largest LGBT advocacy oprganization i the state that GENDA should move first, the governor made his own decision as to priorities for reasons I can surmiseonly in part.

THe fact that some other bill moves fiorst should not deter us from continuing to advocate for trans rights. It's just very frustrating that we are still so invisible.

"In NEw York, GENDA is *the* primary legislative priority for LGBT activists, incuding a lot of people who worked on marriage. The marriage ambassadors I worked with are on board with pushing GENDA."

Not according to ANYTHING published since the election by ANY of the LGB groups.

"If we spend 2012 educating our allies and making sure they "get it," shoring up the support we already have,"

You mean educating the LGB, who have been the primary beneficiaries of trans people's time and education for the past 10 years? What makes you think that is a good idea? Would a business continue funding a project for a decade if the results were a pathetic as ESPA's (and others)? How long would that business stay operating, especially if an easier more reliable alternative existed with better/more potential?

ESPA dropped the ball this year keeping people informed about GENDA. They totally failed to even present it as anything other than a footnote to the marriage bill from the start. There is no evidence it was ever considered as its own issue until it mysteriously faded from view in the Senate. Why should we expect anything else from them - that's 2 for 2 chucking trans issues to pass gay ones.

make no mistake either, marriage is a gay issue. the fact that some trans people may benefit from it is incidental. It;s like saying it's a racial equality issue because there are gay PoCs.

@LaughrioTgirl, I was focusing on the legislature when I was writing about "educating our allies." But I realize that I was not specific enough in my writing.

The whip count for GENDA in the senate is somewhere around 32 or 33, which is actually enough for passage. The thing is, even our supporters are all cis folks, and really do not understand much about who we are. And they do get bombarded with all kinds of different messages as it is.

State Senator Diane Savino, for example, was designated to speak in favor of GENDA in the Judiciary Committee meeting near the end of the 2010 session. I saw the video. She let slide comments made by Republican senators and Ruben Diaz, and did not challenge their cissexist assumptions. I do not know if this played any part in Ruben Diaz being able to sway the Lanza vote from the yes to a no, but whatever it was, we did not get our shot at a floor vote. And honestly, while we had a good whip count, the only votes that count are the ones actually made - so we could conceivably have had a situation like marriage in 2009, when it failed to get a majority. (And the New York state senate never takes a vote unless the leadership knows it will pass, so the initial failure of marriage there was eyebrow-raising on more than one front.)

In 2009-2010, Democrats, for the first time in decades, actually "took control" of the Senate by a 32-30 count, and even that was marred by (a) Ruben Diaz being a cissexist putz, and (b) the "gang of three" making their switch to change the majority just hours after I had gotten a commitment that GENDA was going to be put to a vote that Friday. I went from a high to a low in a matter of hours.

The 32-30 majority, with Diaz on the critical committees, was not enough.

The 2010 elections brought the tea party politics into play, and Republicans got back a bare majority, and unlike Democrats, Republicans are accustomed to party discipline.

These elections also brought in Andrew Cuomo as governor, a strong leader type.

So, the prospects for GENDA, with the GOP in control, were slim this year, and will also be slim next year.

Marriage was an unlikely candidate for passage. Really. Until the last week, I fully did not expect it to get a vote. The GOP majority works by a consensus - at least 17 GOP senators "in conference" have to support a bill for it to get to a vote - and the GOP will supply only enough actual votes to allow passage, if the bill is a "democratic" bill. (Grisanti was an unexpected extra.) But that means 13 others were satisfied with the "religious protections" even if they did not support the main bill - it was enough to move them to let it get a vote.

The political landscape is what drives what we do. But with strong support from Governor Cuomo, a lot of money promised by wealthy gay Republicans to cover the re-election campaigns of the Republicans who voted for the bill (who are being targeted by NOM), and mostly by the force of the governor's personal push (plus the governor's *orders* to the advocacy groups to follow his directions and provide a unified front) - the marriage bill got its vote, and passed.

We cannot replicate that in 2012. Where are the wealthy trans folks with the money necessary to shore up the campaigns of those Republicans who might vote for GENDA? Where is our unified voice (the answer is that we have more disarray in the trans community where at least one major *trans* organization has issued "statements of non-support" for GENDA because of their opposition to the inclusion of trans people as a protected class in the hate crimes law)? I am sure that the Governor would be willing to give GENDA his focus this year - but do we want him to push the bill this year, knowing that it will require possibly unacceptable compromise? (The "compromise" I would expect wouldn't affect me, but would have a tremendous negative impact on the poorest and most marghginalized in out community, unless there is a simultaneous reform of the Medicaid regulations - and I would not want to leave the poor behind. I know, the Women's Movement example, of the Married Women's Property Acts, where inheritances were covered in 1848, but wages were not until 1860 - is not where I want to go. I don't want us to jettison the poorest among us just so the middle class can "have rights" (and that is even with the opposition to GENDA coming from organizations that actually help the poorest because of their focus on the prison/industrial complex and its disparate adverse effect on poor people of color).

So there we are. It is not really whether we can get 50 or 100 or 1000 people to demonstrate and lobby at the state capitol. It comes down to the political calculus - do we push GENDA this coming year and engage the Governor, knowing it will almost certainly mean an unacceptable compromise being forced on us, or do we work on educating the suportive senators, and work the 2012 elections for state senators? I lean toward the latter because of the population shifts from the census mean that redistricting *will* bring more Democrats. I am counting on the senate composition in 2013 being something like 35-27, and if that happens, I think we can get GENDA passed rather quickly, and without any unacceptable compromise.

As for the advocacy groups. Trans-specific advocacy groups don't have a permanent presence in Albany. We don't have paid lobbyists, or even paid employees whose job is to lobby. If there was enough money in the trans community in New York, we could do more than we do - but all we really have is our moral suasion, and whatever support we can get from our friends, which is not insignificant.

Joann, I'm well aware of the climate on NYS. The thing is this about priorities, promises, and history. None of which you have actually addressed - either here or on ESPA's FB page. They stopped mentioning GENDA after the Assembly - was that at the direction of the Governor? What about what is coming from their board post-marriage as a priority? You seem to be acting on verbal assurances or prioritization.. Why have we not seen any concrete statements along with the steady stream of marriage-talk? Why is GENDA still being spoken of it is some auxiliary issue?

I've spoken with Christopher from ESPA. None of the assurances I received from him (vague as they were) have born any visible fruit. It isn't like I haven't given them time or opportunities to do ANYTHING in a show of good faith.

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | August 24, 2011 8:16 PM

Great post, Jill! Socarides like many other folks just do not , get it! But where are we, when our voices need to be heard? How many of us ...show up?

I don't know if the NY Times will publish my response to his letter (150 words or less), but here it is:

Jennifer Finney Boylen is correct in her charge that in most states (except New Jersey where we all worked together for full equality) the marriage equality movement has pushed aside the movement for transgender civil rights. Gay and lesbians in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and now New York all have marriage equality, while transgender people in those states still have no statewide employment protections.

For me and many other transgender people in a same sex relationship as well as a remarkable number of legally married transgender people, marriage equality is extremely important for our families and to protect our assets under the law. We are the fortunate ones who have jobs and relationships and financial assets to protect. The majority of transgender Americans live in constant fear of being legally denied jobs, housing, and public accommodations merely because they are transgender. Plain cake will do fine!

Barbra Casbar Siperstein
Edison, NJ

Director - GRAANJ (Gender Rights Advocacy Association of NJ)

Formerly - Commissioner- NJ Civil Unions Review Commission (2007-2010)
Vice Chair- Garden State Equality (2005-2008)

I don't have time to read all of the above, but considering what I have read, this is coming down to nothing but politics. As far as I am concerned I do not expect to see ANY legislation, especially Federal, that would help transgender / transseuxals in my lifetime (I'm a 61-year-old M2F). I also want to state that I never have and never will support HRC anc consider them to be an organization designed to help lesbians and gays only. They could care less about trans people. End of rant.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 27, 2011 3:05 AM

What on earth makes you think that HRC helps lesbians, gays and bisexual?

They're self appointed leaders who drain resources with endless fundraising to pay unnecessary and very high salaries to themselves while they act as agents, as a front group for the Democrats.

They stand in the road blocking equality for everyone.

No, HRC is a very strong advocate for the rights of cis gay men and cis lesbian women. It is only bisexuals and trans people that HRC sells out -- that's why they remain so popular, because most cis gays and lesbians are too selfish to care about the selling out part when they're getting everything they want.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 28, 2011 1:33 PM

That answer indicates that you're alarmingly unacquainted with the history of HRC and their obsequious loyalty to the Democrats which made HRC accomplices in the betrayal of ENDA and DADT in late 2007.

Quisling Frank and the Democrats gutted ENDA, removing inclusive provisions and accepted every amendment offered by Republicans before it was passed by the House in late 2007. One of those was a Republican amendment stipulating that ENDA could not be used in lawsuits against DOMA.

The Quisling gutted version of ENDA specifically excluded protections for what was then called gender identify - "gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth." In the blogs many gay men and lesbians complained that employer defined 'masculine' lesbians and 'effeminate' gay men would be excluded from protections. That suited bigoted employers just fine but was a betrayal of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans peoples communities and movements.

The bigotry of Quisling Frank and the bigot pandering and bigotry of Democrats were not their only, or even their main reason for gutting ENDA. ENDA was gutted and then allowed to die so the Democrats like H. Clinton and B. Obama would be able to continue their intense efforts to pander to the christer bigot vote and to business owners and managers. They did it because like their cousins the Republicans, Democrats are a party owned by big and small business owners and managers who don't want to be sued. Since then Democrats have repeated their role as lap dogs of business on health care, union rights, the Gulf oil spoil, the murders of miners at Massey Energy last year and on numerous issues of consumer rights and measures to protect the environment.

Every loyal to their masters HRC ended up supporting the gutted version of ENDA as did figures like Tammy Baldwin. Only a few Democrats were so disgusted by their party's evisceration of ENDA that they voted against it. It passed the House by a vote of 235 to 184

Frank also did his best to reinforce the historic divisions between the various communities and movements that were backing ENDA and succeed beyond his wildest dreams. http://www.bilerico.com/2007/12/an_open_letter_to_barney_frank_1.php and http://www.bilerico.com/2007/12/barney_frank_no_transinclusive_enda_in_0.php

HRC and the Democrats did the same to the hate crimes bill that year and for the same reason, to make it easy for H. Clinton and Obama to appeal to the bigot vote, which they did. http://www.bilerico.com/2007/12/barney_frank_no_transinclusive_enda_in_0.php

HRC has a long and sullied history of betrayals of the gay and lesbian communities including the debacle that led to the defeat of same sex marriage in California, when, along with another Democrat front group, EQCA (No on 8) they not only refused to call Obama on his bigot galvanizing war cry - 'gawd's in the mix' but they actually advocated voting for that bigot.

HRC and their masters in the Democrat party are the problem. Political independence is the answer.

The way you're reframing Frank's betrayal of trans people in the ENDA debacle as "really" being about gays and lesbians is blatantly appropriating and highly offensive. ENDA was all about HRC "dumping" trans rights in order to advance gay and lesbian rights, with the vocal and enthusiastic backing of many prominent voices among gays and lesbians.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 28, 2011 5:15 PM

Sorry (not really) if reality offends you.

HRC, like their Democrat masters, betray everyone but the rich, upon whom Democrats shower tax breaks and trillons in handouts.

It's an 'untruth' to claim that anything I said denied that Quisling Frank 'dumped' trans folks 'with the vocal and enthusiastic backing of many prominent voices among gays and lesbians'.

Your other 'untruth', which IU shredded was the unqualified statement that HRC, Frank and the Democrats haven't betrayed everyone. They did and they continue to do so.