Ed Team

Homotextual: Kevin Naff

Filed By Ed Team | October 11, 2007 7:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: ENDA, HRC, Kevin Naff, Washington Blade

"The Blade broke the story last week that congressional Democrats didn’t have the votes to pass a trans-inclusive ENDA. Some of those Democrats have been telling the Blade and gay supporters on the Hill that they don’t understand ENDA and have no idea what “gender identity” means. So where were all the organizations now attacking Frank and HRC when they could have made a difference?"
-- Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff

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Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 11, 2007 8:09 AM

That is a critical question that we need to be asking. There should have been a "UnitedENDA" type campaign already in place for the day that the bill was introduced.

Its great to see so many groups coming together in the midst of the possibility of non trans-inclusive bill. It would have been even better to see it come together 5 or 6 months ago.

We were being told that hate crimes was the bill that could experience trouble, and that ENDA looked good.

I know Representative Frank keeps saying that he was "begging" for help, but I've yet to hear of a single person who was on the receiving end of that "begging." I'm more than a little curious about who he was begging for help. Was it, for instance, the HRC? Or was it transgender community leaders? Who are these people that were allegedly begged for help with educating and lobbying?

Maybe he did ask for help, and the people he asked weren't responsive or didn't get the message out. If that's the case, I'd like to hear their explanations of why they failed to rally the troops.

Or maybe Rep. Frank didn't actually "beg" very many (or any?) people for help in the first place. I'm not willing to take his claims for granted, since he is clearly out of touch with at least some aspects of reality (like the fact that resistance to his plan is coming from a huge number of people from many communities, not just some small group of single-issue radicals).

I doubt we would have seen the flood of action we're getting now under any circumstances back then (several months before the split), but I am confident that transgender people and our allies would have mobilized earlier had there been any sort of call for support.

(I also find it interesting that Rep. Frank keeps claiming that he was begging for help months ago even though, as he also claims, he thought they had the votes for inclusive ENDA until shortly before the split. I wish we had more detailed information about that whole situation.)

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 12, 2007 11:59 AM


Why would anyone think that chances on ENDA looked good without a strong and sustained lobbying and educational campaign?

Some form of ENDA has been pending for three decades now and this year was the first that the bill included gender identity. That should have been a big clue to EVERYONE involved that that there was going to be difficulty and that we needed a smart aggressive plan to build congressional support.


I agree... the ball was dropped.

But when Barney Frank and the HRC are telling you that it looks like they have the votes for a win, that doesn't exactly convey much of a sense of urgency. A lot of us are pursuing activity at the local and state levels too, so we count on our leadership to give us a realistic sense of urgency levels to help us prioritize our efforts.

Should we have been more active early on? Absolutely. Mea culpa. But we were also given bad guidance.