Marti Abernathey

Hillary Talk, Not Gender Talk, Not Frank Talk

Filed By Marti Abernathey | February 08, 2008 7:54 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, election campaigns, rhetoric

In the past week or so I've noticed increasing heat (see also: infighting) from the supporters in the GLBT Clinton camp. Tuesday they pointed towards Hillary Clinton's "fully inclusive" ENDA statement as a sign that Hillary is a more GLBT inclusive candidate than Barack Obama. I unexpectedly found an example of this kind of rhetoric from Nancy Nangeroni (of Gender Talk fame). She included the text from Hillary's statement to the GLBT community that included her support to

... pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and assure that they are both fully inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

But that wasn't the original statement. Over at Hillary's post was edited:


The first inclusion statement was so ambiguous, you could insinuate inclusion of the Rockettes, the New York Giant's offensive line, or the Cher Impersonators Local 237. But the big shocker is that the language of the re-edit goes even further than the transgender inclusive ENDA bill (HR. 2015) or it's stunted orphan GENDA (HR. 3686) that was never voted on in the House.

Gender identity is:

the 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." - HR 3686

Gender identity or expression, on the other hand, is defined as:

a person's actual or perceived gender, as well as a person's gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression whether or not that gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with a person's sex at birth.

Could it be that Hillary Clinton is really Glenda The Good Witch?

Some of my colleagues, some of my friends, I say to my colleagues in the gay community, maybe I will do a little stereotyping, maybe they have seen the Wizard of Oz too often. They seem to have Speaker Pelosi, a wonderful dedicated, committed supporter of human rights, confused with Glenda the good witch. They think if she waved her magic wand she could somehow change things. - Barney Frank


Call me Elphaba, but I'm not much on "good witches" or fairy tales. If Hillary is for "gender expression", one has to wonder if she'll oppose HR 3685 when it comes up for a vote in the Senate later this month.

Nangeroni ends her post at Gender Talk by saying:

Your turn now, Mr. Obama.

If Nangeroni would have visited she'd see Obama's PDF on GLBT issues:

Expand Hate Crimes Statutes
In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported. Obama co-sponsored legislation to expand federal hate crimes law to include crimes perpetrated because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Fight Workplace Discrimination and Promote Rights
Obama believes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

This document was created on 10/11/07. It's nice that Hillary's finally come on board to support transgender people in February 2008, but it's disingenuous to claim Hillary's got one up on Obama. One only need look at what Clinton said in May of last year to see how each compared on the gender identity issue:

Currently, there is no federal law protecting individuals from job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Qualified, hardworking Americans can still be denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise be discriminated against just because of their sexual orientation in 33 states and because of their gender identity in 42 states As president, would you support and work for passage of a federal bill that would prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation an gender identity?

Obama: "I believe the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. I sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation."

Clinton: As president, I will sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into law.Throughout my Senate career, I have been an original co-sponsor of ENDA. It is inconceivable to me that people who work hard and do a good job every day can still be fired because of who they love. It 's unfair, it's un-American, and I will put a stop to it once and for all.

You can view HRC's Presidential Questionnaire found here (for Hillary) and here (for Obama).

If you're going to spout rhetoric, research that of which you speak. If you fail to, you end up looking like a liar or a fool.

crossposted from Rabid Yellow Dog and

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I understand wanting to clear the air and correct Nancy Nangeroni's inaccuracies, but when it comes down to it -- how much does all of this really matter? Will either Obama or Clinton actively push for an inclusive ENDA from within the White House? And is either one prepared to veto any version of ENDA that is passed without gender identity and expression?

"Probably not" and "Hell no" in that order.

Nick is right does anybody realistically expect any presidential candidate to push for anything that impacts 5% of the population in a positive way and in the process would cause 15% of the population to withdraw support?

It's a numbers game folks.
These people want to get elected.

Take care

MauraHennessey | February 8, 2008 1:30 PM

I am leery of the New York Senator's new found trans-activist streak. The Democrats in Congress now seem to have had their spines surgically removed upon arriving at the Capital.

The gutted ENDA is a nightmare, not just because of the trns-exclusion, but also it's free pass to religious organizations actively discriminating, including those getting Federal "Faith Based Initiative" funding and such a narrowly defined intent to the act that other than macho-appearing upper class gay stockbrokers in suits, no one is truly protected.

In a true Butlerian sense, we all fail to observe gender stereotypes and violate gender roles by simply being queer.

Thanks for posting this, Momica.

Nancy was certainly a groundbreaker in terms of media, but she's really not much of a journalist or op-ed writer.

In December, she wrote that HRC's advocacy of ENDA was "less than ideal" for transpeople. When I first read that, I thought perhaps she was joking, but to my dismay I soon discovered that no, she apparently really believes all of HRC's lying, duplicity, betrayals, and everything else were just goodhearted, supportive, and transinclusive folk, falling a little short on their goal of a fully inclusive ENDA for all...kumbaya.

I wish there really was a world like the one Nancy seems to believe we live in. It's nothing like the world we all actually do live in, of course, but it would sure be nice to visit there now and then.

Thanks, but Marti, my good twin, wrote this. When we do "Good Trannie/Bad Trannie," I somehow default to the "Bad Trannie." role.

Michael Bedwell | February 8, 2008 2:33 PM

Words are important. Actions are more important but lets review words first. For instance, the candidates' statements that you contrasted:

"I SPONSERED legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban discrimination in employment on the basis of SEXUAL ORIENTATION."

"It is inconceivable to me that people who work hard and do a good job every day can still be fired BECAUSE OF WHO THEY LOVE."

Your attack on Sen. Clinton is based on what she didn't say not what she did say. Not being a mind reader, nor someone desperate to create nails to crucify her with, I see no logical let alone objective reason to infer that she means that it IS conceivable to her that transgenders who work hard and do a good job every day can still be fired. Such logic would require a fair person to equally flame Sen. Obama because he simply referred to "sexual orientation" which does NOT in most people's minds include gender identity. To be fair [yes WE can], Sen. Obama could simply have, like Sen. Clinton, not realized the need to be more specific, including the fact that gender identity is absurdly lumped under "sexual orientation" in the Illinois human rights bill.

The preceding is, like 99% of your commentary, pure speculation. But this is fact: ACTION speaks louder than words, even the "right, all-inclusive ones.

Sen. Obama implies that he was the originator of such LGBT rights bills while in Illinois. Fact 1 is that he originated no such bills but joined, as several others did, as a cosponsor of three bills that died in committee; in one case he only got around to joining four months after the bill was submitted.

Fact 2 is that when it became apparent to activists in Illinois that, after over thirty years of trying, a fourth bill, SB3186, might finally pass, OBAMA HAD GONE AWOL! We can only guess that he was too busy running for higher office, that instance US Senate, to bother OVER NINE MONTHS to take the few seconds away from his campaign that would have been required to sign whatever piece of paper that would have made him a cosponsor.

Fact 3 and worst of all, is that he told "The Advocate" that he "was a chief cosponsor of and then passed" that bill. Even politicians don't lie any plainer than that.

SB3186 was introduced on February 6, 2004, and he was not elected to the US Senate until November during which time Sen. Obama's name does not appear as a cosponsor of any kind in the Illinois legislature's timeline for the bill. His replacement Sen. Kwame Raoul did become a cosponsor and voted for it in January, something Obama was no longer eligible to do. To illustrate how important his involvement simply as a high profile, vocal advocate could have been before that—the bill passed by ONE vote. Yet neither Equality Illinois nor the gay "Windy City Times" make any reference to him in their celebratory articles about passage.

Someone objective could conclude that Sen. Obama is simply better at smile fucking us with what we want to hear better than Sen. Clinton. But actions speak louder than words and Sen. Obama was missing in action when he was needed most. Regardless of what he SAYS, why should anyone think he'd act any differently from the White House?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | February 8, 2008 3:08 PM

It takes a village idiot not to see the relation between the rightwing christian zealotry of Huckabee and his opposition to samesex marriage and substantive laws to punish those who discriminate, use hate speech or use violence against us. Huckabee worked for a televangelist who was driven off the air for his antigay remarks and Huckabee himself uses vile bigoted language to attract voters.

Of course Obama and Clinton do the same kind of pandering. Billary is infamous for attending a Senatorial bible study group and winning the praise of gaybashing extremists like Santorum of Pennsylvania and Brownback of Kansas. Pat Robertson admires her rightwing politics and Rupert Murdoch of Fox News even gave her a $100,000.00 campaign contribution. And Obama is forever suspect because of this pandering to bigots.

Billary’s religious extremism shows up in her stubborn opposition to samesex marriage, her pandering to christian bigots and the efforts of her campaign manager Barney Frank to scuttle efforts to repeal DOMA and DADT, to gut ENDA and to drop the hate crimes bill, all done to prevent them from being issues that would create trouble between Billary and Dixiecrat bigots.

To everyone here...
One you must remember, you cannot judge a politician by what they say, like the sex workers many of us have known in our lives they will say anything to make their client happy, it is after all in their best interest. This holds true for politicians.

What counts in regards to politicians is their actions. Is there anybody here that can actually point to anything ether Hillery or Obama have done to advance ether GL or T civil rights?

You cannot to any reasonably degree trust any of them until they actually do something that supports words their speech writers have coached them to regurgitate.

Take care

I really wish Hillary Clinton were talking down NAFTA or wasn't surrounding herself with labor union busters like Penn to have any credibility on labor issues, but that ain't gonna happen, so her stated position on the ENDA is rather immaterial. If she can't do the basics for American workers that we had back in the 50's, how can we expect her actively to seek expansion of workers' rights?

Alex Sees the Light.
Good for you Alex!

Yes, Alex, and thank the ever vivacious Sue for pointing you towards the light!

We waste too much time looking for equality from Washington. Guess what, it isn't going to happen.

It is better to put your energies into local efforts for protections. Your local politicians are much more responsive and accountable to you directly, rather than to national interest groups. Local action in teaching and advocacy works. HRC is a rich white mans club that just happens to be gay.

Screw them.

Your welcome Alex,
We have to remember the story of the Frog and Scorpion. The politicians are the Scorpions.
They screw us because that is what they do.
That is who they are.

Take care