Bil Browning

Barney Frank writes Library of Congress about Schroer case

Filed By Bil Browning | September 24, 2008 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Barney Frank, Diane Schroer, gay Congressman, Library of Congress, Rep Frank, transgender, transphobia

Representative Barney Frank's office sent us a statement from the Congressman hailing the recent court decision confirming transwoman Diane Schroer was discriminated against by the Library of Congress. Schroer was courted by the library, but when she told them she would be transitioning, they rescinded the employment offer.

"The Library of Congress dishonored us by rescinding its job offer to Diane Schroer that had been made to her when she was David Schroer. Ms. Schroer was eminently qualified both before and after her transition to be a terrorism analyst, and I was very disappointed that the Library of Congress acted as it did. I did at the time try to persuade the Director of the Library of Congress, Mr. Billington, to drop this act of discrimination and I was troubled when he refused to do so. I have been working with legislative leaders to find a way for us to reverse this policy carried out by an institution that bears the name of Congress, and Judge Robertson's decision hastens the process of extending justice to Ms. Schroer.

"I have written to the Library of Congress strongly urging that there be no appeal of this decision, and I will continue to consult with Congressional leaders to take the steps that we have to take to prevent such an appeal if there is any way we can do that. Judge Robinson's thoughtful decision, of course, extends beyond the case of Ms. Schroer and makes the strong point that a decision to rescind a job offer because someone has changed their sex clearly constitutes sex discrimination. I will be working with my colleagues to do everything we can to defend the integrity of this decision not just in the case of Ms. Schroer but across the board."

A copy of the Congressman's letter to Director Billington after the jump.

September 23, 2008

Dr. James H. Billington
The Library Of Congress
Room LM 608, James Madison Building
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540

Dear Dr. Billington,

I assume you remember that I was very distressed at your insistence on withdrawing a job offer from Diane Schroer, which had been extended to her on her merits, on the sole ground that she had transitioned from a man to a woman. My recollection is that you said at the time that you could not interfere in a personnel matter, which baffled me - and in fact angered me - because what I was talking about was a promulgation of a policy of nondiscrimination that was well within your authority to make. In any case, that is now moot because a court has ruled - correctly in my view - that you discriminated against Ms. Schroer.

The question now is whether or not you will appeal. I strongly urge you not to appeal. I will be working with my Congressional colleagues because it would be a great source of stress to us if you were to - as an institution that bears our name - appeal a decision that is plainly in the interest of fairness. Please inform me as to your intention on this matter, and again I want to stress that I think it is essential that you accept this decision and forego any attempt to overturn it.


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I tried posting this on my blog, but Wordpress screwed it up and I had to remove the posting. I'm glad someone got the word out.

I have been extremely critical of Barney Frank in the past. If he keeps this sort of thing up, I'll be delighted to sing his praises just as loudly.

But if an inclusive ENDA goes into law, such a lawsuit would not be necessary because the rescided offer would never take place. Hope he remembers that too when the time comes.

I am gratified that Representative Frank is working to educate the Library of Congress on behalf of fairness. I urge him to continue to do the same with the Congress, as have I and many of my transgender colleagues. By the way, it's Judge Robertson, not Judge Robinson.

Dr. Weiss,

Thank you for pointing out Judge Robertson's name. Our website will note the correction.

Joe Racalto
Office of Congressman Frank

Joe, I've corrected it here on the site as well.

I would hope you would pass on a deeply felt "Thank You" from the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA.)

Monica Helms
President, TAVA

If Barney really wants to do something to prevent this from happening to any other transgender person, then he needs to junk his non-inclusive ENDA and pass one that includes transgender people.

I agree. I feel he's trying to hitch a ride on this judicial decision to try to steal some credit back after the non-inclusive ENDA.

Let's see the inclusive legislation and see him fight for it. Then and only then he maybe gets to be a trans-ally, but till then he has absolutely zero credibility on the subject.

yikes. what do ya'all make of this (from the statement before the jump)?

"Judge Robinson's thoughtful decision, of course, extends beyond the case of Ms. Schroer and makes the strong point that a decision to rescind a job offer because someone has changed their sex clearly constitutes sex discrimination."

are my ears too sensitive, or does it sound like he might be setting himself up through this move to argue that ENDA does not need to be inclusive because transgender people are covered under existing sex discrimination protections? if this is the game he wants to play, we need to be watchful.

Gee. Like, I've been saying this like, forever.

I keep going away from this post and doing other things and then coming back to it, only to go away again.

I'm not enraged, which is probably a good thing, but I am not pleased.

I appreciate the congressman's office sending such note. I disagree that it should not be appealed.

Not a popular choice, I realize, but I am *deeply* suspect of Congressman Frank's motivations for such, and congressman Frank has never given me anything but reason to suspect his motives.

I'd like for it to appealed in order to *settle* the matter, and force the hand, even though it could be bad. It is not *my* risk, to take, however.

I tire of waiting for Congressman Frank to get the hint. I am, personally, certain that he does not want to get the hint, and indeed does not give a rat's ass about his own constituents that are trans.

I happen to think that transfolk *should* be covered under sex discrimination.

I do not think Congressman Frank does, however, because *if he did* he would have done something to make that explicit. He would have made an overture of some bill or some motion to ensure that it was included through legislative intent.

He has not. Nor do I feel he Will.

I also feel very strongly that transfolk should be included in the ADA. He's been silent here, as well.

He has, near as I can tell, only been active in one thing and one thing only: the removal of trans issues from ENDA.

Period. The only trans action he has taken has been to *exclude* us from legislation.

Sorry -- this letter is meant as a political maneuver, without real meaning or sentiment. He may as well have just not done a damn thing.

Which is pretty much all he's done so far.

unless you count using us as a boogey man.

I would like to give credit and thanks to Rep. Frank for his letter to the Library of Congress. It seems to me that his letter demonstrates the desire and willingness to do something for the rights of everyone regardless of who they are or how they are perceived by others. And I strongly believe that it is the perception of others that is the greatest barrier to be overcome by society at large, including the transsexual population.

Representative Frank works in an entirely different world than most of the rest of us. The legislature, by its very nature, is trying to maintain a balance between different -- and often incompatible -- views. Because of the inherent impossibility of satisfying everyone that carries incompatible beliefs, I think he deserves praise from everyone in the GLBT community -- especially considering that he isn't a transsexual.

Why is it important whether he is a transsexual or not? We are, after all, talking about human rights. That answer seems simple enough to me: can we really understand what it is like to be someone else, especially if that person has feelings we have never experienced before in our lives? I don't really think anyone can. The best we, as transsexuals, can hope for is that the person both cares about human rights and is willing to stand up for things beyond their scope of understanding. It seems to me that Rep. Frank is doing both of these things.

When Representative Frank tells us that transsexuals haven't made the political arguments necessary for the other members of congress to understand our needs, he is just informing us of the political realities he faces. When he tells us that the population at large doesn't understand gender issues and therefore doesn't push their representatives for an inclusive ENDA, again, he is informing us of the burdens he is trying to carry.

I believe Rep. Frank, if he could, would snap his fingers and there would be equality for all. If only politics, and indeed life, were that simple.

um, no.

wonderful sentiment, but would you like me to pull out the evidence of his deceit -- on occasion, outright lies -- once again?

He not only doesn't get praise, he gets absolute condemnation.

I don't hold HRC responsible for the failure of ENDA.

I hold *him*, personally, responsible. No one else.

As for education, well, when his office is blocking those attempts, sorta seems like his fault, ya know?

so sorry: no.

I would like to note that, while I am not naive to the concerns raised in the comments, it is a pleasant surprise to find Rep. Frank (Chair of the House Financial Services Committee) taking the time to respond to these issues in the midst of a financial meltdown unparalleled in recent history. It would have been all too easy to ignore the issue.

Since I noticed a Representative of Congressman Frank commented on this post I was wondering if he could ask a small favor for me of the Congressman.Since it appears Congress is about to give away 700 billion to Wall Street how about seeing if you could slide me just one billion of it? With that type of money I don't think I'd have to worry about an inclusive Enda and I could help my lgbt brothers and sisters in ways hrc never could or will.P.S tell the Congressman good job on the letter but an inclusive Enda or a cool billion would be better.

"The question now is whether or not you will appeal. I strongly urge you not to appeal."

I'm taking Barney at face value here. Still, this is a double-edged sword.

Certainly, the LOC *shouldn't* appeal - just like Eastern Airlines *shouldn't* have appealed when the District Court in the Northern Distrct of Illinois ruled in favor of Karen Ulane.

But, it did - and most of us know how that turned out. Clearly though, after the 7th Circuit decision, we all knew where we stood. Eastern never should have discriminated against Ulane, and LOC never should have discriminated against Diane Schroer. And, while I would wish that Schroer not have to deal with an appeal, I also have to recognize that, for purposes of finding out where we actually stand on the 'need' for a T-inclusive ENDA, it would be a good thing for this to get up to the DC Circuit and, from there, to the Supreme Court.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 24, 2008 11:57 PM

I would like to weigh in on this to commend Representative Frank.

Firstly, court presidents are *gold*.

Secondly, court presidents involving actions of the Federal government are *double platinum* as institutionally they recuse themselves from so many workplace discrimination laws as it is.

I am aware that our trans brothers and sisters would naturally love protections to be written in stone. This is still an ongoing battle of course, but when Leonard Matlovich in 1975 came out was a Gay man in the military his superior officer asked him what he, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, thought he was trying to pull.

Lenny answered: "What I am trying to pull is 'Brown vs Board of Education' for homosexuals."

In the autumn of 2007, I thought Mr. Frank was an opponent of an inclusive ENDA, whose thinking resembled that of folks on the other side of the aisle. I will never know exactly what happened between the time Joe Solomonese made his now infamous comments at the Southern Comfort conference and the withdrawal of the inclusive ENDA by Congresswoman Baldwin, but the point I am trying to make here is that I have seen significant changes in the attitude of Congressman Frank as evidenced by his eloquent comments in the hearings about discrimination in the workplace against transpersons. By the time he had finished his comments, I felt as though someone had been busy educating him, and he got it. I believe we have to believe that people can grow and change their outdated opinions when they become enlightened. Otherwise, aren't our efforts to lobby and educate all for nought? What's the use?
I now fully believe that Congressman Frank is an ally. The same people who had a chat with him now need to sit down and have a conversation with Speaker Pelosi and a few others in Congress. I believe the ooncept that discrimination against transpersons is discrimination based on sex helps our cause, but I still want to see more explicit legislation in the form of an inclusive ENDA.

Writing a letter to LOC does not mean we have a new ally, on the contrary.

Does anyone remember Rev. Wright's comment on politicians do what politicians do?

I believe that Barney would like to take credit for equality for all, but being a politician, he doesn't really get it. He really does care, just not enough to understand what solidarity really means.

When are we going to take responsibility for our own future?

I don't know whether it is proper to try to judge someone by how they feel, especially when they haven't told us how they feel. I know Rep. Frank has said some things that hurt, but I think they were also political reality.

His actions of late, regardless of whether his previous statements were political reality or not, seem to demonstrate to me that he is, indeed, trying to help. I don't know whether he understands what solidarity means or not, but on the other hand, I don't know whether I really understand the intricacies of the political process to the point whether I would know whether his actions were the best he could do for us or whether he abandoned us for political expedience. Regardless or his reasoning, he seems to be doing the best I can imagine any representative could do at this time, in this political climate.

As for taking responsibility for our own future, that is easier said than done. Even if we did decide to "go it alone", it seems to me that we would not only be turning our backs on our natural allies, but also guaranteeing that we couldn't get anything accomplished. The gender population, even with all the people under the gender umbrella, just isn't large enough to carry the political clout necessary to make any kind of meaningful change in the law. Our group gets even smaller by the fact that many of us, after our transitions, disappear back into society and are never seen from again on the transsexual front.

But the main reason to stay connected with the rest of the GLBT is because, to the outside world, we are seen as gay. While we might slice and dice our community on the inside, dividing into smaller and smaller subcategories, the outside world sees us all the same way. They don't make any distinction between gay, bisexual, and MTF transgendered. They also don't make any distinction between lesbian, bisexual, and FTM transgendered. That's even if they make any distinction between any of us at all. Most of the population just seems us all as "gay" and lets it go at that.

The laws that help one subcategory help other subcategories. Any laws that help gay men also help transsexual women, and the same is true the other way around. Any progress made for transsexuals also help all the people that don't look or act like Dick Cheney.

Please, explain how a law regarding sexual orientation is going to help me in my job search when the reason I am discriminated against is not my perceived sexual orientation, but my perceived sex (gender identity).

I am familiar with the nature of political realities. And he's *creating* them himself.

Again -- he'll have to do a HELL of a lot more before he earns even the slimmest praise from me.

That is a difficult proposition; one I can't do without knowing your situation better. I'll try, however, to give it a rundown. But be warned, this list isn't inclusive and may or may not fit anyone's particular situation.

Since this is about transsexuals, I won't mention how laws targeting gender would help the GLB in the GLBT community, Just how laws helping sexual orientation help the T in the GLBT.

First, if you pass as your chosen gender, then you probably don't have to worry about it, at least not any more than a female would (or a male for a FTM). All you have to worry about is the prejudice faced by other women or men respectively. Depending on your race there might be racism, or if you are a MTF you'll have to worry about sexism.

If you pass and date (or are married to) someone of the same gender (or sex as far as other people can tell, regardless of whether you have had SRS or not) you will face the same discrimination that the rest of the GLB faces every day. It may or may not come up during the hiring process. In this case, often the laws passed for the GLB part of the GLBT community will serve as protection. While it may or may not actually be legal protection for you, it often discourages bigots from pursuing their thoughts of not hiring you for fear that they will do something that will get them in hot water. And, indeed, with the proper laws, if their decision to not hire you is based on your sexual preference, the laws to protect the gay, lesbian, and bisexuals will come to your rescue.

If you don't pass, and are seen as a member of your birth sex, then you are probably seen as a male (or female for FTM) by your perspective employer. If this is the case, then he probably thinks that you are gay. And again, as was the case in the last paragraph, if he thinks you are gay and doesn't want to hire you because of that, he might change his mind for fear of getting himself in trouble with the law, assuming the laws are their to help. This is another example of where the laws that help the GLB indirectly help the transsexual members of the community.

It is true that there are situations where there aren't any current laws specifically created for the members of the GLB that help the transsexual members of the community. One of these instances is if you are being interviewed by a well educated, progressive bigot -- someone that knows the difference between all the different facets of our community.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you are interviewing for a job and your interviewer understands what the laws might say about him not hiring a homosexual, but he knows that there are no laws to protect a transsexual in your particular area. He could say something along the lines of "I'm sorry. If you were just gay I would hire you, and if you were I woman I wouldn't have anything I could legally say about your choice of dress; but since I think you are a strait man presenting yourself in a role you weren't born into, I don't think you will fit with my company." If this were to happen, we are all out of luck.

But then again, there are laws that transsexuals can use that other members of the GLBT can't. Case in point are the laws Diane Schroer used for protection against the Library of Congress. While these rulings may or may not stand up to appeal, they should give the educated, progressive bigot reason to pause before not hiring you for your perceived sex.

I agree with most here that an inclusive ENDA would be my preferred resource, but I also understand that by including transsexuals (which are a potentially bigger bogeyman than the "gays") might make a bill fail where it has a chance to pass otherwise. If, by a noninclusive ENDA passing, I can gain a little protection from the uneducated, reactionary bigot instead of no protection at all, I'll take it.

Yeah, it is a difficult situation.

let me give you a little more data :D

To transition -- that is, to *be myself*, costs me about 1500 to start, is a process that takes 2 to 8 years, and will end up costing me at this point in the neighborhood of 50 grand.

In an 8 month time frame, I applied for 1200 jobs. I am very qualified, and able to do a great many things in multiple fields. I had over 300 interviews.

I pass. But my work history is all male.

I have a boyfriend -- an opposite sex partner. (Two, actually)

And I was *explicitly* told no because of my gender identity.

So now that we have a little ore, let's look at the relatively few possible scenario's you were able to come up with.

I pass, but I have a male work history. So your first assessment (that if you pass you have no problems) is a total washout.

For your second one, it doesn't matter who you date when you are trans -- someone is always going to think of you as gay, period. But it won't stop you from being denied employment on the basis of gender identity. So such doesn't help us, because we get that even if we pass. And it isn't held against us because, technically, the present structures for sexual orientation don't apply to transfolks. One person will see a man and a woman together and think gay, another will see them and think straight -- all it takes is for them to be aware one of them is trans.

Strike 2.

And lets deal with a correction, shall we? there are laws that transfolk can *potentially* use. You know why this ruling is important? Because it goes against the majority of similar rulings in the matter.

Generally speaking, these laws are *not* available to people.

Like me.

Expressly so.

So that's strike three.

Now let's look at the last little bit, shall we?

How, pray tell, am I any more (or any less) a boogeyman than "teh Gay!"?

Really. I'm dying to know what makes me, in *your opinion*, potentially worse than my friend Eric.

Then you say that you'll take yours if you can. Funny, that's *precisely* what has me and many other t upset.

Because we *wouldn't* take ours without you.

We can't. We are transgender activists. We *must* fight for all of it is we are to cover any of us. Because we *are* GLBS. We are all of it.

You do realize that *you* are Transgender if one looks at the concept outside of self-identification, don't you?

Your second up isn't doing too well.

What's the economic cost of being yourself for GLB folks? That is, what does it cost you, up front, to *be yourself*? How much do you have to spend?

How many therapists do you have to see in order to be yourself?

What's the risk to you when you take longer to do it?

Is it an increased chance of suicide?

FOr transfolk, employment is a hundredfold -- nay, a thousandfold -- of greater importance than anything else, for without it, we cannot be ourselves.

Without it, we die.

And you just said that you would rather get yours and let us die, if it came to it.


Bil, everyone, sorry.

Good points all, and good reasons to continue working for better laws and education.

I do deeply regret the situation you find yourself in. It is one of the most painful situations out there for transsexuals. All I can say is keep up the job hunt, there is a job out there with an employer that really wants you and your qualifications. When you find that job, it will be better for both you and your employer than any job where they were "forced" to hire you.

That's the down side to discrimination: it doesn't go away just because it is illegal.

As for the cost to be myself: I would say it was about the same as it was for you. Since I, too, and a transsexual, I have faced all the same situations. Granted, having transitioned 20 years ago some of these memories are distant pains of the past. But I still remember the sting of not being hired because of gender.

I also remember how extremely uncomfortable it is when all my work history was as a male. It does have the effect of outing you in the hiring process. I remember the loss of my house, my car, the job market disappearing for me, my friends going away, and the ultimate decision to move to a different town and start again. I also remember having to work at jobs below my qualifications, jobs more suitable for kids during summer really, instead of jobs in my field. I remember living in a trailer house about the size of a soda can because that was all I could afford and having to live on left over food from the restaurant where I worked: no TV, no movies, no video games, no going out to eat (even fast food), sleeping on the floor because I didn't have a bed. I remember the joy after saving enough money to buy a book to read, one book, just so I would have something to do in the evenings.

Yes, it is incredibly difficult.

I remember being hired by a place with such low qualifications that they never bothered to check out my application -- at least for a while. I remember the fear that went through me when management finally did get around to checking on my resume and the word went through my place of employment like wildfire that I used to be a male. I remember the room I sat in, curled up, crying because I didn't know how I would be able to maintain even the meager place to live that I had managed at the time.

Hang in there. It will get better.

I would still like to see a noninclusive ENDA passed over nothing at all. Here's one of the reasons why. The only people I could turn to when I was really down were the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community. When my history went through my place of employment like wildfire, it was a gay man that became my best friend. He didn't understand what it was like to be me, but he didn't condemn me; instead, he talked to me, helped me, and truly tried to understand what I was going through. He and his boyfriend would visit with me for hours, making it seem like I didn't have to face the world completely alone. He provided me with good job references based on the work I could do, not on my gender. If he would have been the person hiring me instead of some of the bigots I had to face, it wouldn't have taken me nearly as long to get on my feet as it did.

All human rights, including the right to make a living, should be available to all people. There should be no prejudice that ever threatens someone's life or means of making a living. That would be a giant step toward a more ideal world. That isn't the world in which we live. The question seems to me to be how do we get from where we are now to that world? I think it will be with little steps. You can't eat the the entire pie at once, you eat it one piece at a time. Therefore, if I can help ANYONE get the rights they deserve -- no matter who they are -- it is a step in the right direction, and a step I support.

And if, in some small way, by helping them I get a little added protection for myself and the other members of the transsexual community in the process, all the better.

Angela Brightfeather | September 25, 2008 3:56 PM

You may fall on one side or the other of this argument about Congressman Frank having learned something about Transgender people over the years, at least enough to represent a few of us. I understand and appreciate his letter to LOC regarding the Schroer case also.

But what do we really want as a community from Congressman Frank should be the question? Do we want him to send a letter like this to other members of congress to help educated them, while he himself is so inconsistent about his support? Case in point. On the same day that the letter to LOC was released, I note Frank’s statement to The Gay Military Times as follows:

“GMT: Now, although this is not actually part of the debate, in the interest of inclusion, what about Transgender service? Just in the past month a survey of transgender service members and veterans by Transgender American Veterans Association, analyzed by the Palm Center, revealed that they are being discriminated against, as if they were gay or lesbian, under DADT because the military often doesn't understand the difference.
BF: I think the rule is that people should not be discriminated against due to their gender identity. Now, I hope we will get a bill through on job discrimination. But we are not going to get through a bill on integrating people [in the military] with one set of sex organs to be identified as the other sex.”
Now, for all the GLB people out there getting ready to state how angry Trans activists get with Frank and how mean spirited we are about ENDA, I offer his answer from the Gay Military Times as the perfect example of why some of us get so incensed about his statements regarding Transgender people, and in this case, Transgender Veterans.
What he is essentially saying is that Diane Schroer, who was a transsexual before she was a hero both in and out of the military, should not have been in the military to begin with. That he is unwilling to fight for protections in legislation that allow Transgender people to serve their country.
The fact is that 85% of Transgender people in the military also are crossdressers who may be GLB and Straight. Like Peter Oiler, who was discovered and fired from Win-Dixie for dressing within the confines of his own home, they can also be sent home with dishonorable discharges after carriers in the military that are exemplary in every other way. Frank’s statement is saying that they don’t deserve protective legislation. He bases his statement on the fact that Transgender people in the military must be judged on their “sex organs” not their service or competency to do the job. He further implies that all Transgender people simply must not have a crisis of gender identity while serving and that if they do, they should not serve. This leaves any chance of those who do, taking a health related leave and being able to return later, after fixing their little “problem”.
When we see this much ignorance of our community coming from an icon of the GLBT community, who on one hand says no discrimination against us and on the other hand clearly judges our humanity, our career’s and even our patriotism based on what is between our legs, and our ability to shower with others, we see a conflict so deep seeded and based on ignorance of our issues, that we get pretty disturbed. And rightfully so! Having it come from such a well established figure in Congress, who happens to be a gay only makes the matter worse and rubs salt in the battle wounds of our veterans.
Even before ENDA took a breath or saw the light of day, Transgender Veterans were giving their lives in defense of our country alongside Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Straight Veterans. Christine Jourgenson did not invent transgender people, the Creator did, and we have fought in every U.S. military engagement since before the Boston Tea Party.
Why is it that Congressman Frank can see the merits of one Transgender Veteran as meaningful and then discredit the sacrifices of other Transgender Veterans? It is because after all these years, he still does not know or understand Transgender issues, and worse yet, he is willing to draw a line in the sand when it comes to protecting them from discrimination based on what is between their legs. He still doesn’t get it!!!!
As a Transgender Veteran of seven years in the US Army, who served as a Drill Instructor, I am well versed on how to instruct trainees. I would be more than happy to travel from Raleigh to DC do conduct a special Trans 101 for Congressman Frank sometime, with a class on the side thrown in on political consistency when advocating for minorities and a bonus class on how to remove one’s foot from one’s mouth in a military fashion.

I'm leery of posting my comment because I'm probably going to get a slap down.

I hear and understand the points of view expressed here. I really do. I also value the merits of having an open discussion where everyone has the opportunity to weigh in.

I don't think we get to a point of moving forward if we don't take the time to acknowledge forward movement. This is forward movement by the court and by Rep. Frank.

We'll be moving more towards a brighter future by remembering to praise positive behavior and reserving the scorn for bad behavior.

I'm reminded that public blogs are public and that anyone can read a public blog. Which means they can take away what they want from a blog and use it against your cause while you freely discuss and air the dirty laundry. It's a modern pitfall of blogs in general.

I know I read the opposition sites to get information on what they are doing and their strategies. I also get information as to the dynamics of that community. Maybe it's not representative of the whole, but blogs do provide a window to peer through.

I'll be taking the time to send Rep. Frank a short letter of thanks for time and effort he took to write to the Library of Congress. I'll take Rep. Frank's action on its face and hope that he will continue in the same direction.

Will I trust Rep. Frank in the future? I don't have the definitive crystal ball to answer that. Certainly I will be as skeptical of him as any other person. That's not a negative.

What I do know and should make sense is that it pays to say thanks when someone does something for you and to scold them when they do you wrong.

You say you want to take Frank at "face value?" Which face? In the letter he praises Diane for her service to the country and in his interview on The Gay Military Time, he makes a statement that indicates Diane shouldn't have served. Read it at:

Barney thinks that your service has to do with what's between your legs and if you change that or plan on changing that, then somehow you forgot all of the training the military has given you. You're not worthy to serve. It is the same reasoning the Library of Congress gave to not hire Diane in the first place.

So, which is it, Barney? You going to praise Diane Schroer for her service to her country, or say that because she planned on changing what's between her legs when she got out the she shouldn't have been there in the first place? I suggest he sticks to fixing the financial crisis in this country. At least there he's working on something he actually knows about.


Really? Do you have so little experience with the reality out there?

I spend much of my time educating people that sex has many components, with brain sex being far more important thatn genital sex. Others do as well, and we have seen this understanding taking hold with the Re: Kevin decision in Australia, Kantaras in FL, and now Schroer (hey, Diane, how do you like being referred to all over the Lexis-Nexis universe now? You're a star!).

But having just spent the past year defending the MoCo trans civil rights law and using that opportunity to continue to educate, I am well aware how many people, uninformed as they are, equate genitals with "biological sex," and how this is the sticking point. We get incredible support when we behave humbly and modestly in public, as we all do. Pre-ops accommodating the public in shared public spaces is the norm, so let's not make more of this than it is.

As for Barney, I don't think he can sell pre-op trans women to the military; I don't think any of us can. Can accommodations be made privately as they already are in the civilian world? Sure, and I would bet it's happening. But do you really expect to get a change in policy? Before DADT is overturned?

Please don't exaggerate and extrapolate from people's remarks. Life is difficult enough as it is.

Apparently, reality is something you may be missing. Canada, UK, Thailand and Israel all allow trans people - post-op and pre-op - to sever openly and in Canada, they pay for all of their medical needs, including SRS. If it can work there, then . . . Frank is obsessed with penises. Nothing more. If we could get our country's heads out of the toilet, then trans people will be able to serve with no problems. Frank doesn't know shit about trans people and trans people in the military.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 27, 2008 5:13 AM

Thank you for mentioning Thailand Monica.