Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Time to Get Serious About ENDA, Speaker Pelosi

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 15, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: employment discrimination, employment non-discrimination, ENDA, Pelosi, Speaker

Speaker pelosiPelosi, we have been promised a vote on ENDA in the House in March. And we mean to get it.

Tomorrow is lobby day for ENDA, and a couple hundred people are expected in DC to go talk to their legislators person to person. Here at The Bilerico Project, we arranged scholarships for those unemployed because of discrimination to get to DC and tell their stories to Senators who are on the fence. Thank you to all of those who donated. I would particularly like to thank those who assisted with major donations, including Mary Ann Horton, a well-known trans advocate of long standing, of Red Ace Technology Solutions, and Meghan Stabler, of the Board of Directors and Allyson Robinson, Associate Director of Diversity, of the Human Rights Campaign. Thank you also to Jody Huckaby and Elizabeth Fregiato of PFLAG, who graciously assisted with handling the administrative work associated with such endeavors. Thank you also to Mara Keisling and her team at NCTE, holding the policy conference, lobby training and lobby day occurring in DC this week. Our scholarship recipients are in DC right now, with hundreds of others, getting training on the latest lobbying techniques, and getting ready to tell their stories to those Senators on the fence about ENDA.

For those of you who are not going to DC for the ENDA lobby day tomorrow, you can support the hundreds of people in DC by dialing the phone. My request is that you call Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office at 202-225-4965 and ask that she move ENDA (HR3017) to a vote.

This is serious. We have one chance to move ENDA forward before the mid-term elections, and this is it. Meanwhile, the LGBT community is laboring under high unemployment and underemployment, a large wage gap, and persistent harassment, as shown by a slew of studies.

Chairman George Miller, of the House Committee on Education and Labor, where ENDA is currently awaiting markup, is ready to go.

Rep. Barney Frank, lead sponsor of ENDA in the House, is ready to go, and wants a vote in March.

Our problem now is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Call and demand that she move ENDA (HR3017) to a vote.


By the way, we will be participating in a blogswarm on Thursday with many other bloggers and activists to pressure Speaker Pelosi to move ENDA. You should call today, of course, but I want you to know that the pressure will not let up until ENDA moves.

Who's holding up the train? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who says that she will move the bill to the floor when there are enough votes, but she can't whip the bill to find out if there are enough votes because it hasn't been marked up yet, but yet she's unwilling to tell Chairman George Miller of the House Committee on Education and Labor to schedule a markup.

Chairman Miller, meanwhile, is saying that Speaker Pelosi has asked him to hold off on a markup until health reform is done.

No, you don't, Speaker Pelosi. You don't get to talk out of both sides of your mouth. You need to grow a spine and get the job done. And pass ENDA. Because there are plenty of votes for ENDA. What's missing is the backbone, while we watch our unemployment benefits run out, and start hiding those heart-shaped couple pictures and try to decide how to appear more gender-conforming so we can just get a damned job.

Why do we have to work so hard to get simple rights that everyone else has in the job market?

It sounds to me that, when it comes to gay rights, we are too hot to hold. Sure, the Democrats want to be our BFF and hold our hands in the dark, especially at voting time.

I've heard this before. It goes like this: When we're out in public, honey, please don't hold my hand. If you want to survive, stop being so public about your identity. Get back into that closet. Disavow your love, walk like a man or a lady, and make up a pretend opposite-sex partner. I love you, but it has to be our little secret. I can't stand up for you in public, you see, don't you understand my position?

Oh my dear LGBT community, think again. The Republicans are coming. If we don't get a law now, you are in trouble. Silence will not save you. Sweet promises only last a night. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, my dear, and the only thing harder than diamond is a law.

As my mother used to say, if you don't ask, you don't get. She had her diamonds, trust me. Do you?

Speaker Pelosi's number: 202-225-4965. Demand ENDA (HR3017)

Punch those buttons.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

And if ENDA isn't trans inclusive? If it further codifies the world's obsession with our genitalia, leaving the most vulnerable of us out in the form of exclusion from restrooms and changing areas?

Yes, what if? Are you going to crawl into your hole and die? Get out there and fight back! Fight, dammit, even if there is no hope, no one telling you nice stories of easy victory, everyone saying we are doomed. And if we don't win this time, they at least know that we are willing to stand up and fight back. That's the real story of 2007, and it's the only way we will produce anything out of the Democratic spinelessness of 2009.

Do not go down without a fight.

Rock on, Jillian, that's exactly right.

SkepticalCicada | March 15, 2010 10:16 AM

This is political masturbation.

Speaker Pelosi is not going to force moderate Democrats in Republican districts to vote on ENDA unless it is clear the bill has the 60 votes necessary to pass in the Senate. But the restrooms-inclusive version of ENDA cannot pass in the Senate, so Pelosi will not be holding a vote.

ENDA is dead for the foreseeable future because the community has made the perfect the enemy of the good.

Well, Skeptical Cicada, you don't really know that we can't get 60 votes in the Senate (we have 55 now), and you haven't accounted for the possibility of attaching the bill to another major bill, as they did with hate crimes (which didn't have 60 votes in the Senate but is now law).

So before you give up and die, make a phone call. We have some powerful forces on our side, even if they have been resting until now.

Don't quit one minute before the miracle!

I am making my call today and tomorrow and sharing it with my Facebook friends.

I also forwarded this story to scoop@huffingtonpost.com. HuffPO needs to be pressured to cover this. They seem to drop the ball on issues like this when it matters. Please forward if you have time.

Thank you, Dana, for adding your voice to this. I love your idea of forwarding this to HuffPo. Maybe they'll join our blogswarm on Thursday!

Dana, the scoop@huffingtonpost.com emailbox is not working. You can leave a "newstip" by clicking here.

Looks like they are over quota. I sent via the web form. Thanks!

And it is unbelievable the only other comments so far are from people who sound like they want to give up at the last minute. Holy crap people. This is a time for motivation.

I am currently fully covered by non-discrimination where I work at and in the city I live in. However, my brothers and sisters in other places are not. I am fighting for them. And who knows, maybe I will move one day. I do NOT want to pick and chose where I live based on local laws. This is AMERICAN GOD DAMMIT!

I called and someone answered then switched me right to a voicemail so I left her a message.

She has a web form that you can also fill out.


The more abrupt the receptionist, the more you know this is working. Receptionists don't like getting a hundred calls an hour on ENDA. I wouldn't if I were them, either.

Not sure if it would help or not but I left a message for the President via a contact form.


Sorry for posting so much but I am pretty nervous about this issue.

"... getting training on the latest lobbying techniques, and getting ready to tell their stories to those Senators on the fence about ENDA."

Lobbying hasn't changed or worked on LGBT-issues for decades and Senators are not sitting on an imaginary fence.

The US Senate is split 50/50 on ALL LGBT issues and those positions are not negotiable. Just ask Senator Byrd (Baptist, West Virginia), he's been lobbied for more than 50 years.

By berating and badgering Pelosi you risk losing her support, too. She explained the delay - "not enough support in the US Senate." You may find comfort in beating your head against a wall, but others do not. Pelosi is NOT the problem. Anti-gay Senators are the problem.

These repeated calls to waste time and energy while pretending the Senate will magically change just guarantees more frustration. It's not helpful.

It's a known fact that if you beat your head against the wall long enough, it will indeed crack.

Sadly, I'm not referring to the wall.

Eric Payne | March 15, 2010 1:25 PM

If Pelosi get "serious" about ENDA in the same way she got Congress "serious" about health care reform...

We're fucked. With no sweet talk, no foreplay, no romance... and no condom.

Has anyone actually made a phone call?

Does everyone remember when Ron Gold said bad nasty things about transsexuals? Remember the fury that followed? Hundreds of comments were made. Where the hell are you folks at now? I almost feel like an idiot or something thinking this is important because there is literally ZERO support showing up in these comments. Everyone in the world will become an activist when someone calls them a bad name but not to actually make a difference and fight to get the rights that everyone else in the US has?

Or is everyone making a ton of calls and just not saying anything. That is always possible but I am beginning to doubt it.

Thank you Dr. Jillian for all your efforts in passing ENDA. I definately think you should be there for the signing of this bill. As always you can count me in!!! I will be making phone calls and office calls all week.

"The more abrupt the receptionist, the more you know this is working."

I'm sure the receptionist is irritated, if that's what you meant by "working." I can't think of an example of harassment doing any good.

How do you equate lobbying via phone calls as harassment?

I tried to leave a message but the mailbox is full. Seriously? Someone needs to by Pelosi a hard drive. I'll try again tomorrow.

Better to buy Pelosi a few US Senators. She doesn't count phone calls or emails or visits - she reads the polling data and deals with the reality of a US Senate that is 50% anti-gay.

Jillian is probably one of the best advocates for ENDA and we ALL appreciate her efforts. It is a shame that we don't have enough votes in the US Senate. Even worse, during the last 8 years we haven't invested in changing that reality. We're not even prepared for the midterms. We've been too busy lobbying, making calls, sending emails and trying to convince everyone that it's effective.

I wish slapping Pelosi was helpful, but it isn't. What we really need to do is either change the anti-gay US Senators or change the polling data of their constituents. We're not doing either.

I've written to my Senators and Congressperson. I'll be calling the Speaker in the morning.

I know that calling does make a difference. At one time in my life, I worked in a section of the U.S.Senate from which letters to constituents and press releases were mailed. I've seen where one phone call changed the mind of a Senator on an issue.
One time I was watching a debate in the House, and I felt strongly about an issue. When I called my representative's office in the late evening hours, I spoke directly to him.
When the House Education and Labor Committee was still debating trans inclusion in the ENDA bill back in 2007, I called the offices of each of the 40 members of the committee.
I had a long, spirited conversation with a staff member in Barney Frank's office about ENDA.
If people aren't willing to call, they have given up the battle.
Please call. It does make a difference.

I'm sorry, but "talking" to a Senator or House Member doesn't mean it is effective. There is NO evidence that lobbying has ever changed a single US Senators mind regarding LGBT-issues.

Personal beliefs of the politician or the majority beliefs of their constituents determine their positions. Calls, emails, conversations, marches or any other communication does NOT change their minds/votes - only Polling data can do that.

This idea that irritating the "receptionist" will change minds/votes is just insane.

The person who answered sent me to voice mail.

If all the callers are anti-GLBT,their's is the only message that gets through. It's not only making phone calls that helps, but it's also necessary to get involved with political campaigns where politicians see that we are working for them.
Yes, we need to get involved in the process and stop remaining silence.
Silence kills.

Calling, whether or not Anti or Pro LGBT doesn't matter because it isn't reliable. There is nothing preventing Jillian from making 100 calls and 10 Southern Baptists making 10 calls each. Nobody tallies these calls or in any way thinks they represent their "constituents views."

Politicians use polling data to understand the will of their constituents. This reliable data, combined with their own personal beliefs, determines their position on LGBT-issues.

The only way to change a Senator's vote in Alabama is if Alabama all of a sudden became Vermont. A Senators position on LGBT-issues is non-negotiable.

Thinking you can influence a politician is simply the gimmick that makes you feel like you're making a difference. You are not. You would be better of trying to figure out how to solve the problem.

For +40 years the LGBT Community has done the same things over and over and over - expecting different results. It's time to change our thinking or we'll never change the results.