From Blue Jersey, Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ), chairman of the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee of the House committee on Education and Labor, talks about the future of ENDA.
What’s striking about this conversation are the same four things that have been coming up seemingly everywhere:
1) Politicians don’t think very highly of trans people (certainly, not highly enough of them to take a chance by publicly supporting transsexual Americans’ right to not be fired for being trans).
2) It seems clear that ENDA won’t become law this year, but politicians still feel the need to remove trans people from the legislation, to gain some sort of “moral victory” in the form of getting legislation to the floor of the Senate. (Indeed, given that the Democratic leadership says that it’ll come back for trans people shortly, such a “victory” hardly seems to be paving the way).
3) Civil rights laws never protect everyone, so why start now? (Zuh?)
4) Trans people really need to educate people, and show that they’ve got a coalition behind them, if we’re going to included them. (Which strikes me as odd, given that’s pretty much what’s unfolded the past week).
Originally published at Forked Tongue and a Dirty House
Again, I’ll be brief, because this story is everywhere.
Refuses to join coalition is really a diplomatic way of say that the Human Rights Campaign lied. It’s been HRC’s policy since 2004 to not support employment non-discrimination legislation that does not include trans people. Last month, HRC Joe Solmonese reiterated this position, telling the nation’s largest annual gathering of trans people:
We try to walk a thin line in terms of keeping everything in play, and making sure that we move forward but always being clear that we absolutely do not support and in fact oppose any legislation that is not absolutely inclusive, and we have sent that message loud and clear to the Hill.
Here’s the video.
And on October 2nd, the HRC board of directors released this statement:
Therefore, we are not able to support, nor will we encourage Members of Congress to vote against, the newly introduced sexual orientation only bill.
This led Donna Rose, the only trans person on HRC’s 40-member board of directors, to resign, writing a heartfelt and eloquent letter, which she has made public. If you click on any links today, please read Donna’s letter.
It seems that everyone in the LGBT blogosphere has been posting about trans inclusion and H.R. 2015, the employment non-discrimination act (ENDA), and with good reason. About a week after the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not apply to trans people, Barney Frank decided to remove trans people from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In the time since people with printing presses broke the story (there are people without printing presses who said the same thing this May, but apparently they don’t count), the story has been pretty well chewed over.
I’m upset enough about this that I could rant about this for days. Instead, I’ll suggest a few people you should contact, and make a few brief comments.