October 01, 2007

Open thread about ENDA.

I don't know how many of you are following the current situation with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), but basically it looks like it will go forward without protections for gender identity. There's some coverage here and here. Here is HRC's statement.

So, what do you think? How do you feel? What coverage are we missing? What blogs have written on this? What should we do?

Post comments, links, whatever. I feel like we need to start talking about this.

See a previous Quench post with more background on ENDA here.


emily2 said...

i heard that it was barney frank who was one of the first people to become alarmist. why?

there is too much out there to sift through, but i'm confused as to why there was a huge hullabaloo about trans-inclusion.

enda is going to be vetoed by bush no matter what, so, knowing that, why not make a symbolic statement and keep trans-inclusion? if we're going to march into the lion's lair, we might as well stick together. now we (GLBs), fully knowing that enda wouldn't become law anyway, succeeded in ticking off our allies (Ts) as well. i don't get it... such a pointless move.

straightwhiteguy said...

this is my first time posting on quench, and i hope i don't offend too many people with this...

the ENDA issue reminds me historically of the ways different groups have tried to gain legitimacy in the united states. In the 19th century, large numbers of Irish people moved to the united states, and they faced a level of discrimination that at times rivaled that of african-americans. in order to become "normal" members of society and end discrimination, they sided with the white majority and discriminated against african americans as well, the idea being "hey look, we're white too! at least we're not black people!" this caught on, and the irish were integrated into american society in opposition to the african american population, who faced still greater discrimination. in other words, they sided with the majority in order to avoid discrimination against their group, rather than siding with another oppressed minority and fighting discrimination in general.

this issue reminds me of that. in excluding trans people from ENDA, the gay and lesbian community is trying to gain the respect of the straight majority at the expense of the trans community. when given the chance of equality, they seem to be saying "look, we're normal now. at least we're not trans." this bill may increase the rights of gays and lesbians, and it may be more likely to pass through congress and not get vetoed if trans people are excluded from it. this misses the point. discrimination will continue to exist as long as those groups who are discriminated against are willing to gain equality at the expense of another group. every member of a group who has faced discrimination at some point in their history shouldn't be willing to accept their equality in society if other groups are still excluded.

I'm discriminated against said...

I just read all of Barney Frank's statement, and he does make some valid points.

-We have been fighting for at least some protection for the last 30 years, and it would be really good to get some in there, even if it isn't fully inclusive.

-If someone votes against a transgender-protective ENDA and it comes up again without the transgender inclusions, they are more likely to vote against it so they are not seen as "flip-flopping"

-Because of poor legislator education, transgender rights aren't seen as important but with the second bill, there will be hearings that focus specifically on transgender issues.

I may be contacting Mr. Frank about the upcoming hearings. While I am closeted in the work world, this would be a good reason to come out.

The argument that the president will veto it anyway isn't that important, because if congress can pass ENDA now, there will be a better chance of it passing again in the future when we don't have an asshole for a president.

kaya said...

i'm far too lazy to re-write my thoughts, but they're here if you're bored...


kaya said...

oh dang, i don't even think that worked. how about just



Anonymous said...

I've been thinking and working a lot on this and, to be honest, I'm a little exhausted from it to write something eloquent here. But I hope everyone has heard about the vigil outside Congressman Frank's office in Newton starting at 9am tomorrow (Tuesday). If you are in the Boston area, I suggest you join us!


Anonymous said...

PS. Welcome straightwhiteguy and imdiscriminatedagainst. I'm glad to see some new names around.


maudite entendante said...

The letter I wrote to Barney Frank says it all, I hope.

Dear Congressman Frank,

My name is -----, and I am a graduate student at -----. In preparing for an academic career in a notoriously competitive job market, I have had to consider the very real possibility that my sexual orientation may make me a less attractive candidate at many colleges and universities. This is why, although I write for a well-known LGBTQ blog, I do it under a pseudonym; why, although I have worked for the university as its LGBTQ programming officer and now volunteer as the chair of its queer grad-student caucus, my name does not appear on either website; why, although I have conducted research on LGBTQ-related topics, these papers are buried on my CV under innocuous titles.

I tell you all this to impress upon you how much I have to gain if ENDA passes before I go on the job market – and to make sure you know what it means when I say that, if the only way to get ENDA to pass is to cut protection for transgender people, I don’t want it.

I’m certainly not telling you anything new when I remind you that, from the very beginning of the “gay liberation” movement, transgender people have been at its heart and on its front lines. There has never been a moment in history when trans and gender-nonconforming people have not been intimately involved in advancing the rights of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals; and it seems there has never been a moment when we have said anything to them other than “you can have your rights later,” or worse, “we’d accomplish more if you stopped making us look bad.”

This, Congressman Frank, is what is making us look bad: this willingness to cut loose our allies – our brothers and sisters – the moment working together is no longer to our advantage. It’s an old strategy, a tired, sickening, poisonous strategy, and today’s queer community has recognized that it’s not a strategy we wish to pursue. You have said that it would be embarrassing for you and Speaker Pelosi to be seen turning your backs on your lesbian, gay, and bisexual constituency; but it is outright shameful to turn your back on your transgender constituency and claim you’re doing it on the behalf of the rest of us.

Listen to the community, sir. We want ENDA – we need it desperately. But we are not willing to betray the transgender community to get it. I will wait another thirty years if that’s what it takes, but I want to be able to celebrate victory with our entire community. Please, Congressman Frank, postpone the vote on ENDA until we can do it right.

Respectfully yours,


Anonymous said...

Check out this http://www.lambdalegal.org/news/pr/lambda-legals-analysis-enda.html from Lambda Legal. It explains ways that non-trans Lesbians and Gay men (and by extension I would guess bi folks) will be hurt by removing gender identity protection. Yay good lawyers. (Note: GLAD came out on our side as well.)

Here's a quote from the piece:

"Leaving out protections for transgender people is unacceptable, and passing a bill riddled with loopholes will make it harder to achieve equality on the job," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director at Lambda Legal. "You can't be fired for being a lesbian or a gay man, but you can be fired if your boss thinks you fit their stereotype of one."

"After working together for so many years on a bill to provide protections for the LGBT community on the job — we can do better than this," Cathcart added.

End of quote, back to me. In addition, check out what all of this noise about gender identity has been hiding from us (another quote):

* As a point of clarity for the community: The recent version is not simply the old version with the transgender protections stripped out — but rather has modified the old version in several additional and troubling ways.

(end quote, more me) I haven't read the whole document carefully but it's worth a careful read and if anyone wants to post an analysis, I would be glad to hear it.


Anonymous said...

The link didn't work. here it is again

icarus said...

breaking news: HRC just signed the petition letter against a non-trans-inclusive version of ENDA.