Here is an email sent by dear friend Dana Beyer to the entire HRC Board of Governors. Her BOG presence may be terminated because of it. That would be a travesty, and cannot be allowed:
September 28, 2007
Hi, everyone. I'm Dr. Dana Beyer, and I'm a
newly elected Governor from the DC region. I look forward to meeting all of you
who will be attending the board meetings next week here in DC. For those of you
who don't know me, I ran for state delegate in Maryland last year, vying to
become the firstly openly trans elected member of an American state legislature.
I came close, and intend to finish the job in 2010. I joined HRC in 2003, my
first foray into advocacy after my transition, because I saw HRC as the best
vehicle to change the lives of LGBT Americans. I have been increasingly pleased
over the years with the organization and honored to be a part of it. I have
developed many wonderful friendships, and have worked to strengthen its
commitment to diversity and inclusion. I apologize for writing now and taking
your time, but there is a critical situation ongoing here in DC which involves
HRC. As you all know, the trans-inclusive Hate Crimes bill passed the Senate
today, 60-39. However, in spite of that, Congressman Frank buried the
trans-inclusive ENDA and will be introducing a new non-inclusive ENDA with a
pledge to introduce a trans-only ENDA later. For the trans community this is
completely unacceptable. After years of building up solid support for inclusion,
and the evolution of all major gay organizations into inclusive LGBT
organizations, to sacrifice the most vulnerable community out of fear is
appalling and unethical. Fourteen (and counting) LGBT groups have signed on as
opposing this action and calling upon the Speaker to reinstate the bill. HRC has
studiously called itself 'neutral,' as late as this past afternoon. I was at
the Out & Equal conference in DC yesterday, where a room of 1500 people roundly
booed and hissed when the stripping of gender from the bill was announced. Such
an action, if carried out, will lead to the further disenfranchisement of the
trans community in this country, and undermine our efforts on the state and
local levels. It will become much harder to bring the trans community into HRC,
seriously damaging the work to increase diversity within. I also believe it has
the potential for creating a schism within the larger gay community, something
only are enemies desire, and which I had thought was a thing of the past, more a
generational issue than anything else. As recently as two weeks ago at the
Southern Comfort convention in Atlanta, the nation's largest trans conference,
Joe Solmonese vigorously reaffirmed HRC's strong commitment to trans-inclusion,
saying he would fight any attempt at exclusion and would not support a
non-inclusive bill. HRC should not facilitate Congressman Frank's actions by
remaining 'neutral.' 'Neutrality' erases my presence, that of my trans sisters
and brothers, and our allies and friends within HRC. We all work assiduously to
keep open channels and contacts, but there comes a time when moral action is
needed. HRC must act true to its integrity and ideals and not allow the
sacrifice of one segment of its community for the false hope that the larger
community will be served. It won't. Many people have worked on inclusive state
bills, and know from experience that when the clock starts running down the
sponsors often get cold feet and threaten to jettison the trans community. Yet
never has such a bill failed because of inclusion. The fear is unjustified and
does not play out. A recent HRC survey showed overwhelming support for trans
inclusion broadly across the country, equal or exceeding that relating only to
sexual orientation. Maintaining one's spine is critical and will lead to
success, as it has in the past. I ask you to contact Congressman Frank and
Speaker Pelosi, as well as Joe and your friends on the Board of Directors. I ask
those of you on the Public Policy Committee to take a leadership role in
speaking out and making it clear that HRC stands proudly alongside all our
sister organizations and will demand a vote on a bill for all of us, win or
lose. This has been a long battle, and we are all in this together. Especially
given that the bill will most assuredly not be signed by the president even if
it should pass the Senate, we owe it to ourselves to do the right thing, and
use this as an opportunity to enhance our credibility and leadership role in the
LGBT community, making all of us stronger. Thank you. I look forward to meeting
you all next week. Dana Beyer, M.D. DC Steering Committee
I just finished reading your latest entry in your Blog, and to say that I am incensed is a gross understatement! I find it hard to believe that after the speech given by Mr. Solmonese at SCC, HRC would do what they are apparently doing with EDNA. I share your anger, and all of the other emotions that go with this. I have e-mailed HRC and the HRC Federal Club at which level I have been contributing. The gist of my e-mail was; get on board or I pull my financial support. It has been a sacrifice to support them, but I felt it was a worthy one to support. If they cannot support me, I cannot support them!
"Hey" back to ya-
Your blog is a good summary and a helpful contribution to the dialogue. I fear that HRC has used your name to gain T credibility (and donations) only to betray us all. As to what we do now, I have some thoughts.
HRC needs to hear very clearly that they will be persona non grata in the LGBT community for this betrayal of trust. The video tape of Joe's speech at SCC is damning evidence of the duplicity. (I also hope SCC uninvites HRC to next year's event.) Whether or not you stay with HRC is certainly your own business but I know it would be very difficult for me to work with someone I could not trust.
I also think the various supportive LGBT groups need to contact their representatives and encourage them to vote against any non-inclusive measure. United we stand; divided they pick us off one by one. Phyllis Fry might also be of help in organizing a Texas-style lynching that would draw a good-looking crowd!. Just kidding, but Phyllis is hoppin' made over this lack of backbone by both the HRC and the Democratic leadership.
I just read your blog entry on the developments with ENDA and HRC. When I read the article in the Washington Blade on Thursday, I went immediately to the HRC site to see if Joe Solmonese had made a comment. He hadn't. I checked the site repeatedly expecting to see a comment or something. But there was nothing. Then the emails started arriving from GLBT groups announcing that HRC had not issued a statement condemning this action. As you are, I am very disappointed in this turn of events.
I've seen a few of the immediate effects of HRC's inaction on individuals in the TG community. I have visited several TG chat boards and I can tell you that if they are any indication of what people are thinking, the TG community is not supporting ENDA as it is. Members of HRC are vowing not to fund the organization anymore and there is a lot of anger over this that is never going to dissipate in my opinion. HRC has alienated itself from the TG community as well as several GLBT organizations who have come out against HRC and their lukewarm response to the changes being made to ENDA.
This also affects me personally. I have been a volunteer for HRC at several of their fund-raising events in my state. My main concern in all volunteer work that I do and political activism that I participate in is to promote equality in the workplace. Ever since I was fired and threatened with violence for being transsexual, I have worked in my own way to raise awareness of workplace equality issues.
I pushed and pushed people to support HRC and ENDA only now to be made a fool of by Joe Solmonese.
I feel betrayed.
I will no longer support HRC and will move my focus to NCTE as our primary representative in Washingtion. I don't have money. I'm not powerful in the community or in politics. But I do have the power to try to sway the public from supporting HRC at every chance that I get.
Thank you for taking a stand against HRC's decision not to condemn Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and a non-inclusive ENDA. Like I told you before, I have read your book. I know that you are a person of integrity. I too have a feeling that you were 'used' by HRC. I am so proud to have you as an advocate to relay our disappointment in the HRC leadership.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart
Donna: I know how very disappointed you must feel by the trans exclusion to the pending ENDA legislation.
When I was in a panel discussion, someone in the back of the room from New York City expressed her frustration concerning apathy by the LGBT community there. She was in tears.
We are the smallest minority of all, and yet I can sense of widespread feeling of being betrayed among the "T" community across the country. People are not apathetic about this, and we are coming together as a community. There are a lot of folks out there who are bitterly disappointed with HRC, as I believe you must be. I thought Barney Frank had seen the light, but apparently he has not.
This is a time to seize the opportunity to galvanize the anger into a voice that can, and will, be heard.
From my point of view, and this is shared, ENDA must either include the trans community, or it must be withdrawn. Going forward without the trans community will, I believe, result in the trans community forever being denied job protection.
I have a little fire in my belly today ya'll, please forgive....
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org today and tell them to make a statement that they reject ENDA if it does not protect us too.
----- There are not too many days I stand in my living room and want to scream FU, but today is definitely one of them.
I am livid about the decision of the Human Rights Campaign to not come out and support transgender people in regard to the ENDA bill being passed. ENDA is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act set out to protect individuals from hatred in regard to both sexuality and gender identity. But now, legislators are removing protection for transgender individuals.
Well just two weeks ago, at the largest national transgender conference called Southern Comfort in Atlanta, HRC president Joe Solmonese stated clearly and on video that any victory without gender identity being included was a hollow victory for gay people. I was there. I celebrated and cheered his words. Now, he is appearing apologetic and sympathetic toward legislators because this bill will help the largest number of people, even if some get left out.
Sorry Joe, WTF! Can you imagine the outcry around the world if we said, "Well, we’ll pass a health care bill that will help Christians and Jews, but we will have to wait a bit longer to help Moslems and Buddhists?" Holy cow! Come on Joe, scream out this is not right. You know this is not worth it. It is like taking blood money. HRC needs to take a stand and they need to do it now. Otherwise, frankly I hope you take the T out of your LGBT organization agenda, because we don’t care to be exploited any longer.
I had a conversation with Patrick Sammon of the Log Cabin Republicans this AM. In a conversation he had with a rep from the HRC Board of Directors it seems their position is that they will continue to insist that any ENDA bill include transgender but will not oppose an ENDA bill that does not include transgender. In effect, they will make a symbolic stance but will not do anything more. HRC and many in the GLB community will shrug, tell us they are sorry and that they did their best and continue to merrily support he Democratic candidates at all levels.
The Democratic House Whip's initial count one week before they planned to send ENDA to the floor for a vote was 213, five votes short of a majority. The Democrat congressmen not voting for ENDA at that time placed the blame on the transgender language in the bill.
It seems that is when the whole "Throw the TGs under the bus," movement got started. No effort was made to twist arms even though there was more then a week available to do so. It was the Democratic leadership, my friends spearheaded by Barney Franks who started it.
Strangely, in making calls to the Republican congress members who support ENDA, they all reported that transgender inclusive language in the current ENDA makes no difference how their constituents feel about the issue, so there were no desertions from those who had already signed up to support the original ENDA.
I hope that we can all find a way to work for the common good, regardless of party and political beliefs. On this issue, I hope our community trumps political partisanship.
Donna. I'm afraid the "conspirist" in you is correct. It's so transparently obvious that Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Pelosi have been planning this for some time.
Pelosi will speak at HRC, and you (and Dana) will have a difficult decision. I don't envy you - but I know what I would do if it was me... I'd have Mara helping me with the press release already. I know you don't look forward to it, but it may be that a public denunciation and resignation by the two of you would have a major impact on HRC.
My involvement with HRC is much less (just a monthly Federal Club bank draft) but that is about to stop also. I'll give that money to the Task Force or increase my pledge to NCTE. I will not support an organization that honors my enemy, and right now Nancy Pelosi is my enemy.
I had the opportunity to have dinner two days in a row with Senator Debbie Stabenow, and have talked to staff all trying to explain the political ins and outs . I'm afraid no one is going to stand up for real inclusion. Instead give a wimpy "well we tried"
I talked with some members of Transgender Michigan and the Exec. Director of Michigan's largest LGBT political organization, Triangle Foundation. Language they are hearing from DC is not satisfactory. Tonight with an audience of 300 Jeff Montgomery urged everyone to call their Senator and Congressman, HRC and NGLTF demanding they fight for full inclusion.
Subject: *** HRC *** The Silence is Deafening
As a member of HRC, and one of the attendees of Joe's speech at SCC, I don't understand why HRC is silent about the current issues related to the ENDA bill.
Should we expect to hear something SOON? Or were Mr. Solmonese's words to us merely lies and politics?
If Joe isn't true to words, then I will be removing my name from the HRC membership and encouraging all others I know to do the same including those who are members but are not transgender.
I am hopeful that this delay is only to assess the proper response to the Congress' actions!
I was greatly dismayed to see the statement issued by Joe Solmonese regarding the withdrawal of Gender Identity from the ENDA bill in the House. I have been betrayed and abandoned. I would hope you re-evaluate your participation on the HRC Board.
Yada, yada, yada. You through the trans community under the bus. The bill has no chance of being enacted into law under the current administration anyway. The "strategy" divides our fragile relationship inside the GLBT even further and is a deep, deep set-back for transgender Americans. I am in total disagreement with it and can no longer support HRC.
I feel that it was HRC's failure to support the trans community that allowed the bill's sponsors to move forward without inclusion when the other GLBT stood strong in their support.
What is going on with ENDA...I am reading all kinds of things...I would hate to think that HRC will not standby our T sisters and brothers...when once again congress wants to slash the T from us...NO WAY....
My mother - who recently became a donor to HRC after she saw the Matthew Shepard related video - told me about the passage of the Hate Crimes bill when I was chatting with her late last night. However, I was so upset when I read early this morning that ENDA had been "scrubbed" of gender...I called the NCTE office, called HRC, emailed Meredith, called my counselor, my mother and friends, talked to "friendly associates" at work, oh and called five congressional offices...patience perhaps is required....but action is good for the soul....
Thanks for all that you do - you are a great ambassador - and your efforts are really appreciated!
In an unending annual ritual, we face another heartbreak of exclusion from a federal ENDA bill and betrayal by Democratic Party and Gay/Lesbian community leaders we had trusted as allies and friends. (see http://www.nctequality.org/news.html#ENDAupdate and http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=14&entry_id=20711) To add insult to injury, the transcommunity was bashed in a Washington Post editorial today, accused of lacking patience and commitment to educate the public and lawmakers, and therefore deemed deserving of exclusion. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/27/AR2007092701820.html?nav=hcmodule)
At times like this, it's tempting for transfolk to become cynical of the GLBT community and distrustful of G/L leadership. Before we do, I ask that all of us pause to remember the courage and tenacity of the twelve GLBT and civil rights organizations who stood in solidarity with us yesterday to oppose any employment bill that excludes transgender protection. These include the Task Force, PFLAG, NCLR, Stonewall Dems, Nat. Coalition for LGBT Health, Pride at Work/AFL-CIO, Nat Coalition of AntiViolence Projects, Mautner Project, Nat Assoc of LGBT Centers, Lambda Legal, GLAD and of course the NCTE. (see announcement below) Please join me in expressing my deepest appreciation to the leadership of these organizations and to Judy Shepard and the Matthew Shepard Foundation for insisting on transgender inclusion in the historic hate crimes legislation passed by the senate yesterday. At the eye of the storm have been Mara Keisling and everyone at the National Center for Transgender Equality -- they are my heroes.
I am especially grateful to Exec. Director Matt Foreman and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for steadfastly supporting transgender ENDA inclusion (http://www.thetaskforce.org/press/releases/prMF_ENDA2_092707). Sadly, however, the two largest GLBT organizations, the Human Rights Campaign and Out & Equal are conspicuously missing from this list of supportive organizations. In a ritual of stunning cynicism, the HRC will present their National "Equality" Award to Speaker Nancy Pelosi at their October 6 Annual National Dinner. Perhaps it's not too late for engravers to add the phrase "excluding transgender" to her trophy.
Again, my deepest gratitude to those GLBT and civil justice leaders who stood by us this week and to the NCTE and all transactivists who worked so hard to give us a shot at employment equality.
I am sure by now you have been inundated with Email on the latest regarding ENDA. But here are my thoughts.
You know I am a strong supporter of NCTE, and have been coming around to HRC, and was especially impressed with the presentation at Southern Comfort. Why, I even thought they were really with us.
But with the latest mess up, and HRCs silence on the matter of splitting ENDA, I am beginning to think we all have been duped! I hope that is not true.
I know you are our trans woman on HRC. So I strongly URGE you to take whatever action you can to not allow a removal of gender from ENDA. If the bill is split, and only the LG part becomes law, we all know we trans will go down in flames, and will in all likelihood never see us included in my lifetime, as we have little strength to get more than simple lip service by ourselves.
HRC must stand firm and say NO TRANS, NO ENDA this time around.
If they do not, HRC can probably KISS GOODBY any recent healing that has taken place and then expect a lot of rejection. In fact I would urge your own resignation from the board.
Otherwise, you know I fully support you.
I am extremely distressed to hear of the HRC's failure to condemn the movement on the part of Representative Barmey Frank and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove transgender rights from ENDA. I am a co-founder of Arizona Transgender Alliance, a group which works for transgender rights in the state of Arizona. I have seen far too many cases of transgendered people being summarily fired when they came out as being transgendered. I have seen too many companies using layoffs as a tool for removing transgendered employees who were otherwise doing excellent, valuable work for the company. I have seen too many skilled, educated transgenders unable to find work for years, unable to even secure an interview. Transgenders are far more likely to be victimized by workplace discrimination that gays and lesbians in our current culture. I am sure you must know that. We need the protections which were to be created in the original ENDA legislation. We are too small in number and too weak in voice to secure these rights as a separate minority group. Too many of our people live in hiding because of the fears of discrimination in our society. We are so beaten down by the prejudice we face now, that we can't organize effectively to counter it independently.
We need you. You have included us in your advertising and promotions for years claiming to represent the ENTIRE GBLT community. You have solicited our donations claiming to work for us. We have contributed to your organization on the belief that you were on our side and that you would be there for us when the time comes. That time is now, and you are abandoning us.
Be true to your charter. Live up to your promises. Support the entire GBLT community. Insist on preserving ENDA as it was originally written and intended. We are counting on you.
co-founder, Arizona Transgender Alliance
What happened with ENDA was a dirty shame. However, as the Lobbying Chair of NTAC, I can tell you it was not unexpected. We were on the Hill one day after NCTE was, and were told by a number of offices that ENDA's gender provisions were in deep trouble. When we reported this online, a number of us were discredited by other T activists, publicly.
I tell you this, not so I can say "I told you so", but because you may not have known that some of us, at least, did get the word in May. NTAC lacks the budget to employ a person on the Hill full-time, so we were unable to do the further education that clearly was needed. I doubt that Barney Frank, [expletive deleted], is willing to give his list of those "needing education" to T activists, and in fact my Congressman, whom I am on a first-name basis with, reported to me this weekend that there WAS no "whip count" taken.
So Frank is also a liar, and has no list. Being lied to is part of politics, but I don't have to like that fact.
I don't think you should quit the HRC board. I'd rather we keep you there, a T person on that board that we know we can trust to, at least, bring them a perspective of life they wouldn't otherwise get. However, if HRC cannot see its way clear to, at least, making a definitive statement of opposition to the 2-ENDA policy, then there is no way that anyone in the T community can consider putting any trust in HRC ever again. I also expect that HRC dinners will again be picketed, as they were in 2001 and 2002, by transpeople. You could find yourself in a difficult position for certain. Whichever choice you make, I respect your judgment.
I was on the Hill in 1997, and again in '98 and '99, and experienced firsthand what HRC did to undermine transgender advocacy in those days - it was told to me by a Republican congressman and a Democratic Senator who is still in office, at length, and was turned into a major report that resulted in the founding of NTAC. Against my better judgment, I let myself believe that, this year, perhaps, just maybe, that HRC might have moved to meet the T community. This is the test of whether or not that could ever be so.
Must we go back to the old days of mutual hatred of HRC? That would be destructive to both HRC and the T community. Ask the Board to make a definitive anti-2 ENDA statement, backed up by taking lobbyists off the Hill during debate on it. If they don't do that, then T people who've been around, like myself, aren't likely to ever trust them again to do what is right, or to be any kind of reliable partner. Barney Frank's already lost that status for all times.
We might forgive once, but we never forget, and we aren't going to forgive twice.
Lobbying Chair, NTAC
It is my firm position that any ENDA bill MUST include gender identity and expression to have support from the GLBT community.
Polls across the country have shown that most Americans support such a bill. Elections across the country show that including gender identity and expression in any bill have not affected the outcome - that it will is the spurious claim of those offering the newly-revised bill. They have used this argument for years.
HRC has a well-earned reputation in the transgender community of offering lip service to trans inclusion but failing to follow up with action. In recent years there have been steps toward overcoming this reputation. If HRC now supports an ENDA bill that does not include gender identity, you will lose all the ground gained to date and will reinforce the feeling that HRC does not support transgenders.
I will VIGOROUSLY OPPOSE any ENDA bill that does not include gender identity and expression. HRC should do the same.
President PFLAG Transgender Network
To: Joe Solomese, September 28, 2007
I'm a 63 year old transsexual woman, a professional in a research lab. I belong to and support NCTEquality, IFGE, and the Stonewall Democrats,
I participated in lobby days last May and received training in your office building. I have lobbied in DC and in San Antonio for passage of the Hate Crimes Bill and ENDA I have written dozens of letters, made dozens of phone calls, visited my elected officials' offices in San Antonio, and spoken in public forum in support of these bills; in support of all the gay, lesbian, and bisexuals as well as in support of transgenders like myself.
I have been an HRC Partner, am a member of my local chapter of HRC and a member of the San Antonio HRC Political Committee.
Today I learned from my attorney and friend, Phyllis Frye, that HRC has not signed on to opposing the dumping of transgendered, like so much garbage, from ENDA.
Please know that if HRC dumps me and an estimated 600,000 gender variant brothers and sisters across the nation (1 in 500) into the trash, I will have no further use for participation in, or supporting of, HRC.
From Elizabeth Birch (former HRC President)
I know HRC is bloody from fighting for the past ten days. It has not been in a position to issue a statement (at least a clear one) because it has wanted to keep the members of congress engaged enough so they could continue the debates and fights in an attempt to turn them around. Barney is shoving this down the community's throat. You should get mad at him and tell him and send emails and letters and everything you can think of to Pelosi.
HRC will issue a statement tomorrow and I expect it to be a good one. Everyone needs to stop focusing on HRC and focus this monumental problem emanating from Barney and Pelosi. Lets all try and fix it and not waste a single moment on anyone but George Miller (who started these alarm bells), Barney Frank and Speaker Pelosi. Tell everyone or we are wasting our time.
Also we need to stop talking about "inclusive" and "noninclusive". Gender identity and expression is good language for gay cases too. That language should in there because cases based on sexual orientation will generally involve issues of gender expression, and gender identity cases will often involve issues of sexual orientation, real or perceived. SO ------------ it is about a BETTER BILL with the integrated approach. Do you agree?
We can do this if we all work together. Spread the word, and tell them to back off of HRC. It is a complete timewaster. There will be plenty of time to get angry at lots of people, but if we fix it, maybe we can get the original bill to the floor.
I am compelled to comment on recent developments regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Nancy Pelosi’s recent support of excluding transgender people from ENDA unmasks her as just another duplicitous and opportunistic politician, yet the Human Rights Campaign is prepared to honor her next weekend. Do we, the LGBT community, want to reward or honor this behavior?
We must ask why Pelosi pushed ENDA through the House at this time. Senator Kennedy has yet to introduce a Senate version, which would be unlikely to pass given that the Hate Crimes bill barely squeaked through. Could it be that Pelosi wants to announce passage of the House bill at the October 6th HRC gala dinner honoring her? As Rep. Barney Frank noted “I think the headline, 'Pelosi pulls gay rights bill' would be a big mistake.” Her real mistake was to put it on the table at this time, apparently for political Brownie points.
The Human Rights Campaign must take a stand and send a message that coldhearted political posturing shall not go unnoticed or rewarded. Like many transgender people I am a dues paying member of the HRC. I became one in 2004, when the HRC committed to transgender inclusion in the next incarnation of ENDA. Though last week was by no means the first time trans people were sacrificed for this legislation, it still hurt when Frank announced that trans-inclusion would be cut to pass the bill. It hurt even more that Nancy Pelosi supported the exclusion.
Pelosi must know her calculating decision to move the bill at this juncture would be noticed. She must be gambling that most lesbian and gay citizens will be so thrilled at ENDA’s symbolic House victory (it will never become law until Bush is out of the White House), that they won’t care about the betrayal that took place to make it happen.
Doubtless there are many gay people who won’t care. As a transsexual woman who first transitioned in San Francisco in 1985, I have long known there are those in the LGB community who do not support transgender people, who wish we would not participate in Pride events, who believe that we are wrong to expect or demand inclusion in ENDA.
In his blog, former Washington Blade editor Chris Crain writes “trans activists ought to spend less time trying to ride (or yank back) gay coattails on their way to workplace and do the difficult education and political work necessary…” He also wrongly suggests the U.S. Title VII protections against sex discrimination are a workable replacement for a trans-inclusive ENDA, when case law shows otherwise.
In a letter to Crain, I asked where racial minorities would have been forty years ago if white politicians had suggested that they “do the difficult education and political work” themselves? The most liberal estimates put the number of transgender people at one in three hundred. How can such a statistically insignificant minority ever have a meaningful voice in national politics, or any level, without help from a larger group?
Most importantly, whether or not a transgender-excluding ENDA passes, the whole world will see that not even the transgender community’s supposed allies support them. I expect that transphobes will become even more emboldened, transgender discrimination will multiply, and hate crimes will increase.
After all, nobody cares about those transgenders, right?
I call on all those who support civil rights for transgender people to urge the HRC to cancel the Pelosi’s invitation to this gala dinner and instead use the event to refocus efforts on sending a message to elected officials that they can’t sacrifice an entire community to make themselves look good. And if HRC goes ahead with the Pelosi dinner, to let her know she did wrong and that The Whole World is Watching.
Los Angeles, CA
First of all, please do not leave the board at HRC, if anything you should do what you can to move to board to consider new leadership for the organization. On a grassroots level many in our community, trans, gay and lesbian included, no longer believe in Joe Solomonese and the direction he is taking HRC. On the street the sentiment is that HRC is attempting to emulate a large special interest group, as opposed to the grassroots organization our community needs. The problem with that direction is that the GLBT community represents such a small part of the population, we just don't have the numbers or the money to support a large special interest group that participates in "politics as usual".
As the preeminent organization representing the LGBT community, HRC should embody the interests of the entire community. The trans-stripped ENDA smacks of collusion between HRC and Democratic leadership in the House to win an empty victory in an effort to play to donors and voters. It is no secret that the LGBT community, and America as a whole, is frustrated by the lack of any significant change affected by the newly Democratic congress. Please convince the HRC board that the stripped ENDA protects nobody other than the most straight acting gays and lesbians, and help them see this for what it really is; a desperate attempt for Solomonese and Frank to create the ruse that they are actually doing something with our money and our votes.
As someone who is just recently beginning her transition I can personally speak to how important this bill is. Just today I had to call my boss and inform him that some employees were making harassing statements about me to other employees, the most offensive of which was that I am "just another fag". Management levels above me have pledged their support, but how long will it be before my boss decides that constantly disciplining employees for their comments is taking up too much of his time? Personally I fully expect to be unemployed within the month.
What could possibly be my interest in fighting for trans inclusion in the ENDA bill? I went through Hell and back to keep by Federal job when I transitioned way in the olden days of 1973. I have my retirement, and I could easily sit back and enjoy my golden days.
I have two motivations: First was the murder of my dear friend, Bella Martinez. That made me get involved. Secondly, was my meeting a dear friend at the Southern Comfort Conference who is considering transition. Her struggles are just beginning. Fighting for trans inclusion in the ENDA legislation is part of my committment to do for her whatever I can for as long as I can. This is making me an activist.
Everyone getting this can't do everything, but, by golly, we can do something. I spoke at my church yesterday about what was happening and why it was necessary to call Congresspersons today. From the applause afterwards, it was clear the message was well received.
Some who receive this message are in positions to be able to do far more than I, but it's in the resounding chorus of opposition to non-inclusive language that Congress should be able to hear.
Thank you to each of you for what you do for the LGBT community.
A statement signed by supportive organizations released 10/1:
From Out & Equal Workplace Advocates:
|Dear Out & Equal constituents and friends,
Last week was amazing, with 2,391 people participating in some part of the 2007 Out & Equal Workplace Summit. We'll be sending out details about the conference soon, so keep an eye out.
During the Summit, however, we got word that there was important developments in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Members of Congress have decided to move forward with a version of ENDA that does not include gender identity. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has worked very hard to add transgender protections to this legislation and Out & Equal fully supports a transgender-inclusive version of ENDA. It is critical that our representatives hear from each of us now urging them to keep both sexual orientation and gender identity in the bill.
Please help ensure that no member of our community is left behind!
Please urge them to support an ENDA that is fully
inclusive, and let them know that you don’t want any member of the LGBT
community left behind.
When the office receptionist answers, you can say:
To send an e-mail to your Representative, click here for a list of members in the US House of Representatives.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates educates and empowers organizations, HR professionals, ERGs and individual employees through programs and services that result in equal policies, opportunities, practices and benefits in the workplace regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression or characteristics. Visit us at www.outandequal.org
I am not gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. But I know many people who are, and several have become close friends. As far as I can see, the only difference between L, G, B or T people and so-called “straight” people is that there are more straight people than LGBT people. And of the four groups (L, G, B and T), transpeople are perhaps the fewest. All four groups correctly complain of discrimination because they are in the minority. By definition, ENDA should support all four groups. But if the government decides to remove T from ENDA (leaving only LGB), then ENDA is blatantly discriminating against the smallest group. It’s hypocrisy at its worst. The “land of the free” isn’t very free to transpeople.
ALL Americans have the right to be accepted for who they are. There should be no exceptions.
As one gay friend said to me, “being gay is not a choice – being out is”. Perhaps the same can be said of transpeople – it’s not a choice.
There are quite a few people that are quite concerned here and feel HRC has let us/them down. I didn’t manage to find out anything important from either the HRC folks, or the Equality AZ. people. They basically stated the HRC policy of only supporting all inclusive issues/legislation, and referred me to Joe’s Friday news release. It seems that HRC has been stone walled and has decided not to bang their collective heads against it. My personnel feelings on this, which you may pass on to Joe, Pelosi, Frank, and whoever else you think would be beneficial, with my name included, are of sadness. Sadness for all the T people who have looked to HRC for help. As you well know, a T persons life is full of ups and downs. And the downs can be devastating. So bad that many of our sisters and brothers have chosen to end their lives rather than continue the fight to be recognized as human beings. I hope that the people that apparently have decided to abandon us realize the impact of their decision. It could very well be one of life or death. I wonder about the leaders of HRC. What are their real motives? Is it that the national dinner and the fact that it is already known that they have chosen Pelosi as the Human Rights Person of the Year more important than the lives and well being of the T people in this country? Perhaps we should get the skull of one of our slain sisters, or brothers, to give to Pelosi to hang on her trophy wall. Does HRC they feel that they would loose face, or importance, if they change their course at this late date? And what exactly is their course? It appears to me that their course may not really be the rights of all, and be one that is motivated by power. Perhaps they see themselves as the future politicians that would lead the masses to salvation. The problem with that is that the perceived salvation would be of their perspective, and not necessarily for the good of the people they claim to represent. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Are we witnessing this in real time? I had the strangest sensation come over me at this years Pride Parade in Phoenix. There were representatives from all the groups concerned with equal rights. They were carrying banners and signs, working next to the people. And then I saw the HRC people. They were in a large air conditioned motor home, with comfortable chairs, sitting under awnings to block the sun. I thought to myself, what is wrong with this picture, I sure hope they don't get anything on them while they are here slumming with us normal people. I have had the pleasure of meeting some members of the HRC that are honest, hard working, and caring individuals. But for the organization to abandon us, to consider us expendable for the good of the larger number of people, is unacceptable. And I think that many of the members of that so called larger group feel the same way. I hope Joe, and the others that are involved with this decision, realize that without the support of the entire GLBT community they will cease to exist. We are already seeing people withdraw their support of HRC and transferring that support to other groups. HRC could be a historical thing, quickly. The honest and caring individuals that make up the majority of the HRC will move on to other groups. To groups that have not lost sight of why they exist. Groups that truly care about us. I wish you all the luck while you are in D.C. And if nothing else, have a good time.