Marti Abernathey

It's Put Up Or Shut Up Time

Filed By Marti Abernathey | September 27, 2007 1:41 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, hate crimes against LGBT people, Matthew Shepard Act, transgender inclusion

According to the Washington Blade:

"House Democratic leaders are strongly considering dropping anti-discrimination protections for transgender persons from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, after an internal Democratic head count on Wednesday found that the bill would likely be defeated if it included the trans provision, multiple sources familiar with the bill said. "

In May of this year I reported of the whispers in the halls of Congress to drop transgender people from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Some went as far to claim that I was causing undue fear, that my information was wrong. I have very high standards when running a story here at the Bilerico Project. I have very well placed sources and I fact-check my stories many times over. It appears that the information that I obtained was correct.

I said:

It’s coming up on two years ago that I wrote an “Open Letter to Cheryl Jacques.” A month after I posted my open letter, Jacques greeted transgender protesters outside of Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) offices with the news that HRC would not support any version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that didn’t include transgender protections.

Last Friday I asked whether or not we are one community. I’ve been told more than once that a GLB”T” community just isn’t a reality.

The Southern Comfort Conference is the largest transgender conference in the United States. The gathering draws some of the most wealthy donors in the trangender community. For the first time ever, Joe Solmonese addressed the conference. Autumn Sandeen described Joe Solmonese's speech this way:

"Joe Solmonese spoke to almost 900 transpeople, their significant others, friends, families, and allies about ENDA and the Matthew Sheppard Act. He was very clear about the HRC's current feelings on transgender inclusion in those pieces of legislation. Two thoughts that struck me: 1.) Mr. Solmonese didn't seem to express any HRC reticence on inclusion -- it didn't sound as if he currently believed that transfolk "trans-jacked" ENDA or the Matthew Sheppard Act."

On the back of the SCC program it has this picture:

It reads:


The Human Rights Campaign and its grassroots force of 700,000 members and supporters are working every day to achieve our vision of a fair and equal country. By working with Americans of all races, classes and backgrounds, we are committed to improving the lives of all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The Human Rights Campaign salutes the 2007 Southern Comfort Conference!

Joe Solmonese thanked Mara Keisling of The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) for the work she's done. Mara's received much of the credit for the progress that the transgender community has accomplished. If transgender people are written out of ENDA or the Matthew Shepard Act, I really have to call into question what push NCTE has. How far have we come?

I'll ask again. Are we one community? If we are removed from either the Matthew Shepard Act or the ENDA and HRC does not lobby AGAINST PASSAGE of either bill without inclusion, we are not one community. HRC, NCTE, and others have acted, signaled, and said we are one. Now is crunch time. Am I really HRC? We shall see.

cross posted from

Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

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.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | September 27, 2007 3:31 AM

Those who need the protection most have the hardest time getting it unless those who have come before them, who have had the same experience, have learned from it enough not to leave the most vulnerable behind.

If we all say that it is immoral not to protect the transgendered who are those most vulnerable, we will all win -- even if we lose in the short term.

I'll check my sources for you too, Marti. As far as I'm concerned, it's all or nothing.

Let's remember that if they do this, they aren't cutting transgender people out of the ENDA, per se, they're cutting "gender identity" out. Which I'm going to assume that means, legally, what "gender performance" means colloquially. I'm not sure if it'll work out that way.

But I perform a sort of femmy/androgynous/I-don't- really-care-but-anyone-can-tell, and getting fired for that is the same effectively as "sexual orientation", but I'm guessing it wouldn't be legally.

*sigh* It's all the same transgression here. I'm wondering who these House Democrats are who would vote against gender identity in the ENDA but not sexual orientation. I actually want names.

Yeah - I want names too, Alex. I'd like to give them all a call. :)

"Let's remember that if they do this, they aren't cutting transgender people out of the ENDA, per se, they're cutting "gender identity" out."

Gender Identity IS the language that made the legislation inclusive of transgender people.
THAT is what we've been fighting so hard to have included in both ENDA and the hate crimes bill.
The fact that it also covers people who do not plan to transition is a plus. Don't forget that Gender Identity as defined in the bill also covers butch women and effeminate men. This language affects everyone regardless of transgender status but without it, transgender people will not be covered.

Here is the definition of gender identity as written into enda (HR 2015)

GENDER IDENTITY- The term `gender identity' means the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth.

I really don't recognize America anymore.

Ever notice how the only group that isn't Left Behind is rich, Christian, straight, whites?

Thanks for the definition, Ethan.

So there we go, without "gender identity", the bill can't protect the GLB either. I've yet to meet a gay man who performs 100% butch all the time or a lesbian who performs 100% femme.

This is just really, really frustrating news because the ENDA is such a compromise anyway. It doesn't protect people who work for religiously associated businesses, it doesn't protect people who work for smaller businesses, it doesn't do anything on housing and public accommodation discrimination - GAWSH! What do these House Dems want?

Oh, wait, I already know that one - nothing related to queer people at all in the House.

Your beginning to scare me Marti we agree the fix has been in for some time,
This fix has been for a long time and HRC will go along with removal of Gender identity and expression language from the ENDA and the Mathew Sheppard bill.
They will call it a bittersweet victory when the bill passes both houses of congress. I would like to be wrong but I am not on this one. HRC is a Gay and Lesbian organization Not a TG/TS organization. They won’t ask to have the bill pulled if it is modified.
And they won’t this time or in the future stand up for the rights of TG/TS people. Unfortunately most TG people don’t know their history well enough to realize this. HRC has not done one thing on the national level that benefits transfolk. Quite the contrary they have done much to alienate the TG and TS communities from the G/L communities.

The fix is in and here is what is going to happen….
HRC will make a little noise about the revisions to both bills.
HRC will NOT ask that the ENDA or the Mathew Sheppard be pulled.
Rather the bill passes or fails HRC will once again make up some excuse why they won’t request ENDA be pulled.

To all the TG folk out there; assume the position your going to get screwed again.

Take care

I found this today on the Stonewall Democrats website:

The following statement was released by the Executive Directors of nine national LGBT organizations Thursday morning, in response to the article in the Washington Blade posted Wednesday evening:

Our collective position remains clear and consistent regarding the status of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. Our organizations oppose the removal of protections for transgender people from ENDA. We would also oppose any bill that did not protect transgender people.

We are shocked and upset that, according to the Washington Blade, influential members of the House of Representatives have apparently made a decision to remove protections for transgender people from the bill. If true, this decision was made without consultation with leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

While we don’t doubt the sincerity of Congressional leadership’s intent to take action and be helpful to the LGBT community, we cannot disagree more with this strategy. We will continue to work with LGBT-supportive members of Congress to urge their colleagues to immediately drop this strategy.

Jody Huckaby, Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays
Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.
Mara Keisling, National Center for Transgender Equality
Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Jon Hoadley, National Stonewall Democrats
Rebecca Fox, National Coalition for LGBT Health
Jeremy Bishop, Pride At Work, AFL-CIO
Clarence Patton, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects
Andrea Densham, Mautner Project

notice a name missing from that list?

You mean HRC didn't sign that?
I am shocked and awed by this development.

You mean HRC didn't sign that? I am shocked and awed by this development.

Sarcasm noted :)

I have been kicked off Tranny lists for saying HRC just uses transpeople as their toilet paper. Just a bunch of rich gay people involved in their own self interest.

I will say it now I told you So, and did so four years ago.

I think it is time Y'all stopped kissing their butts and told them where to get off.

HRC can go to hell as far as i am concerned.

Take Care

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | September 27, 2007 9:20 PM

What strategically must be made clear is that not including gender identity leaves a loophole for enforcement on for LGB folks' cases bigger than the proverbial Mack truck one.

Ask why HRC and all the other rip-n-shredders hate gay people so much that they want to take what has been reworked so carefully to remove some of ENDA's main flaws and make it again not worth the effort!