Marti Abernathey

Supporting Those Who Support You

Filed By Marti Abernathey | October 02, 2007 1:42 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: HRC, transgender inclusion

Lately my emotions have been all over the place. I felt great joy at the US Senate passing the Matthew Shepard Act. I felt disappointment from Barney Frank's planned removal of gender identity from the Employment Non-Discrimination act. Yesterday I was surprised and delighted with the massive support from the majority of the gay and lesbian community in opposing a non-inclusive ENDA. Today, waves of emotion are pushing me back into disappointment. Why? After the amazing groundswell of support for the transgender inclusion in ENDA, the Human Rights Campaign has decided it will not oppose the two bill ENDA strategy.

From their press release:

Therefore, we are not able to support, nor will we encourage Members of Congress to vote against, the newly introduced sexual orientation only bill.

I've always said that you should support those that are doing work that supports you. I've heard many people in the transgender community say "I'll never work with HRC again" after HRC did something negative towards the transgender community. I don't believe that those kind of statements are either helpful or constructive to the community.

That being said, I don't think that HRC is working for me or my community. Donna Rose (an HRC board member) said on her blog on September 29, 2007:

Although I don't blame them for causing the current situation, I am tremendously disappointed in HRC for refusing to speak out loudly and publicly, along with the other coalition partners, in OPPOSING this wrong-minded strategy and these bills. The credibility and integrity of the organization is at stake, and I cannot and will not defend them on this in any way, shape, or form. I am disappointed in the lack of decisive direction being shown by the board leadership. I am disappointed by the delay by to board to meet to discuss this. And I am incredibly sad to see all the hard work of building bridges and repairing relationships with HRC become tatters and shreds. This isn't just business - for me, it's personal.

I am angry at HRC leadership for what I can't help but perceive as lying and deceiving, for betraying my trust, and for putting me in this position. Damage has been done and continues to be done that cannot be repaired. What happens next is, at best, too little too late. At a time when I should be celebrating the historic passage of Hate Crimes on Thursday, and the amazing work of the Out and Equal Workplace Summit, I'm consumed by feelings of betrayal and disappointment. The conspirist in me feels that I've been played, that this has been in the works for a long time, that people and organizations with a vested interest in passing ENDA at any cost believe that there will be some unhappiness but that it will be short-lived if and when ENDA passes (without trans inclusion). However, the idealist in me cares too much to give up. For now.

Right now HRC isn't doing the work of the GLBT community. They are carrying the water for politicos at the expense of the community at large. As I've said before, HRC has proven itself to be a political organization first, and a GLBT organization second. Unbelievably, they're trying to take credit for the work that NGLTF and other organizations did in changing the direction of Congress.

Some may say we should have joined the growing chorus of public dissenters earlier. We believed, and still do, that the correct course of action was to continue dialogue with our allies on the Hill and work to the last minute to effect change,” said Solmonese. “That decision, in addition to yesterday’s letter signed by GLBT and civil rights organizations, paid off when we were able to engage in direct conversations that resulted in a guarantee from House leadership to postpone the mark-up until later this month.”

They aren't supporting the GLBT community at the moment, so I'm not going to ally with them or give money to them. If they come around and do the work of the GLBT community again, that might change. I'm not not ready to "Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater", but I can't support an organization that works against my community...

my GLBT community.

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This is one of those times where principals must rule, i believe.
I am one of those folks who has said for years,
I will not give any support of any kind to HRC. They have no principals, they are political.
That means to me they cannot be trusted they will turn on you sooner or later. That is a fair weather friend, I don't need any fair weather friends.

Susan Robins

Again, this is so tough. I think the selling out of the trans community is a total slap in the face. However, I see the argument behind how easily the right wing could use this against us. Division is exactly what they wanted and exactly what they got.

It really just sucks in the end.

I don't totally blame HRC, but I think they've shown very little leadership in this mess. Perhaps HRC needs to look at itself and decide if they are an LGB or LGBT organization. I've heard too many times how the T in LGBT is left out at HRC. After this ENDA mess, it's clear HRC has some soul searching to do.

This isn't a compromise, it's a cop out.

This isn't a compromise, it's a cop out.

But can you imagine the holy hell we'd be in for if you had right wing Congressman flooded with calls from right wingers asking them not to pass ENDA and calls from the LGBT community too? They'd claim the mandate. And when even the LGBT-friendly politicians vote against it, it could set the movement - all of us - back a decade.

What a bunch of tiresome clap-trap. What did Marti do today for the GLBT or just the T community except to point fingers? Does any of this diatribe help pass an ENDA bill?

What a bunch of tiresome clap-trap. What did Marti do today for the GLBT or just the T community except to point fingers? Does any of this diatribe help pass an ENDA

There's this neat little thing we do here... it's called blogging...ya might want to check into it.

Oh, and yes... I was on the phone most of the day talking to the Board Chair of a national transgender organization that I'm on the board of...

So to answer your question, yes..I'm doing more than just pointing fingers.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 3, 2007 6:45 AM

HRC is a GLBT political organization and HRC staff has spent many many hours on the Hill working to educate and persuade members of Congress to support a trans-inclusive ENDA.

I do wish that a lot of the energy and passion that has surfaced around ENDA with the threat of gender identity and expression being removed had been there beginning with the bill's introduction. Now that we are where we are, we need to focus on the work of building support among members of Congress to reach the magical number of 218 votes that will be needed to get a trans-inclusive bill through the House.

"HRC is a GLBT political organization and HRC staff has spent many many hours on the Hill working to educate and persuade members of Congress to support a trans-inclusive ENDA."

Their actions have proven that they are political first. As I asked you on your blog, can you name one national organization that is standing with them on their position to not oppose an ENDA that doesn't include GI? The community sent a LOUD rebuttal of their position. Have you seen the list of those that do NOT support HRC's position? Here's a list that oppose t the GI inclusive version:

United opposition to sexual-orientation-only employment nondiscrimination legislation:

National Organizations:
National Association of LGBT Community Centers
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
National Stonewall Democrats
National Transgender Advocacy Coalition
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Al-Fatiha Foundation for LGBTIQ Muslims
American Institute of Bisexuality
Bi Mental Health Professionals Association
Bisexual Resource Center
Bi Writers Association
Campus Pride
COLAGE (Children of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere)
Equality Federation
Equality Project Investor Advocates
Faith In America
Family Pride Coalition
Freedom to Marry
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
GLSEN – the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition
International Foundation for Gender Education
Immigration Equality
International Federation of Black Prides
Lambda Legal
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Metropolitan Community Churches
Mautner Project: the National Lesbian Health Organization
New Ways Ministry
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Pride At Work, AFL-CIO
Queer Muslim Revolution
Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodists)
Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity
Transgender American Veterans Association
Transgender Law and Policy Institute
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
TransYouth Family Advocates
[email protected], the National [email protected] LGBT Human Rights Organization

State Organizations: (grouped by state, alphabetically)
Equality Alabama
Equality Arizona
Arizona Transgender Alliance
Equality California
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
Transgender Law Center (California)
AMBI (California)
Equal Rights Colorado
Love Makes A Family (Connecticut)
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.
Equality Florida
MEGA Family Project (Georgia)
Idaho Equality Committee of Your Family Friends and Neighbors
Equality Illinois
Indiana Equality
Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance
One Iowa
Kentucky Fairness Alliance
Equality Maine
Equality Maryland
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Triangle Foundation (Michigan)
Michigan Equality
OutFront Minnesota
Faith Family Fairness Alliance – Minnesota
Equality Mississippi
PROMO (Missouri)
Montana Human Rights Network
Forward Montana
Citizens For Equal Protection (Nebraska)
Garden State Equality (New Jersey)
New Jersey Lesbian & Gay Coalition
Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey
New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition
Concord Outright (New Hampshire)
Seacoast Outright (New Hampshire)
PFLAG-New Hampshire
Equality New Mexico
Empire State Pride Agenda (New York)
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)
New York Trans Rights Organization
Equality North Carolina
Equality Ohio
EqualityToledo Community Action
Kaleidoscope Youth Center (Columbus, OH)
Trans Ohio
Basic Rights Oregon
Equality Advocates Pennsylvania
PA Diversity Network
Northeastern PA Rainbow Alliance
Marriage Equality Rhode Island
South Carolina Equality Coalition
Alliance For Full Acceptance – South Carolina
SC Gay & Lesbian Pride Movement
Trans Carolina (South and North Carolina)
Equality South Dakota
Tennessee Equality Project
Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
Equality Texas
Equality Utah
R.U.1.2? Community Center (Vermont)
Equality Virginia
Equal Rights Washington
Gay City Health Project (Washington)
Fair Wisconsin
Center Advocates (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Wyoming Equality