Representative Rob Andrews D-NJ, chair of the committee that was scheduled to hold a hearing on ENDA on Tuesday. discusses the bill, transgender inclusion and the thinking of the congressional leadership in wanting to remove gender identity from the bill with Jay Lassiter of Blue Jersey in the video below.
Rep. Andrews says what I have been thinking and saying for a while now. We need to do the nitty gritty education and persuasion to build support among members of Congress for a trans-inclusive bill. From the moment the bill was introduced we should have unleashed a political campaign to educate people and help them to understand gender identity and expression. There has been some work done in this area, but judging from where we are now, it has not been nearly enough. All of the whining and complaining, angry sign on letters and online petitions are just pissing in the wind if we don't get more conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans to support an inclusive bill.
It may make some of us feel good to scream "No. No. No. No." but we are not Beyonce and this is not the early days of Destiny's Child. We have to do more than simply yell in opposition to a sexual orientation only ENDA. We have to even more energetic in pushing for a trans-inclusive ENDA. That means we have to roll up our sleeves and do what we know needs to be done to get the votes we will need to get legislation passed. This kind of work may not be as emotionally satisfying to some as protesting the Human Rights Campaign, but it will do far more to change the hearts and minds of members of Congress who will vote on the issue. We need to educate members of Congress as to why the passage of an inclusive bill is so important and after the vote we need to be prepared to help congressmembers who voted with us explain their votes to their constituents.