Michael Crawford

We Need to Get Real About ENDA

Filed By Michael Crawford | October 03, 2007 1:04 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: gay rights, gender identity, LGBT, lgbt rights, transgender

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.

To paraphrase Debbie Allen from the opening to the classic '80s television show Fame, "You want equality? Well equality costs and right here is where we start paying in sweat!"

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How funny, Michael. I set up the Blue Jersey clip as today's You Gotta See This video last night. Obviously, this is one video you really don't want to miss! Michael and I both think so! :)

This essay is right on the money - however, the question is what to say to explain why gender identity and expression is important to the bill. It's not about support of transgender people, though that is an important principle too. It's about the fact that "gender identity" protection is important to protect gays and lesbians, and without it, ENDA has a loophole a truck can drive through. Lawyers and academics have explained these issues in previous writings, which is why the illuminati support gender identity inclusion, but these explanations must be gotton out to hoi polloi. Without "gender identity," ENDA is the sound of one hand clapping. More in my post ENDA: The Sound of One Hand Clapping

"We need to do the nitty gritty education and persuasion to build support among members of Congress for a trans-inclusive bill."

You're suggesting that "we" are not... and that's false. How about you post the whip count and let us know who's voting against us. Who's iffy? No one will answer those questions.

You keep saying "we" need to do this and "we" need to do that, but you don't offer any names for "we" to work on. So while your suggestions are good, they're incomplete. When you have a list of the whip count no votes, get back to us. Until then, you're doing the same damn thing you accuse us of doing, pissing in the wind.

Oh, and in the community we're pretty multi-talented. Most of us can do more than one thing at a time. "Protesting" HRC and doing the education work can be done at the same time. Asking HRC to stand up and follow their own directives isn't pissing in the wind. It's called accountability.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 3, 2007 8:29 AM


I am saying that the education and persuasion that needs to be done to build the kind of support needed to make a trans-inclusive ENDA is not complete. As I said in my post

"There has been some work done in this area, but judging from where we are now, it has not been nearly enough."

I did not say that no work was being done in this area. I said that more needs to be done.

I don't access to the whip count any more than you do. A good place to start would be with the members of the House Committee on Education and Labor. You can find their names and contact info here: http://www.stonewalldemocrats.org/2007/10/take-action-tod.php.

I get that I am sitting at a computer in D.C. pissing in the wind aka blogging, but that does not diminish my interest and passion for this issue. I want full equality for LGBT people as quickly as we can possibly get it. I live in D.C. which has no voting representation in Congress and I do not work for a LGBT advocacy group so I am doing what I can which is putting out ideas based on my experience as a grassroots organizer who has worked on LGBT issues at the local, state and national levels.

My suggestions are not complete by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a piece of the puzzle that we need to construct to pass a trans-inclusive ENDA.

"My suggestions are not complete by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a piece of the puzzle that we need to construct to pass a trans-inclusive ENDA."

Your suggestions are general in nature. It's like saying "we should do better!" Without the whip count, we don't know where to pinpoint our advocacy. You can bet your bottom dollar that David Smith knows the results of the whip count. If HRC was so damn worried about educating certain weak members, how about actions alerts to that end? I never mentioned blogging as pissing in the wind. My point was that if you suggesting very vague actions, that IS pissing in the wind.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 3, 2007 9:13 AM


I don't speak for HRC. I am guessing that other LGBT organizations will have access to a target list of members of Congress.

I have suggested beginning with members of the actual committee that will debate and markup ENDA. If you want me to give you specific names of specific members of Congress who are wavering, I don't have that information any more than you seem to. But my suggestion of beginning with the committee members is neither vague nor pissing in the wind.

While I'm aware that you no longer work for HRC Michael, here's what I'd like you to address directly:

Do you believe that HRC is doing the right thing and acting in the best interests of the community despite their promise to oppose it? Why or why not?

Inquiring minds want to know...