Sara Whitman

Reality check

Filed By Sara Whitman | November 24, 2007 10:32 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Congress, George W. Bush, hate crimes against LGBT people, law, LGBT community, Matthew Shepard Act, queer, veto, White House

And while we are all warm, enjoying our families, and feeling love...

I want to remind you that the Hate Crimes legislation is currently suffering a setback and may never become law.

Because LGBT people don't need special "rights."

Being out and lesbian, or gay, or bisexual or transgender means you are open to violence most heterosexual people cannot understand.

Until it's their family.

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Thank you for this poignant reminder.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 24, 2007 1:27 PM

As past is so often prologue, I'd spend my time contacting my Congressional delegation to shore up the votes for a veto override.

Shrub had a chance to support hate crimes legislation when he was Texas' governor -- legislation passed after James Byrd was dragged to his death behind a truck there by Klan types.

Instead, on the day it was up for a final vote, he made a highly unusual appearance on the legislative floor, going up and down the aisles gladhanding and hardball lobbying, trading pork for votes like it was candy and threats when that wasn't enough. Predictably, under such pressure, what was a bill with considerable popular support crashed and burned like a paper airplane hit with a napalm rocket.

I just don't think our tearful phone calls to him will matter. The jerk masquerading as our president just doesn't give a rat's ass.

But...but...but...but...we *know* how to get it to pass, don't we? St. Barney has shown us the way, hasn't he? Just drop 'dem 'damn dirty disgustin' deceivin' trannies from *our* bill, right?



Kat, that is a possibility being currently discussed, yes. The "attachment to a bill that HAD to pass" gambit didn't work, so it looks like it will have to stand alone.
Under those circumstances, it will need all the help it can get, and since the precedent has been set by ENDA, this is a distinct possibility. I don't think it will eventuate, but we must be prepared for that eventuality. Now that the TDOR is behind us, it makes the pragmatism less likely to cause bad PR.

Do you know how the LGBT community would revolt if they stripped the transgender from hate crimes too? After the ENDA debacle, I'm willing to bet it would serve as either a huge wake-up call and shake up in LGBT organizations, or it would be the death knell for the movement for years.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 25, 2007 5:58 PM

Or Barney -- with the full cooperation of the Congressional Democratic leadership -- will lead a charge further backward into the land of small minds, replete with cries of "Pragmatism!", while the HRC facilitates it whilst claiming variously that they didn't do it and, besides, they had no other choice, all to the tune of Aravosis banging a drum bigger than Purdue's in front of contingents he's labeled "We ARE the Gay Community and You're Not", "Me First -- and if you disagree you're selfish", "Blame the Victims, Full Speed Ahead!", and "The New Gay Ethic: Always Leave Your Downed Buddy On the Field" -- all reported sycophantically by The Advocate, the Gay Magazine of Record for the Twentieth Century -- Forever.

aka Which community? and Welcome to the infinite pleasures of herding cats!

My view:
Unlike ENDA, which was always symbolic and never going to avoid a veto anyway, the Matthew Shepard act just may get into law - but it will be really close, and it needs all the help it can get.

Unlike ENDA, where 70% of TS people are unemployed, so the number of people affected TS vs GLB are comparable, the FBI stats show that GLBs suffer a great deal of violence, maybe 1/2 or 1/3 that of TS people (stats aren't kept on TS violence so this is a guess), so they would be in a significant majority.

Unlike ENDA, there has been no past history of GLB rights remaining GLB only in this area. As GLB assaults decline the TS ones wil become more visible, and probably lead to incremental change.

Unlike ENDA, where protection based on Sexual Orientation will be subverted due to unconventional appearance, TS people will directly benefit from a sexual-orientation-only bill, as the violence is universally based on homophobia rather than transphobia. The additional funds for prosecution can't easily be split into GLB but not T investigations. Essentially, TS people cannot help but "ride on the coat tails".

Finally, since things have been delayed until after the Transgender Day of Remembrance, there will be less bad PR from doing this.

I was against the "incremental approach" to ENDA, on the grounds not that it was morally bankrupt (though it was) but that it wouldn't work. The same approach though just *may* be the only chance the Matthew Shepard Act has to pass into law, and the chances of re-visiting later are much, much higher. Now it may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but the HRC lost its moral virginity with ENDA. Don't pike out now, when pragmatism may actually do something good.

Yes, I'm sickened that I had to say that. To abandon TS people is so morally repugnant, I don't know whether to cry, vomit, or just dissolve in incoherent rage.

Nonetheless, if pragmatism is going to be the rule from now on, we shouldn't let mere considerations of ethics or right get in the way.

Why do I feel so unclean? I'm TS after all, I'd get no benefit out of this.

Maybe it will take something like this to throw a spotlight on the whole rotten mess, so we can clean it up. And in the meantime, it will protect millions who need it. It's still sickening.

Rage isn't going to work.

Crying doesn't work.

I agree, it does make me want to vomit, too. Not going to help.

It's the same goddamn line that we're fed when we get democratic candidates like Clinton, Obama and Edwards. It's better to take what we can get than to demand what we need.

I for one, am sick of taking what we can get, tearing each other apart in the process while the ruling class sit back and enjoy the show.

The amazing thing to me is that my "But...but..." post was merely a slap at St. Barney, HRC and the other self-appointed elites who wouldn't know the everyday needs and interests of ordinary GLBs (muc less Ts) if they were to run them over with their Lexuses.

The reactions, though, indicate to me that just about everyone believes that the self-appointed elites are not only able, but ready and willing to completely pragmatize us to death...