As an Irish resident who is both queer-identified and FtM, I am protected from outright discrimination in employment or the delivery of goods and services—such as housing or say, medical care—on both the basis of gender-identity and sexual orientation.
Now, that doesn’t mean that an employer can’t decide to make life in the workplace so miserable and intolerable that I’ll eventually quit. But even on that score, the Equality Authority—which adjudicates discrimination cases—has established a record of strongly defending the rights of LGB and, yes, T folks.
And this comprehensive legal protection exists in a nation that remains strongly Catholic, although many Irish people have grown disenchanted with the Church and attendance at mass has sharply declined in recent years. As a measure of comparison with the US, however, homosexuality was only decriminalized in Ireland in 1993—that’s only 14 short years ago!
And yet, I still enjoy much stronger protection than the majority of LGBT folks in the United States of America. And this after 30 long years of effort.
That is quite simply scandalous.
Unless you’ve spent extended time in Europe since the advent of the Iraq War, Americans don’t have a clue of how profoundly shocked residents are in Europe when they regard the sad state of civil rights in the US.
As members of Congress, who passed the toothless ENDA yesterday by a vote of 235-184, are congratulating themselves, European LGBT activists—if they’re even aware of the situation, which many aren’t—look on in disbelief.
If all this were not upsetting enough, Representative Barney Frank was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article making light of his gross indecency and cowardly act of removing transgender people from ENDA protections.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who has pushed for the legislation for 30 years, said he regretted that political necessity dictated dropping sexual [sic] identity as a separate cause. But, noting that "I also wish I could eat more and not gain weight," Frank, who is also gay, said he would support the bill and "continue to fight." [emphasis mine]
That’s right, Barney, this is all about you and your desire to gorge yourself and yet remain slim. Whatever you do, don’t make the act of tossing gender-variant Americans under the bus while protecting bigots in Congress from having to take any heat for their prejudice actually about the fact that real people will lose their livelihoods as a result of your cowardice and selfishness. Definitely don’t make this about the fact that your divisive actions have the potential to rend alliances within the LGBT movement and cripple us for decades to come.
If I had even a shred of inclination to regard Frank with sympathy, this quote would have killed it.
I am so disheartened. I have spent roughly 25 years arguing, sometimes with lesbians and gays who believe “men in dresses” don’t belong with “LGB,” and other times with transsexuals who want to distance themselves as far as possible from “distasteful queers.” I'm exhausted and sick of the argument. And yet, self-defeating, short-sighted, selfish and ahistorical attitudes, rather than diminishing after 25 years, always seem to find new adherents.
Mostly, I am sickened that this is the best that Democrats—who hold a majority in both houses of Congress!—can offer us after 30 effing years. What a disgrace.