Rebecca Juro

Tonight On The Rebecca Juro Show: Dana Beyer

Filed By Rebecca Juro | April 17, 2008 4:42 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics, Politics, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Dana Beyer, ENDA, gender, HRC, LGBT, media, queer, radio, transgender

Tonight, we'll talk with former candidate for Maryland State Delegate and HRC Board of Governors member Dr. Dana Beyer. One of of the very few transpeople still associated with HRC, and certainly the highest-ranking transperson in the organization, we'll talk with Dr. Beyer about HRC, ENDA, the future of the movement, and much more!

Plus news, commentary, and your phone calls!

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Ask her how she can justify supporting an organization that is ok with letting transgender people die from lack of employment. Lives are not pawns to be sacrificed for political expedience. No excuse is acceptable.

As an addendum to Monica's question: Ask her if she feels that HRC's record on employing trans people (particularly, people such as herself: MTF professionals) is acceptable.

That's certainly going to be a topic, Monica. Everyone should feel free to offer questions and jump into the conversation during the show through the ways noted above, and also with Skype at username azmtbear. BTW, everyone, the best place to post questions for show guests is on the show website ( forum. Just look for the topic with the guest's name. It takes too long for me to check and reply here when I'm prepping for the show.

Sigh::::I would imagine that this will be a very lively show with a lot of fall out on blogs later.

This blog carried a mention of Barney Frank supporting a pro-trans exclusion political candidate with a bad record on other LGBT rights issues over a pro-inclusion candidate with a far better set of positions.

One has to wonder if tran-equality is simply something that the HRC is actually overtly opposed to?

Sigh::::I would imagine that this will be a very lively show with a lot of fall out on blogs later.

This blog carried a mention of Barney Frank supporting a pro-trans exclusion political candidate with a bad record on other LGBT rights issues over a pro-inclusion candidate with a far better set of positions.

One has to wonder if tran-equality is simply something that the HRC is actually overtly opposed to?

What is the specific time she will be on the show?

Monica, third hour, 9pm eastern


HRC used to have a few trans men working for the organization, but never a trans woman to my knowledge. That is about to change, in all probability. The history is poor; I'm looking towards the future.

Monica, once again I will repeat that you are apparently very concerned with the soul of HRC because you spend so much of your life criticizing it, online and in person. That's a good thing. But if you use language such as "letting transgender people die from lack of employment" you are not making yourself a respected participant in any conversation. There are many organizations that are "letting transgender people die from lack of employment" and there are many Congresspersons and state legislators doing so as well. By the Lambda Legal analysis of HR 2015/3585 there are even more gender non-conforming gay people and maybe even straight people that are being "allowed to die."

Politics is hard. There are times I can't restrain myself from being uncivil to the bigots, but it really is counter-productive.

First let me say from the start that I respect the heck out of Dana. She is a role model. But...

Dana, you went from successful MD to successful post-op transwoman who is retired in your mid 50s. Your experience is not typical of the majority of us that took some really hard hits financially and in employment during transition.

For you this may be politics as usual. Win or lose on trans employment issues you'll still do fine. However, for many of us employment is about living to see next year.

One can not expect everyone to be for trans employment rights. But I think it reasonable to expect HRC to be on our side. They're not. HRC will throw us to the dogs as indicated by their recent behavior in Houston in calling in the police on peaceful trans protesters and as indicated by their ENDA response.


PS - you look great on your web page!

I have a friend who committed suicide because of being discriminated for being trans, yet she had several marketable skills. You cannot convince me that HRC doesn't support a policy that led to her death. She is not alone. I hope you don't have to experience the pain that many of us have when a friend takes their life because of job discrimination. It sure gives you a much different perspective. Maybe you would consider donating to a fund to get her tombstone changed to her legal female name?

Is there an echo in here? Nerissa?


I, too, have lost friends to suicide, and have had friends assaulted. I, too, suffered discrimination both in the workplace and in the courts (prior to transition) and it cost me a great deal of money. I, too, almost died because of a misunderstanding by the medical profession of who exactly I was. So I know.

That being said, I also understand I've been blessed, and that I'm very lucky. I lost no one during my transition, which surprised the heck out of me. So I've dedicated myself to giving back to those who came before me, and working to ensure that the future generations have options I never had.

My point was that attitude counts, and part of the reason for my successful transition was my attitude. I think we all know how important that is. My other point was that there are many people on this earth who can rightly point their finger to a panoply of institutions and lay blame. So, then what? Do you expect all those institutions to have a conversion moment? Is the rapture just around the corner? Is the messiah coming?

Ultimately we are all responsible for doing the best for ourselves and our loved ones, and then anyone else we can help. I got involved in politics because my partner told me to my face after the 2004 election, to either stop whining or get out and make a change. I chose the latter.

We can spend hours online criticizing HRC, and support someone's dissertation in the future knocking HRC's past record, or we can go out and work to change the organization to make it a force for good for all of us.

You have done a lot of good for our community. I will never fault you on that. I also respect you and what you have had to go through to get where you are. AND, I hate to see the crap you get in MD from those idiots that want to vilify transgender people.

That said, I can easily seperate the good you have done from your support for HRC. Compartmentalization is has not been a hard concept for me to grasp. Others may not be so understanding. I will continue to question your support for HRC. But, I will be glad to share a drink or a dinner with you, joke and laugh about life in general. I don't judge the whole person on just one part, especially another trans person. I hope you understand.

Dana, if you'd like to write a guest post for the blog, I'd be happy to run it.

"We can spend hours online criticizing HRC, and support someone's dissertation in the future knocking HRC's past record, or we can go out and work to change the organization to make it a force for good for all of us."

"HRC used to have a few trans men working for the organization, but never a trans woman to my knowledge. That is about to change, in all probability. The history is poor; I'm looking towards the future."

How about some accountability as to that "poor" history? Whenever I bring the topic up, more than a few people think I'm trying to push for employment for myself. I've never made any serious effort to get on there - and I came to the conclusion long ago that the organization is far too unethical (and likely criminal) for me to risk my law license by having any connection to it.

Sorry Doc, but (1) 28 years of existence, most of them including some form of claim that HRC really does care about us and understands our issues enough to 'educate' others about them, (2) two FTM employees (one quasi-closeted enough that even some Ts who encountered him at one of the protests in 2004 had no idea he was T, the other having acknowledged being "not aware of any transsexual birth certificate statute" in his own state); and (3) NO MTF employees (and even you don't appear to be willing to go any farther than to say there's a "probability" that HRC will stop discriminating against MTFs.)

Your posts amount to a tranny remake of "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

Call it: "Don't Worry About the Reality of What HRC Has Proven Itself to Be, Be Willing to Believe Dr. Dana and HRC's Own Official Narrative."

HRC wants us to forget about the past so they can maintain their modus operandi. Believing HRC can change is gullibility. Defending its past practices by refusing to demand full accountability is complicity by ratification.

Thank you, Monica. I'll take you up on that offer some day when we're in some town together.

And, thank you, too, Bil, for the offer. Michael has invited me to join the DC Bilerico, but I appreciate the value of the national blog as well. I will let you know when I have something to say ;-)

Kat, I missed your post, as my reply was posted after yours.

I am not, nor have I ever given, the HRC party line. I don't read the weekly talking points, and I am not interested in being anyone's mouthpiece. I am fighting a relatively lonely battle from within to make the organization trans-friendly. I don't care if you agree; as I've said, there are plenty of great causes to which you and others can and do devote your time. As I do as well.

I don't work for HRC, and I will be doing this work for another two years until my next campaign. I just happen to think it's worth the effort, regardless of the history. You, clearly, don't agree.

My comment about the appointment of the Associate Director of Diversity was hedged because the process has not been completed and I'm not a formal part of it. Therefore, it isn't my place to be definitive.

A.G, Casebeer | April 19, 2008 2:33 PM

Dana, I'm in no way a supporter of HRC, and I know the history all too well, going back to the early 90s, then up to Solmonese's blatant lie at SCC last year. In fact, I'm one of many working very hard to keep any mention of HRC out of my state. However, HRC is not going away, no matter how many protests are held.

I don't have a problem with having T people working with (not for) HRC, and recognize that HRC is likely to be more helpful to you in your future political ambitions. HRC has money and access, T people and organizations do not. There will, eventually, need to be a frank dialogue between the T community and the political leadership of HRC. It is abundantly clear that they do not understand the T community at all.

Perhaps you and anyone else who chooses to work with them can foster some kind of dialogue - and it will need to not be with those who've done business with them in the past, but with the people they've wronged. They need to speak not just with Donna Rose, Mara Keisling and/or James Green, but with Vanessa Edwards-Foster, Kat Rose, Ethan St. Pierre, Monica Roberts, Dawn Wilson, and Monica Helms, instead. They must find the cojones to sit down at a table across from, and listen to and speak frankly with, the very harshest longtime critics they have in the T community. Otherwise, this rift isn't healing.

The problem will be one of trust, because I'd say that, if you took a survey of T people with an interest in politics, over 90% (including all the people in the above list) would state that they don't believe a word that Solmonese, Smith, or any other spokespeople or leaders of HRC say. How can they? How do they change this? Maybe you have an answer. I don't. I know for sure they upped the ante last weekend in Houston, regardless of the spin. The rate things are going, violence could erupt and T people could be arrested. Many people could not handle what the folks in Texas did, without reacting with righteous indignation, and an escalation in the level of mutual hatred between T and HRC. That would not benefit anyone.

All I can say is that HRC'd better straight-up honestly, doggedly lobby for nothing but an inclusive ENDA next year. I don't personally believe they will. Any wavering or mixed message, and they're finished forever with the T community. A good start might be HRC making repeal of Real ID a priority - an act that would benefit all, but is of vital importance to the T community. Then, they need to sit down not with the choir, but with their harshest critics - and be prepared to be called out on their lies and the rest of the past history. And they need to be prepared to realize that they have burned it, forever, with many people.

Dana, is this something you can help with, from your position? Yes, I said it - I have no issue with you being involved with HRC - just please remember that you are T, first. I recognize that HRC only listens to its own family. If you can arrange this from your vantage point, it might benefit both HRC and the T community, greatly.

I'd add Angela Brightfeather to that list. I'm willing to use some of my vacation time and my limited financial resources to come to DC to be part of that discussion. It would be too important not to be there.

Even though I really don't think Dana 'gets' it, I'll chime in only to reiterate AG's and Monica's comments - and to add Sarah DePalma to the list.

Well, people, I'm doing the best I can. Does that mean I can set up such a meeting? I don't know, but I can try. There will soon be a new Task Force ED, so there is some ferment here in town.

I do know that when efforts towards reconciliation AT THE LOCAL LEVEL are repudiated as they recently have been here in DC it does not move us any closer to a resolution. I sincerely believe that people need to get to know one another on a personal level before anything happens politically, and it is not just on this issue.

I can also say that threats of violence, describing the future in absolutist terms, and making demands rather than requesting a civil dialogue is not the way to proceed. I would not respond positively to anyone who treated me that way.

I appreciate the distinction made that I work with HRC rather than for HRC. I'd say that's true both literally as well as metaphorically. These are the reasons I'm part of the organization:
1. Because I believe that the largest LGBT organization needs to do much better for the trans community
2. The most effective way to accomplish #1 is to work from within.
3. I have friends who are committed to the organization and who have become allies in working towards #1.
4. We cannot do it alone -- we need the help of friends and people with money, however distasteful that reality is.
5. The best way to get people to help you with what you most want is to help them with their most pressing needs. It's all the better when their needs touch your heart as well.

I am not a Governor because HRC is helpful to my political career. It is a national organization working primarily at the federal level, so my attention is better directed to many other organizations from a purely selfish political calculation.

I also do what I do because I'm good at it, I like it, and I believe that I can be most effective as an elected official. Until that day comes in a little over two years, I will continue to work with every and all organizations that I believe can help us achieve our goals.

Tomorrow, in spite of it being Passover, I will be at the Task Force working on the campaign to invalidate the petition to referendum in Montgomery County. HRC is a co-sponsor along with other organizations. You can do something tangible to help us all, because what happens in Montgomery County will affect us nationally. Go to the Equality Maryland website and make a contribution, or send a check to the Equality Maryland address made out to "Basic Rights Montgomery." Every little bit helps. This is a battle that will be won in the trenches, with money from the trenches. And if anyone is in the DC area between now and the rest of the month, just show up at the Task Force in the afternoon and get to work invalidating signatures. The food is pretty good, too.

This post is quickly heading to the Archives, so I hope Dana reads this.

So, Dana, you have heard from some of us who carry the scars of past HRC's indiscretions. The trans activists on this posting alone have over a half century of combined experience in dealing with HRC on the ENDA issue. And yet, we are willing to sit across from them if they just had the guts to, as AC stated, face their harshest critics. It would finally show some strength of character.

Money and political connections do not give a person or an organization strength of character. It has to come from within. Can you, Dana, get them to come out from behind their money and face us? Or, is "doing the right thing" something better left for fairy tales?

Yes, I've read it, Monica, and I will call you. It's just that my free time often comes late at night and I prefer not to intrude by phone at that hour (or early in the morning).

I learned during my transition that it is better to run into my fears than run from them. If I were the decision maker here, I would welcome the discussion. But I can tell you that people in general, and politicians in particular, prefer to run from controversy and difficult discussions. It's just the way it is.

That being said, I repeat that I will do my best. If I get any kind of positive response I will get back to you to try to find a mutually convenient time.


I want to commend you for one of the most civil and welcoming discussion centering around an inclusive ENDA that we've had on Bilerico Project. I may use this thread to point to in other comment threads now. You agreed, disagreed and spoke to each other. I enjoyed reading the back and forth.

A.G. Casebeer | April 21, 2008 3:57 AM

Dana, I can't ask for better than your best. You are busy in MD, I respect your work, and I hope you can defend your law at the polls.

Monica H, you're right about Angela, and Kat's also right about Sarah DePalma, if she's still active and interested. I'd throw Phyllis Frye into that equation as well, and I know there are some excellent F2M activists who could be counted in. Ethan must be top of the list.

Bil, your comment is appreciated. Civility is the currency of respect. The very worst part of the ENDA battle has been that civility and respect, both between individual transpeople, as well as between the T community's rank and file and HRC's rank and file, has been lost. It is one thing to disagree, but we will accomplish much more if we all do so with mutual respect......well, I can't quite bring myself to show much respect for Smith and Solmonese, I must admit. But if I were sitting across a table, I would summon it.