Michael Crawford

Barney Frank on ENDA, DADT and the "Homophobe" Antonin Scalia

Filed By Michael Crawford | March 23, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, LGBT equality

In a wide ranginginterview with CBS News' Ross Palombo on LGBT issues, Rep. Barney Frank makes clear what he believes is possible in President Obama's first term:

  1. Passage of an inclusive ENDA
  2. Passage of an inclusive hate crimes bill
  3. Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell

Rep. Frank also weighs in on the danger of having a case questioning the constitutionality of DOMA while Antonin Scalia is on the court.

I wouldn't want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia's got too many votes on this current court.

I agree with Rep. Frank. We have a tremendous opportunity to achieve the passage of these three key pieces of pro-LGBT legislation provided we do the work necessary to get them to President Obama's desk. That means less of politics as self-expression and more of the less emotionally cathartic, but ultimately more effective, work of building congressional support district by district.

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I hope Barney's right. Too bad trans people will not be specifically protected when DADT gets repealed. I hope I live long enough to see trans people serve openly in the military, like they do in other countries.

Having a trans-inclusive ENDA and trans-inclusive Hate Crimes legislation passed and signed into law would truly be fantastic.
However, if this is because we have "done the work" then why, pray tell, does Rep. Frank still refer to us as "people of transgender"?

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 23, 2009 1:53 PM


Rep. Frank is taking a real leadership role in passing inclusive ENDA and hate crimes legislation. That's huge. Having those protections in place matters more than what terminology he may use.

So, Michael, I hope this finally puts to rest your well-used argument that transpeople should focus more lobbying than attacking HRC for its failings as a credible advocate. If even Barney says "We've done the work", you know it's HRC that needs to get with the program, not the other way around.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 23, 2009 2:30 PM

Rebecca HRC has been there doing the work along with national, state and local organizations. That work needs to continue as aggressively as before until ENDA and hate crimes are law. Then, the question should be what next.

But how do you work with an organization that refuses to talk to you? How do you consider an organization that acts unilaterally when claiming to speak for a minority that isn't represented in its decision-making process an ally? How do you inspire cooperation when one side refuses to cooperate?

oy vey iz mir!,once again its back to being a broken record about HRC

I agree that the protections are ultimately more important, but when someone who is supposed to be one of your biggest advocates (and hasn't always acted on your behalf in the past) can't get your name right, that's worrisome.

It would be like if Bill Clinton was still in charge and announced today that "we need to allow people who have the gay to serve openly in the military." Could you really hear that without becoming at least slightly concerned?

No Blake, it's HRC which continues to play that same old song, "The Sounds of Silence". The rest of us are moving on. If HRC wants to be a part of the modern movement for LGBT civil rights, it's they who will have to catch up to where the rest of us are now.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 23, 2009 3:43 PM

Rebecca, are you seriously suggesting that HRC is not part of the modern LGBT civil rights movement?

You say that the "rest of us are moving on," but your HRC is the source of all evil rhetoric makes it seem like you are the one who is stuck in the past.

My hope is that we can all move forward and focus on the task at hand: winning full equality for LGBT people.

What I am suggesting, Michael, is that HRC has willfully and intentionally isolated itself from the rest of the movement and operates unilaterally as if it's the only org or group of activists involved in this struggle.

I am saying that by doing so, by refusing to work in concert with the rest of us or even communicate substantively with us, and by continuing to adhere to antiquated elitist and exclusionary political tactics, HRC has imposed upon itself an outsider status from the bulk of those in this movement.

I'm saying that the rest of us, those who believe that civil rights are for everyone and that is an ideal that cannot be watered down or compromised, have now found ways to work around HRC, and the politicians are now far more receptive to those efforts than they have been in the past. The Democrats now understand where the true majority of our community is on these issues and that HRC's agenda does not represent the will of that majority.

I'm saying that the days of HRC being the "gatekeeper" of trans rights are over, but HRC is still acting like it's 1995. The longer that continues to be the case, the more obvious it is to all paying attention that HRC no longer represents where LGBT Americans and our allies (read: voters) are on the issue of transgender inclusion, and that now all HRC really represents is a relatively tiny special interest group with a very narrow self-serving agenda, much like the extreme right-wing.

Most of all, the Democrats are coming to understand that if they wish to speak to and generate support from the American LGBT community, they can't do it through HRC anymore, they have to come to us.

okay yippie so you 'have now found ways to work around HRC', if that is the case why bring up hrc in reply to Michael's post. He didnt mention it, you did, so if you are so over the HRC then shutup and move on.

Blake, do a little research before you comment on something you obviously know nothing about. This is a battle that's been going on a long time and it's a lot more complex than you apparently understand. I suggest you Google the terms "ENDA", "HRC" and "transgender" together and read some of what comes up in the results. Then come back and offer something constructive to the conversation.

[comment edited with new text supplied by Becky]

Dear Blake,
It's not appropriate to tell someone to "shut up". I know you can find a way to make your point without inciting anger and baiting your fellow commenters. When things begin to escalate in heat because of previous battles that people like me were not even part of, it's not fair to use the thread to begin attacking each other again. And yes, I'm asking Becky to chill as well. Both of you have important voices, and I am just beginning to able to see it when the storm clouds gather. Please make with some sunshine.
Your cop on the beat.

Fiarly Bluntly, and sorry if ya don't like it:

Representative Frank does not like transfolk. Representative Frank is doing nothing for transfolk, and quite a bit *against* transfolk, although he's not above using transfolk to his advantage for his purposes.

To say he is taking a real leadership role is an outright lie.

Given that, the terminology he uses (like the terminology of the bathroom argument), counts.

HRC hasn't been doing diddly. And until the present a fait accompli, to be blunt, we don't give a flying fart about what they do since usually it involves making something that causes transfolks to lose rights or prevent them from getting them, yet is always presented as if it does only good.

If you think its a broken record about the HRC, then stand up and make sure they realize that they are *doing it wrong*, and they are a FAIL.

Rebecca might not, but I will not suggest that HRC isnt part of the modern LGBT rights movement. I will say, plainly, that they are not such. THey are part of the 80's era, and still unable to get past the transphobic birth that gave them a shot in the first place.

Transfolk *are* moving on. Without the HRC. BUt we are not going to let anyone forget that the HRC lies still, and until they stop doing, we will make sure people are aware of it.

I will repeat, once again, Michael: if you think the HRC has done soemthing great for transfolk, please, by all means, tell us what it was.

We'll wait. It'll be a while, since *we* know already they have never done so. Ever.

And, lastly, for blake:

What are you thinking? THat you matter? That you have some sort of actual substance of concept and the capability to speak on behalf of transfolks? I ask becuase you shut up is merely a little less polite than the words of Representative Frank, when it comes to transfolk.

At least he, however, matters.

Actually, dyssonance, there is some progress with Barney. Diego Sanchez (a trans man) is his legislative aid and has told me several incidents about the issues he and Frank have discussed that have helped a great deal. Just Diego being himself has opened Barney's eyes. It is amazing what happens when people get to know one of us, or work with one of us. I'm sure you'ved helped to open eyes by being yourself.

Me? change people's ideas of anything? Never. I'm just ever so much the wallflower, lol

Diego being there I'm certain has had some impact, and I am very glad of it -- but i will believe it when I see it.

Thanks for the update though.

I noticed this video was all over the LGBT blogosphere this week, usually with the headline that Frank called Scalia a homophobe. And I was like, um, is there anyone who doesn't think Scalia is a homophobe?

And then I saw that Fox News clip Think Progress put up about how they were all shocked (shocked!) that Frank would call Scalia a homophobe. You can always count on Fox News....

CBrachyrhynchos | May 5, 2009 9:25 AM

That's nice. I'm not holding my breath until delivery.