Dana Rudolph

The Agenda Item Barney Forgot

Filed By Dana Rudolph | December 26, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Barney Frank, LGBT families, parenting

When it comes to acerbic wit among politicians, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) is second to none. His response to a right-wing reporter about the issue of "showering with homosexuals" in the military is priceless: "What do you think happens in gyms all over America? ... We don't get ourselves dry-cleaned."

And he issued a less flippant but more direct statement Wednesday in response to those who fear the "radical homosexual agenda." That agenda, said Frank, is "to be protected against violent crimes driven by bigotry, it's to be able to get married, it's to be able to get a job, and it's to be able to fight for our country. For those who are worried about the radical homosexual agenda, let me put them on notice. Two down, two to go."

Love them fightin' words--but he forgot one big item: to be able to become parents and protect our children.

Despite the incredible progress LGBT parents and our children have made over the past few decades, LGBT people may still have trouble accessing fertility, surrogacy, or adoption services, or be unable to secure legal rights for both parents in a couple.

Yes, we might gain some of those rights and protections through marriage equality, depending upon how state laws are written. But marriage is no longer a prerequisite for straight people to be recognized as parents, and nor should it be for us. Marriage and parentage are not coterminous.

Even if Frank is talking about specific legislation, I'll remind him that the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would have withheld federal funds from states and other entities that discriminate against gay men and lesbians in adoption or foster care placements, did not make it out of committee during this session of Congress. Its fate in the next session, with a Republican-controlled House, is dubious, but I hope it is not forgotten.

Still, two out of three is a start. I leave it to commenters to determine if his math needs even further revision.

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Barney also left out the rights of transgender Americans to serve in the military - 0.75 of that radical agenda item done. He also left out the right to housing nondiscrimination. Maybe when we are acknowledged completely as American citizens, we will have only one radical agenda - unconditional unalienable constitutional equality.

As a trans Vet I have to agree we were left out in the cold on DADT repeal.There are many of us who not only served but earned our honorable discharges.Someone should do a head count of Trans Vets compared to discharged for being trans numbers.I'm willing to bet there will be more honorably discharged Trans people then there were discharged for being trans.The same would most likely apply to LGB Vets.

The difference is that Barney did not "forget" trans rights; he intentionally omitted it.

It may even be smaller than that. G and L are 2.7% of population. Intersex is 4% Transsexual 1 in 500. Same-Sex attracted is 10%-20% and Transgender is 2%-20%

Getting good numbers on Trans is difficult because it's hardly studied. But if it is as high as 10%-20% (a number given by a Thai school which designated a seperate toilet for Trans students) then that'd be possibly 0.5 and i wouldn't be surprised if Intersex soldiers don't get a fair deal either.

Barney does not see that we are people just like him! If I could get dry cleaned I would! But being dry Cleaned does not remove my T-ness! As A T person I do not want to shower with anyone else! I prefer a private shower! Mr. Frank T people are humans Please do not hate us or show so much disrespect toward us!

janiice J carney | December 27, 2010 8:50 AM

Barney complety forgot that same shocked look I gave him several years ago,Back then he asked me that same question about gyms and people showing with tran people. Back then he was on the side of disbelif with the reality that homosexual men do shower with trans-men in gyms and yes even in the military.

Please also remember same-sex binational couples like mine - American gay and lesbian citizens need to be able to sponsor their non-U.S.partners for immigration. I am separated now from my wife again and we need all the help we can get to pass UAFA or RFA or CIR 2010 or another immigration reform bill that will allow us to stay together. Of course getting rid of DOMA will help too...

Lee Sonoflaw | December 27, 2010 1:05 PM

The big one that most of us forget is to care for our elders. There are many tax and financial issues that cause an estimated 50% of GLBT seniors to live alone and in near poverty.

Many of us don't have children and few of us have legal partners or spouses, so we are ignored by a community that lavishes its attention of youth.

I would almost bet that more of our seniors die of neglect than youth from abuse. But you don't read any articles about that!

*sigh* This comment thread makes me sad. A gay identified person said it years ago when we met with then candidate for Gov of Indiana, Mitch Daniels:
"Marriage is great, but it doesn't mean much if you can't provide for your family". Marriage is putting the cart before the horse. I agree that ECDAF should be toward the front,I believe putting it first is a mistake too. ENDA is basic for the average GLBT citizen. Unfortunately Gay Inc is shopping for $$$, not helping poor LGBT people.

I agree, Marti. It's just common sense that before any couple gets married they ensure that they have an income and a place to live. Even Obama just recently said in an interview with Kerry Eleveld that ENDA and DOMA are the next logical steps. Of course, he also said that we probably wouldn't see those happen until the Dems retake control of the House, so we've got plenty of time to get ready.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 1, 2011 1:37 PM

Like most politicians Barney Frank is a shill for corporate interests. His attempt to pretend he fought for us or is in any way an activist or militant connected with the LGBT agenda is mired in rank hypocrisy.

In the case of ENDA, Frank did everything he could, including working with other rightwing Democrats and Republicans, to gut the inclusive provisions of ENDA. ENDA, even before he gutted it, was just a beginning of a real series of laws to compel bosses to pay equal wages and to be forced to hire us on a non-discriminatory basis.

Frank used his venom drenched bigotry towards trans folks in the 2007 ENDA fight to divide and conquer, removing the inclusion of trans people from ENDA and insuring that it couldn't be used to contradict DOMA. Franks version of ENDA is a pretty bit of glitter heaped on a mound of merde to pretend that progress was being made.

As for 'two down', that's a lie.

The only likely value of the hate crimes law will be better statistics. Obama's DoJ, on permanent standby to defend every legal challenge to the Democrats bigoted laws - DADT and DOMA - has yet to use any provisions of the Hate Crimes bill, especially on hyperbigots like Obama BBF Rick Warren, der Papenfuehrer or the most reverend Donnie McClurkin who all regularly foment violence with their hate speech.

DADT repeal will lessen the number of required dismissals. It does nothing to curb the iron fisted power and raging bigotry of the christer officer corps or do anything at all to limit witchhunts, discrimination (under the provisions of the Democrats DOMA), harassment, rape of GLBT and female GIs and other forms of violence.

Lots of glitter, precious little progress.

Just keep the heat turned up on everything. Each of us has incentive and energy to work on differenct aspects of The Agenda. So do it and quit complaining if someone isn't working on yours today. Instead, help them out with their's and they will help you tomorrow.
Nothing will spread the good word of GAYs more than having OUT and PROUD military in uniforms going back to their communties all over the 50 states and territories...and carrying the American flag around the world!
PUSH PUSH PUSH for implementation of DADT repeal and LOTS of other benes will follow. Especially equal treatment for partners and families!! and of course, equal pay!
We do have to ADD T to the DADT implementation too.