Bil Browning

Sec of Labor Issues Statement for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Filed By Bil Browning | November 18, 2011 3:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, Transgender Day of Remembrance

Thumbnail image for hilda-solis.jpgNow this is a big deal. Following on the heels of U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan's speech at a national transgender organization's gala fundraiser, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has issued a statement recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

This is another first for the trans community and is a welcome step toward recognition of the least well understood segment of the LGBT community. It's heartening to see the movement starting to come of age politically.

The statement is after the break.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be commemorated this Sunday, Nov. 20. I am proud to stand and be counted as an ally to the transgender community and to every person and family impacted by anti-transgender violence.

What began as an online project in 1999 to memorialize the murder of a transgender person will this year include hundreds of vigils and events throughout the country and around the world. I hope that this year's commemoration will serve as an opportunity to shine a brighter light on both progress made and the challenges ahead.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality recently joined me at the U.S. Department of Labor to present a comprehensive study on the experiences of transgender people in America. More than 90 percent of transgender people experience harassment and mistreatment in the workplace, with nearly half being fired or denied a promotion. This is unacceptable.

And while my department focuses on the nation's workforce, I am equally troubled by the experiences of transgender people in their homes and in our schools and hospitals that promise to shelter, educate and heal.

This administration has taken specific steps to protect our transgender citizens. In 2009, the president signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expanding the 1969 United States federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim's gender identity. The following year, our federal government updated its nondiscrimination policy on USA Jobs to explicitly include protection on the basis of gender identity.

I am proud to say that the Department of Labor this year joined other executive branch agencies in updating its policy on equal employment opportunity and its policy on harassing conduct in the workplace to specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. And I am also proud that transgender individuals serve openly at the U.S. Department of Labor.

To address the pervasive issue of bullying among our youth, including those targeted due to their gender identity or expression, the administration hosted the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, and the president and many of us in the cabinet recorded "It Gets Better" videos to assure our youth that they are not alone.

On this day of remembrance, as we pause to reflect on the lives that have been lost, we renew our commitment to an America that celebrates and values every person.

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wow - while I'm sure there will be some who will find bits imperfect, I think this statement is great.

Sorry to rain on the parade here, but while this is nice to see, I suppose, platitudes in press releases don't save lives, action does. When Obama signs an executive order prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in companies that do business with the government, something he does not need Congress for, then I'll be impressed. When Congress devotes the kind of attention to protecting our jobs they do to protecting the joint tax returns of the wealthy, then I'll be impressed. Until then, I'll take this for what it is: more apology crumbs from an Administration and a Democratic Party that's still failing us on the issues that matter most to LGBT Americans every single time.

I totally get what you are saying, and I agree that from an administration and larger government perspective this is little. However, having a Cabinet member specifically talk about trans people and TDoR without diluting the message with "LGBT" and talk of "sexuality" as if they are the same thing is (IMO) huge. To have trans anything mentioned without some mention of NY marriage victory is impressive to me as well.

I guess, for what it is, it seems pretty important to me.

I disagree. I think we have to stop thinking it's a such wonderful thing that these people deign to recognize that we exist and start demanding they actually do something for us. It's exactly this kind of attitude that leads these people to believe that simply issuing supportive-sounding press releases counts as actual support. If there's anything we've learned from the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress over the last three years it's that their words mean nothing unless they're backed up with action.

What about the rights of anyone that is included in the Transgender umbrella living or murdered? You know those who don't wish to be labeled Transgender or that might take offense to gay politics? I suppose their rights don't matter as long as those who are happy being labeled Transgender and the LGBT gets from free press from their loss of life.I will be openly protesting the Transgender Day of Remembrance on their behalf and to point to the injustice of forced transgender inclusion. As for the Obama administration shame on them for bowing to queer politics and Mara Kiesling.

Lisa it is a complicated issue. From what I can find online most of those who on the remembrance list were young people of color and yet white privileged late transitioners who never worked the streets will pause to remember the dead. In other words the dynamic is all F**ked up but the message is simple. The message is that no one deserves death for what they are. I can't prevent you from twisting the message into something self serving but remember this. People died because some other person/s condemned them simply for being what they were.

I wish you all the best. I agree with you on many issues. I will not, however, shit on the flowers blooming on a grave.

Oh give it a rest, will you? Can't you just shut up when people are mourning the dead? This isn't about labels, it's about people who were murdered for being who they are. Politics enters into it, for me at least, only in as much as it impacts the number of people who might be alive today if they'd had the chance to escape the dangerous situations the current state of our laws forces them into. Beyond that, it's simply taking a moment to remember and honor the dead. Can't you at least be civil enough to wait until that's done before you bitch about who's this and who's that? The hater behind the barrel of a gun doesn't recognize your labels, you're just another tranny to them, no matter what you call yourself or anyone else. Can't you at least put the labels aside for at least that long?

Wow. Talk about hitting a new low. Shades of Fred Phelps much?

I was thinking the same thing. New variation of Poe's Law, maybe?

Oh common Bil you've hit a few lows over the years yourself remember when you said you peed all over the toilet at Focus on the Fsmily? I will be very respectful about my protest and I will not exclude the problems faced by minorities. But for everyone to say I oppose the use of the word Transgender but I'm okay with labeling dead people with it is hypocritical. I'm not the one using dead people I'm protesting them being baptized into the Transgender label in Death quite possibly without their consent. So I guess if you want to accuse me of being a Phelps don't mind me if I accuse you of being a Mitt Romney Mormon.

Pissing on a toilet seat is considerably different from pissing on a grave.

Sometimes, Lisa, it's not all about you.

This would be a good example of one of those times.

Yes, there are problems between people that identify fully as the sex opposite that assigned at birth and those who identify anywhere between that and syn gendered. But this is not the time or place to have your little tantrum. It will garner you and your cause attention, but no sympathy nor empathy, nor understanding.

I identify as a woman. I have a condition called TS. I do not in the slightest identify as TG, that is, anywhere in the middle or any combination or mix or whatever. And I feel strongly that people with the condition that need to medically transition have needs that are separate from people that identify as TG. But there are both TS and non-TS people that also identify as TG. In other words, there are more ways to have the condition than yours.

But you don't want to hear that, do you? You have decided for all TS people that your particular situation, identity and way of living with the condition is the only one that matters. Even going so far as to protest at a memorial just because you don't like the name. Just for one day, this Sunday, when it comes to this issue don't think of yourself. Think of the families that will be there, the partners, the spouses, the loved ones and the friends. Please.

Like you, I have a TS condition. But I choose to remain human. Please, do the same and choose some other venue for your protest.

You know it is totally possible to challenge the status of transsexuals within the LGBT without being complete and utter bag of crap?

"I will be openly protesting the Transgender Day of Remembrance.." I really hope you do and some dead trans girl's mother gives you a pice of her mind.

Don't forget the glitter.

Lisa, you do realize that the majority of the people on that list are actually sex working trans women in South America, right? Some of them in fact identified as gay men but were merely perceived to be trans by their attackers.

From what I understand, this debate about the use of the word transgender is primarily an English language phenomenon. Plus I think trans women who are doing sex work just to get by probably have more immediate concern than this debate over identities. So it's not just that most (virtually all) of the women on that list never heard of the debate you are talking about, I feel pretty confident saying many of them probably would not have cared.

So Lisa who is it that is really projecting their agenda onto others?

As a further point, more and more I am convinced: this argument about the transgender umbrella (or "transgender vs. transsexual") is a complete waste of time. It's not that any side is right or wrong, it's just that anyone participating in the argument is doing so out of pure self-indulgence, and eventually it leads to indulging in something like the crap Lisa wrote above.
Read this and then verify that Des Moines Iowa has not celebrated the TDOR the last two years. So if your going to be mad at me be mad at them for being such a sad Trans community. Honestly I tried to help the group but they insisted on keeping the Transgender label. It is a really small group and because it is in the local LGBT center it usually only attracts the same two or three people. If the group was outside the LGBT it would do much better.


These are DEAD HUMAN BEINGS... who were MURDERED merely for APPEARING/ACTING differently, and just being themselves.... REGARDLESS how they each self-identify... or how someone else wants to identify them for political purposes.

Lisa, sincerely... I am very happy that YOU are not on this list, NOR on any police blotter as a murdered Human Being; and I hope that will continue to be true in the future.

My very best wishes to you for your continued good health, and for you to obtain all that you pursue in Life.


Angela Brightfeather | November 22, 2011 12:53 PM


Really! Do you think that the Secretary of Labor or anyone else needs to make some kind of distinction between you being Transgender or not? Or do you think that anyone should care enough about your arguments to make such distinctions in the face of the loss of life by bigots and murderers who, before killing one of us, has the intelligence or understanding to perceive the fine points and distinctions of your case?

Please, get a life. Go out there and do your thing and forget that anyone calls you anything other than a human being and try very hard to think of other people in those same terms instead of taking offense at something as trivial as being called Transgender. Howl at the moon as loudly as you like, just try not to do it to the point of disturbing the lives of others who show some respect for those who have passed on prematurly. There is no humanness' in your thoughts. But there is an overabundance of narcissim.