But beyond the naïve political judgments and wrongheaded legal analysis, hijacking ENDA for transgendered protections is downright immoral.
- Chris Cane Editorial, Washington Blade, 2004
From the Washington Post:
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-Mass.) is set to introduce two versions of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the House Education and Labor Committee. One would extend civil rights protections based on sexual orientation. The other would do so for gender identity, which would cover transgender people who have changed their sex, are living their lives as the opposite sex or who do not conform to traditional gender roles. This will be done because within the past few days it became clear that an inclusive bill would be defeated because of the transgender protection. Mr. Frank, one of two openly gay members of Congress, deserves credit for devising the plan that might well save the basic bill.
It requires time and patience to educate the public and lawmakers about how prejudice harms some people. That's what gays and lesbians have been doing in their quest for equality for nearly 40 years. And that's what transgender people will have to do.
Now there will be a vote explicitly guaranteeing protection for Gays, and another explicitly denying protection for the Transgendered, as a sizeable transphobic minority in the GLB (not GLBT) movement have wanted all along.
This is worse than when the same people, the same names, did the same kind of thing in New York State in 2002. A Trans-inclusive bill was, er, emasculated at the last moment, and there's no indication that transgendered people in that state will get protection anytime soon. Or anytime, period.
But if course I could be wrong. I mean, I'm sure that the bill for protection of tyhe Transgendered will be given equal priority. From the Washington Blade:
Frank said he is calling on House Democratic leaders to schedule a legislative hearing within the next month on the other bill, which would ban job discrimination based on a person’s gender identity. The version Frank introduced Thursday did not have an official name. He acknowledges that the transgender version is not likely to come up for a vote in Congress any time soon.Hmmm, maybe not.
As Autumn Sandeen said:
In May of this year I reported of the whispers in the halls of Congress to drop transgender people from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Some went as far to claim that I was causing undue fear, that my information was wrong.
Just because we'd been sold down the river so many times before didn't mean it would happen again. Sure, there were some cynics who said we would, but the reassurances were so strong, the promises so heart-felt, they couldn't be meaningless could they?