Thursday, November 08, 2007

ENDA Passes House -- And We Should Celebrate, TODAY

I spent 13 years in Washington, D.C., working on public policy issues for much of it, and I understand how as an advocate, it's hard not to get everything you want, everything that is right.

Gracie Allen's line, "do not put a period where God has placed a comma" is running through my mind.

Late yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives passed a historic Employment Non-Discrimination Act, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and those of us who believe that sexual diversity is part of God's blessing, should be celebrating. First introduced in 1974, the bill took 33 years to pass. It makes it illegal “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.”

When the bill was introduced early this year, it included provisions to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender expression and gender identity. Those provisions were stripped when sponsors realized they did not have the votes to pass a trans-inclusive bill. That's where the inside the Beltway struggle began, with many organizations I support arguing that we needed to oppose a bill that left out the "T" of LGBT. I understood their point, supported an amendment to re-introduce protections for transgender persons into the bill, but I can't join them in not being joyful about what DID happen yesterday. And after we celebrate today, we need to get back to work. I join the call for the introduction of an ENDA that includes trans protection immediately, with public hearings to be held as soon as possible.

The conventional wisdom is that this version of ENDA, once approved by the Senate, will surely be vetoed by President Bush. It may very well be 2009 before there is a trans-inclusive ENDA. And although I understand that that means that in 39 states, people can still be fired for their gender expression, two years, given the movement towards full equality for LGBT persons is decades old, doesn't seem so far away.

We are moving towards justice on full inclusion...even if it's one step at a time. The period on full inclusion will come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being a preop mtf transsexual i'm outraged that everyone was quick to abandon us like we are 3rd class citizens. after all, it was transsexuals who started Your movement. being that i'm a transwoman who loves Girls and not men like most transwomen, it would seem to me that i would need your support. this is not the case. i think we should drop the t from lgb. i feel no joy or happiness for your victory. sorry to say, i feel no happiness for any of you. i have yet found the time to remove myself from your mailing list, but will do this post haste. in my mind i'm a lesbian and will be one for sure after i have my surgery. i'm all for same sex marrage but want nothing to do with whom i consider traiters. yes, you can refuse to post this but at least one of you will read this and i hope you understand how i feel. if not, have a rottin life. at least that's how you made me feel. you might as well have said that to me. i know that most gay men look down on us transsexuals anyways, and i say good riddance to any and all who feel this way. of all people in this country, i would have expected you of all people to stand at our side. one of the only persons to take our side was barak obama. i love this man and he has my 100 percent support. you too could of had my 100 percent loyalty but it seems to not have worked out this way. this is far from over and the hurt and pain you have inflicted on us will not be soon forgotten. in my case, forgivness will have to be earned.