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Mara Keisling’s 2010 Assessment: ‘I Failed. The Movement Failed. Organizations Failed. The President Failed’

I failed. … The community failed. The movement failed. The organizations failed. Congress failed. The president failed. Government failed – part of why government failed is because they didn’t prioritize us. Partially that’s because we didn’t make them, partially it’s because the Republicans were just obstructing everything, partially it’s because our community didn’t step up enough, partially it was because our community was scattered in what they wanted. But we failed together. … We had a colossal fail this year. But it is simplistic and unhelpful to say that any particular person failed, because every single one of us failed. … We still made a lot of progress, we really did. We still got more done in the last two years than we’ve ever gotten done in two years before.

—Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, reflecting on another year without ENDA (among other things). Says Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, “You can put me in the category with Mara.” Adds Kate Kendell, head of National Center for Lesbian Rights: “Things are more fucked up than you think.” [via]


  • 8 Comments
    • Jon B
      Jon B

      More fucked up than we think… oy vey! We already think it’s pretty fucked up.

      Oct 7, 2010 at 11:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jenna Fischetti
      Jenna Fischetti

      Blaming Republicans will only lead to more failures. Leadership is the state of endearing others to follow you based on your merits, not the lack of merit in your opposition. What has happened here is classic politics. Their success( remaining in power) is the ultimate goal of politicians. No one in the Democratic leadership and certainly not the President had the political courage to openly support a fully inclusive ENDA, and take that conviction straight to the American public. It is too unpopular my many Americans because we allow others to define us. Additionally the GLB members of the community chose to ignore this basic fact. The discrimination against them is based purely on perception of gender. PERIOD. Their perceived gender expression and a misconception by middle America that their sexual orientation is part of a non conforming gender identity.
      Until the GLB can truly embrace the T, we will not have a united platform to open the hearts and minds of those who seek to oppose us.
      DADT DOMA and certainly ENDA mean nothing until gender is understood by all Americans.

      I choose to change the hearts and minds of one, two and sometimes a dozen at a time. Not always with success, but it is my charge and responsibility to my brothers and sisters.

      Oct 7, 2010 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Jenna Fischetti: said..

      “DADT DOMA and certainly ENDA mean nothing until gender is understood by all Americans.”
      _________________________

      Hi Jenna,

      I dissagree with you in this way. DADT, DOMA, and ENDA absolutly mean something whether or not the bigots understand gender. The court cases like Loving v. Va. didn’t make others understand why interaciall marraiges shouldn’t have been illegal. What they did do is force the law to accept them inspite of the bigoted attitudes of many in the country.

      I could care less if somebody accepts me for being gay, or you for being transgendered, but I want them to know that if they try to fire us for that reason, or stop us from getting married they will go to jail or get sued. So we dissagree, but it’s on process, not goal. ;)

      Oct 7, 2010 at 11:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jenna Fischetti
      Jenna Fischetti

      Cam,

      Thank you for you insight. The observation “DADT, DOMA, and ENDA absolutly mean something whether or not the bigots understand gender.” is part of the sticking point.

      Because someone holds a point of view in contrast to ours does not make them a bigot. Those who are utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion, a common definition of bigot, will not change. However labeling anyone with a different perspective than ours, for whatever reason they may hold it, alienates them from us. These middle of the road individuals may yet be our biggest allies. If we are not to understand their perspective, we cannot find common ground for a solution.

      Labeling others serves no purpose for our cause.

      To your excellent point of laws protection our right. Yes, DADT, DOMA and ENDA are important. My point is we will not carry the day until we convey what it means to be us, the struggles and the discrimination. So, those causes mean nothing and will not have success UNTIL we do a better job of promoting understand. The more Americans who see those as vital causes, the less indecisive our leader will become in their support. Our leaders failed because they lack the political courage in an election year. They feared the majority of voter do not support DADT, DOMA or ENDA.

      I’m honored to walk in step with you!

      Oct 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • swarm
      swarm

      Hi Jenna. Beautifully expressed sentiments which I agree with for the most part. This, tho?: “Our leaders failed because they lack the political courage in an election year.” No.

      The leaders NEVER had any intention of prioritizing LGB + especially T issues.

      They were working their agenda of BIG GOVERNMENT anti-business, spreading of “the wealth” and “transforming America” [economically only] from day one. The Congress had the Dem majority, Republicans are not any excuse. Obama said he’d be perfectly happy to be a one term president. I hope he gets his wish.

      He made it perfectly clear that he is even against marriage equality way before the election. With that tepid “tolerance of LGBT” [not even] you’ll find that the majority on Queerty still insist Obama is “secretly” in favor of marriage equality. eyeroll.

      While with Perez Hilton-like nasty contributors here continue to diminish and marginalize the ONE ~actual LGBT person of high profile who has been out and proud since day one – Adam Lambert. Changing hearts and intellect of thousands of fans one heart at a time. A much greater trickle up effect than these lying politicians who won’t even put a vote up on a clean bill so that the allies can be clearly identified. Political courage is an unfortunate oxymoron. sigh.

      I personally feel that after years of economic and defense dept.drama, perhaps the public will realize that LGBT equality is the least of their “issues” and the Supreme Court will give them a face saving excuse to give up fighting LGBT equality.

      Oct 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      They were working their agenda of BIG GOVERNMENT anti-business, spreading of “the wealth” and “transforming America” [economically only] from day one.

      For a bunch of Leninists they sure have a bad habit of fucking workers raw.

      We live in a one party state: The Business Party. It has a left wing and right wing who conduct Kabuki Theater on a stage that we call Congress.

      Oct 7, 2010 at 11:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AndrewW
      AndrewW

      We still don’t have a STRATEGY and we don’t embrace ACCOUNTABILITY. Of course we failed. And it will continue until we wake up and create a real, sustainable path to victory. It is about WINNING, not getting “attention” or raising money.

      We have wasted millions of dollars with Gay Inc. and we have little to show for it. In November it will be 1994 all over again. Let’s not do the same thing the next 16 years.

      It’s time for accountability and some new, verifiable ideas/strategies.

      Oct 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lori
      Lori

      It’s actually plausible to me that President Obama might be secretly in favor of marriage equality. I’ve even heard rumors to the effect that he might be a closet atheist. I’m agnostic concerning the question of whether Al Gore invented the Internet. Given that getting a frank, on-the-record answer to any question out of a politician is like pulling teeth, I’m forced to take the rare statements of that type udderly at face value. The president is on record as opposing marriage equality, as was his predecessor-as-nominee John Kerry. Centrist Democrats are clearly operating with the assumption that we’re living in a ‘center-right’ (as Gingrich claims) nation with ‘center-right’ public opinion. Middle of the road politicians are categorically not our allies. Middle of the road public opinion? I’ll let you know if I find any. The impression I get from everyday conversation everywhere is that most private citizens are more frankly opinionated than most politicians. The public opinion spectrum extends much farther in all directions than the political spectrum, or the even narrower and even more exclusively center-right media construct called ‘bipartisanship.’

      Missanthrope is incoherent. (And red-baiting is oh so 1952) The Business Party is anything but anti-business. Business is their only constituency.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 8:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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