Pols Rehashing Discrimination Bill, Hope To Include Trans

ENDA Vote Put Off For Reconsideration

There may be an end to the ENDA/GENDA nightmare. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Barney Frank and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin issued the following statement yesterday afternoon:

After discussions with congressional leaders and organizations supporting passage of ENDA, we have agreed to schedule mark-up of the bill in the Committee on Education and Labor later this month, followed by a vote in the full House. This schedule will allow proponents of the legislation to continue their discussions with Members in the interest of passing the broadest possible bill.

Hearing the calls of equality seeking queers, these politicos seem willing to merge ENDA and GENDA – their recently redrawn trans rights bill – back into one law.

Of the development, Task Force director Matt Foreman – who led a call against the proposed legislative split – said:

In this defining and morally transformative moment, our community has come together in an unprecedented way and said once and for all that we will leave no part of our community behind. We appreciate that a decision has been made to slow down this process, and we look forward to working with Congress over the upcoming weeks to educate them as to why this substitute bill strategy is seriously flawed, convince them to abandon this strategy, and instead advance a fully inclusive ENDA later this month.”

Obviously we here at Queerty couldn’t be happier. And, to be honest, we’re astonished our representatives actually listened and refused to abandon our trans allies.

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  • Heather_L_James

    Thank you, Queerty, for giving this story the coverage it deserves. Thank you to Tammy Baldwin, NGLTF, NCLR, NCTE, and the dozens of other groups that stepped up and are doing the right thing here.

    Ironically, after four days of depression over this I had the realization last night from reading the various blog comments running more than ten to one in favor of inclusion, and the poll over at the Blade at eleven to one for inclusion, that for the first time ever we had real solidarity in the community. It warmed my heart and I was prepared to take what positive I could from a bad situation. The statement today is nothing short of amazing to me, and I am touched beyond belief. Even if a split ENDA is still the end result, it is impressive that the collective strength of our community was enough to at least give the politicians pause.

    To all the gay, lesbian and bisexual persons that stood up for trans inclusion, please know that when the time comes on issues like marraige and adoption our voices will not be silent. While I can’t speak for all in the trans community, personally I can say that I will still be calling, writing and emailing voraciously in support of equal treatment under the law for all. Your kind words and support will not be forgotten.

    Wow, my tear ducts have gotten a workout in the last seven days.

  • Heather_L_James

    Allstar, in all fairness to HRC they did sign their names to a different letter.


    This particular letter was also signed by the ACLU and a few churches. It has less to do with HRC selling out us gender folk, and more to do with them “big timing” things.

    For those that think I am an HRC apologist read the following email that I sent to Donna Rose, HRC boardmember.


    First of all, please do not leave the board at HRC, if anything you should do what you can to move to board to consider new leadership for the organization. On a grassroots level many in our community, trans, gay and lesbian included, no longer believe in Joe Solomonese and the direction he is taking HRC. On the street the sentiment is that HRC is attempting to emulate a large special interest group, as opposed to the grassroots organization our community needs. The problem with that direction is that the GLBT community represents such a small part of the population, we just don’t have the numbers or the money to support a large special interest group that participates in “politics as usual”.

    As the preeminent organization representing the LGBT community, HRC should embody the interests of the entire community. The trans-stripped ENDA smacks of collusion between HRC and Democratic leadership in the House to win an empty victory in an effort to play to donors and voters. It is no secret that the LGBT community, and America as a whole, is frustrated by the lack of any significant change affected by the newly Democratic congress. Please convince the HRC board that the stripped ENDA protects nobody other than the most straight acting gays and lesbians, and help them see this for what it really is; a desperate attempt for Solomonese and Frank to create the ruse that they are actually doing something with our money and our votes.

    As someone who is just recently beginning her transition I can personally speak to how important this bill is. Just today I had to call my boss and inform him that some employees were making harassing statements about me to other employees, the most offensive of which was that I am “just another fag”. Management levels above me have pledged their support, but how long will it be before my boss decides that constantly disciplining employees for their comments is taking up too much of his time? Personally I fully expect to be unemployed within the month.

    Donna has posted this and several other emails on her website, which can be viewed here.

  • allstarecho

    Yeah, only last night did HRC’s Board vote to reaffirm the 2004 policy supporting a fully inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

    And from HRC’s own news release:
    “Therefore, we are not able to support, NOR WILL WE ENCOURAGE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO VOTE AGAINST, THE NEWLY INTRODUCED SEXUAL ORIENTATION ONLY BILL. And will continue working with our allies in Congress to support a comprehensive, legislative strategy to achieve passage of a fully inclusive ENDA as quickly as possible.”

    That newly introduced sexual orientation only bill being the one that excluded transgender people. So HRC blatantly says they won’t fight the one that excludes transgender people.

    Further, not only is the version that leaves out transgender people bad BECAUSE it leaves out transgender people, it’s also bad because:

    1] It has a sweeping religious exemption, which is far broader than that in other civil rights bills and would do nothing, for example, to prevent a Catholic hospital from refusing to hire a gay janitor. All of the LGBT legal and political groups (with the exception of HRC) strongly oppose this bill on this ground alone. Having this bill pass out of committee with this sweeping exclusion will make it very hard to get rid of it later.

    2] The bill also completely excludes benefits – again unlike other civil rights bills. This is a huge omission, and one that all the groups (again with exception of HRC) strongly oppose.

    3] The bill also expressly excludes “disparate impact” claims – again unlike other civil rights bills, and another huge loophole in the protections it provides. This means, for example, that an employer might be able to fire a person for having a same-sex partner, as long as they don’t say it’s because the person is lesbian or gay. This is really a terrible provision.

    The Democratic leadership made these huge concessions, without even consulting the LGBT community, for their own partisan benefit. They want to pass a major piece of gay rights legislation, even knowing it won’t go through the Senate and in any case will be vetoed by Bush, just to pump up their support from their gay base because, you know, it’s election season! We should not let them get away with this because this bill is far too important to our community. It is undoubtedly better for lesbian, gay and bisexual people (and certainly for transgender people) to stop this bill and ask Congress to vote on the original ENDA, which does not have these terrible provisions.

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