11
May
10

Let’s All Pull Together To Pass A Trans-Inclusive ENDA Now!!!!

What do we want?!?

Trans-Inclusive ENDA Now!

Okay folks, I just got off the phone from a nationwide conference call with some of the best minds and hardest workers in the trans community discussing ENDA.  We discussed the realities and the misleading falsehoods, the details and the broad scope.  It was a lot to take in quite frankly and I’m still trying to process a lot of what was discussed.

But since I’m an improviser and I believe in being in the moment and going with your gut to take you where the truth is, I wanted to share with you some of my initial impressions.

A lot of what was discussed were political details.  Hows and whys and the procedures to make this happen.  Good stuff and absolutely fascinating to a political junkie like myself, but not necessarily easy to convey without some additional study.

Basically what I got though was that this version of ENDA stands a very good chance of being passed and being passed as a Trans-Inclusive Bill!  It is not perfect, nor will it be.  There are problems with ENDA.  Not insurmountable problems though.  And certainly nothing as catastrophically bad as the conjectures that have been making the rounds of the interwebs for the past few days would seem to imply.

There will be no “Genital Inspector General” appointed and no spot checks at the restroom.  The provisions in regards to bathrooms don’t make me especially happy, but it’s nothing we can’t work with and it actually is an improvement on the current workplace situation.

Mind that: “Workplace Situation”  ENDA will not affect the restroom transgender people may use when they go out to Mackey D’s or at The Courthouse.  It governs only workplace related issues.  Basically the situation is this.  An employer will not be able to force you to use the “wrong” restroom.  Though they may be able to prevent trans employees from using the “right” restroom IF it is a multi-stall restroom and they have provided an alternate solution.

That’s important.  They must make a reasonable accommodation.

I agree, not ideal and not happy.  It still gives employers the ability to single us out and create a “separate but equal” situation.  It IS better than the current state of affairs though.  Where first of all, we have no actual employment protections anyway.  And second of all, as it stands today, employers in many states MAY actually force transgender people to use the “wrong” restroom

And that brings me to my next point.  ENDA will not be the end all be-all.  It’s not even going to be all that great.  I mean, if you can describe historic friggin’ legislation as “not all that great.”….  But it will be, as Gunner Scott aptly put it, “the floor that we’re starting on.”  It will be a building block on which to base state level protections and education about transgender issues.

And that is good.  That is excellent.

We will still need to pass laws at the state legislative level to provide stronger, better protections for our community.  But these stronger, better laws will have a national precedent to help us springboard them.  And once we can get them passed they will trump the weaker ENDA.  Meanwhile, ENDA will still provide at least some protection for transfolks in places that do not currently have any protections at all!  And some protections are a heck of a lot better than the no protections at all we have right now.

Yes, it’s true, it will be a bit of time and probably several stages before we see any actual language.  There is a lot we do not know about the final form ENDA will take.  But that’s just how it is in politics folks!  That’s how every bill gets passed.  The legislative process requires us to take some risks.  To take chances.

Right now, as a community, we are going to have to take a leap of faith!!!

ENDA needs our support to happen as well as to stay Trans-Inclusive.  It’s time to stop bickering among ourselves and pull together as one, unified and powerful community.  This bill must pass and it must pass this year!!!  We will wait no longer.

So get out there and call your Congress People.  Call your Reps and tell them that you as their constituent, as their VOTING constituent, need them to help pass a Trans-Inclusive ENDA now!  Then call your Senator, so we can get them buttered up and ready to throw on the grill once the Bill comes out of The House.

There’s a tremendous amount of energy out there in the trans community right now.  If we can focus that and join ranks with a single purpose, there is nothing we may not accomplish.

Now Go!!!!  It’s time to get to work and there is not a second to waste!!!

ORIGINAL IMAGE AND CAPTION REMOVED BY REQUEST

ENDA Now!

ENDA Rally at City Hall in Northampton

People Come Together!!!

( To look at the Bill yourself, go here:  The Library Of Congress: Thomas Jefferson Legislative Information Section And search for Bill Number HR3017 )

Northampton Trans-Inclusive ENDA Rally News Segment

Northampton Trans-inclusive ENDA Rally Article in The Socialist Worker

Photos by Madeline Burrows and Elle St. Claire (Amazing Shot, but Sadly Removed -LE)

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5 Responses to “Let’s All Pull Together To Pass A Trans-Inclusive ENDA Now!!!!”


  1. May 11, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    “Though they may be able to prevent trans employees from using the “right” restroom IF it is a multi-stall restroom and they have provided an alternate solution.”

    Human rights legislation that is incremental or allows another to measure another persons right to be included or segregated is inhuman.

    Ask any person who was forced to use a ‘special use’ bathroom in a school environment. I did and I was not allowed to forget that I was different. The harassment became so intense I was afraid for my well being.

    Ask anyone who is in a contentious situation at work because of there gender. Those tensions were probably created by segregation which never, never works and is unjustifiable.

    Rumor mongering, yeah my blog was mentioned by Mara. Those were not unsubstantiated rumors they were direct quotes by ENDA’s key sponsor and a reflective look at 2007 in context to Franks words.

    You may convince yourself something is better than nothing if you wish but look at New Jersey’s gay population to see if a substitute for equality is acceptable. No it not.

    Demand FULL equality or tell the Bus driver to get off the bus and we will find someone who will do the job.

    • 2 Erisis
      May 12, 2010 at 4:19 am

      Thank you Kelli for your comment. I can’t say that I completely disagree with what you are saying. I certainly sympathize with your point.

      As someone who has been set apart my whole life and made to feel different myself I get it. Even well pre-transition I was set apart and teased, humiliated and taunted often to the point of tears for no other reason than that I was taller than everyone else and kind of a geek.

      I always had my nose in a book, well above the heads (literally) of my peers. I was also, because of the way I was raised, a pacifist. Basically, I was the really tall kid who got picked on by the really short kids and always put in the back by the adults.

      Ridiculous really.

      And that ridiculousness made an impression on me. If I could be teased and ostracized for little more than being tall, what sense did it make to set apart anyone at all for their differences??

      I live now in a neighborhood where I am surrounded by people who are much worse off than I am. Who were born into poverty and hardship and who because of little more than the color of their skin, the accent in their voices and the location of their neighborhood may not ever be able to escape. That is wrong. Shameful for all of us who would call ourselves American.

      I should be fighting for them. For all the hardship I have endured as a strident individualist and a transgender woman, I have managed to pay my rent and put food on my table and even have a little left over to go out with my friends. What little I have is an embarrassment of riches in comparison.

      But I fight for my own people because it is where I can be most effective. I know full well that the compromises required by the nature of politics in this country will be offensive at best and dangerous at worst. But it is the way this game is played and I intend to win it.

      I haven’t got the strength myself and I know of no group in this country which alone has the strength to completely reset the game and change the rulebook. At least not in our lifetime. But we can work with what we have. We can maybe, just maybe make things a little better for the next generation. Those genderqueer and transkids just now figuring out who they might be.

      Of course we need to demand FULL equality. We should take to the streets with our demand for it. Show our numbers!!

      But unless you know how to do that. How to make us all stop fighting among ourselves and march together, millions of voices strong. I’m afraid we’re stuck with Barney friggin’ Frank and an ENDA that has filed smooth teeth.

      If we can get that done then we might just have the start of a movement.

      Keep Fighting Sister.

      In Solidarity,
      Lorelei

  2. 3 Bet Power
    May 11, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Here’s why I’d like you to remove my photo and caption from this blog page. My thoughts on what ENDA is, to date. Thanks, Bet Power.

    ENDA: 21st Century Segregation for the Gender Variant

    Call me naive, but I thought that an employment non-discrimination act would be all about the INTEGRATION of trans people, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals within the workplace, not SEGREGATION of some – or unequal treatment – based on gender identity/expression. But framers of the bill currently working on the language of ENDA have discussed requiring employees with certain genitals to use the restrooms of people who have matching genitals, trans workers not being allowed to use multi-stall facilities of their choice, trans employees not being able to sue an employer who does not allow them to use the restroom of their choice, and even the possibility of requiring a gender variant or trans employee to hang up a sign on the door when they are using a restroom at their place of employment. Given that nearly all of the people working on the language of the ENDA bill are Queer, these things being discussed as a possibility for the bill are extremely troublesome and hurtful, to me.

    It is as if an employee of color could be asked under federal law to hang up a sign when they use a “whites only” restroom on the job … or not being able to sue if their employer does not give them access to use a “whites only” facility. Or what if the employer was allowed to designate a separate restroom entirely for use only by employees of color?

    Workplace bathroom use under a truly trans- and gender variant-inclusive ENDA (meaning some gays and lesbians factor in here, too) ought to be the free choice of adult employees with no restriction or penalty by their employer. Bathrooms and facilities in the workplace ought not to be an issue at all, except perhaps that the ENDA bill could state: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees have the right to freedom of harassment and prohibition from using restrooms, lockers, and facilities of their choice at their place of employment.” That would be freedom to me – equal rights, equal access – true INTEGRATION in employment.

    — By Bet Power

  3. 4 Erisis
    May 12, 2010 at 5:05 am

    It saddens me to do so, but I will promptly remove your picture and the caption mentioning your name.

    Thank you for your comment Bet.

    Again, and again, and again, I agree that this is not a perfect Bill. The more of these comments I respond to, here and on facebook, the more I feel like I must be the only one who grew up in a country that is riddled with imperfection in it’s politicians and rife with painful compromises in it’s government.

    I have studied the Civil Rights movement for years. My whole life. Heck, I was the only pale Irish kid in the only African American History Class in my High School. I was raised by stolid Yankees who never the less bucked the ways the societies they lived in told them they had to live.

    I grew up learning protest songs and steeped in civil disobedience.

    When the first Gulf War broke out, I ended up leading the protests and walk-outs in my school, not because I wanted to, but because when push came to shove every single one of the leaders and organizers simply failed to even show up. I was the loudest and the biggest, so I got the job.

    I read Noam Chomsky for fun and treasure my Dog-Eared Copy of “A People’s History Of The United States”.

    I desire with every fibre of my being that we may all live in a more perfect world where the Equality we Demand is simply given to us and the Rights we Deserve are a given. But that is not the world I see when I turn on the news or even when I walk down the street.

    The world I see is one that is filled with wonderful loving people who still must fight for every scrap of dignity and every inch of freedom that they, that we, can wrest from the relative handful of people who control the supply.

    This handful of people who with their slight of hand distractions and tasty morsels of bloody privilege carefully keep us from focusing on the fight before us. Who throw us, starving and angry into the pen to tear ourselves apart.

    Honestly, I am immensely frustrated. I am as concerned about which bathroom I will be allowed to use as any other person who must urinate daily. So that’s everyone but that one monk in India who’s been all over the newsfeeds lately. I’m sure he could care less.

    I am frustrated because I feel like the our fight for the really big fish, The Protected Right to have and to keep gainful employment for instance, has been subsumed by this never ending argument over bathrooms. It is the argument our opponents want us to be having, because it is their favorite campaign to take us down with.

    What if we began to walk into legislative offices and and newsrooms all over the country and told the people there that this is not about bathrooms. This is about being able to support ourselves and our families. This is about the dignity of having food in our pantries and roofs over our heads. And a bathroom at home in which to take hot, cleansing showers.

    What is we refuse to participate in their favorite debate and ask our opponents instead why they choose to oppress us.

    So that’s why I fight for an imperfect ENDA. That’s why I would like to see us come together in the streets and get out of the restroom.

    Love You Bet!

    In Solidarity,
    Lorelei

  4. May 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    The ENDA letter from Bilerico project’s “one click”. Here with 2 sentences added. Copy at your peril, use with my blessing.

    May 13, 2010

    Dear Representative Giffords,
    Dear Senator Kyl,
    Dear Senator McCain,

    Please support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, H.R.3017/S.1584. It will prevent employers from discriminating or harassing employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I strongly support inclusion of both sexual orientation and gender identity in the bill. Discrimination is a form of hate, and violates both the law of man and the Word of God. Your assistance in ending discrimination is a much needed service to the citizens of these our United States. Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Ms. Leynda Erwin


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