Monday, October 22, 2007

ENDA vote Wednesday - call now

The House is scheduled to vote on ENDA Wednesday. The current version leaves out protections for gender identity and gender expression -- potentially leaving a huge loophole, and not just for trans people, but also for gays, lesbians and yes... heteros. As Lamba Legal put it: employers may not be able to fire you for being gay or lesbian, but they could fire you for being too effeminate or too masculine. Fortunately, Rep. Tammy Baldwin will be submitting an amendment to restore gender identity protections to the bill. Now is the time we need to make clear that there's support for an inclusive ENDA.

Pick up the phone and dial 202-224-3121.It's the number to Congress, and your zip code will connect you to your Representative's office, where an aide will register your request. If you don't feel comfortable calling, then email them -- you can always use a pseudonym if need be (the important thing is the make clear that you vote). has quick way to find your local representative, just enter your ZIP code and on the resulting page, click the link under "Write your elected officials."

If you're not sure what to say, here's some talking points:

- It is unprecedented for Congress to pass civil rights legislation that is not supported by the community the law is supposed to protect. Nearly 300 LGBT organizations representing over 2 million Americans actively oppose any employment nondiscrimination legislation that does not include gender identity.

- HR 3685 does NOT provide sufficient protection against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. As Lambda Legal, NCLR and other legal organizations in the trenches of anti-discrimination cases have pointed out, ot only does this bill completely fail to protect transgender people, but it also fails to protect lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and straight people who do not conform to gender stereotypes. Their experience in the last few years has been that this is -- and would be -- a huge loophole used by employers, their attorneys and conservative activist judges, to justify discriminatory firings.

- HR 3685 is morally and strategically wrong. Not only is it morally wrong to leave part of the LGBT community out of this bill, but it is also strategically wrong. We have learned from our work in the states that it is far easier to include gender identity in civil rights legislation the first time it is passed than it is to try to go back and add it in later.

No comments: