Monday, March 30, 2009

ENDA and The Gay Media Cabal

According the Washington Blade, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) approved a policy statement that

"the group will not support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, if it excludes language protecting persons from discrimination."

The Advocate followed suit with:
"The Human Rights Campaign adopted a policy statement on Wednesday that says the group will not support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if it excludes protections for transgender individuals. The statement was approved by the HRC board of directors in Washington, D.C. 'It’s the policy of HRC that the organization will only support an inclusive ENDA,' says the statement. It calls the organization’s previous decision to support an ENDA without transgender protections a 'one-time exception.' "

Joe My God also reported on this as well:
“We look forward to Congress sending President Obama a fully inclusive ENDA for his signature.”

But none of these sites (nor did Queerty, 365Gay, Bilerico, Good As You), tell the whole story. They don't reference this comment from Joe Solmonese at the Southern Comfort Conference:

Since getting on board with the idea of gender identity in ENDA in August of 2005, the HRC has continued to support transgender inclusion in any ENDA bill put forward. There hasn't been a time since when they didn't support us in ENDA, at least publicly. But the one question that would make this truly a remarkable story, was never asked. Will HRC not only support transgender people in ENDA, but will they oppose any version of ENDA that doesn't include gender identity? One has to wonder why such an important question hasn't been asked.

There are one of four possible scenarios that are likely to happen.

  1. A fully inclusive bill like HR. 2015 will be introduced and passed in the House of Representatives, and then fall short of a majority in the Senate.

  2. A fully inclusive bill like HR. 2015 will be introduced in the House and Senate and be signed into law by President Obama.

  3. A fully inclusive bill like HR. 2015 will pass the US House and move to the Senate where gender identity is stripped from the bill and a gay only version is passed.

  4. A fully inclusive bill like HR. 2015 is voted down in the house, gender identity is blamed, and then a gay only version of the bill is voted on and passes the House and Senate and is signed into law.

None of these scenarios put the HRC in a position of weakness. Restating their position from October of 2007 isn't really news. So why all the the hullabaloo? Either there is a concerted effort to rebrand this old propaganda, or the reporters/bloggers aren't asking the simplest, most obvious questions.

The whole thing reminds me of how the most obvious questions weren't asked of the Bush administration by the media in the last eight years. But the silence on Bush was mostly from traditional media sources. The uncomfortable questions on matters of national security were usually asked in the blogosphere. But it seems the gay bloggers aren't as free to ask the same kind of questions. The elite gay bloggers are the equivalent of the traditional media. Their access is based on relationships with the gay power brokers. I know this because I belonged to one such "skull and bones" group where much of this communication between the elites in gay media and the gay power brokers happened.

I don't blame the HRC for taking this position, it's a smart tactical move. What I am disappointed in is the supposed "GLBT" blogosphere who refused to ask questions for fear of losing the teet that feeds them. The only blog that got even close to the truth about the announcement was Autumn Sandeen, over at Pam's House Blend. Even then she was a bit off the mark. She calls this a half step and calls for Mara Kiesling to work with the Human Rights Campaign. But the truth of the matter is that as a member of the National Policy Roundtable, NCTE never stopped "working with" the Human Rights Campaign and this is certainly not a step forward. It's more like running in place.

Cross posted from

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Let Us Pee

Let Us Pee

Have you ever been harassed in a public bathroom because of your gender, perceived gender, gender expression, or perceived sexual orientation? If so send me your story and I will post it anonymously. Email it to

Because I have heard countless stories of GLBT people or people perceived to be GLBT being harassed in public restrooms... for what you might ask? Just trying to pee...

This is to counter the anti-GLBT & radical right groups messaging, which is that, particularly if non-discrimination legislation for gender identity/gender expression legislation is passed it will compromise the safety of women and children in bathrooms.

Everyone deserves to be able to use the restroom in peace and without harassment or violence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gainesville Says No

Unofficial results from Gainesville are that the good citizens of the historic Florida town voted no to turning back the clock and getting rid of LGBTQ discrimination protections.

58% No on Amendment 1 (and 42% Yes) according to Mara Keisling of NCTE & Allyson Robinson of HRC.

Good news! Not only that, but the "keep crossdressed men out of bathrooms" schtick didn't work. Go Equality Gainesville!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Barney Frank makes positive predictions

Political Intelligence Reports:

Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, one of a handful of openly gay members of Congress, says he believes that Congress will soon pass laws protecting transgender people from hate crimes and granting them benefits and that President Obama will this year overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay members of the military.

But he told the website that he doubts that the law defining marriage as between a man and a woman will be overturned. And Frank said he doesn't believe the Supreme Court will overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, either, using a harsh description of Justice Antonin Scalia.

"I wouldn't want it to go to the Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia's got too many votes on this current court," Frank said...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

10 Minutes of Dignity

A brief and well-done video by GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) about trans people and (mostly) workplace issues.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Disordered No More"

This year I didn't get to IFGE & this year, Julia Serano & Joelle Ruby Ryan both went. What's up with that? (Actually, I was expecting to be able to attend in Philly in April but they moved the whole conference to DC in February, when i was teaching too much to be able to attend.)

Either way, they & Kelley Winters presented a panel called "Disordered No More" about GID diagnosis. Lynn Conway, who was also there, has posted a ton of the information they presented, including excepts from all three of their presentations (or in some cases, the whole paper).

So for those of us who couldn't attend, we can at least read up on their presentations, which is a very cool thing indeed.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Filmed Attack on Peruvian Trans Prostitute

A Peruvian television station was invited to a planned attack on a local prostitute who is a "travesti" - a MTF trans prostitute. It aired on television, and was later aired with a longer segment.

Blabbeando covered it, as did Queers United.

Note: prostitution is not illegal in Peru.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Chennai moving toward "transgender" bathrooms

Indian Express reports:

New Delhi: Besides “ladies” and “gents”, public lavatories in Chennai may soon offer a third option — for transgenders. The Chennai Municipal Corporation has set aside Rs 45 lakh for a pilot project to build three such lavatories for transgenders in the city.

While the construction is expected to begin after the polls, the officials have already identified areas with a considerable transgender population in south and central Chennai. The first will be built in Saidapet, where it will cater to those living in Kothamedu, Theedeer Nagar and Athuma Nagar.

While I greatly appreciate the attention paid to trans issues, I can't help but question the framing. What is with the lens of a "third, transgender bathroom" as opposed to simply a unisex or gender neutral restroom? This measure seems to be othering the trans community, instead of serving as a larger testament to the subjective, silly, and typically draconian gender policing and segregation.

To me, a unisex bathroom sounds convenient, humanist, and resource-efficient. A transgender bathroom sounds like a "colored drinking fountain". Perhaps in practice, the third lavatory will just be like any other place to tinkle, and this will become a non-issue. As it stands, I am concerned.

Included in the article was a comment by Aasha Bharathi, president of the Tamil Nadu Aravanigal Association:
“I don’t agree with this. We want to mingle with the mainstream. We don’t want to be separated like this...using separate toilets will open the way for discrimination. We want to be considered as females. In our hearts, we are women.
Originally posted on The Colonic

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

This American Life: Tom Girls

NPR’s This American Life recently had a show on about two 8 year old (trans) girls who met & hit it off. It’s the middle/second segment.

Act Two — Tom Girls: Lilly and Thomasina have a lot in common. They’re both 8 years old. And they were both born boys, although it became clear pretty early on that they’d prefer to be girls. There aren’t all that many kids in the world like them, but recently, at a conference in Seattle on transgender parenting, they met. And they immediately hit it off. They could talk about things with each other that they’d never been able to share with other friends back home. And that’s comforting, even if they never see each other after the conference ends. Producer Mary Beth Kirchner tells the story, with production help from Rebecca Weiker.

It’s only about 20 minutes, & worth listening to.

(Thanks to Chris & Jess for the tip.)