32 years after the first gay civil rights measure was introduce by NY Rep. Bella Abzug, ENDA became the first GLB bill approved by a house of Congress. Openly gay Representative Barney Frank can celebrate this victory. He worked hard for it. Frank is joined by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and GLBT organization, the Human Rights Campaign, in declaring this a victory.
Not celebrating is ENDA co-sponsor Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, the only other openly LGBT House member. She is not celebrating because the version of ENDA that passed, excluded provisions barring discrimination based on gender identity and expression that were originally in the bill when introduced. The protections for Transgender Americans were extracted from the bill pretty much for expediency. Because according to Frank, it would be easier to get it through.
Rep. Baldwin fought for a Transgender inclusive bill. Perhaps she doesn't believe in using the time and money and talents and numbers and shoulders of Trans people to climb up, then leave them dangling by their fingertips with your foot in their face, with only some lame promise about going to get a ladder. "We'll be back for you. Be patient. Hang on. Oops, sorry, watch your fingers".
Representative Baldwin knows that Transgender people have been there from the beginning,(hell, they were the beginning) standing with GLB Americans and that they actually need these protections more. They are now left to struggle alone. And now thanks to this betrayal from their supposedly own community, fuel is added to the fire of those who believe gender identity is a false issue and doesn't need addressing at all by law.
If your own kicks you to the curb.....
In a floor debate before the bill went to a vote, Congressman Frank said.
"There are people who are your fellow citizens who are being discriminated against. Please don’t turn your back on them."How did he get the balls to say that?
What was accomplished by rushing to pass a watered down (even in it's GLB protections) Trans exclusive bill that caused a hurtful, divisive riff in the GLBT community? This law still has a mountain to climb in the Senate and no chance to be signed by Bush in any form. The best hope for ENDA is in 2009 with a hopefully more liberal Senate and a Democratic president. So why turn your back on your own for such a shallow gain?? This was a lose/lose endeavor.
For a Transgender point of view check the Transgriot's excellent post and be sure to read the thoughtful responses.