ENDA And Hate Crimes Go To The Back Of The Bus

in Featured/Opinion

Last Thursday Jason Bellini of the Daily Beast reported that  the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had made a deal with the Obama Administration to delay repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in an effort to focus on the federal hate crimes bill and Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

I thought it sounded too good to be true. For a minute I was almost proud of them for doing the right thing! On twitter Jburroway, of Box Turtle Bulletin, asks “Has HRC Sold Out Gay Servicepersons?” Unless Obama has bartered away DADT for ENDA, I’m not sure how anyone has sold anybody out!   A fully inclusive ENDA would not only include the GLBT community, but ANYONE who isn’t gender normative. It would help the poorest and most under served sections of the GLBT community, especially given the tough job market. While DADT and gay marriage effect mostly suburban, privileged gays and lesbians, ENDA would help those across all classes.

Howard Dean recently compared DADT to passing gun control. He said that there just isn’t the political will for either, considering how bad the economy is. With the political reality of a finite amount of political will, I’ve often wondered why the G&L community is pushing gay marriage and DADT at this time. There’s only so much political space to push our issues into the MSM. What should our priorities be?

The recent complaints from the gay and lesbian blogosphere about Obama’s lack of fierce advocacy center on gay marriage and DADT. Why is that?

Those who celebrated the advancement of gay marriage in New Hampshire didn’t seem to remember that a nearly two months earlier transgender legislation was soundly defeated.

“Clearly this is a momentous day for New Hampshire — a state that holds individual liberty and fairness as core values — as well as the entire country.” – Rea Carey,

“When the National Organization for Marriage started making $50,000 ad buys in New Hampshire, I put out a call for help and HRC answered. We could not have done this without them.” – Mo Baxley, executive director of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition

With so much money, time, and effort going to these two causes, it’s rubbed a few transgender people the wrong way. Gunner Scott’s (Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition) recent tweets take those statements to task:

“There is not equality and justice for all in NH, congrats on marriage, but trans folks still don’t have legal protections there”  – Gunner Scott via Twitter

and

“Let’s hope the trans civil rights bill and the marriage bill pass in NY and one does not get sold out for the other” – Gunner Scott via Twitter

and his later tweet:

“Recognizing my slight bitterness might get me thrown out of the movement… putting on ‘happy’ face” – Gunner Scott via Twitter

But to you all you cheerleaders for gay marriage and DADT, fear not! It was all just a a lie!

“This story is not only an outright lie, it is recklessly irresponsible. HRC never made such a deal and continues to work with congress and the administration on a full range of equality issues including a swift end to the military’s shameful ban on gay servicemembers.”

I know I’m relieved, aren’t you!? After all, if gays can serve in the military, you’ll have a place to go work after you’re fired from your job. Well, unless you’re transgender… ooopsies!

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.

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