Equality Through Intimidation? The Houston HRC Dinner Protest
April 13, 2008
Judy Shepard: Back Up HRC On Press “Misinformation” About Leaving Transgender Behind!
April 22, 2008

NCTE Lobby Days: Where’s Waldo, HRC, or Barney Frank?

Last October Representative Barney Frank said:

“It’s partly because some of the people who are now lately to this fight weren’t there helping us through the lobbying. “

and then said:

I have been pleading with people in the gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender communities to lobby for us. Instead, they want to strategize, many of them. Some, no. Some have done a very good job. But many of them weren’t there.

Hearing those words, I assumed that the lobby day events would get extra special attention (especially to gaining access). But since the event I’ve heard from numerous lobbyists that their access was no different than in years past. If the education that has been done in the past (the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition
has lobbied Congress since 1995, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition since 1999, and the National Center for Transgender Equality since 2005
) wasn’t good enough for Representative Frank and he wants us to be in the bill after doing the right kind of education, a little help in the access department from his office might help. And I’d think the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) would be helping out Mara Keisling, since they’re using her image on the transgender section of their website!

Transgender advocacy groups are doing the work that needs to be done. The words of those that oppose gender identity inclusion in ENDA ring hollow when they don’t expend ANY political capital or influence to see that the the educational/lobbying work is effective.

(As a post-script to this post, I’d just like to say how frustrating it is to find people still arguing that gender identity protections in ENDA only protect transgender people. The definition in the language of the inclusive ENDA bill (HR 2015) is as follows:

GENDER IDENTITY- The term `gender identity’ means the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.

This definition would cover anyone who is gender variant.)

  • [quote comment=””]
    Or it’s saying F#<% IT, and turning inward, and trannies helping trannies, and exploiting the talents laying dormant in the trans community. Our community is like an urban decay neighborhood ripe for redevelopment and revitalization, Why don’t we be the developers that take advantage of our own capital, and F#<% everybody else.

    Call me naive…[/quote]

    Heh. Agreed.

    Which is why I’m doing exactly that while managing a halfway house for us.

    18 hour days, but each one worth it.

  • Karen Savage

    [quote comment=””]How much money does the trans community have?
    [/quote]
    No, ask it differently. How much will it cost to get an ENDA for the trans folks.

    This is like purchasing SRS, you come up with the surgeon’s price somehow.

    This is like purchasing FFS.

    This is purchasing the legal protection so that the under- or un-employed in our community can get jobs.

    You determine the price, and you come up with it somehow.

    Or it’s saying F#<% IT, and turning inward, and trannies helping trannies, and exploiting the talents laying dormant in the trans community. Our community is like an urban decay neighborhood ripe for redevelopment and revitalization, Why don’t we be the developers that take advantage of our own capital, and F#<% everybody else.

    Call me naive…

    • You’ve heard what I heard. Didn’t expect anything to be any different.

      I’m glad they had a Lobby Day, and that people went to the Hill, even though election-year lobbying is not likely to bear much fruit. It is my hope that those who lobbied are also involved in the campaigns for supportive Senate and House candidates, or supportive incumbents, in their own districts and states, and are putting themselves in position to speak directly to their Representatives and Senators at public functions and events. On the Hill, the ever-changing ex-HRC intern and aide corps can be used to defuse and make us think we’re being heard (when we, likely, are not), but speaking to “the man/woman themselves” is what is needed, and you can do that better at home.

      Remember, to Barney Frank, lobbying isn’t defined as transpeople talking to aides in offices. It is hired professional lobbyists, working for professional lobbying firms, oftentimes ex-members of Congress, walking into their offices and asking for their vote on 2015, then giving them a couple thousand good reasons to do so – a check in their briefcase for the Member’s reelection campaign fund. Citizen lobbying has its uses and purposes, but it is used to back up what the M street briefcase brigade are doing the other 360 days the citizen lobbyists aren’t there.

  • Karen Savage

    [quote comment=””]How much money does the trans community have?
    [/quote]
    No, ask it differently. How much will it cost to get an ENDA for the trans folks.

    This is like purchasing SRS, you come up with the surgeon’s price somehow.

    This is like purchasing FFS.

    This is purchasing the legal protection so that the under- or un-employed in our community can get jobs.

    You determine the price, and you come up with it somehow.

    Or it’s saying F#<% IT, and turning inward, and trannies helping trannies, and exploiting the talents laying dormant in the trans community. Our community is like an urban decay neighborhood ripe for redevelopment and revitalization, Why don’t we be the developers that take advantage of our own capital, and F#<% everybody else.

    Call me naive…

  • How much money does the trans community have?

    Asked differently, of course, but its still the same comment, still the same basic idea.

    Well, the problem with the trans community is that based n the numbers I have from just Phoenix, less that a third is employed in any manner that provides for more than a bare minimum of income.

    The rest are unable to get a job, because work programs and employers don’t like transfolk. THey are too hard to work with — customers might be offended, people might not know how to react, they *change* after all.

    Change that comes from spending money in order to establish their identity. Money for therapists, money for medicine, money for food, for shelter if they can find it, for clothing.

    ENDA is the single most important issue for transfolk today. Period. Our lives are dictated by the amount of money we need to spend in order to live as ourselves, and without employment, we are denied that.

    IT is the easiest way to make sure that we remain marginalized, remain the scapegoat, remain the bargaining chip.

    When we can’t be ourselves, the pressures — for half of us — drive us to kill ourselves. THe other half includes some folks who simply failed at that undertaking and somehow managed to soldier on.

    Supporting a non inclusive ENDA or not caring or making excuses like there’s not enough lobbying money to pass an inclusive one — more or less any energy expended to maintain the status quo or explain why one hasn’t passed — is the equivalent of saying that one thinks the deaths of half the transpopulation are ok.

    Until that day happens when employment is there for transfolks, numbers are meaningless. Because half of them will never be counted.

    Except by graves.

    Wounds run deep over this. For transfolk, this is more important an issue than marriage is for LGB folks.

    I spent a lot of effort on this last time. Now I’m using that effort in a different way, by working on the creation of businesses that hire exclusively transfolks.

    Which at least is more than the nothing that those who do anything but support only an inclusive ENDA are doing.

  • How much money does the trans community have?

    Asked differently, of course, but its still the same comment, still the same basic idea.

    Well, the problem with the trans community is that based n the numbers I have from just Phoenix, less that a third is employed in any manner that provides for more than a bare minimum of income.

    The rest are unable to get a job, because work programs and employers don’t like transfolk. THey are too hard to work with — customers might be offended, people might not know how to react, they *change* after all.

    Change that comes from spending money in order to establish their identity. Money for therapists, money for medicine, money for food, for shelter if they can find it, for clothing.

    ENDA is the single most important issue for transfolk today. Period. Our lives are dictated by the amount of money we need to spend in order to live as ourselves, and without employment, we are denied that.

    IT is the easiest way to make sure that we remain marginalized, remain the scapegoat, remain the bargaining chip.

    When we can’t be ourselves, the pressures — for half of us — drive us to kill ourselves. THe other half includes some folks who simply failed at that undertaking and somehow managed to soldier on.

    Supporting a non inclusive ENDA or not caring or making excuses like there’s not enough lobbying money to pass an inclusive one — more or less any energy expended to maintain the status quo or explain why one hasn’t passed — is the equivalent of saying that one thinks the deaths of half the transpopulation are ok.

    Until that day happens when employment is there for transfolks, numbers are meaningless. Because half of them will never be counted.

    Except by graves.

    Wounds run deep over this. For transfolk, this is more important an issue than marriage is for LGB folks.

    I spent a lot of effort on this last time. Now I’m using that effort in a different way, by working on the creation of businesses that hire exclusively transfolks.

    Which at least is more than the nothing that those who do anything but support only an inclusive ENDA are doing.

  • How much money does the trans community have?

    Asked differently, of course, but its still the same comment, still the same basic idea.

    Well, the problem with the trans community is that based n the numbers I have from just Phoenix, less that a third is employed in any manner that provides for more than a bare minimum of income.

    The rest are unable to get a job, because work programs and employers don’t like transfolk. THey are too hard to work with — customers might be offended, people might not know how to react, they *change* after all.

    Change that comes from spending money in order to establish their identity. Money for therapists, money for medicine, money for food, for shelter if they can find it, for clothing.

    ENDA is the single most important issue for transfolk today. Period. Our lives are dictated by the amount of money we need to spend in order to live as ourselves, and without employment, we are denied that.

    IT is the easiest way to make sure that we remain marginalized, remain the scapegoat, remain the bargaining chip.

    When we can’t be ourselves, the pressures — for half of us — drive us to kill ourselves. THe other half includes some folks who simply failed at that undertaking and somehow managed to soldier on.

    Supporting a non inclusive ENDA or not caring or making excuses like there’s not enough lobbying money to pass an inclusive one — more or less any energy expended to maintain the status quo or explain why one hasn’t passed — is the equivalent of saying that one thinks the deaths of half the transpopulation are ok.

    Until that day happens when employment is there for transfolks, numbers are meaningless. Because half of them will never be counted.

    Except by graves.

    Wounds run deep over this. For transfolk, this is more important an issue than marriage is for LGB folks.

    I spent a lot of effort on this last time. Now I’m using that effort in a different way, by working on the creation of businesses that hire exclusively transfolks.

    Which at least is more than the nothing that those who do anything but support only an inclusive ENDA are doing.

  • Leigh Smythe

    1. The website has been changed and Mara is no longer there.

    2. It would be nice if this opinion page was signed, or a by line inserted. Who wrote it – Barney??

    3. It is a nice thought that the only way a legislator is gonna listen is when you give to their campaign, especially since over 30% of Transgender people are unemployed, and 63% are grossly underemployed. As long as this circle exists and we have no money to contribute because of discrimination, and money is expected in order to get non discrimination — we are stuck!! Where is the compassion for those suffering under this yoke of oppression????

    • [quote comment=””]
      Or it’s saying F#<% IT, and turning inward, and trannies helping trannies, and exploiting the talents laying dormant in the trans community. Our community is like an urban decay neighborhood ripe for redevelopment and revitalization, Why don’t we be the developers that take advantage of our own capital, and F#<% everybody else.

      Call me naive…[/quote]

      Heh. Agreed.

      Which is why I’m doing exactly that while managing a halfway house for us.

      18 hour days, but each one worth it.

  • Leigh Smythe

    1. The website has been changed and Mara is no longer there.

    2. It would be nice if this opinion page was signed, or a by line inserted. Who wrote it – Barney??

    3. It is a nice thought that the only way a legislator is gonna listen is when you give to their campaign, especially since over 30% of Transgender people are unemployed, and 63% are grossly underemployed. As long as this circle exists and we have no money to contribute because of discrimination, and money is expected in order to get non discrimination — we are stuck!! Where is the compassion for those suffering under this yoke of oppression????

  • Stephanie

    Marti,

    I’m just skeptical and cynical by nature. I don’t have Polar’s experience and familiarity with these matters, but I share that general view.

    It seems to come down to numbers — how many are there of you and, more importantly, how much do you have and are willing to give.

  • Stephanie

    Marti,

    I’m just skeptical and cynical by nature. I don’t have Polar’s experience and familiarity with these matters, but I share that general view.

    It seems to come down to numbers — how many are there of you and, more importantly, how much do you have and are willing to give.

  • You’ve heard what I heard. Didn’t expect anything to be any different.

    I’m glad they had a Lobby Day, and that people went to the Hill, even though election-year lobbying is not likely to bear much fruit. It is my hope that those who lobbied are also involved in the campaigns for supportive Senate and House candidates, or supportive incumbents, in their own districts and states, and are putting themselves in position to speak directly to their Representatives and Senators at public functions and events. On the Hill, the ever-changing ex-HRC intern and aide corps can be used to defuse and make us think we’re being heard (when we, likely, are not), but speaking to “the man/woman themselves” is what is needed, and you can do that better at home.

    Remember, to Barney Frank, lobbying isn’t defined as transpeople talking to aides in offices. It is hired professional lobbyists, working for professional lobbying firms, oftentimes ex-members of Congress, walking into their offices and asking for their vote on 2015, then giving them a couple thousand good reasons to do so – a check in their briefcase for the Member’s reelection campaign fund. Citizen lobbying has its uses and purposes, but it is used to back up what the M street briefcase brigade are doing the other 360 days the citizen lobbyists aren’t there.