Transman Civil War Hero?
August 9, 2007
Summer Songs that helped us Survive
August 12, 2007

Presidential Forum on Marriage Equality

It was billed as the “HRC Foundation and Logo Presidential Forum” but you could have just as easily called it the “HRC and Logo Presidential Forum on Marriage Equality. But it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

According to Donna Rose’s blog:

“I have been told by people who would know that a decision has already been made that each candidate will be given a “T” question (their words, not mine). When I sent my list of questions this morning (the deadline was noon), part of the response I got back was that they particularly “like the more general ones because it requires them to be more forthcoming.”

For the record, there was ONE question during the entire forum that was a “T” question. Joe Solmonese asked John Edwards the following question:

“Susan Stanton is in our audience tonight. She was, for 17 years, the city manager in Largo, Florida. She did her job well; she was respected and admired. And when it was revealed that she was transgender, she was fired. So my question for you is if a member of your staff came to you and told you that they were transgender and that they were thinking of transitioning, how would you react to that? And who in your life has influenced what your reaction might be?”


Wow, that was a really hard hitting question! Can you say…

softball.gif

What did you expect him to say? “Well, I’d fire her too! Damn trannies don’t belong on this planet!”

The rest of the forum seemed to center around marriage equality. The people asking the questions pounded each candidate with marriage equality questions, and only in response to those questions did the candidates talk about other issues such as passage of ENDA and the hate crimes bill. Frankly, I have to ask, WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING? Both ENDA and the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act are bills that are on the verge of being voted on. There are no pending marriage equality bills on the federal level that I’m aware of. Why pound marriage into the ground when a significant percentage of the electorate is against it? According to a recent gallop poll, only 26% of Americans are against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. For the life of me, I can’t understand why there wasn’t mention of the wide American support of the hate crimes bill and the coming presidential veto.

The Real ID act will go in effect soon, why no questions about it? Without changes in the Real ID act and without protections in ENDA, transgender people are at even a higher risk of being stigmatized and marginalized in the workplace.
There are so many questions that that weren’t asked. All in all, tonight was a missed opportunity for anyone that cares about any other issue besides marriage equality or the bark beetle infestation of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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  • Can you point out those places?

  • Boo

    Um… Andrea James definitely does not subscribe to a “feminine essence narrative.” She thinks gender is a social construction. That viewpoint is expressed quite clearly in multiple places on her website.

  • Boo

    Um… Andrea James definitely does not subscribe to a “feminine essence narrative.” She thinks gender is a social construction. That viewpoint is expressed quite clearly in multiple places on her website.

  • Bailey has been pretty well denounced for a number of reasons. I totally disagree with him, too, both on his relegation of me and other T’s to another binary categorization and on his insistence that only heterosexuality and male homosexuality actually exist. (With regard to the latter, perhaps his subjects simply weren’t stimulated by porn.) I’m also not a fan of Addams or James – among others.

  • Bailey has been pretty well denounced for a number of reasons. I totally disagree with him, too, both on his relegation of me and other T’s to another binary categorization and on his insistence that only heterosexuality and male homosexuality actually exist. (With regard to the latter, perhaps his subjects simply weren’t stimulated by porn.) I’m also not a fan of Addams or James – among others.

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  • When the rest of the transgender community gets tired of bending over and grabbing their ankles for HRC (because someday they might include us),
    we can take back the T and just move on.

  • When the rest of the transgender community gets tired of bending over and grabbing their ankles for HRC (because someday they might include us),
    we can take back the T and just move on.

  • I doubt it is a conspiracy. I think it is ‘simply’ the result of cissexism, racism, sexism, classism, etc. that is inherent in the system.

    Maybe it’s because I’m queer and trans* (or maybe I’m just too naive or optimistic), but I tend to expect trans* folk to care about GLB concerns and for GLB folk to care about trans* concerns.

  • Kat

    Gee Graykn, don’t you know ‘the plan’?

    When the gay-only ENDA was the top priority, the trans-addition was the ‘next’ priority.

    But, then Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is to become the next ‘next’ priority.

    Then, gay marriage is to become the next, next ‘next’ priority.

    Then trans…

    Yah.

    Trans inclusive employment anti-discrimination was never actually intended to be, nor will it ever be, HRC’s current, or even immediate ‘next’ priority. They will never do anything that can even be remotely read to suggest that trans people are equal in any way to the rich, white conservaqueers who own, er…, fund HRC.

  • Kat

    Gee Graykn, don’t you know ‘the plan’?

    When the gay-only ENDA was the top priority, the trans-addition was the ‘next’ priority.

    But, then Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is to become the next ‘next’ priority.

    Then, gay marriage is to become the next, next ‘next’ priority.

    Then trans…

    Yah.

    Trans inclusive employment anti-discrimination was never actually intended to be, nor will it ever be, HRC’s current, or even immediate ‘next’ priority. They will never do anything that can even be remotely read to suggest that trans people are equal in any way to the rich, white conservaqueers who own, er…, fund HRC.

  • Honestly, I didn’t really expect anything else from HRC. They’ve only ever payed lip service to trans*folk (if even that) and they’ve sold us out before. Of course, by now it is traditional for GLB groups to betray trans*people. The Gay Liberation Front did it, the Gay Activists Alliance did it, the Daughters of Bilitis did it, amongst other groups.
    Of course, I’ve also seen GLB folk say things to the effect of “fight for your own rights, we worked for ours you work for yours.”
    Completely forgetting that it was trans*women and drag queens that led the Stonewall riots, that trans*women like Silvia Rivera were heavily involved in the creation and activism of early GLB rights organizations, etc. Oftentimes these trans*women were kicked to the curb when the organization they worked for became more mainstream. I’ve seen a few histories of Silvia Rivera mention that she would be asked to lead dangerous marches only to be pushed aside by whitebread GL people when the media came by.

    And I get that marriage is important. I get that there are rights given to spouses that you can’t get any other way.
    But I think having a job and a place to sleep at night are a bit more immediate.
    Why doesn’t HRC give marriage a rest and work on something else for now? Like setting up shelters for queer and/or trans* youths and adults who are currently homeless. Shelters that are actually safe for queer and/or trans* folk. Since you know, in most shelters you are housed according to assigned sex and that is very bad for trans*folk. And of course, the general homophobia and transphobia that queer and trans* folk are subjected to in most shelters.

  • Honestly, I didn’t really expect anything else from HRC. They’ve only ever payed lip service to trans*folk (if even that) and they’ve sold us out before. Of course, by now it is traditional for GLB groups to betray trans*people. The Gay Liberation Front did it, the Gay Activists Alliance did it, the Daughters of Bilitis did it, amongst other groups.
    Of course, I’ve also seen GLB folk say things to the effect of “fight for your own rights, we worked for ours you work for yours.”
    Completely forgetting that it was trans*women and drag queens that led the Stonewall riots, that trans*women like Silvia Rivera were heavily involved in the creation and activism of early GLB rights organizations, etc. Oftentimes these trans*women were kicked to the curb when the organization they worked for became more mainstream. I’ve seen a few histories of Silvia Rivera mention that she would be asked to lead dangerous marches only to be pushed aside by whitebread GL people when the media came by.

    And I get that marriage is important. I get that there are rights given to spouses that you can’t get any other way.
    But I think having a job and a place to sleep at night are a bit more immediate.
    Why doesn’t HRC give marriage a rest and work on something else for now? Like setting up shelters for queer and/or trans* youths and adults who are currently homeless. Shelters that are actually safe for queer and/or trans* folk. Since you know, in most shelters you are housed according to assigned sex and that is very bad for trans*folk. And of course, the general homophobia and transphobia that queer and trans* folk are subjected to in most shelters.

  • Honestly, I didn’t really expect anything else from HRC. They’ve only ever payed lip service to trans*folk (if even that) and they’ve sold us out before. Of course, by now it is traditional for GLB groups to betray trans*people. The Gay Liberation Front did it, the Gay Activists Alliance did it, the Daughters of Bilitis did it, amongst other groups.
    Of course, I’ve also seen GLB folk say things to the effect of “fight for your own rights, we worked for ours you work for yours.”
    Completely forgetting that it was trans*women and drag queens that led the Stonewall riots, that trans*women like Silvia Rivera were heavily involved in the creation and activism of early GLB rights organizations, etc. Oftentimes these trans*women were kicked to the curb when the organization they worked for became more mainstream. I’ve seen a few histories of Silvia Rivera mention that she would be asked to lead dangerous marches only to be pushed aside by whitebread GL people when the media came by.

    And I get that marriage is important. I get that there are rights given to spouses that you can’t get any other way.
    But I think having a job and a place to sleep at night are a bit more immediate.
    Why doesn’t HRC give marriage a rest and work on something else for now? Like setting up shelters for queer and/or trans* youths and adults who are currently homeless. Shelters that are actually safe for queer and/or trans* folk. Since you know, in most shelters you are housed according to assigned sex and that is very bad for trans*folk. And of course, the general homophobia and transphobia that queer and trans* folk are subjected to in most shelters.

  • Kat

    “The Real ID act will go in effect soon, why no questions about it? Without changes in the Real ID act and without protections in ENDA, transgender people are at even a higher risk of being stigmatized and marginalized in the workplace.”

    Gee, Marti, you’re acting as if anyone at HRC actually understands, er…, gives a damn about how the law really works where trans people are involved.

    Don’t you know that their jobs are to (1) make all other issues subservient to gay marriage, (2) collect paychecks they haven’t earned; (3) pad a retirement plan they don’t deserve; and (4) prepare to slither out of HRC into academia to suck up all of the ‘sexuality’ oxygen at universities to ensure that there will be no desire/funding to hire trans academics?

  • Kat

    “The Real ID act will go in effect soon, why no questions about it? Without changes in the Real ID act and without protections in ENDA, transgender people are at even a higher risk of being stigmatized and marginalized in the workplace.”

    Gee, Marti, you’re acting as if anyone at HRC actually understands, er…, gives a damn about how the law really works where trans people are involved.

    Don’t you know that their jobs are to (1) make all other issues subservient to gay marriage, (2) collect paychecks they haven’t earned; (3) pad a retirement plan they don’t deserve; and (4) prepare to slither out of HRC into academia to suck up all of the ‘sexuality’ oxygen at universities to ensure that there will be no desire/funding to hire trans academics?

  • Last night was a joke. Why doesn’t HRC just go ahead and drop the LBT. It is a rich white mans club, no different from a stuffy country club. Like you, I support same sex marriage, but it’s not the most important issue facing the community. Employment discrimination and hate crimes rank much higher and yet the focus was on something that just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Joe Solomnese never faced a day of discrimination in his life so why was he up there asking the questions. Where were the ones who are really on the frontline? Out of sight, that’s where.

    As for the candidates, well, the only two who really believe in equality for all are marginalized by both the progressive community at large (see John Aravosis at americablog) and the queer community (see not inviting Gravel). Last night was no different.

    It was clear last night that Edwards wasn’t comfortable, Clinton is just a robot and Obama seems to believe in separate but equal. Only Kucinich and Gravel support our cause (I’ve heard Dennis talk about trans rights many times) and yet the yahoos who put that show on last night will line up right behind Clinton, Edwards and Obama.

  • Last night was a joke. Why doesn’t HRC just go ahead and drop the LBT. It is a rich white mans club, no different from a stuffy country club. Like you, I support same sex marriage, but it’s not the most important issue facing the community. Employment discrimination and hate crimes rank much higher and yet the focus was on something that just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Joe Solomnese never faced a day of discrimination in his life so why was he up there asking the questions. Where were the ones who are really on the frontline? Out of sight, that’s where.

    As for the candidates, well, the only two who really believe in equality for all are marginalized by both the progressive community at large (see John Aravosis at americablog) and the queer community (see not inviting Gravel). Last night was no different.

    It was clear last night that Edwards wasn’t comfortable, Clinton is just a robot and Obama seems to believe in separate but equal. Only Kucinich and Gravel support our cause (I’ve heard Dennis talk about trans rights many times) and yet the yahoos who put that show on last night will line up right behind Clinton, Edwards and Obama.

  • Patti the lebian mom

    Marti,

    I fell asleep while watching this candidate “love in.”

    I don’t know that I felt this presentation was well thought out or that people consciously thought about what they would ask. At least it didn’t appear to be at all that polished.

    To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. Bored is the first word that comes to mind.

    This morning while brushing through news progams I hear light mention of this on CNN – calling it a gay forum on a gay (gasp!) cable channel….

    While reading your commentary on this event, the first thing that came to thought is this: 5 million right wing “christians” riled to the core by the spin of Carl Rove regarding SAME SEX MARRIAGE – it disgusts me that the people who represent the antithisis of anything Christian I have been made aware of would be placed in office by frightening a hateful group of people who claim to be compassionate.

    Anyway, it is food for thought.

    I am still disgusted by the thought that we have 4 extra years of GWB because of the phoney baloney attempt to push an anti same sex amendment into the constitution.

    Thinking back, I don’t know what I would have made different in the “presentation” but then again I do know that it could have been better…

    Your thoughts?

  • Patti the lebian mom

    Marti,

    I fell asleep while watching this candidate “love in.”

    I don’t know that I felt this presentation was well thought out or that people consciously thought about what they would ask. At least it didn’t appear to be at all that polished.

    To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. Bored is the first word that comes to mind.

    This morning while brushing through news progams I hear light mention of this on CNN – calling it a gay forum on a gay (gasp!) cable channel….

    While reading your commentary on this event, the first thing that came to thought is this: 5 million right wing “christians” riled to the core by the spin of Carl Rove regarding SAME SEX MARRIAGE – it disgusts me that the people who represent the antithisis of anything Christian I have been made aware of would be placed in office by frightening a hateful group of people who claim to be compassionate.

    Anyway, it is food for thought.

    I am still disgusted by the thought that we have 4 extra years of GWB because of the phoney baloney attempt to push an anti same sex amendment into the constitution.

    Thinking back, I don’t know what I would have made different in the “presentation” but then again I do know that it could have been better…

    Your thoughts?