Little Ole’ Bigot
March 18, 2007
Every Rose Has Its Thorns
March 23, 2007

Rose Colored Glasses

transrights2.jpgIn March of 2006, I suggested to members of the Indianapolis GLBT activist community that they not support the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) fund raisers in the state until HRC fully supported transgender people in hate crimes legislation. I received an email back from Donna Rose, who served on the HRC Business Council.

“There is a significant amount of history to overcome – full of anger, frustration, and distrust. None of us can change the past. However, to believe that things are the same today as they have always been is absolutely and totally wrong. And, as long as I’m involved things will progressively get better. When I see things that I believe deserve criticism I’m not shy about speaking up. But, to make a blanket statement that HRC is not supportive of trans people is just plain wrong.”

Yesterday the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (LLEHCPA) was re-introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). It’s the same bill that passed the House in 2005.

When Senator Edward Kennedy introduced the bill in the Senate, HRC supported it even though it WASN’T trans-inclusive (The version that passed the House had inclusive language). The bill died in the Senate without being voted on.

Today HRC is asking visitors to its website to either ask their Senator to support the bill, or thank them thank if they already support it. Kennedy’s page is shown below:

hrcnothanks.gif

Currently there is no hate crimes bill introduced to the Senate, so they’re referring to the 2005 bill. We’re supposed to thank Kennedy for CO-SPONSORING A NON-INCLUSIVE BILL!

In 2005 a sign on letter supported by more than 40 of Washington D.C.’s top national organizations was sent to Senator Kennedy’s office requesting that he introduce the fully inclusive House version of the Hate Crimes bill as an add on to the child safety act. HRC refused to sign the letter, saying they wanted to see the hate crimes bill in a conference committee where transgender-inclusive language could have been added.

They refused to confront Kennedy on his non-inclusive bill; now the HRC is asking visitors to THANK Senator Kennedy for NOT BEING INCLUSIVE?!

Donna, if you’re listening, this shell game doesn’t seem like progress to me. It seems like the actions of an organization that is ashamed to advocate for transpeople. Look at HRC’s talking points for the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act. You’ll see no mention of transgender people at all.

Maybe I’m deaf, but I don’t hear your voice.

30 Comments

  1. Sabrina Star says:

    The HR bill is finally available on THOMAS. It does include gender identity. Though, as you’ve mentioned, the one to be concerned about is the Senate bill. So now we watch, and wait.

  2. Sabrina Star says:

    The HR bill is finally available on THOMAS. It does include gender identity. Though, as you’ve mentioned, the one to be concerned about is the Senate bill. So now we watch, and wait.

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  4. Sean-Michael says:

    I find this entire arguement confusing. I’ve tried writing to HRC directly asking for clarification and get none. I don’t know where to look up the bill to read it for myself and don’t understand Chris’s comments on here. Chris seems to be saying that the current bill doesn’t include us but the upcoming one does. When is this inclusive one coming up for vote? Does it have as much support as the noninclusive version? It’s all very confusing to this lay person

  5. Sean-Michael says:

    I find this entire arguement confusing. I’ve tried writing to HRC directly asking for clarification and get none. I don’t know where to look up the bill to read it for myself and don’t understand Chris’s comments on here. Chris seems to be saying that the current bill doesn’t include us but the upcoming one does. When is this inclusive one coming up for vote? Does it have as much support as the noninclusive version? It’s all very confusing to this lay person

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  7. Hi Jay. Thanks for clarifying. As far as the talking points, if you follow the links, they go to “Talking Points: Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act “Hate Crimes Legislation”. What Chris pointed to was a description of the bill.

    “I understand the skepticism, but I agree with Donna — HRC is not the same organization it was years ago when it comes to trans issues”

    I never mentioned any years other than 2005 and 2007, so I don’t see how bringing up “years ago” is relevant.

    As far as working our butts off, I think we’re all in agreement that on that.

  8. Jay says:

    It sounds like Chris is saying the identical version will be introduced in the Senate, so those talking points would describe the same bill.

    I understand the skepticism, but I agree with Donna — HRC is not the same organization it was years ago when it comes to trans issues. Let’s see what bill is introduced by Kennedy and when it’s the right one, which I trust HRC that it is, let’s work our butts off to get it passed.

  9. Jay says:

    It sounds like Chris is saying the identical version will be introduced in the Senate, so those talking points would describe the same bill.

    I understand the skepticism, but I agree with Donna — HRC is not the same organization it was years ago when it comes to trans issues. Let’s see what bill is introduced by Kennedy and when it’s the right one, which I trust HRC that it is, let’s work our butts off to get it passed.

  10. Chris, thanks for more information on the bill itself. You’ve obviously seen the language of the bill, could you furnish the language?

    The link you provided isn’t talking points, but an explanation of the bill itself. The link I provided is titled “Talking Points: Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act “Hate Crimes Legislation”

    I’d agree that massive support of the community is needed in passing this bill. But that support won’t come by hiding transgender inclusion or by being dishonest about Senator Kennedy’s previous bill. Give HRC’s weak commitment to transadvocacy, the transgender community has good reason to be weary of HRC. As far as the action alert, I’m gonna do one better. I’m going to DC and talk to my congressmen directly.

  11. The bill # introduced this week will be HR 1592 and should be on Thomas within a few days. Again, the Senate version will be introduced next month and be identical to the House bill with the stronger language.

    Transgender individuals are included in our talking points and in the bill itself. We need everyone’s help in building support for and helping pass this bill. Please use our action alert you referenced earlier to send messages to your Members of Congress either urging them to co-sponsor the bill or thanking them for their support.

    Chris

  12. The bill # introduced this week will be HR 1592 and should be on Thomas within a few days. Again, the Senate version will be introduced next month and be identical to the House bill with the stronger language.

    Transgender individuals are included in our talking points and in the bill itself. We need everyone’s help in building support for and helping pass this bill. Please use our action alert you referenced earlier to send messages to your Members of Congress either urging them to co-sponsor the bill or thanking them for their support.

    Chris

  13. If what you’re saying is true, it’s a great step forward.

    I haven’t seen the actual language of the current bill (even though it’s said to be the same as last year), but I’ve stated in this post that the original House bill was inclusive. The reintroduced bill isn’t up on Thomas yet, is it?

    Do you deny that Senator Kennedy sponsored a non-inclusive bill last year?

    I’m curious, if transgender inclusion is so important this year, why are we not included in HRC’s talking points?

    Marti

  14. FYI – The Senate version of the hate crime bill will be introduced next month and it will be the strengthened language IDENTICAL to the House Bill.

    Here’s the link again that was posted in an earlier comment to HRC’sfact sheet on the hate crime bill that shows the bill covers gender identity.

    Chris Johnson
    HRC Director of Public Affairs

  15. FYI – The Senate version of the hate crime bill will be introduced next month and it will be the strengthened language IDENTICAL to the House Bill.

    Here’s the link again that was posted in an earlier comment to HRC’sfact sheet on the hate crime bill that shows the bill covers gender identity.

    Chris Johnson
    HRC Director of Public Affairs

  16. The scary thing is that no one will say we’re not included. Many transpeople think we are included because the pundits will come out and say that “there is no explicit language,” as if such thing as “non-explicit language” actually even exists. Non-explicit language means “YOU AREN’T INCLUDED.” I’ll be writing on this topic soon.

  17. Sabrina Star says:

    We’re still waiting for trans-inclusion in NY’s SONDA, and that’s been what, five years? Has HRC done anything to change that? Where is HRC’s support for GENDA? How many times do activists have to hear, “Help us get our rights, then we’ll help you get yours,” before the lesson of history, from the suffrage movement to the present, sinks in?

  18. What was introduced in THE HOUSE is trans-inclusive, and was in the last election cycle (when it passed). The Senate version that died in committee last time around was NOT trans-inclusive. The important point here is two fold, one that HRC is already being deceitful, and two, they aren’t lobbying for inclusion in their talking points.

    It’s also good to remember what Chris Matthews said about the language AFTER passage in the house last time around. He’s a spokesperson for Sen. Smith (one of the two sponsors) said after the House vote he stated that the Senate version would not be changed to include gender identity. “The Senate works on precedent,” Matthews said at the time. “This bill has good bipartisan support. The best thing for hate crimes legislation is for it to pass.”

    This is a key time for HRC to educate, promote, and advocate for transgender people. It’s unfortunate they haven chosen to hide us, or act as if we’ve been included, when we haven’t.

  19. Sabrina Star says:

    The HRC is claiming that gender identity is covered in the act. Do you have a link to the text of the bill? I can’t find it on THOMAS. I did find a link to the ‘David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Bill of 2007’ sponsored by Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX, which is TRANS-EXCLUSIONARY.

  20. Sabrina Star says:

    The HRC is claiming that gender identity is covered in the act. Do you have a link to the text of the bill? I can’t find it on THOMAS. I did find a link to the ‘David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Bill of 2007’ sponsored by Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX, which is TRANS-EXCLUSIONARY.

  21. Danee says:

    I made a comment on a Huffinton Post by Eric Alva (sp) concerning that. In his blog, he mentioned being a HRC representative for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual and Transgender, yet for the rest of his article, he mentioned GLBi but not the T and did so at least four or five times. I also sent a comment to his HRC site, both asking him his stance on transgendered in the military. Of course the sound of crickets have since greeted me and I have been told by others that is common for HRC to do. I will admit though, I’m quite new to this and do not have historical knowledge of HRC.

  22. Danee says:

    I made a comment on a Huffinton Post by Eric Alva (sp) concerning that. In his blog, he mentioned being a HRC representative for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual and Transgender, yet for the rest of his article, he mentioned GLBi but not the T and did so at least four or five times. I also sent a comment to his HRC site, both asking him his stance on transgendered in the military. Of course the sound of crickets have since greeted me and I have been told by others that is common for HRC to do. I will admit though, I’m quite new to this and do not have historical knowledge of HRC.