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March 5, 2008
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March 8, 2008

The Many Faces Of Mara Keisling: The Death of United ENDA?

mara12

Is one of the key players in the United ENDA movement, Mara Keisling, signaling its death? Recently Keisling said:

‘We have to show Barney Frank 220 votes,’ she said. ‘If we show him 220 votes, nobody is going to work harder on this. The same with HRC… It’s going to happen again next year. ‘- After ENDA, the Fighter’s Resilient

According to Donna Rose’s blog :

3/1/2008 – They’re currently planning to hold hearings in Congress specifically about transgender workplace issues in April. Whereas original plans were to tightly control those hearings, Rep. Frank has largely turned over control of gathering the stories to NCTE/Mara Keisling (who’s home in DC with pneumonia). Mara has been diligently working with many of us to identify potential speakers who can come to Washington DC to speak and I expect she’ll be finalizing that to give to Barney shortly.

Frank later emailed Rose and said:

3/5/2008 – “…at the request of Mara Keisling, I agreed to meet with her to discuss the hearing. In fact, my office has met with several groups for input, but Ms. Rose’s assertion that I “largely turned over control of gathering the stories to NCTE/Mara Keisling” is wholly baseless. In fact, the Committee on Education and Workforce has jurisdiction over this bill and therefore, the “control” was never mine to turn over. And while the blog referenced NCTE, the fact is, several groups have been working to identify potential witnesses –in fact, the ultimate decision about who is ultimately selected rests with subcommittee Chairman Rob Andrews and full committee Chairman George Miller, after consulting with me.

On a later entry, Rose said:

During our conversation today HRC came up several times. Joe (Racalto,
Barney Frank’s senior policy adviser) went out of his way to assure me that HRC is taking the lead in these hearings in many ways. As far as our community is concerned I’ll take his word for it and let it all unfold….

It’s interesting to timeline Keisling’s comments about the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):

05/23/2007

(concerning the Matthew Shepard Act)

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) did an incredibly skillful and professional job as a lead organization on lobbying for the bill.Their work and efforts were absolutely everything that any LGBT person could hope for–they really did ALL LGBT people proud. And they as individuals and as an organization are putting their hearts into transgender work and we should be very appreciative. – (posted to TGv Advocacy)

In that same post she said about ENDA:

Our Allies: Years ago, we didn’t have too many. We had to educate and, yes, fight our way back into the LGBT movement. I know there are still imperfections and I know that some trans people are still skeptical. Yet, I can tell you without hesitation that the entire organized LGBT movement is with us now. Our education worked. Our indignation worked. It is our moral responsibility now to embrace the people we asked and demanded to be our allies. If we do not believe in education, in persuasion, in redemption, we have
no right being in civil rights. Why educate if not to win over? Why win over if not to embrace and move forward together? HRC really is an LGBT organization now and getting a lot of great work done for us all. Congressman Frank and Senator Kennedy too. Let’s move on together. – (posted to TGv Advocacy)

7/1/2007

(concerning protesting)

Anyone (and again I am not saying you are suggesting this) who would still hope to positively impact ENDA or LLEHCCPA by protesting allies who are really getting the job done for and with us–allies like HRC, Rep. Frank and Sen.Kennedy–in my opinion, simply would not be seeing or else not understanding what is going on. – (posted to TGv Advocacy)

10/10/2007

We consider this action a kind of ‘family intervention’. We believe that HRC is misguided in their response and lack of action on the ENDA legislation. While we appreciate the support that HRC has given us in the transgender community, we are disappointed with HRC at the moment, – Transgender Activists Protest HRC Dinner

10/13/2007
(concerning HRC’s “brokering” of the inclusive ENDA [2015] putting it off to be heard in the future “when it has the votes to pass.”)

HRC’s ‘new deal’ is entirely spin meant to undermine the unprecedented grassroots efforts of hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals in order to allow movement of their vanity bill that no one including Speaker Pelosi or Congressman Frank says they really want. – NCTE’s Daily Update

01/24/2008

‘Our official position right now is we are extremely disappointed and angry at HRC. … The real bottom line is right now NCTE will not do anything that will rehabilitate HRC as a legitimate spokesman for transgender people … until they stop actively hurting trans people’, said Keisling. She characterized HRC’s advocacy of the sexual orientation-only version of ENDA in the House, as well as its expected lobbying to pass the bill this year in the Senate, as hurting trans people.

As for NCTE’s future plans for ENDA, Keisling said that after the election she expects advocates to lobby a new Congress and a new president in favor of passing a trans-inclusive ENDA bill.

‘It is our expectation that in 2009 Congress is going to hear from a very united LGBT movement,’ said Keisling. ‘Whether that includes HRC I have no idea.’ – Trans-HRC schism widens

3/5/2008

‘We have to show Barney Frank 220 votes,’ she said. ‘If we show him 220 votes, nobody is going to work harder on this. The same with HRC… It’s going to happen again next year.’ – After ENDA, the Fighter’s Resilient

As recent as yesterday, HRC was lobbying for a non-inclusive ENDA.
In an email from Cuc Vu to the HRC Steering Committee, she writes:

Lobby ask:continue to build support in the House for HR 2015; request the Senate to take action to prohibit workplace discrimination.

Since the non-inclusive bill (3685) has already passed the House, asking the Senate to take action to prohibit workplace discrimination is asking them to support 3685. Essentially it’s business as usual for HRC. Nothing has substantially changed in their lobbying efforts. They’ve had no “rehabilitative” moment or change of heart. If you take Keisling’s words to heart, the only other conclusion that seems logical is that United ENDA is dead.

  • I have only one rule when it comes to ANY discrimination….“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. Sad to say, this ancient rule is nowhere to be seen in the modern American arena. Do we discriminate against people that are ‘different’ from us? What a strange world that we still have issues regarding discrimination. Like sexual harassment, the true victims rarely report it while the abused suffer in silence. This is a problem. Huge Problem. In my book I devote a chapter to discrimination and how it is often over-looked or swept into a dark corner. And yes, it still exists in modern America. While we pour more stupid laws into the books to prevent such painful actions, we fail to fix the real problem, that is, the root. In addition, we have been conditioned by lawyers to believe that legal and moral are the same thing. So sad. Whenever a human is treated differently than the masses, we should take a cold, hard look at the situation. A hard look indeed. Maybe even the mirror. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today’s Business Leaders http://www.michaellgooch.com

  • I have only one rule when it comes to ANY discrimination….“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. Sad to say, this ancient rule is nowhere to be seen in the modern American arena. Do we discriminate against people that are ‘different’ from us? What a strange world that we still have issues regarding discrimination. Like sexual harassment, the true victims rarely report it while the abused suffer in silence. This is a problem. Huge Problem. In my book I devote a chapter to discrimination and how it is often over-looked or swept into a dark corner. And yes, it still exists in modern America. While we pour more stupid laws into the books to prevent such painful actions, we fail to fix the real problem, that is, the root. In addition, we have been conditioned by lawyers to believe that legal and moral are the same thing. So sad. Whenever a human is treated differently than the masses, we should take a cold, hard look at the situation. A hard look indeed. Maybe even the mirror. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today’s Business Leaders http://www.michaellgooch.com

  • Pingback: The Death of United ENDA Part III: The Funeral()

  • Polar

    [quote comment=””][quote comment=””][…] but today isn’t one of those days. I’ve said repeatedly that United ENDA is dead ( here and here). And I’ve said that we had better plan on not being in ENDA. The fight for an […][/quote]

    Again, why dose the transgender community continue to try and include the intersex community when most intersex advocates don’t want the intersex community included. It seems that some people in the T community are hell bent on including the intersex community within the T community to make themselves look big, when in fact they are tiny community. This is one of the reasons why the intersex advocates had it right when they wanted to distance themselves from the T community.[/quote]

    That began with Riki Wilchins’ GenderPAC Lobby Days, held in 1997-1999, when Wilchins made an effort at outreach and inclusion to the IS community. Representatives from the IS community addressed the plenaries and a good number of IS people participated in the lobbying efforts.

    There is a good number of T people who discover that they are, in reality, IS, when they transition and undertake medical procedures. We’re natural allies, really. But I accept that “transgender” has been thoroughly tainted now by Frank, HRC, the “not in my bathroom” whackjobs, the Sisters of Indulgence, etc. IS people may be able to achieve success quietly on their own using a medical model. Good for you if you can, and I’ll cheer for you if you do it.

    In an ideal world, IS people would be part of a broad alliance for employment/housing/public accommodations rights, along with T people, GLB people, and other unfairly oppressed groups who’s civil rights are challenged by the societal bipolar definitions of male and female. The old paradigm for achieving civil rights laws was in developing the broadest possible coalition and not excluding anyone. However, I don’t think that’s possible anymore. Handicapped people threw T people under the bus with the ADA in 1990, which contained the Helms Prohibition, and I have no doubt that more of the same will happen in the next few years to come.

  • Nick

    [quote comment=””][…] but today isn’t one of those days. I’ve said repeatedly that United ENDA is dead ( here and here). And I’ve said that we had better plan on not being in ENDA. The fight for an […][/quote]

    Again, why dose the transgender community continue to try and include the intersex community when most intersex advocates don’t want the intersex community included. It seems that some people in the T community are hell bent on including the intersex community within the T community to make themselves look big, when in fact they are tiny community. This is one of the reasons why the intersex advocates had it right when they wanted to distance themselves from the T community.

  • Pingback: Top Secret: The Transgender Workplace Discrimination Hearings()

  • Pingback: Starting From Scratch:The Death of United ENDA Part II()

  • Susan, yes, I have given it thought. You may contact me off line. @gmail

  • Susan, yes, I have given it thought. You may contact me off line. @gmail

  • Susan

    Well, Stellewriter, I don’t think it is any secret what the backlash would have been if I had written what you have above. But as I didn’t…

    as I believe you are right…

    and as I don’t think the advocates and activists will ever, ever give up their GLB security blanket…

    why do you, Stellewriter, not lobby for transsexuals seeking their own agenda, completely and utterly independent of the GLB?

    • Polar

      [quote comment=””][quote comment=””][…] but today isn’t one of those days. I’ve said repeatedly that United ENDA is dead ( here and here). And I’ve said that we had better plan on not being in ENDA. The fight for an […][/quote]

      Again, why dose the transgender community continue to try and include the intersex community when most intersex advocates don’t want the intersex community included. It seems that some people in the T community are hell bent on including the intersex community within the T community to make themselves look big, when in fact they are tiny community. This is one of the reasons why the intersex advocates had it right when they wanted to distance themselves from the T community.[/quote]

      That began with Riki Wilchins’ GenderPAC Lobby Days, held in 1997-1999, when Wilchins made an effort at outreach and inclusion to the IS community. Representatives from the IS community addressed the plenaries and a good number of IS people participated in the lobbying efforts.

      There is a good number of T people who discover that they are, in reality, IS, when they transition and undertake medical procedures. We’re natural allies, really. But I accept that “transgender” has been thoroughly tainted now by Frank, HRC, the “not in my bathroom” whackjobs, the Sisters of Indulgence, etc. IS people may be able to achieve success quietly on their own using a medical model. Good for you if you can, and I’ll cheer for you if you do it.

      In an ideal world, IS people would be part of a broad alliance for employment/housing/public accommodations rights, along with T people, GLB people, and other unfairly oppressed groups who’s civil rights are challenged by the societal bipolar definitions of male and female. The old paradigm for achieving civil rights laws was in developing the broadest possible coalition and not excluding anyone. However, I don’t think that’s possible anymore. Handicapped people threw T people under the bus with the ADA in 1990, which contained the Helms Prohibition, and I have no doubt that more of the same will happen in the next few years to come.

      • Nick

        [quote comment=””][…] but today isn’t one of those days. I’ve said repeatedly that United ENDA is dead ( here and here). And I’ve said that we had better plan on not being in ENDA. The fight for an […][/quote]

        Again, why dose the transgender community continue to try and include the intersex community when most intersex advocates don’t want the intersex community included. It seems that some people in the T community are hell bent on including the intersex community within the T community to make themselves look big, when in fact they are tiny community. This is one of the reasons why the intersex advocates had it right when they wanted to distance themselves from the T community.

  • Susan

    Well, Stellewriter, I don’t think it is any secret what the backlash would have been if I had written what you have above. But as I didn’t…

    as I believe you are right…

    and as I don’t think the advocates and activists will ever, ever give up their GLB security blanket…

    why do you, Stellewriter, not lobby for transsexuals seeking their own agenda, completely and utterly independent of the GLB?

  • The Transgender are not well liked, or in fact found as important to the gay community. As was demonstrated by Barney Frank and HRC, we are not considered as equal or worth anything beyond using as a lever and tool. The militant gay coalition inserts itself to promote bad bills like this one, so as to gain leverage in other areas. As a Transsexual I had protection as a woman. Now, however, I am at risk and placed in a third class without assurance. The gay community may say they support us! Yet, in most verbiage it appears otherwise, They do not express understanding or any real concern. I can say it no other way, and it is representative of the same mentality that was invoked in 30’s Germany. Many Transsexuals I know also recognize that we are loosing ground to the gay political upheaval. It is not by accident that often the militant gay community is working to incite further division. Simply, they use existing medically defined practice and law oriented to the Intersex and Transsexual and pervert it so as to give credence to the militant gay community. The elitist gay thugs are not stupid, and they are wielding a very strong hand. Just as we have seen in the ENDA debacle, they are using the Trans’ issue to promote their own agenda. I am serious about my view as to their working from both ends. They work behind the scene to effect political action for their gain, and out in front appear to support a different position. ENDA was a perfect example of how to use a group to leverage movement, and then drop them by decisions made behind their backs. I would propose that the law, and the way it was written, and then parts pulled was done so on purpose. Worse than bate and switch it was a ratcheting exercise. Hope and promise paid in dismissal and rejection. It is a common political parry. Propose and make a front, then, very cleverly, while stripping the existing protections afforded to the Intersex and Transsexuals, the gay initiatives will be written in. It will happen over time in a way that the public will not see as offensive. Again the falsely portrayed Intersex and Transsexual danger, continued vilification and marginalization by HRC and Barney will continue. The offensive language and apparent threats built up in promotion of ENDA will be eliminated; expect to see the Intersex and Transgender made further the focus of public terror, to be nullified, and in strategic and careful legal language the militant gays will have founded a basis for future changes. It is subterfuge that no one will notice, as the focus will always point to the freaks who must be excluded. . We have been used badly and there is no apology offered, nor one to be found.

  • The Transgender are not well liked, or in fact found as important to the gay community. As was demonstrated by Barney Frank and HRC, we are not considered as equal or worth anything beyond using as a lever and tool. The militant gay coalition inserts itself to promote bad bills like this one, so as to gain leverage in other areas. As a Transsexual I had protection as a woman. Now, however, I am at risk and placed in a third class without assurance. The gay community may say they support us! Yet, in most verbiage it appears otherwise, They do not express understanding or any real concern. I can say it no other way, and it is representative of the same mentality that was invoked in 30’s Germany. Many Transsexuals I know also recognize that we are loosing ground to the gay political upheaval. It is not by accident that often the militant gay community is working to incite further division. Simply, they use existing medically defined practice and law oriented to the Intersex and Transsexual and pervert it so as to give credence to the militant gay community. The elitist gay thugs are not stupid, and they are wielding a very strong hand. Just as we have seen in the ENDA debacle, they are using the Trans’ issue to promote their own agenda. I am serious about my view as to their working from both ends. They work behind the scene to effect political action for their gain, and out in front appear to support a different position. ENDA was a perfect example of how to use a group to leverage movement, and then drop them by decisions made behind their backs. I would propose that the law, and the way it was written, and then parts pulled was done so on purpose. Worse than bate and switch it was a ratcheting exercise. Hope and promise paid in dismissal and rejection. It is a common political parry. Propose and make a front, then, very cleverly, while stripping the existing protections afforded to the Intersex and Transsexuals, the gay initiatives will be written in. It will happen over time in a way that the public will not see as offensive. Again the falsely portrayed Intersex and Transsexual danger, continued vilification and marginalization by HRC and Barney will continue. The offensive language and apparent threats built up in promotion of ENDA will be eliminated; expect to see the Intersex and Transgender made further the focus of public terror, to be nullified, and in strategic and careful legal language the militant gays will have founded a basis for future changes. It is subterfuge that no one will notice, as the focus will always point to the freaks who must be excluded. . We have been used badly and there is no apology offered, nor one to be found.

  • I couldn’t have said it better Ursa. We’ve been preaching that for years — have contacts up on the Hill. You may hear whatever the organizations and politicians want you to hear and believe, but the truth comes from your friends who work there and will be honest with you. It won’t stop Barney, HRC, et. al. … but you’ll save yourself from running over the cliff with the other lemmings.

  • I couldn’t have said it better Ursa. We’ve been preaching that for years — have contacts up on the Hill. You may hear whatever the organizations and politicians want you to hear and believe, but the truth comes from your friends who work there and will be honest with you. It won’t stop Barney, HRC, et. al. … but you’ll save yourself from running over the cliff with the other lemmings.

  • Ursa Maritimus

    First of all, major compliments on the pseudo-
    horror movie opening graphic. Have to admit I cracked up on that note. Vincent Price and Clive Barker would be proud.

    I find this all to be less a matter of the various pronouncements of Mara K., and less still a matter of HRC (the GLB rights organization, not the prez candidate), and most importantly a matter of what Barney Frank’s office is saying.

    Frank, for his part, has been stating that the T community has done a poor job of lobbying. Despite the fact that T people have been going to the Hill for over a decade, we truly have not done a good job, by Frank’s means of judgment. We come to the Hill, a couple people per state, once a year or maybe every 2 years, lobby our local rep’s offices, leave documents at others, and get back in our cars and drive home. Frank is expecting us to do what other interest groups – fund a permanent presence on the Hill with professional paid lobbyists, possibly with enough in the kitty to drop a bit into key offices’ campaign funds.

    Donna Rose’s blog has carried many comments from Racalto, in Frank’s office. Read them. He is outlining a blueprint for how to go about succeeding. Are we, as a community, prepared to follow that blueprint?

    I don’t particularly care if you like HRC or not (I don’t); or support IFGE, NTAC, NCTE, or all or none of the above. I’ve been saying for months now that every T person should know their representative and Senators, or their campaign opponents, on a first-name basis. Go with an organization, do it with your local organization, or go cowboy, just do it. I’m more confident than ever in that goal, now.

  • Ursa Maritimus

    First of all, major compliments on the pseudo-
    horror movie opening graphic. Have to admit I cracked up on that note. Vincent Price and Clive Barker would be proud.

    I find this all to be less a matter of the various pronouncements of Mara K., and less still a matter of HRC (the GLB rights organization, not the prez candidate), and most importantly a matter of what Barney Frank’s office is saying.

    Frank, for his part, has been stating that the T community has done a poor job of lobbying. Despite the fact that T people have been going to the Hill for over a decade, we truly have not done a good job, by Frank’s means of judgment. We come to the Hill, a couple people per state, once a year or maybe every 2 years, lobby our local rep’s offices, leave documents at others, and get back in our cars and drive home. Frank is expecting us to do what other interest groups – fund a permanent presence on the Hill with professional paid lobbyists, possibly with enough in the kitty to drop a bit into key offices’ campaign funds.

    Donna Rose’s blog has carried many comments from Racalto, in Frank’s office. Read them. He is outlining a blueprint for how to go about succeeding. Are we, as a community, prepared to follow that blueprint?

    I don’t particularly care if you like HRC or not (I don’t); or support IFGE, NTAC, NCTE, or all or none of the above. I’ve been saying for months now that every T person should know their representative and Senators, or their campaign opponents, on a first-name basis. Go with an organization, do it with your local organization, or go cowboy, just do it. I’m more confident than ever in that goal, now.