Trans Inclusion Cut from ENDA After Vote Reveals Lack of Support

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act, or ENDA, is to be taken up by the Education and Labor Committee next Tuesday, and sent to the House floor after that for a vote. It will not include protections for transgender people as a preliminary vote revealed that because of the trans-inclusive nature of the bill it did not have enough support to pass, the Washington Post reports.

EndaAccording to The Advocate, Rep. Barney Frank will introduce two versions of the bill. ENDA, which would extend civil rights protections based on sexual orientation, and a new bill, “GENDA”, that will take up civil rights protections for transgender people. The latter, obviously, is not likely to pass until further hearings are held.

Via WaPo: “The last time Congress took up ENDA was in 1996, when it failed to clear the Senate by just one vote. It should have passed then, and it most certainly should pass now. The bill will not give ‘special rights’ to homosexuals, as opponents claim. The reality is ENDA will give homosexuals basic civil rights on a federal level. If the legislation is passed, it would be illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee because of the person’s real or perceived sexual orientation.”

Barney Frank discusses the decision on the Bilerico report.


  1. Zeke says

    What do I think, TED?

    I think your commentary shows real ignorance on the issue of hate crimes. The fact that you reference your “dear friends over at GayPatriot” was enough to convince me that you have a piss poor understanding of the average gay person and our issues.

    I noticed you didn’t call for the repeal of existing hate crimes laws, in fact, strangely enough you didn’t even mention them. You know the ones that have been around since the 60’s that cover RACE, RELIGION AND NATIONAL ORIGIN. Why would that be Ted?

    Do us all a favor and save your ignorant comments for They’re used to dealing in stupidity and Republican talking points over there.

  2. 24play says

    I think, Ted, you’ve swallowed the Religious Right’s bullshit lies that Hate Crimes legislation criminalizes thought and beliefs. It does not. It stiffens penalties for existing crimes when hate is a motive.

    People are welcome to hate all they like—and even to loudly proclaim their hate. It’s only when they commit a crime against another person that any hate-crimes penalty comes into play. Because motive is a factor strongly weighed in our judicial system.

  3. Zeke says

    TED, another question:

    Would you support getting rid of classifications of murder and manslaughter? Those classifications are based on intent, degree, mindset, etc. According to your logic anyone who kills another person, by accident, in self defense, premeditated etc., should be tried the same. Crime is crime, hate is hate, homicide is homicide, intent is intent, right?

  4. Leland Frances says

    Oh, poppypenis! Enough with the worn out “thrown under the bus” metaphor. In fact, it’s more like, uh, no we’re not willing to starve ourselves to death just because there isn’t enough food YET to feed you, too.

    That doesn’t change the fact that it’s outrageous that members of Congress are still so stupid that they don’t get the need for equality for all. THAT’s why you should be mad—because HRC has done such a piss poor job of educating them.

  5. Chris says

    I wonder if Congress will exclude itself from (G)ENDA as it does with all other civil and equal rights legislation so they can continue to be sexist/racist/homophobic on the Hill.

  6. Lia says


    What’s with this “you” and “us” stuff? Transgendered people have always been at the forefront of the gay rights movement (from Stonewall on!) and to parse “us” now makes as much since as passing legislation for lesbians but not gay men. It is ALL the same struggle, GENDER DEVIANCE vis-a-vis straight society. I’m happy for you if you have passing privilege, but most people see no difference between the transgendered and femme gay men.

  7. Mark says

    Thank you, Lia. Leland, don’t be so short sighted and indignant. It is really a shame that the transgendered community is not included. They are being thrown under the bus and you are right, what HAS the HRC done for us lately? Nada.

  8. Zeke says

    Allow Barney Frank to speak for himself on this issue:

    I think his position is well thought out, well reasoned and well stated.

    I happen to support his position, not because it’s fair, or right, or ideal, or perfect to exclude trans people in this first round but because all progress in these fields is incremental and sometimes real life doesn’t play by the rules of fairness

    This is why I also support taking Civil Unions, AS A STEP toward marriage. It’s better than nothing and moves the public in the right direction.

    Someone asked me if I would support a lesbian-only ENDA. I said HELL YEAH!, if I thought it was the only way we could get it passed and it got our foot into an otherwise slammed shut door. I would take what we could get and fight like hell to build on it.

    Here are the questions I ask:

    Should women have refused suffrage until African-Americans could vote?

    Should African-Americans have waited until GLBT people were included in hate crimes laws or employment non-discrimination laws to accept legislation that would protect them?

    Should mixed race couples have refused to accept marriage rights until gay people could marry?

    We have to see this struggle as MANY battles in a larger war. EVERY battle won moves us closer to winning the war. Refusing to take a battle victory because it falls short of winning the war is conterproductive and frankly, I think, insane!

    What we need to do is take whatever victory we can get and then use the momentum to fight like hell to bring our trans brothers and sisters onto the American Dream Bus.

    What I fear, and I WOULD NOT support, would be taking this victory and then leaving our trans brothers and sisters to fend for themselves. We MUST stand up for them, as brothers and sisters in the human family.

  9. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Why are many in the left so worked-up over the failure to gain support for including the transgendered? The G/L community and the transgendered community are not one in the same; they overlap at the edges, but fundementally are different…one’s rooted in sexual orientation and affectional-relationships, while the other is one of gender-mechanics and gender-identity. Both are societial-minorities, but not the same minority. I don’t buy the “…it’s just about sex”-reasoning that conflates the two communities to many in the left and the right. And spare me the “Stonewall drag-queens” rationale, tranvestites can be gay, straight or transgendered.

    This is a step forwards…not backwards for our community.

  10. AdamN says

    Zeke is right (hmm..I think that’s the second time I’ve said that today?..)
    Yes, Transgender people SHOULD be included but politics are not about shoulds. They are about compromise, pragmatism, and baby steps towards the ultimate goal. It sucks but it’s a reality. We need to chip away at the block, if we ask for too much at this point we won’t get anything and will be further away from our goal then we are now. Lets pass this legislation and remain committed to work on expanding the bill to be inclusive of our entire community.
    Barney Frank’s statement is excellent and very worth reading.

  11. Leland Frances says

    Absolutely gender “NORM” deviance is at the core of homophobia, transphobia, and traditionally-thought-of “sexism” itself. But being similarly victimized, having similar goals, does not make us otherwise identical. So spare me the purposeless nonsense over pronouns.

    Please also spare me the myth that “Transgendered people have always been at the forefront of the gay rights movement (from Stonewall on!)” While some “queens” were AMONG those who fought back at Stonewall, there is no consensus among people who were there, including them, about who did what first. There is no disagreement that they were not the ones who made it famous in the ensuing years, and, in fact, no substantive progress for LGBTs from the decriminalization of sodomy to anti job discrimination legislation to marriage in Massachusetts and domestic partnerships in other states can be attributed to transgenders. In fact, there is, empirically, the converse, such as the damage Stonewall vet Sylvia Rivera did to the early efforts to pass a gay rights bill in NYC.

    Feel free to attempt to prove me wrong, to document anything to the contrary not written by someone merely echoing that ubiquitous myth. But even in regard to the Stonewall riots, I urge you to read, “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution,” by David Carter; “Stonewall” by Martin Bauml Duberman; “The Gay Militants” by Donn Teal, and “Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities” by John D’Emilio.

    Regardless, transgenders SHOULD be included in ENDA and hate crimes legislation, allowed to serve openly in the military, marry, whatever. But spare me the “all now or nothing now” lunacy. Such egotism does none of us any good so climb down off the cross. We need the wood to build bridges to better tomorrows for you, me, we.

  12. peterparker says


    Go easy on Ted. One look at the ‘About Us’ section of his blog reveals that he and Michael enjoy ‘shoes from Allen Edmonds’ (barf!), ‘playing bridge’, and ‘our log home at the lake’. Clearly, Ted and Michael live in a fantasy world that they are a straight, midwestern couple from the time of Mamie and Ike Eisenhower. Can we really expect them to understand the rationale of hate crimes legislation?


  13. Lia says

    One can say that trans issues are not part of the LGBT movement, but one could just as easily say that bi or gay or lesbian issues aren’t a part of the LGBT community; doesn’t make it true and it runs contrary to at least 15 years of gay political history. To separate gender and sexuality makes little sense in this case, as most gays and lesbians have “deviant” gender identities as well. I predict that once a non-trans-inclusive ENDA passes, that bigoted employers will continue to deflect gay rights through claims of their “gender expressions” not being protected. Just wait and see.

  14. Zeke says

    I don’t base my support for trans rights on whether or not they are or aren’t “valid” “members” of the gay community. I base my support for trans rights on their membership in the HUMAN community.

    That being said, I think it’s easier to pull others onto the equality bus when we’re already on it than it is for us to tie our legs together with the trans community, with golden ropes of principle, and try to chase the equality bus down the road in some well-intentioned but doomed three legged race.

    I’m really concerned that we have so many people in our community who are unwilling to accept anything less than perfection in our ongoing struggle.

    I thank god that these people weren’t running the show when the Civil Rights movement and the women’s suffrage movement were making advancements.

  15. Zeke says

    Shameful yes but strategically unjustifiable or inexplicable?

    I don’t think so.

    I’m seeing a lot of people on other discussion boards calling people who agree with Frank’s strategy “transphobes” and “selfish a**holes”.

    I take major offense to the first claim and frankly, don’t understand the second. Do people not see the irony in a person who says, “If I don’t get covered then NO ONE should get covered” calling someone ELSE selfish?

    I’ll repeat my earlier analogy; were women suggragettes of the 20’s selfish for accepting voting rights legislation that didn’t include African-American women?

  16. says

    History gives human beings the rare chance to be noble and do the right thing. If we are lucky, we are given that chance to shine at least once in our lifetime. We are luckier still if we actually do step up to the plate and act selflessly.

    I for one cannot support the passage of ENDA if trans people are excluded and I would suggest that all gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people consider very seriously what this exclusion will do to our community but moreso what it will do to fellow human beings who need these protections the most.

    Let’s look at the reality of this. I personally do not care what people think about trans people–that is their trip on the road to enlightenment, not the trans people’s. Exclusion of trans people says it is ok to fire them just because they are trans. Why should any of us accept the gradualistic approach of this? It is absurd, mean-spirited (on the behalf of those who would vote against ENDA based on trans inclusion) and quite upsetting.

    Zeke, some of us will not equivocate on issues of equality, though it may be confusing to you, it is the only thing that helps me sleep at night.

  17. Zeke says

    When I read Frank’s explanation it seems clear to me that his strategy is more aimed at passing trans ENDA than it is about excluding them.

    Tom, you are entitled to believe that people like Frank and myself are throwing trans people under the bus but that doesn’t make it so. We just have a different strategy, which we think will be more effective, for bringing trans people into ENDA.

    The QUICKEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to get from point A to point B is not always a straight line.

  18. Zeke says

    Oh, and Tom, I’m not a bit confused about this issue. I’m unequivocal about what I think will be the most effective strategy to win trans ENDA and I’m certain that this is the best strategy to actually PASS ENDAs that will protect GLB and T people.

    Please don’t insinuate that I am morally deficient because my practical strategy doesn’t match your principled one.

  19. says

    Nancy Pelosi is using trans exclusion to try to divide and conquer the queer community. Barney Frank is going along with it to further his political ambitions. This is just like when Barney Frank sold us out to Bill Clinton on the military ban. He was awarded with political advancement in the House leadership, and the rest of us got screwed.

    The only queer Barney Frank has ever cared about is Barney Frank.

  20. Paul says

    Wow! There is a lot of education that needs to be done within our own community on transgender issues.

    As to the posting about women waiting for African Americans to get the vote – um….actually, they did. There was an attempt to deny African Americn women the right vote when the 19th amendment was going forward. This was unacceptable and the proponents were forced to include ALL women.

    There is always a conflict between political expediency, pragmatism, and principles. However, if you or an organization chooses to adopt principles and values, then you should stand by them. In this case, there should be effort to pass inclusive legislation and opposition to bifurcating ENDA. I would encourage everyone to read a posting by Nadine Smith at

  21. Zeke says

    Um, PAUL, it seems that it’s you who needs to be educated. The XIXth Amendment, passed in 1920 most certainly did not IN PRACTICE include ALL women.

    African-American women in the South were not able to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 codified and effectuated the 15th Amendment’s permanent guarantee that no person could be denied the right to vote, anywhere in the country, based on race or color.

    As far as I know, no white woman waited 45 years, out of principle or solidarity with Southern, African-American women, to act upon their right to vote.

  22. Zeke says

    Um, PAUL, it seems that it’s you who needs to be educated. The XIXth Amendment, passed in 1920 most certainly did not IN PRACTICE include ALL women.

    African-American women in the South were not able to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 codified and effectuated the 15th Amendment’s permanent guarantee that no person could be denied the right to vote, anywhere in the country, based on race or color.

    As far as I know, no white woman waited 45 years, out of principle or solidarity with Southern, African-American women, to act upon their right to vote.

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