Barney Frank | Discrimination | ENDA | News | Transgender

Barney Frank to Speak on ENDA Controversy

Representative Barney Frank will appear on Michelangelo Signorile's Sirius radio show at 5:15 pm EST today to talk about the controversy surrounding the ENDA legislation. Jon Davidson of Lambda Legal will be on before Frank, starting at 3:30 EST. You can get a free three-day pass to Sirius here.

FrankA week ago, Frank announced that transgender-inclusion in the LGBT anti-discrimination legislation would be cut because the bill would not have enough votes to pass with transgender people included.

This, understandably, set off a firestorm in the LGBT community.

On Monday, the House voted to postpone action on ENDA pending further assessment of reaction from the LGBT community.

I've tried to gather some of the pieces I've run across regarding the controversy:

road.jpg Lambda Legal's Open Letter to Barney Frank [PDF]
road.jpg Barney Frank on Lambda Legal's analysis [bilerico project]
road.jpg Lambda Legal Responds to Rep Barney Frank [bilerico project]

road.jpg Sole transgender HRC board member Donna Rose on her resignation over HRC's position:
Donna Rose statement [out for democracy]

road.jpg United ENDA Forms [ngltf]
road.jpg HRC Launches Full-Scale Nationwide Call to Action in Support of Inclusive ENDA [hrc]
road.jpg The difficult discussions people don't want to have [pam's house blend]
road.jpg Gabriel Rotello: If ENDA Doesn't Protect the Transgendered, It Doesn't Protect Me [huffington post]
road.jpg John Aravosis: The Transgender Fiasco [americablog]
road.jpg Waymon Hudson: Accept No Substitutes: Stripped Down Version of ENDA is Dangerous and Wrong [bilerico project]
road.jpg Libby Post: The Party Never Really Started [pageoneq]

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  1. It boggles my mind why people wouldn't support transgender inclusion if they would support gay inclusion in the bill... so much f*cking prejudice.

    Posted by: Wes | Oct 5, 2007 1:38:09 PM

  2. John Aravosis' essay (or commentary )on "when did transgendered" become part of the gay and lesbian community is absurd. When were they not? Transgendered AINT just dressing in clothes of the opposite sex. It's how you look, walk , talk, move your hands, sound of your voice. Because women are allowed to wear clothes that are androgynous in appearance, it is very possible for a lesbian woman who does not consider herself to be transgendered to be considered such by everyone else and harassed on the job for it. People AINT thinkin'. Some folks would say Quentin Crisp, KD Lang, Martina Navatilova, Little Richard, Truman Copote, Rupaul, Divine were/are all examples of transgendered folk--not just gay.

    Everytime I hear or read someone question the "gayness" of feminine males and masculine females I feel like responding, "Bitch, you better be over the age of sixty 'cause if you aint, how could possibly think you have some authority on this subject, or knowledge of the history of "gay". Where the fuck were you in 1969?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 5, 2007 1:48:14 PM

  3. Wes, most of the people who support getting a trans-less ENDA passed now—if we can, in fact, do it—are not prejudiced. We support employment protections for transfolk and will work to see them enacted as soon as possible.

    We have simply chosen a strategy that we believe will get the most people protections as soon as possible. I, for one, don't believe that passing a non-inclusive ENDA now will delay protections for transfolk significantly—if at all. It's simply a matter of getting more people in Congress comfortable with the idea of supporting trans protections. And I don't think delaying protections based on sexual orientation is going to make that happen a single day sooner.

    It might make a lot of GLB people feel better to stand in solidarity with transfolk. But I think it will do more actual good for more people (including transfolk, in many cases )if we secure the protections we can as soon as possible.

    Posted by: 24play | Oct 5, 2007 2:00:14 PM

  4. Well, someone just said something sensible. I wonder how long before people start talking about getting "thrown under a bus". What bull. (PS. If I never hear that expression again, it will be too soon.)

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 5, 2007 2:14:44 PM

  5. It's official. One is uncertain of the exact date and time, but it's official that the majority of the "vocal" LGBT community has lost their minds.

    Hypothetical situation. You and your partner have just been fired from your jobs for being gay. You and your seven proud-of-their-two-dads kids are about to sit down to your spaghetti with no meatballs dinner which you bought with your last money when there's pounding on the door by all your several cousins and their kids screaming "Where's the food?" You and your partner look at each other and then your scared children who've been living on peanut butter and crackers for days. The pounding and screaming outside continues. They're at the windows now threatening to break the glass. You say, "Maybe we'll get a new job tomorrow." Your partner says, "What if we don't."

    You have a choice. Feed your kids whom you can or not have enough today for everyone and nothing tomorrow. Starvation is a real possibility. What would you do? Food for some or starvation for everyone as they bleat about "pie in the sky."

    Most everyone knows how much I loathe HRC. If anything, they are more to blame than anyone else for failing to educate the public, voters, and Congress about transgenders so that we find ourselves in this situation. It's not Nancy Pelosi's responsibility. Nor any other Congressman or woman. They kinda have a full plate as it is. But HRC is right this time even if they did go about it the wrong way.

    I have often flamed Barney Frank, but he is more often right than wrong and he is right this time. He has been in Congress longer than Tammy Baldwin and is an expert on procedures and probabilities. I hold few in greater respect than Lambda Legal but their misinterpretation of this situation [or is it misrepresentation], carefully answered and corrected by Frank, is shocking. The call for Frank's head by fellow gays is hysterically unconscionable.

    As the editor of the "Southern Voice" points out, the head of the National Black Justice Coalition is also making statements not reflective of reality. He claimed that Blacks "waited for voting rights [for everybody," when, in fact, they did not wait for voting rights for women. "The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, gave voting rights to black men — a move that outraged suffragettes, including Susan B. Anthony, who had also been ardent abolitionists and refused to support the male-only amendment. The resulting controversy split the movement for women’s suffrage and perhaps contributed to the decades of delay before women — white and black — finally gained the right to vote in 1920. Should black men have had to wait another 50 years to get their right to vote, until the country was ready to pass suffrage for women, too?"

    Michelangelo Signorile's mind has apparently been snatched and replaced by his nemesis Andy Pandy Sullivan. He actually wrote that getting job protections for gays really isn't that important anymore because 90% of Fortune 500 companies now protect gay employees. But most don't cover gender identity specifically so we should throw away protections for gays until protections for Ts are added. Well, Oh Wise One, what percentage of employers, and thereby the workforce, are not a part of the Fortune 500? All those restaurants, bars, single-owner shops, and myriad other small businesses who refuse to hire or cavalierly fire gays every day?

    But it’s easy for Signorile to pontificate about such things. He’s carved out a rare, economically viable niche for himself as pansy pundit. We mere mortal gay men take the universal job protection under ENDA a little more personally. I have been fired for being gay; I have been denied promotions for being gay; and probably jobs without knowing it. But the logical extension of what these morally superior people are saying is that gay men and women should, to show solidarity, QUIT the jobs they already have. If everyone can't work today, THEN NO ONE SHOULD WORK TODAY! Then, if one gay man kills himself, we should all kill ourselves.

    While having supported equality for transgenders as long as I have my own, I am repeatedly astounded at the ignorance and illogic of some of their loudest voices. One transgender spokesperson, in her obituary in the "Village Voice" for Stonewall vet Sylvia Rivera a couple of years ago, called Rivera the transgender equivalent of Rosa Parks. Strange, I don't recall reading of Rivera ever being involved in a respected LGBT rights group before Stonewall as Parks was for Black civil rights before she was arrested on that Montgomery, Alabama bus. I don't recall hearing of Rivera being involved in planning challenges to anti LGBT laws and practices as Parks was for her people. I don't recall hearing of Parks literally climbing the walls trying to get into a meeting of the Montgomery city council chamber as Rivera did in NYC. I don't recall any tales of Parks being a prostitute or drug addict. I don't recall her being banned for repeated purposely disruptive behavior from any civil rights organization location as Rivera was from the NY LGBT Community Center.

    The writer of Rivera's obituary was the canary in the mineshaft for what we've seen in the last few days: mass infection of all kinds of people who know better by Mad Tranny Disease. Maybe someone will make a movie about it. I suggest the title, "28 Ts Later." The squeaky, screeching wheels have gotten the grease this week. But this time next week, this time next year, we are ALL going to be as starving for equality as we have ever been.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 5, 2007 2:17:34 PM

  6. I have to say, the letter from Lambda Legal's Executive Director, Kevin M. Cathcart refutes that logic rather clearly, 24Play. I hardly consider the inclusion of transgendered individuals and the specified wording to be swatting at flies with a sledgehammer. Perhaps you would consider it flaming idealism, but just how much easing for the bigoted, out-dated and ineffective politicians, and for how many years is that excuse going to be put into place until we ease ourselves right back into the closet and out of existence? This type of "strategy" reeks of political game-playing. That being said, it would appear it's time to shake the old, dead fruit from the legislative trees and start pruning.

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Oct 5, 2007 2:19:36 PM

  7. Derrick, Frank addresses the issue that Lambda falsely raised about the vulnerability of fem gay males or unfem lesbians in the workplace. ENDA, as written, would protect them on the basis of their orientation regardless of what issues some tight assed employer had about their mannerisms and/or atypical dress.

    Posted by: Tom | Oct 5, 2007 2:23:40 PM

  8. Barney Frank fucked over thousands of GLBT folk years ago when he and David Mixner brokered the Don't ask,Don't tell compromise for Bill Blowjob Clinton. I've never trusted a word out of his mouth since. Equality is an all or nothing proposition and those that claim otherwise are misguided at best(HRC,Barney,etc.)

    Posted by: SFshawn | Oct 5, 2007 2:31:38 PM

  9. Equality is all or nothing, yes, but LEGISLATION is not. Legislation is a step by step process. Securing rights for gay folks is a step. Securing trans rights is another step. It is not necessary for both to occur together. It would be IDEAL if they could pass together. But if they cannot, why not pass what is achievable today?

    Passing such protection for gay people changes NOTHING for trans people. We still need to work on trans protections.

    I understand why trans people would feel left behind. But I still have not heard an argument why less protection for gay people somehow helps trans people achieve more protections sooner.

    Posted by: Gregg | Oct 5, 2007 2:43:54 PM

  10. Shawn,

    When NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman—who's been spearheading this whole refusal to settle for anything less than a trans-inclusive ENDA—was head of the Empire State Pride Agenda, he agreed to cut trans protections from a bill in NY state in order to secure protections for gay men and lesbians. Trans people in NY still don't have employment protections.

    Do you trust a word out of Foreman's mouth?

    Posted by: 24play | Oct 5, 2007 2:48:18 PM

  11. Dammit! I'm saying that the distinction between gay and transgendered should have never been made. To many straight folks, especially where I come from, there is no difference between a gay man and a drag queen: both are considered "faggots".

    Leland, how much control did black men have concerning the creation of the 15th Amendment? It was that radical leftist Republican Party that decided only black males would be given the vote (then of course, stood by and watched that right taken away from blacks by the ex-Confederate Democrats.) My point is we don't know what the former enslaved men would have felt about making a stand for women's suffrage. I mean, after all, it was black legislators down South who voted to give their former masters suffrage during Reconstruction (dumb move), so how do we know how they would have treated the issue of women's suffrage. I know one thing, Ms. Anthony's involvement in the Abolitionist Movement didn't stop her from sounding rather racist in her denouncement of the 15th Amendment.

    To me, "transgender" is simply a sub-culture within the gay world, and my outrage has less to do with the politics of ENDA, and more to do with the arrogance of too many gay men.

    Extraordinary arrogance for a minority that claims to have endured persecution...hey, remember the chastisement y'all gave Isaiah--well, it's the same arrogance y'all accused him of, dammit.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 5, 2007 2:59:43 PM

  12. I wish I could believe all of you who say that you think this is a step by step process and that we should secure rights for Gays and Lesbians first, and that that the fight for Trans inclusion will just take a little longer. But I think that's B.S.

    Who will advocate for the trans community with any real voice once the broader gay and lesbian community have their protection? Do you really think that issue will be a priority for any of the larger, influential gay advocacy groups? How could it be? So many of us seem to bristle at the thought of going out on a limb for the trans community now... what's going to change your mind down the road (especially when the issue then will be ONLY about the trans community, with no broader gay/lesbian impact)? Sorry, but I don't buy it.

    I don't really consider myself to be an idealist, but in this case (or in any case involving basic civil rights), chosing political pragmatism over prinicple leaves me a little queasy.

    Posted by: DARB | Oct 5, 2007 3:06:19 PM

  13. So, after reading Frank's letter to Lambda, basically what he's saying is, he's gonna smoke the devil's johnson to get the legislation passed because right now, the Chamber of Commerce, and NFIB will crawl out of the pit of hell and snatch his balls off if he dare remotely suggest domestic partnership benefits are somehow magically included in the bill by adding transgendered to the wording? What a load of horseshit.

    The whole fucking deal is so overly complex it's a wonder anything gets done. OH, silly me! So, essentially, NFIB, who incidentally supports health care reform to make it affordable for small business owners (as required by federal law if they have any full-time employees)-JUST AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T INCLUDE HOMOS AND THEIR GAY FAMILIES, is basically running the show.

    Apparently voting for your local congressperson or senator isn't what's important anymore, it's who your local lobbyist is. It's just a great big ol' congressional gloryhole. So how many GLBT lobbyist groups are there and just what have they REALLY accomplished? If Congressman Frank has to do some lobbysucking to get ANYTHING passed, so be it. I suppose the only thing I can really say is that I'm thankful he's so skilled at it.

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Oct 5, 2007 3:19:40 PM

  14. Darb,

    In the past week, 62,476 queer rights groups have charged to the barricades to demand trans protections. Do you really think that if a non-inclusive ENDA is made law, all of that support will evaporate?

    And if it does, who are the real hypocrites in all of this?

    Posted by: 24play | Oct 5, 2007 3:19:45 PM

  15. What do gay men have in common with transgendered? Little to Nothing. So why are we lumped together? The answer is the reason I hate the left.

    Posted by: Himbo with highlights | Oct 5, 2007 3:20:25 PM

  16. 24Play,

    Leaving aside gay advocacy groups for a moment: Do you think it will be harder or easier to include the trans community in ENDA after it has passed without them? Do you think legislators who may be willing to stand up for a "gay rights" bill (that includes trans) will be willing to stand up for a "trans rights" bill? I don't think so.

    And by the way, I'm not calling you a hypocrite. I think you are simply chosing a pragmatic approach, with an unrealistic expectation that trans rights will naturally follow later. I would hope that this would be the case, but I have serious doubts.

    Posted by: Darb | Oct 5, 2007 3:33:51 PM

  17. "What do gay men have in common with transgenderd?"

    There hated by the same people FOR THE SAME REASONS. Jeeez.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 5, 2007 3:37:35 PM

  18. ... and with respect to gay advocacy groups, I'm not so sure the support won't evaporate (or seriously diminish). Once this is a purely trans issue, rather than a LGBT issue, I don't know how much real advocacy it will get. Lip service, certainly, but seems to me that it would be hard for a broad-based LGBT organization to expend a lot of resources on an issue relating only to the trans community. For one thing, they would risk losing the support (funding) of a large part of the the community. But maybe I just don't have enough faith in our community.

    Posted by: DARB | Oct 5, 2007 3:46:51 PM

  19. Take another look at Darb's comment above. Gay people are being used.

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 5, 2007 3:52:06 PM

  20. nicely, succinctly and accurately put, Derrick.

    Posted by: DARB | Oct 5, 2007 3:57:09 PM

  21. Darb,

    This week's ENDA revolt by advocacy groups already IS a purely trans issue.

    And I actually don't believe that passing a trans-less ENDA will delay passage of trans protections by a single day. To get trans protections passed, we need to educate members of Congress about the issue. They need to develop a comfort level, so they feel that any heat they take from their constituents over the issue will be mild and short-lived.

    How does passing a trans-free ENDA now make that work any more difficult to do?

    Posted by: 24play | Oct 5, 2007 4:14:37 PM

  22. Derrick,

    Let's extend your argument.

    What do gay men have in common with...straight Asian women?

    They're hated by the same people FOR THE SAME REASONS...because they're different. That's the real root of all bias and prejudice.

    I do believe that the struggles (and, probably, biology) of gays and transfolk are very closely related, so thinking of both as part of the same community makes sense. I do not believe, however, that means they can only advance in lockstep.

    Many trans people would gain some security from passage of protections based on sexual orientation, just as many gay men and lesbians gain significant rights in states where civil unions are approved. Must we always hold out for the perfect?

    Posted by: 24play | Oct 5, 2007 4:24:04 PM

  23. Let the trannies get their own lobbyists and legistlation.

    They aren't gay.

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Oct 5, 2007 4:32:41 PM

  24. Sorry, "they're hated by the same..."

    And y'all know who "they" are: the fundies, the right-wingers, the bullies in the schoolyards, the vicious gay-bashers, sometimes the teachers/school administrators, and of course, your vicious-ass anti-gay co-workers on the job. These cruel savages often make no distinction between the "nice, respectful, un-athletic" gay boy and the very effeminate acting&looking transgender GAY boy...and girls too (I always forget the girls).

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 5, 2007 4:33:24 PM

  25. Well, Derrick is partly right, and Himbo, the nom de Net you use suggests you get it more than you realize. What is a "himbo" but a male variation of a concept associated with women?

    Gays are hated for two reasons [not counting our incomparable knowledge of Broadway musicals and "Actors & Their Roles"]:

    1. the sex stuff, antipathy to which mostly derives, believe it or not, from retarded ancient Jewish attitudes toward wasting or "killing" "seed." I kid you not. Shit for brains Anita Bryant's bitching in the 70s about gay men "swallowing the seed of life," wasn't new. Religious texts going back to at least the 17th century condemned anal intercourse MORE when there was ejaculation than when there wasn't. The latter wasn't technically "sodomy" without it, some thought, nor was it when a condem was used because there was no bodily contact [compare new show "Pushing Up Daisies"]. Some other kind of sin but not "sodomy."

    2. Cue Derrick. After the sex stuff comes [no pun intended] our doing things or acting or dressing in ways contrary , the heart of which is simply sexism. Of course, the subjective insanity of that is endless. The few American men in the 70s who dared don a caftan were ridiculed for wearing then a variation on what many devout Muslim men, here and abroad wear every day. You know, the kind who beat, lash, hang gays in the Mideast.

    It could be argued that more straights object to effeminate gay men than noneffeminate gay men. I heard a story once of some parents who accepted their son's sexuality but asked him why he couldn't be more non-effeminate like his boyfriend! And for all their very real problems, butch lesbian women probably have fewer problems overall than fem gay men. After all, in the sexist/homophobes mind, naturally inferior women can be understood to want to be more like naturally superior males, but why would a man want to be "like a woman."

    FTM transgenders seem to "pass" better than MTF transgenders, but, in both cases, to the sexist/homophobe's mind it's "going against 'nature'" in the worst way and I guess that's why a Congress MAYBE ready to pass job protections for gays [the folly in all of this is the apparent assumption by all these self-righteous groups that it was certain] but still freaked out about them.

    Their absurdity does not, however, justify the absurdity of choosing the certaintly of denying accessible rights for some [gays] for the possibility of rights for all in the distant future.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 5, 2007 4:42:45 PM

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