Barney Frank | ENDA | Nancy Pelosi | News | Tammy Baldwin

House Passes Employment Non-Discrimination Act 235-184

House passes ENDA 235-184. 35 Republicans joined the Democrats.

Above, Barney Frank's remarks on ENDA — on the left, his comments at the beginning of debate, at right his tearful comments at the end, after a motion was made to send the bill back to committee, in order to kill it. The motion to recommit was made on the basis of marriage: "Motion to recommit "to modify, limit, restrict, or in any way overturn any State or Federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, including the use of this Act as a legal predicate in litigation on the issue of marriage."

The motion to recommit failed 222-198.

Tammy Baldwin withdrew her amendment adding transgender protections at the end of debate. Baldwin released a statement following the vote.

Here are a few clips of the debate this afternoon:

Below, Representative John Lewis speaks in favor of the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement in support of the bill.

Below, Representative Barbara Lee speaks in support of the Baldwin amendment that would add protections for transgender people. Representative Kathy Castor speaks in favor of the bill.

Jeremy at Good As You has a whole line-up of audio recordings of the debate that went on this afternoon.

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  1. Bill,

    What saddens me is that, as a lesbian with a trans history, I feel the need to avoid the gay and lesbian community. I just can't deal with the hate. Straight people (over 100!!!) took up for me at my school when gay people were threateing me, they comforted me when lesbians taunted me about my body. They fought the gay men who tried to keep me out of the proper restroom, and they were always there for me.
    Straight people at my school bought me clothes when I could not afford my own.
    They sheltered me when I had none.
    They called me their own when I was disowned by my G and L "friends"
    And they spoke out against G and L hatred of trans women like me.

    Maybe the LGB crowd could learn something from them. Then again, judging from the blog entries I've been reading, maybe they're not ready to join the mainstream yet.

    Either way, they sh!t on one of their own

    Posted by: lyssa | Nov 9, 2007 10:48:04 AM

  2. Lyssa, I empathize with your pain. I cannot know what it's like to be you, but I do understand what it's like to be discriminated against. It hurts. And as a human, I understand that. But please don't think that because I think that it's better to have some bill than no bill, that you think I don't care about making sure that everyone has the right to live as they see fit. Deep down, you have to know that it's not true that most gay people want to oppress transpeople. And as for avoiding the gay and lesbian community, most of the people that I know don't care whether you're trans or not. In my experience when you're discriminated against, you "feel" like all the people in one group are against you. But, every white person isn't a racist., every Muslim doesn't hate Jews, etc. I know it hurts, but when you use gross rationalizations, you put yourself into a bit of a box and you'll miss some of the wonderful people that will treat you as an individual. It's easier to have a dichotomous world. G_d knows. I've certainly been at points where I was so angry at white people and so hurt by the prejudice that I was like: "I hate all white people." But, I knew that wasn't true. I guess all I'm asking you is take a minute-- despite the pain-- and think about what you're saying. It may be easier to avoid gay people (as it would have been easier to avoid white people), but that's ultimately not the answer. Please don't give up hope yet. Take care.

    Posted by: Brandon | Nov 9, 2007 7:04:51 PM

  3. Empathy requires that you put yourself in my shoes. You have stated that this is impossible.
    While you can gave abstract sympathy, empathy, by definition, is not possble.

    You confuse "some bill" = you get yours, I lose COMPLETELY with half a loaf for everybody. GET THIS, OK? I was fucked out of my rights by gay men who sold me down the river. You have no clue what it is like to deal with a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered by someone who thinks I don't matter.
    Get this. You cannot understand. First, you are not a woman. Second you are not trans. Check your privilege, K?

    They gay community has told me repweatedly that I am third class. They just used Congress to back them up.

    You are an apologist, and are just as bad as any case hardened transphobe. In some ways you are worse. You are asking me to accept my third class status and like it.

    I don't think so. You are worse than evil. You defend it. And try to tell me it's OK, cuz this doesn't hurt you.

    You cannot ask me to confuse rights for you and none for me as some for all. they are not equivalent. You cannot ask me to believe that we are less deserving than you. Where the fuck is your sense of chivalry? Your sense of decency?

    Had you apologized for the fay community's hate and devaluing of trans women, I might have had a better reaction. Instead, you chose to defend it, and compounded the error by asking me to dismiss it.

    Go to Hell. And remenber, Karma's a bitch.

    Posted by: lyssa | Nov 10, 2007 1:55:30 AM

  4. One last thing. It is not easier to avoid the gay community, it is safer. You have absoluterly no concept at any level of the hate that we face.

    Zero. The fay community is my rightful home, even if too many gays don't agree. Where the fuck do you think I came from? Mars?

    I avoid it because it's SAFER. I deal with less hate around straights. Not that it's wine and roses, but at least I'm less likely to be shit on and told to excuse it. Theirs is an honest hate. An unapologetic one. Unlike yours.

    Posted by: lyssa | Nov 10, 2007 2:04:55 AM

  5. Derrick from Philly said ``As I said earlier, if ENDA withstands a Bush Veto transfolk should use ENDA anyway--claiming that their sexual orientation is the reason they're be harassed, not being hired, being fired, being discriminated against on the job. Let your lawyer/union representative make your physical appearance a side issue. You are GAY, and that's why you're discriminated against--never mind the fact that you appear (through dress/physical alterations/ make-up) transgendered.``

    Derrick, they can`t just invent a reason they`re being discriminated against. It has to be real and backed by evidence. Using your suggestion, gays could, without Bush`s signing ENDA, just use the race card if they`re fired for being gay, saying it`s because I`m whatever color I am. Every case would be thrown out for lack of evidence.

    What if a gay man, who loves working with straight men but who`s bigoted against trangenders, fires a straight man because he found out he`s transitioning to female? is that straight man going to make up a story that it`s because I`m straight? (Since straights will be covered if ENDA passes.} How could he possibly defend that in court if it isn`t the real reason?

    Posted by: GregV | Nov 11, 2007 1:02:27 PM

  6. Lyssa, I'm truly sorry that you feel that way. For the record, I am a Buddhist. In fact, that's reason why I wrote the post. I was trying, unfortunately and unsuccessfully, to try to get you to try to avoid dichotomous/us versus them thinking like "gay men . . . sold you down the river." All gay men didn't do this. Some gay men did. For the record, isn't it a bit hypocritical to argue for individual liberty and then malign an entire group of people-- some of whom clearly supported a trans inclusive ENDA. I mean isn't Matt Forman, the head of the NGLTF, a gay, white man? If gay men sold you down the river, is Matt Forman responsible too?

    Part of what you learn as a Buddhist is to try to put yourself in someone else's shoes. The reason for this isn't because you always agree with them, but it allows you to respond to situation in a way that's more productive and hopefully generates good karma.

    I'm sure the Dali Lama is pretty pissed that the Chinese government meddles (to put it mildly) in Tibetan affairs. And, I'm sure he gets angry sometimes. But, if he demonizes them and gives into anger, he won't be effective. If he doesn't try to put himself in their heads (at least to understand them) he cannot be effective at arriving at a solution. How exactly do you have a dialogue with someone that you hate?

    My general point about ENDA was that I don't believe that it was necessarily the intent of many of the people who supported an non-inclusive ENDA to hurt transpeople. I can understand where they are coming from. They wanted civil right protections.

    I can also understand how, if I were trans, I'd feel angry about a non-trans inclusive ENDA. As a trans-person, I'd want legal protections against discrimination.

    I'm not saying either position is correct or trying to make a value judgment. I am arguing for some level of understanding so that we're not creating additional divisions among people.

    As for the personal invectives, sigh. . . . If I weren't Buddhist, I'd be pretty upset that someone that doesn't know me has basically called me "evil" and told me to "go to hell." Additionally, she told me that I somehow "hate" transpeople.

    When, if I try to put myself in your position (however imperfectly), I can understand the anger and why you've chosen to direct some of that anger at me.

    For that, I have a few thoughts. First, I apologize if I've offended you. That was not and is not my intent. I was trying to build bridges. Sometimes the posts here are so polarizing when they don't always have to be. The emotion in your post touched me and I guess I wanted to try to reach out. Second, hate breeds hate. Sending out the energy or karma of hate towards me (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't help transpeople. In fact if I didn't stop to think about it, I'd be thinking: someone I don't even know told me to go to hell. Hmm. Do I really want to go to bat for trans folks? It would be as foolish of me to hold your very personal comments about me against all trans-people, as it is for you to blame all gay men for selling you down the river. (Again, I urge you to take a look at NGLTF’s statement regarding the passage of ENDA which stated that “a broad coalition of more than 360 national, statewide, and local LGBT organizations” supported a trans-inclusive ENDA. Aren’t some of those organizations run and supported by gay men?)

    And far more enlightened people like King, Gandhi, etc. know where hate for hate, an eye for an eye type of thinking leads us. I’m not going to take your anger and redirect it outward. The negative portion of your energy directed at me will end here.

    Third, I will simply remind you that it is not a good idea to direct negative energy at others; i.e., telling someone to go to hell. This really isn't about my own ass-- it's about the negative energy/karma that may come back at you from such emotion. I try to avoid directing negativity at others precisely because I don't want my own karma to get jacked.

    At the end of the day, you've certainly provided an example of how at least one trans-person feels about the version of ENDA
    that's passed and some food for thought.

    I wish you well and peace.

    Posted by: Brandon | Nov 11, 2007 7:18:29 PM

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