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Congressman Barney Frank Talks to Towleroad at the DNC

Yesterday we met with Congressman Barney Frank in the halls of the Pepsi Center at the Democratic Naitonal Convention in Denver. Frank spoke to Towleroad's Corey Johnson about gays voting Republican, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Here's part of what Frank had to say about that:

08"If we pick up 15 or 20 Democrats, most of them will be supportive. But I am disappointed in the transgender community. They seem to think that if Nancy Pelosi and myself, George Miller and a few others waved a magic wand we could deliver it. Look, this past year in the legislatures of Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York, efforts to add transgender protections...were defeated. And I testified for it in Massachusetts and lobbied for it. And as a political problem out there, I wish there weren't, but pretending that something doesn't exist is never a good way to deal with it. I am afraid that too many people in the transgender community think that talking to me and Nancy Pelosi is the way to do it. I don't yet see enough grassroots lobbying on their part.

"I do think that the hearing that we had — and by the way, we had a hearing in the House over the objections of many of the transgender leadership. But I really doubt their political wisdom...Because they said it was part of our deal to separate it from ENDA and they wanted to not have anything separate. We did a good job in that hearing and we helped persuade some people. So we're making progress. We'd make even more progress if the transgender community was willing to do the hard political work. And not, frankly, think they can just talk a few leaders into handing this to them."

Previously
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin talks to Towleroad at the DNC [tr]
A Partisan Message from DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias [tr]
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Jared Polis, Democratic Congressional Candidate from Colorado [tr]
Notes from The Democratic National Convention [tr]
Inside the Pepsi Center [tr]
Towleroad Guide to the Tube #345 DNC Highlights Monday Night [tr]
Breaking: Four Arrested in Obama Assassination Plot [tr]

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Comments

  1. Fair play

    Posted by: Anthony | Aug 26, 2008 3:59:47 PM


  2. Great work guy's and impressive, in what has to be at times, a frenzied atmosphere.
    This work is very important because it helps to get the word out to people beyond the big urban cultural centers. Just like Barney states. Upper middle class, white, gay men living in NYC, Chicago or LA face little to no descrimination. It is our other brothers and sisters across the nation who need our attention and help. Your work is ground breaking, in that regard, and I for one, commend you both. For your responsible and brave reporting, Thank you.

    Posted by: ken | Aug 26, 2008 4:28:40 PM


  3. Is Corey interviewing Rep Frank in a men's room?

    Posted by: Otoh | Aug 26, 2008 4:47:36 PM


  4. I agree with Barney. "All or nothing!!!" will usually get you...nothing.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Aug 26, 2008 4:52:00 PM


  5. Is the convention over yet? I miss the non-political posts.

    Posted by: Dan B | Aug 26, 2008 4:52:53 PM


  6. This guy is refreshingly pragmatic. We need more people like him.

    Posted by: MT | Aug 26, 2008 4:59:06 PM


  7. Looks like they're in the men's room.

    Posted by: Raybob | Aug 26, 2008 5:02:39 PM


  8. Barny Frank is a fuck head. I wish people would stop comparing this to an 'all or nothing' attitude. Frank fucked over the transgender community then shit talks about them for supposedly doing nothing. There was NO point in splitting up the ENDA because as it stands with anything gay related it will be vetoed! Why do the the transgender have to take care of them selves? Are they not apart of our community? Were they not the ones on the front lines of our early struggle while the likes of Barny Fuck were still in the closet with their fake marriages and families cruising the parks at 1am?

    Posted by: Mr. E | Aug 26, 2008 5:07:31 PM


  9. I am glad to see he holds himself blameless in all of this.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 26, 2008 5:19:31 PM


  10. Who cares. Barney Frank's time as the Most Important Gay is over - there are other congresspeople who will make more of a difference in this fight going forward, and we should listen to their advice on how to get it done rather than treating Frank like he's some kind of oracle on this issue. He has shown, with his out-of-touch ramblings at the hearing and with his comments all along, that he isn't capable of unlocking this door or providing useful info about how to do it ourselves - so let's leave him alone and move on.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 26, 2008 5:43:03 PM


  11. Its sad and dangerous when in our endeavors to achieve our goals we insult the very people who are getting things accomplished within the confines of the political system.

    Congressmen Frank was clear that he was not able to get all he wanted for the Transgendered community but it is better than rejecting what was accomplished. Especially against the Bush regime. Any accomplishment on Gay rights in Congress with the Holier than though right wing nut Republicans, is a major accomplishment.

    Congressman Frank is clear and very articulate in his message. I always find in his statements something i can use in defending the Gay and Lesbian community to the majority. Congressman Frank speaks to those we must convince we are deserving of ther support and vote to achive the goals of our minority.

    Standing in Congress and asking a Republican opposed to Gay Marriage which of his four wives he considered sacred. Priceless.....

    Lets get our foot in the door before we start complaining you have broken my glass slipper Cinderella.

    Thank You Congressmen Frank and the people of Massachusetts for electing such an amazing pioneer in the struggle for equal rights for all Americans.

    Posted by: marty gilbert | Aug 26, 2008 5:52:36 PM


  12. Time and again I come on this website only to realize how many of you people have absolutely no idea of how government actually works.

    Barney Frank is a hero to the GLBT community, whether you realize it or not. He has paved the way for so many of us and still continues to fight for our basic rights.

    What happened last year was a shame and it was an all or nothing attitude. How else would you define it? The black civil rights struggle that took the entire 20th century and still continues today was made with small steps.

    It takes individual bricks to build a wall, remember. These things are not won with just a years. They are accomplished with years of grassroots outreach and small advancements with legislation. And Barney Frank has been one of our leaders in the forefront.

    What have you done to advance our cause?

    Posted by: Sean H | Aug 26, 2008 6:36:35 PM


  13. well said, Barney. AND great reporting, C

    Posted by: will | Aug 26, 2008 7:00:48 PM


  14. I'm so annoyed. For my second consecutive apartment, I live two blocks from Barney Frank's district.

    I was a little upset with his stance on the trans-inclusive ENDA, but I do understand his pragmatism on the issue. He's been a fantastic Rep., and is one of the smartest and funniest people in Congress. Here's a flashback:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSDQQtHKakU

    Posted by: MAJeff | Aug 26, 2008 7:12:15 PM


  15. Franks take on the trans inclusive ENDA issue is so much BS and exceedingly offensive. That just earns a big F*ck You...

    Posted by: audiored | Aug 26, 2008 7:45:15 PM


  16. I agree even baby steps gets us a little closer to full human Equality.
    P.S. I am so speachless when I see Corey WOW so dreamy. Can I marry him in California. mwahhh wow

    Posted by: duane Harrison | Aug 26, 2008 7:48:03 PM


  17. What a complete and utter hypocrite.

    "We'd make even more progress if the transgender community was willing to do the hard political work. And not, frankly, think they can just talk a few leaders into handing this to them."

    Yet when another group (Freedman descendants) talk a few political leaders into handing their requests to them without doing any of the necessary political (and more importantly cultural) work, he immediately complies. There isn't even a need to allow the court case to be resolved.

    He didn't even try to understand the Cherokee cultural and tribal issues at play before insisting that cuts to Cherokee funding be included by his committee in the funding bill that will harm the poorest of society.

    No matter which way one is swayed on the Freedmen issue, who do those within his own community not deserve the same respect and "special" treatment?

    I've lost all respect for the man. He has been in politics so long that he has lost the humanity that once was his hallmark.

    Hearing him blame his victims for his own moral cowardice and political expediency is just sickening considering what he once was.

    He needs to regain his moral compass and apologize for what he did. It was wrong and when he realizes it, he should have the balls to admit it and promise to do better in the future.

    Posted by: Michael Rutledge | Aug 26, 2008 8:21:53 PM


  18. I think it's time to be real and face some important truths. This election is about race. We can pretend that it's not but it is. Most White Gay Males are more comfortable with a White Man. I'm not casting blame saying that it's wrong it's just a fact. It same reason why the racail issue with Badlands on San Francisco got very little play. Like the Black Gay communinity most people identify themselves as Black first and Gay second. I think that's the way White Gay people are they are White first, Gay second. It's sad but true. If there is a "true" poll, most White Gays are going to stay away or vote for McCain in hopes that Hillary will run in 2012.

    Posted by: DB | Aug 26, 2008 8:41:04 PM


  19. I think it's time to be real and face some important truths. This election is about race. We can pretend that it's not but it is. Most White Gay Males are more comfortable with a White Man. I'm not casting blame saying that it's wrong it's just a fact. It same reason why the racail issue with Badlands on San Francisco got very little play. Like the Black Gay communinity most people identify themselves as Black first and Gay second. I think that's the way White Gay people are they are White first, Gay second. It's sad but true. If there is a "true" poll, most White Gays are going to stay away or vote for McCain in hopes that Hillary will run in 2012.

    Posted by: DB | Aug 26, 2008 8:41:22 PM


  20. I think it's time to be real and face some important truths. This election is about race. We can pretend that it's not but it is. Most White Gay Males are more comfortable with a White Man. I'm not casting blame saying that it's wrong it's just a fact. It same reason why the racail issue with Badlands on San Francisco got very little play. Like the Black Gay communinity most people identify themselves as Black first and Gay second. I think that's the way White Gay people are they are White first, Gay second. It's sad but true. If there is a "true" poll, most White Gays are going to stay away or vote for McCain in hopes that Hillary will run in 2012.

    Posted by: DB | Aug 26, 2008 8:41:43 PM


  21. Just want to point something out, at least for me:

    one white gay male southerner from Virginia here for Obama.

    Posted by: Sean H | Aug 26, 2008 8:59:18 PM


  22. Leaving transgender rights off the bill is an important omission, but it's an OMISSION. It doesn't in any way impede the future fight for trans rights.

    Including language that kowtows to DOMA, on the other hand, actively reinforces marriage inequality and makes the future struggle harder.

    ENDA must not pass in a version that includes the language referencing DOMA.

    Posted by: Distingué Traces | Aug 26, 2008 11:57:09 PM


  23. I have been saying this for a while now. Ideally, of course, we would love to have policies protective of GLB and T individuals. But the reality of the situation is that policymakers have siginificant difficulties accepting transgender issues. Consequently, we must take what is possible and work towards full-inclusion in the future. When I was finishing-up my Ph.D., I looked at some research comparing the levels of difficulty in passing trans-inclusive versus strictly sexual orientation protective policies and urged HRC to drop the transgendered clause from ENDA. I did this not because of any prejudice of transgender people. I have plenty of transgender friends and empathize greatly with their plight as quite similar to GLB persons. But if we can get a sexual orientation-based ENDA, it gets our foot in the door instead of having it slammed in our face.

    Posted by: Dr. Christopher Blackwell | Aug 26, 2008 11:58:12 PM


  24. How tacky - men's room reporting.

    Posted by: mhk | Aug 27, 2008 1:26:18 AM


  25. It's a wall in the Pepsi Center, folks, not a men's room. This isn't the Republican Convention.

    Posted by: andy | Aug 27, 2008 3:36:57 AM


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