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Barney Frank Discusses 'Ridiculous' Trans Activists

BarneyfranktransCongressman Barney Frank has never been afraid of speaking his mind. And now that he's retiring, the Massachusetts-based lawmaker can really let loose. That's precisely what he did in a recent sit-down with the Washington Blade.

In addition to discussing his own coming out and why it would be "political suicide" for liberals to abandon President Obama, the outgoing politico offered his thoughts on transgender opposition to a recent Massachusetts law that add gender identity to the state's non-discrimination regulations, yet still allows hotels, restaurants and other public spaces to turn trans people away.

From the Blade:

Blade: The trans bill in Massachusetts became an issue to some—

Frank: An issue to whom?

Blade: Some of the more outspoken trans activists, who say they are outraged because it includes employment, housing and other protections but not public accommodations protections.

Frank: No, I would say ridiculous trans activists who are outraged, who would prefer there be no rights for employment than this. That is an example of their political stupidity. They may be very bright about other things. I don’t see how anybody can see that as a rational argument right now, nor, by the way, do I think it represents five percent of our community. I don’t even think it represents a majority of the transgender people. How can it possibly be – and by the way, these people don’t know history, because I will tell you that Martin Luther King and the other civil rights leaders would not for a second have hesitated to accept that deal. They were constantly moving toward making things better but those are both examples, I think, of the political maturity of our community – of knowing how to go about it.

Frank also offered his thoughts on Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is a "faker," says Frank, as if we didn't already know that.

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  1. I hope he was a huge dustbuster for the amount of glitter that is gonna be stupidly dropped on him.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 9, 2011 12:11:12 PM

  2. I don't know. I think I would dump glitter on him myself if I really cared enough to go through with it. What a jerk. It's outrageous that there aren't ALREADY those protections in place, and if the people who are impacted by it don't get outraged, people like him are going to keep sitting fine in their little bubbles and change will just come at their convenience – f#ck that guy

    Posted by: gggb | Dec 9, 2011 12:32:23 PM

  3. I think Barney Frank is right. It sucks that there isn't enough political capital to pass full protections for trans people in the workplace, but the bill in Massachusetts offers much of the protections that are sought by trans activists and allies. It is outrageous that some activists would adapt an all or nothing approach where they would rather see no protections whatsoever than a bill that offered many protections.

    Posted by: DayvyG | Dec 9, 2011 12:43:52 PM

  4. Great point, Barney. Of course, transsexuals have absolutely nothing in common with gay people and should not be considered one of us or be a part of our movement. So they should be grateful for any consideration they get from any of us.

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 9, 2011 12:44:57 PM

  5. I think his point is missed here. He didn't for one second say that legal protections weren't warranted. What I heard in his response was that all issues can't be addressed at once in a single piece of legislation. The bill is a step forward - a big step - and we shouldn't lose that opportunity to take that step now just because the interests of a small minority couldn't be included at this time.

    He is correct that other civil rights victories did not happen in all locations in one fell swoop. We are seeing it now with civil marriage equality, DADT, etc. Each small victory leads to more and larger victories.

    Posted by: MikeBoston | Dec 9, 2011 12:48:35 PM

  6. Good Lord,

    What Frank is saying is realistic. The Civil Rights movement was a decades long struggle. There wasn't sudden passage of legislation that bestowed equality on African-Americans. There was one piece of legislation at a time. Yes, I understand that transfolk don't want to nor should they have to wait for equality, but that's just not reality. It's a war made up of many battles.

    Getting this first piece of legislation is like getting a leg, arm, and head through the door. Equal employment rights? Hello! There are many states in the U.S. that still don't offer equal employment rights for lesbian, gays, and bisexuals! Massachusetts is now one of the few states that offers equal employment rights LGB & now T folks.

    Now, the effort should be to focus on getting equal treatment entirely in Massachusetts.

    BTW, what happened to the federal ENDA legislation?

    Posted by: Mark | Dec 9, 2011 12:52:52 PM

  7. Frank is an experienced politician.

    He knows that in the real world you don't always get everything you want the first go-around.

    Frank knows that half a loaf is better than none.

    Posted by: Continuum | Dec 9, 2011 1:02:53 PM

  8. I agree.

    Posted by: Annony Nonny | Dec 9, 2011 1:06:31 PM

  9. Dear Lord, T comes after B, G and L.

    We're doing this in alphabetical order.

    Get with the program!

    (Barney is, of course, right as usual and will infuriate everyone. The HRC board should move to have him head up the organization, consolidate the national groups and get stuff done. He would piss everybody off but we'd be miles ahead because he knows the system unlike anyone else. Of course, Barney would say no because he's had it with everyone. And justifiably so.)

    Posted by: JoshG | Dec 9, 2011 1:07:03 PM

  10. Barney is not putting anyone down. He is saying you grab the protections you can now and add more later.

    How many people will lose their jobs in the interim, while we wait for the perfect bill ?

    How many gay people continue to lose their jobs because we passed on the chance to get a first step on ENDA ?

    In NY we took the first step and got an employment non-discrimination bill and are now following up with adding gender identity and expression to it. But a large group of people have been protected for many years in the interim.

    Posted by: Alex | Dec 9, 2011 1:18:44 PM

  11. I agree with him. These "trans" people are out of control. I have long advocated for dropping the "T" from LGBT. They get all worked up when someone playfully says "tranny" and they demand protections that, quite frankly, no one but their sordid clique would support. I say F em.

    Posted by: Agg | Dec 9, 2011 1:20:54 PM

  12. I lost friends over this debate, but I still side with Barney. The activists who wanted to turn down any legislation that wasn't perfect are the equivalent of the Republican absolutists who turn down every bill that doesn't ascribe to their agenda.

    Barney is right that Martin Luther King would have said: Take the incremental rights and keep on fighting.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Dec 9, 2011 1:25:47 PM

  13. Barney is a politician and not an activist so see things through those eyes. His approach is politically realistic.

    That being said I can also see through the activist eyes. The Bill passes with no public accomandations part. They are happy with what they get, but when they go to ask for more, the policitians say - Be happy with what you got. It gives politicians an excuse not to actively go any further because they did get something.

    Activist push for everything knowing they might not get it all but can use the fact the pushed hard to follow up after something passed. If the activist were in totally agreement with the law that doesnt give everything than they would appear not to be with it.

    Barney has long been known for giving activist a hard time. Like the march on washington and countless other things. HE got mighty pissed off at all the whiny about ENDA.

    Barney is just being the politician he always has been ... and activist need to be what they are.

    Posted by: kujhawker | Dec 9, 2011 1:43:16 PM

  14. Let them eat cake..., as Barney obviously does on a nightly basis.

    Posted by: CarlottaVonFunkenhowzer | Dec 9, 2011 1:47:47 PM

  15. It's not often I find myself in agreement with Barney Frank, but this is definitely one of those times.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Dec 9, 2011 1:49:20 PM

  16. Barney is absolutely right.

    Posted by: Jerry | Dec 9, 2011 1:49:23 PM

  17. I'm with Barney here. Grab whatever you can, and then move on to the next bit you grab. You'll never get everything handed to you in one package. You don't have to like it (hey, I fume when I think of how women got thrown under the bus when black men first got the vote... but that was still a foot in the door).

    The expression "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile," is exactly what's going on here.

    Posted by: BEG | Dec 9, 2011 1:55:10 PM

  18. The only thing that Barney Frank cares about is Barney Frank. The rest of you are delusional.

    Posted by: gaylib | Dec 9, 2011 2:04:26 PM

  19. I'n with Barney Frank on taking a pragmatic approach. The trans zealots simply don't get it: their turn will come. there's no under-bus throwing, no permanent exclusion involved. I don't think that the Assimilationists are doing much good generally, but maybe some Accommodationist logic is best all around. Rational people will see that there's much to be gained from incremental gains--str8 and queer alike.

    Posted by: gregory brown | Dec 9, 2011 2:05:32 PM

  20. What's with the ugly trans-bashing? Just because one agrees with Frank doesn't mean that trans people should be kicked off gay island. That's not his point.

    Posted by: Mark | Dec 9, 2011 2:10:17 PM

  21. To further clarify, trans activists *should* keep speaking up -- squeaky wheel and all that (just as women kept (and keep) speaking up for their rights). But the gains *will* be incremental, that's just how society works :-/

    Posted by: BEG | Dec 9, 2011 2:11:10 PM

  22. Andy you should be ashamed for posting that headline making it seem that Frank was bashing trans activists. Do you know how many people started writing their comments without even reading the article?

    Posted by: Jerry | Dec 9, 2011 2:18:29 PM

  23. Public accommodations is a euphemism in this case for bathrooms.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 9, 2011 2:47:55 PM

  24. PS
    Glitter bomb Dan Savage all you want, but the first tranny to glitter bomb our most powerful gay deserves an ass kicking.

    Posted by: Jerry | Dec 9, 2011 2:50:59 PM

  25. If trans activists "glitter bomb" Frank, they will be committing a federal felony and will do years in federal prison. I hope they try as it would be an excellent teaching moment for trans activist thugs when they see one of their own going off to a US BOP facility. We have become far to casual about the violent harassment that trans activists use to intimidate gays into submission.

    Frank is right, but he also misses the point. The big point that he should have made is that gay people never should have allowed themselves to be lumped in with trans activists in the first place. Gay people do not want to alter their bodies and join the opposite sex. Most gays are not trans and most trans are not gay. The only reason we have been forced into this fiction of LGBT is because some activists and academics wanted to transform the gay movement into a radical movement that opposed conventional concepts of gender. Gays have been paying the price for this decision for 15 years. It needs to end. LGBT is a lie.

    Posted by: Jesse | Dec 9, 2011 3:20:15 PM

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