Main | Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sophie's Choice: T-Minus

Facing the sort of blistering scorn evidenced by the above graphic, there is rumor that Democratic leaders may drop trans people from the pending ENDA legislation. From the Washington Blade:
House Democratic leaders are strongly considering dropping anti-discrimination protections for transgender persons from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, after an internal Democratic head count on Wednesday found that the bill would likely be defeated if it included the trans provision, multiple sources familiar with the bill said.

As of late Wednesday, it appeared likely that the trans provision would be removed, setting up a potentially divisive fight within gay activist circles over whether or not to support an ENDA bill that excludes trans people.

The leader of one of the nation’s most prominent transgender rights groups expressed strong skepticism over reports that support for the transgender provision was eroding.

“I do think we have the votes to pass this bill,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Rights. “We’re getting down to the wire, and whenever you get close to a vote on an important bill like this, some people always get worried.”
Some Democratic strategists think it would be most expedient to exclude trans provisions now, get ENDA passed, then reintroduce a trans-protective bill later, if possible. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is rumored to be among that group. This move would undoubtedly cause a schism between major LGBT rights groups, some of whom refused to support an earlier version of ENDA that did not include transgender protections.

Even the usually reliable Barney Frank is among the "realists" who are suggesting the "not now, hopefully later" tactic regarding a trans-inclusive ENDA. That's disappointing. ENDA must be passed in its current all-inclusive form. Chucking out trans people now would be grossly antithetical to everything the LGBT movement stands for.

(Graphic via Pam's House Blend.)

UPDATE: Please note and visit the new banner at the top of JMG and learn how to assist the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force in the fight to keep ENDA trans-inclusive!

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