Gay Republic Daily

Open Forum - Selling out the trans folks

berto - Aug 05, 2007 - 12:51 PM
Post subject: Selling out the trans folks
Over here there's a thread about ENDA-related issues. However, what a lot of people don't realize (including a lot of gays and lesbians) is that ENDA would not protect trans folks, and as we've seen elsewhere trans people ARE losing their jobs because of bigotry.

That just ain't fair, and the rest of the queer continuum should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the trans folks (just like they stood with us since the days of the Stonewall Riots), demanding that their rights be protected in this legislation as well.

But we're not.

Chris Crain has repeatedly suggested 1, 2, 3, 4 that transgender people don't need to be included in the Employee Non-Discrimination Act because "existing federal civil rights laws have already been interpreted by some judges to protect trans workers."

A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) informal discussion letter would suggest otherwise.


Reading Jen Burke's "Breaking the Binary: Sex, Gender Identity, and Gender Presentation (Volume 1: Employment)" was key in my understanding of the rulings of the United States concerning gender and sex.

Title VII only covers transgender people if their employer "sex stereotyped" them. Sex stereotyping is a form of harassment directed at a person because that person does not conform to "traditional sex stereotypes." Sex stereotyping is just as illegal against a gay people as it is against transgender or heterosexual persons.

Regardless of what you're told, it's still legal to fire someone for being transgender.

(Crain responds to this complaint in the "comments" section immediately following the above post.)

But it's funny, over here we get yet another case where a long-time LGBT activist is backing off when it comes to the "T" part of the equasion:

Robin Bodiford is not "The Man.''

For one, she's a lesbian whose law practice almost exclusively represents gay clients. She spearheaded groundbreaking ordinances in Broward County to protect gay rights and allow same-sex couples to register as domestic partners. When the only county commissioner who voted against both ordinances, John Rodstrom, received an award from the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale, she staged a one-woman walkout.


But now Bodiford finds herself in the most unlikeliest of roles. As a small but strident band of activists lobbies to add legal protections for transgender people to the county ordinance, Bodiford is pulling back.

"Strident"? Now where do I usually see that label being applied...?

Here's why: She and other political veterans fear that adding ''gender identity and expression'' to the ordinance will jeopardize hard-won rights already on the books. With three countywide elections looming in 2008 -- the presidential primary on Jan. 29, the Aug. 26. primary and the Nov. 4 general election -- gay-rights opponents would have three opportunities to get a repeal on the ballot.

On Wednesday, Bodiford and political consultant Richard Giorgio booked a room at the Gay and Lesbian Center to sound the alarm. Let's wait until May to add transgender to the ordinance, they said, to keep a potential repeal at bay until at least 2010.

... and where have I heard that "wait, wait, now is not the right time to make a stink about your rights" song-and-dance before? Oh yeah -- from the Democrats, every election year. Until the next time they wanna shake the Homo Money Tree...

At the meeting, about 10 people who favor the transgender amendment filed into the back of the room and tried to take over the microphone. Transgender people typically dress in the style of the opposite gender than they were born and may seek medical treatment to change their gender.

''Let them speak!'' shouted AIDS activist Michael Rajner. ``You've silenced them long enough!''

A tall woman dressed all in black took the floor.

''How dare you deny me my rights?'' demanded Tiffany Arieagus, an AIDS counselor well known in the local drag queen circuit. "What about me?''

Bodiford was shaken. ''I'm not here to be your enemy,'' she said.

Step back and see what has happened here. The lesbian activist is no longer the radical agitating for change. Now she's the one controlling the microphone and representing the political establishment. Now she's "The Man.''

You know what? Tiffany Arieagus has a right to be pissed off, as do trans folks around the USA. They have stood beside us for decades. It's time we stood by them when they need it too, and stopped acting like weaselly Democrats.
Feral - Aug 05, 2007 - 08:32 PM
Post subject: RE: Selling out the trans folks
Bodiford was shaken. ''I'm not here to be your enemy,'' she said.

If this is true (what a fit of charity I just succumbed to ... IF this is true), then Ms Bodiford should stop acting just like an enemy. She should stop at once. There is no need for apologies -- no one will accept or believe them. There is no need for excuses -- there are none. Refraining from being an enemy though... that would be a good place to start.
Rain - Aug 05, 2007 - 08:48 PM
Post subject: Re: RE: Selling out the trans folks
Feral wrote:
If this is true (what a fit of charity I just succumbed to ... IF this is true), then Ms Bodiford should stop acting just like an enemy. She should stop at once. There is no need for apologies -- no one will accept or believe them. There is no need for excuses -- there are none. Refraining from being an enemy though... that would be a good place to start.

Uh huh! The YUCK! factor.
vanrozenheim - Aug 06, 2007 - 10:21 PM
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Selling out the trans folks
It's beyound me how a Gay person can argue that protection for trans people is unnecessary - we all know that trans people are often more visible and thus more likely to become victimized.
Rain - Aug 07, 2007 - 03:48 AM
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Selling out the trans folks
I believe that gay people have a tendency to assume certain heterosexual biases...consciously or not. And yes, there is a very strong tendency to regard transgendered folk as something "other". I have heard it many, many times, even from transgenders themselves, that they are not gay, that being transgender is a totally different thing. Yes, it is a different thing. And they are not gay in the same way that I am gay, but they are, as far as I'm concerned, and for all intents and purposes, a vital part of the gay community.
berto - Aug 07, 2007 - 05:38 PM
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Selling out the trans folks
Time to give transgenders rights, not ridicule
Rain - Aug 07, 2007 - 11:28 PM
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Selling out the trans folks

Broward's human rights board has recommended adding gender identity to the anti-discrimination ordinance. But some in the gay community are resisting the change, fearing a backlash that could lead to a countywide referendum and the loss of their protections. It led to a heated meeting last week, when transsexuals confronted Robin Bodiford, a gay rights activist who wants to delay the transgender addition.

"I understand that you're trying to get gay marriage and gay adoption and I applaud you for that, but how dare you!" said Tiffany Arieagus, of Fort Lauderdale, a transsexual. "Gay, transgender, it doesn't matter. We all deserve the same rights."

Who needs heteros to divide us? We do a fine job of it ourselves.
berto - Aug 09, 2007 - 03:39 PM
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Selling out the trans folks
Well, to be fair, one can be transgendered *and* still still be hetero; but in this case I don't think it's the hets that are causing the problems.
berto - Sep 03, 2007 - 01:03 PM
Post subject:
Trans activists use Ontario election campaign to demand political action

The lobby group [Trans Health Lobby Group] — along with such allies as Egale Canada and the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario — wants to have sex reassignment surgery (SRS) relisted under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Ontario stopped paying for SRS in 1998 under the Mike Harris Conservative government.

The Lobby Group also wants gender identity included as a protected category under the Ontario Human Rights Code and a simplification of the process for changing gender on government identity documents like health cards and birth certificates.

Gapka says inclusion under the human rights code has become the most public issue and the one most likely to gain political support. While the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and courts have ruled that trans people are protected under the category of sex, they are not explicitly recognized under the legislation. NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo put forward a private member's bill calling to change that, but the bill died on the order paper when the last session of parliament ended in June. DiNovo says she plans to reintroduce her bill after the October election.

"It's such an easy thing: add two words to the human rights code," she says.

Other parties are less committed. The Conservatives did not return Xtra's calls for this story, but Gapka says she has met with party leader John Tory.

"He was noncommittal about bringing these issues forward," says Gapka. "He said he has a party to lead into the election and that's his priority over the next months."

Liberal health minister George Smitherman would not commit to human rights code changes either.

"I do not know of a formal plan for amendments to the human rights code," he says. "But if there were discussions that would be a focus. What I'm more focused on is trying to deal with access to services for trans people."

Smitherman is even less supportive of relisting SRS.

"Our party doesn't have a formalized position on SRS," says Smitherman. "We're more focused on improving the access of the GLBTT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgendered] community to healthcare."

DiNovo says the NDP would relist the surgery as soon as possible.

"It would cost under $200,000 a year," she says.

Lots more @ link...
berto - Sep 09, 2007 - 03:17 PM
Post subject:
What I learned on summer vacation: The lessons of Camp Trans
berto - Sep 14, 2007 - 01:14 PM
Post subject:
Wichita Falls trans woman says she was fired from Baptist church for wearing make up, even though the pastor wore it, too
Feral - Sep 28, 2007 - 07:50 AM
Post subject:
Surprise, surprise, surprise.

ENDA hits snag over transgender inclusion

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.

The current version of the bill calls for banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, terms that are defined in the measure to include gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.

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.

Human Rights Campaign board members reportedly met on Thursday to discuss the situation and to debate whether or not it would support a revised ENDA that does not include trans protections.

Feral - Sep 28, 2007 - 11:54 PM
Post subject:
House Democrats weaken employment legislation for transgender people

Nervous Democrats had been hearing about Republican amendments to the employment bill, Frank said, "that would talk about schoolteachers, and what happens when the kid comes back from summer vacation and teachers change gender. We just lost enough Democrats and we couldn't be sure of the Republicans."

The move put a damper Thursday on what Democrats otherwise were hailing as a landmark day for gay rights.

Again with these "nervous Democrats." Now here's a question: just which Democrats are they supposed to have lost? Specifically, I mean.
Feral - Sep 29, 2007 - 12:04 AM
Post subject:
A commenter over at Pam's House Blend:

ENDA with the “gender identity” language will protect trans people but it will ALSO help GLB people in a very big way. Specifically, it will protect GLB people whose appearance, mannerisms or gender expression differs from traditional “gender norms” and get discriminated on that basis in the workplace. After all, many GLB people are targeted not because of their sexual orientation per se, but because they may depart from traditional gender norms (e.g. effeminate gay man, butch lesbians). As a butch-ish lesbian, it doesn’t help me if ENDA protects me on the basis of “sexual orientation” while allowing an employer to go ahead and fire me because I am a masculine woman. I think GLB people need to start accepting the fact that in many situations, we are discriminated against because we challenge traditional gender norms, not because of who we sleep with. Legally, I do not believe GLB people can achieve sufficient protections in the workplace without having “gender identity” protections too.

ENDA without 'gender identity' language is about as useless as the so-called Hate Crimes Bill everyone is so desperate to feel celebratory about.
vanrozenheim - Sep 29, 2007 - 03:04 AM
Post subject:
What potential use can be in a law which doesn't protect those most vulnerable? This is a farce. Refusing protection to Trans people on grounds that actually too many people desire to discriminate against them is disgusting -- shame to those who are switching the sides to be united with the oppressor.

The argumentation that "there is no political majourity" for this or that proposal, is fraudulent. The democrats, if they were honest, should submitt the bill as they think it best -- then they will see whether it will be actually refused or accepted. What's use in suggesting a bad law for approval?
Feral - Sep 29, 2007 - 04:51 AM
Post subject:
The Democrats, if they were honest, would name which members seemed to have changed their minds on this issue. Quite recently they were crowing about how it was all but an accomplished act. Further... these representatives who have changed their minds should have the integrity to explain their positions.

The bill as it is proposed is completely unsuitable. Members of Congress who continue to support it in its current state are also unsuitable. There is an election coming up, after all. Of course... I supported precious few of them before the bill was gutted -- the withdrawal of my support is, I suppose, a completely empty gesture.

I should point out that should this bill pass, it will still be permissible for Gay employers to terminate heterosexual persons because their "gender expression" is inappropriate. In other words, while it would certainly be illegal to fire someone for being heterosexual, it would remain legal for firing them for acting "too straight."
Feral - Sep 29, 2007 - 06:07 AM
Post subject:
Tammy Baldwin Withholds Name From ENDA Stripped of Trans Protections

Significantly, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, a lesbian who represents Madison, Wisconsin, and is the only other out LGBT member of Congress, did not put her name on the new bill.

It will be interesting indeed to see if this flash of integrity manages to develop into a "no" vote. Now that would be a display of spine.
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