This editorial in the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper out of D.C., reflects my feelings about the trans controversy waging right now over the ready to be passed ENDA legislation.
I support transgendered people, and want to see them covered, but right now, politics being what they are this is what we can do — and when you are out of the major cities, you know the problems of prejudice and violence are great and time is of the essence.
On the ninth anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, the need for protection for the “fly-over” gays is still very acute. Let’s pass this version of the bill, then go to work together to educate and advocate for more and better for our trans brothers and sisters.
Betraying the ‘fly-over’ gays
Plight of rural Americans should compel us to support narrow ENDA.
SHOULD GAYS WAIT for civil rights until transgender people can be included? That’s the question in the recent controversy over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The answer depends on how much weight you give to the concept of a single “GLBT community” against the practical need to make incremental progress in civil rights.
Nevertheless, lots of activists and organizations are vowing to work to defeat ENDA unless it includes gender identity. They believe gay people should wait until “everybody” in the “GLBT community” is included.
The opposition to ENDA is coming mostly from a cadre of articulate, politically aware and protected gay activists living in cocoons on the coasts and in large cities. They are imposing gender and queer theory on the lives of millions of gay Americans throughout the South, Midwest and West. They charge that a gay-only ENDA manifests a selfish willingness to throw trans people out of the boat.
Instead, the all-or-nothing ENDA manifests a self-satisfied willingness to sell the fly-over gays down the river. Hearts pure and integrity intact, elite activists who already have their rights will defend their high-minded principles right down to the last gay Alabaman.
I feel for Barney Frank. This bill will be a significant crowning achievement to his career, if those he has fought for for so long don’t destroy it.