Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wired Blogger Opens Closet Door for LGBT Space Workers


Space, The Final Frontier for Homosexuality

By Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides EmailJanuary 31, 2008 | 11:57:23 AMCategories: Sexuality, Space


"...With over 450 people having flown into space, odds are there has been at least one gay person in space already, but the conservative nature of NASA and the military heritage of many of the astronauts may combine to make it difficult for astronauts to be open about their sexual orientation. Add to that that US astronauts all live and train in Texas, where sodomy laws remained on the books until 2003 (when a Supreme Court ruling forced Texas to take them out), and you can begin to get a sense of the atmosphere. The atmosphere in Russia has not been much better.

There have been some recent victories however for gay people who love space. Former 'N Sync singer and commercial astronaut hopeful Lance Bass came out on the cover of People magazine in 2006 and George Takei, the actor who played the beloved Lieutenant Sulu on Star Trek, came out of the closet in 2005. Takei has become a major spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign and embarked on a nationwide speaking tour he called, "Equality Trek."

Of NASA's ten field centers, Ames and JPL in California, and Goddard in Maryland already have groups at their centers to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. NASA Ames also hosted George Takei in a special event on October 11, 2007 for National Coming Out Day. But the space community at large, still has a long way to go. MORE..."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Gov. Dreyfus Gay Rights Pioneer Dies

First governor to sign gay rights law dies published Friday, January 4, 2008
Former Wisconsin Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus, who in 1982 signed the first statewide gay rights law in the United States, has died. He was 81.

Dreyfus died Wednesday at his home near Milwaukee, said Lee S. Dreyfus Jr. on Thursday. He had suffered from heart and breathing problems.

The gay rights measure Dreyfus signed made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Activists gathered in Madison last year to mark the 25th anniversary of the law.

Dreyfus, a Republican who Wisconsin's 40th governor, was also a vocal opponent of the state's ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions, which was approved by voters in 2006. MORE AT HEADER

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jingle Bells Means Juggling More Balls for LGBT

Image Credit:


"For many GLBT people, the long road between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is laced with potholes to be dodged or dealt with: isolation or exclusion from your birth family, disapproval of one’s lifestyle/partner choices, or the ultimatum that attending events means downplaying or denying who you are and what you do the other 364 days of the year..."More, go to Headline

Friday, November 30, 2007

NASA Snoops Into Sexual Orientation, Private Lives,Scientists Sue

Investigating the scientists who successfully investigated Mars. Image credit: JPL.

To see the JPL scientist's blog on The Homeland Security directive that they are protesting, click the link. Space- the last frontier for the right to privacy.

Markmarkmark writes:
"Wired is reporting that all NASA JPL scientists must 'voluntarily' (or be fired) sign a document giving the government the right to investigate their personal lives and history 'without limit'. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists this includes snooping into sexual orientation, mental & physical health as well as credit history and 'personality conflict'. 28 senior NASA scientists and engineers, including Mars Rover team members, refused to sign by the deadline and are now subject to being fired despite a decade or more of exemplary service. None of them even work on anything classified or defense related. They are suing the government and documenting their fight for their jobs and right to personal privacy."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Insult Upon Injury: HRC Snubs Trans Volunteers...Volunteers Resign

Image credit: James Green

The word is out that two more highly respected Trans leaders have resigned from the HRC. The story below gives some details.

This story, as I read it on Pamshouseblend is even more bizarre and outrageous. This is not Trans sour grapes, which would be completely justified. No.

James Green and Donna Rose, Trans members of the HRC Business Council, were loyal to HRC. They waited until after the ENDA vote, and then asked to meet with the HRC Executive Director Joe Solmonese to discuss strategy, going forward. Their request was ignored. No reply for three weeks, according to the referenced letter. Obviously then, Joe chose to ignore them, which is outrageous, insulting, and unprofessional...and intentional.

HRC would know that this stiff arm, stonewalling might force a resignation. Thus, rather than collaborate and consult with the two trans, respected, high level members of the international trans community, and the HRC Business Council, they set up a situation where the only reasonable option for these people was to resign. Shameful.

HRC is out of control, and their Executive Director has lost my confidence. It all seems to come down to control, and HRC has proven they do not welcome any consultation-and they never really have, from my experience as a former Federal Club Member- or request to participate in strategy. Even from their own high level volunteers. No matter how much pain and injustice is at stake. You know, the LGBT community never set out to become so fed up with HRC. I was willing to consider that Barney had put them in a very difficult situation.

No more. HRC has turn trans snubbing into internal policy. HRC is now ethically bankrupt.

I believe the Executive Director should resign, and the Board should turn over a new policy leaf on a number of fronts.

Until then, "HRC Does Not Speak For Me" just might make a good bumper sticker.


"Two transgender members of the Human Rights Campaign quit Tuesday, saying the group's support of an employment nondiscrimination bill that excluded transgender workers put them ''in an untenable position.''

Jamison Green and Donna Rose's resignations from the business council of the Human Rights Campaign are effective immediately, according to a joint letter. The Human Rights Campaign works for equal rights for gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

''Considering recent broken promises, the lack of credibility that HRC has with the transgender community at large, and HRC's apparent lack of commitment to healing the breach it has caused, we find it impossible to maintain an effective working relationship with the organization,'' they said. Header.

Friday, November 23, 2007

AOL = Against Out Liberals?

Image: Kenny Hill of AOL

AOL canned a new queer blog of it's own making.
A principal in the effort now wonders why, amidst the ruins of his dream.

Source: Proceed at your own

"And was the deletion of QueerSighted bundled into a general "layoff" to hide some ugly truth? Were our politics too far to the left of certain senior officers at AOL? Was AOL receiving threats from it's large Evangelical and Right wing readership that used to entertain itself by flaming our site? I guess we'll never know and the worst thing we can say about AOL is that they lied about their commitment to the GLBT community and Kenny Hill and just swept us and him away as part of some mindless, heartless corporate housecleaning exercise. More? Click Header.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Transgender Day Of Remembrance Nov 20


The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world.

Who Died In 2007?

[No Photo]Nakia Ladelle Baker
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Cause of Death: Blunt force trauma to the head
Date of Death: January 7, 2007

[No Photo]Keittirat Longnawa
Location: Rassada, Thailand
Cause of Death: Beaten by 9 Youths who then slit her throat
Date of Death: January 31, 2007

[No Photo]Moira Donaire
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
Cause of Death: Stabbed 5 times by a street vendor
Date of Death: March 5, 2007

[No Photo]Michelle Carrasco “Chela”
Location: Santiago, Chile
Cause of Death: She was found in a pit with her face completely disfigured.
Date of Death: March 16, 2007

[No Photo]Ruby Rodriguez
Location: San Francisco, California
Cause of Death: She had been strangled and was found naked in the street.
Date of Death: March 16, 2007

[No Photo]Erica Keel
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cause of Death: A car repeatedly struck her
Date of Death: March 23, 2007

[No Photo]Bret T. Turner
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Cause of Death: Multiple stab wounds
Date of Death: April 2, 2007

[No Photo]Unidentified Male Clad in Female Attire
Location: Kingston, Jamaica
Cause of Death: Gunshot wounds to the chest and lower back
Date of Death: July 7, 2007

[No Photo]Victoria Arellano
Location: San Pedro, California
Cause of Death: Denied necessary medications to treat HIV-related side effects.
Date of Death: July 20, 2007

[No Photo]Oscar Mosqueda
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Cause of Death: Shot to death
Date of Death: July 29, 2007

[No Photo]Maribelle Reyes
Location: Houston, Texas
Cause of Death: AIDS; Reyes was turned away from several treatment centers due to her transgender status.
Date of Death: August 30, 2007

You can also find out about all the other reported cases of anti-transgender murder by visiting the Remembering Our Dead website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Is Where The Work Needs to Be Done: Rep.Patricia Todd of Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama. Patricia Todd, white, liberal and lesbian won a state seat in a majority black voter district in Alabama. She never expected to win, and she was rightfully fearful of the Klan and others as she pioneered in this win. Patricia is one of the most interesting politicians in the LGBT elected constellation. Hello, it seems as if you are committed to delivering what constituents want need and deserve you can win on the merits. Patricia is proving that. Thanks to Pam over at House Blend for posting all of these great videos by Rep. Todd. Rep. Todd tells moving stories about what her campaign, and life are like in the deep south.

Barney Frank Endorses Hillary (And Visa Versa?)

Video: You Tube. Hillary campaigning at The Abbey, a famous LGBT club in LA.

Yes, Barney Frank is wounded by the ENDA flap, but politics must go forth in an election year. What is interesting here to Stonewall Citizen is that Clinton openly welcomes him with a headline post on her blog. This is progress for the community, and probably helps Frank with his LGBT base, as Clinton is spending her political capital on him, and us.
Now maybe they can work together on Trans inclusion in ENDA and everything else, and towards a federal marriage act for the LGBT during a Clinton presidency.


The Clinton Campaign announced the endorsement of Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and named him as an Economic Advisor to the Campaign.

"I have from the beginning of this campaign believed that Hillary Clinton was the candidate best qualified to serve as President," Rep. Frank said. "I am convinced that once elected, the qualities she will bring to the job - commitment, intellect, and political skills - will make her an extremely effective leader in our effort to reverse the badly flawed course on which George Bush and past Republican Congresses have set this country.

"I am particularly pleased by her commitment to reverse the economic policies that have created a situation in which as the country progresses economically, only a small number of Americans benefit. Her understanding of the need to implement policies that provide fairness for middle and working class people is very important. She has shown an ability to fight for progressive values in a way that is capable of appealing to the majority of our fellow citizens, and I believe that she is both politically and substantively the candidate best qualified to be our nominee.

"As Chair of the House Financial Services Committee with major responsibilities for various parts of our economy, I particularly look forward to working with her and members of her administration in once again demonstrating that economic growth and a concern for economic fairness in fact are reinforcing values, and not, as the current administration believes, in competition with each other.

"In addition, based on my work with her on issues involving discrimination, I am convinced that Hillary Clinton is the candidate best equipped to pass laws that will treat all Americans with dignity, fairness and equality no matter who they are or who they love."

"I'm honored to have the support of one of the sharpest minds in Congress," Hillary said. "Barney has devoted his life to championing economic fairness and civil rights, and expanding opportunity for all Americans. I'm delighted he'll take a leadership role in our campaign."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Trans-free ENDA Passes House

Shakesville (click header) says it all on this very divisive outcome. As they say in Congress, I associate myself with her comments, below. It is also clear that education begins at home, and the community needs to do a tremendous amount of work within to get to the desired outcome of Trans inclusive legislation on ENDA any every piece of legislation going forward.

"Immediately, I got an email from HRC celebrating, but noting in bold letters: "HRC remains 100% committed to doing the hard work necessary to pass legislation that protects our entire community, including transgender workers who remain especially vulnerable to workplace discrimination." Especially vulnerable. Indeed. Perhaps more so than anyone realized, given the extent of the prejudice expressed by presumed allies during the run-up to this vote. As Pam said this morning: "[T]he big picture is that this entire situation is a complete embarrassing mess of mixed messages and motives, inadequate preparation, poor PR strategy, and a hell of a lot of anger and vitriol that is damaging, painful and was this amateur hour was avoidable. One can only hope that whatever tattered relationships remain can be stitched together in some form or fashion, because there's more legislation and lobbying coming down the pike. Our community, for whatever that word means at this moment, needs to find a better way of doing things." I don't know what else to say at the moment, except that I'll continue to be a fierce ally for the Ts."


Towards Gay Greens:Clinton's Energy Plan

Image:Clinton's Energy Plan.

Hilary Clinton released yet another extremely detailed technology-based plan for new energy, jobs and climate change mitigation. No matter one's views on the 2008 race, no one can fault Clinton in her continued roll out of comprehensive campaign plans in the tech arena. The LGBT community is highly innovative and technology focused, so we are prepared, in a Clinton Administration to get engaged in growing gay leadership in the next green economy.

From her web (click header):


Hillary has a bold and comprehensive plan to address America's energy and environmental challenges that will establish a green, efficient economy and create as many as five million new jobs.

Centered on a cap and trade system for carbon emissions, stronger energy and auto efficiency standards and a significant increase in green research funding, Hillary's plan will reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and address the looming climate crisis.

Setting ambitious targets, the plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming, and cut foreign oil imports by two-thirds from 2030 projected levels, more than 10 million barrels per day.

Hillary would transform our economy from carbon-based to clean and energy efficient, jumpstarting research and development through a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund and doubling investment in basic energy research. She would also spur the green building industry by funding the retrofitting and modernization of 20 million low-income homes and take concrete steps to reduce electricity consumption, including enacting strict appliance efficiency standards and phasing out incandescent light bulbs.

Recognizing that transportation accounts for 70 percent of U.S. oil consumption, Hillary would increase fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2030, but would help automakers retool their production facilities through $20 billion in "Green Vehicle Bonds."

To take the steps necessary to transition to a clean and renewable energy future, Hillary will urge all of the nation's stakeholders to contribute to the effort. Automakers will be asked to make more efficient vehicles; oil and energy companies to invest in cleaner, renewable technologies; utilities to ramp up use of renewables and modernize the grid; coal companies to implement clean coal technology; government to establish a cap and trade carbon emissions system and renew its leadership in energy efficient buildings and services; individuals to conserve energy and utilize efficient light bulbs and appliances in their homes; and industry to build energy efficient homes and buildings.

Hillary's plan to promote energy independence, address global warming, and transform our economy includes:

  • A new cap-and-trade program that auctions 100 percent of permits alongside investments to move us on the path towards energy independence;
  • An aggressive comprehensive energy efficiency agenda to reduce electricity consumption 20 percent from projected levels by 2020 by changing the way utilities do business, catalyzing a green building industry, enacting strict appliance efficiency standards, and phasing out incandescent light bulbs;
  • A $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund, paid for in part by oil companies, to fund investments in alternative energy. The SEF will finance one-third of the $150 billon ten-year investment in a new energy future contained in this plan;
  • Doubling of federal investment in basic energy research, including funding for an ARPA-E, a new research agency modeled on the successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Aggressive action to transition our economy toward renewable energy sources, with renewables generating 25 percent of electricity by 2025 and with 60 billion gallons of home-grown biofuels available for cars and trucks by 2030;
  • 10 "Smart Grid City" partnerships to prove the advanced capabilities of smart grid and other advanced demand-reduction technologies, as well as new investment in plug-in hybrid vehicle technologies;
  • An increase in fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2030, and $20 billion of "Green Vehicle Bonds" to help U.S. automakers retool their plants to meet the standards;
  • A plan to catalyze a thriving green building industry by investing in green collar jobs and helping to modernize and retrofit 20 million low-income homes to make them more energy efficient;
  • A new "Connie Mae" program to make it easier for low and middle-income Americans to buy green homes and invest in green home improvements;
  • A requirement that all publicly traded companies report financial risks due to climate change in annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission; and
  • Creation of a "National Energy Council" within the White House to ensure implementation of the plan across the Executive Branch.
  • A requirement that all federal buildings designed after January 20, 2009 will be zero emissions buildings.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pile Ons Remind LGBT's of Every Day Life

Halloween is over, but scary pile-ons in the debates continue to resonate with many voters.
So while most things in the gay world can be reduced to the political element of inequality, Stonewall Citizen (SC) is going to be talking politics here. Let's review the fall out of the Hilary Clinton "pile on" effect, after the last debate.

What woman, what minority, what LGBT person has not at one time or another been the focus of a "pile on" attack? Whether in the streets or in the boardroom, we have all been through one or more of these.

While watching Clinton go through it during the last debate SC remembered those moments when not just the issue, but one's person is under attack. Clinton supporter and former candidate for President Geraldine Ferraro is not spinning when she says that sexism is still OK in America. Her point is that 2 hours of attack on one candidate would not be acceptable if that candidate were Obama, for racism is not ok in this country. Ferraro spoke in the New York Times today and says she does not think a 2 hour attack on Obama would be acceptable. It would not be to SC, and we support Clinton.
As a woman SC was angered and offended. As a gay person SC was angered and offended by the straight white male onslaught. Obama showed some restraint, and we appreciate that.
Obama did not lead the attack, but rather the courtroom lawyer, John Edwards. He and his wife Elizabeth have been aiming hard ball rhetoric at Hilary for some time. Edwards is also a master of re-framing questions before he answers, rather than answering the question asked.
Slamming the front runner, who is also a woman, is not having the desired effect. Do we honestly think Edwards, who has pinned his hopes on a quickly whipped up poverty platform and a southern demographic would have warmed to his task if the target was Obama? John Edwards performance under the pressure of political slippage showed him to be an attack dog. His name is now off of our list of options when the democratic primary comes to town.

Stonewall Citizen believes Clinton will come roaring back in the next Democratic debate.
A Newsweek poll shows that Clinton's numbers are still strong. Interest has a good take on this evolving story, as well. (click headline).

Source: Newsweek Pole: Clinton Thrives Among Dems

On Tuesday, at the eighth presidential debate among Democrats, front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton came under withering fire from her top rivals, Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards. But the attacks didn't appear to do much damage, with her lead for the party's nomination unchanged, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Almost exactly a year before election day, Clinton is also the favorite to win the White House--if only by a very small margin.

The New York senator gets 44 percent of the overall Democratic vote, compared to 24 percent for Obama (down a point since NEWSWEEK's August poll) and 12 percent for Edwards (down two points). She is the first choice of 45 percent of self-identified Democrats (compared with 39 percent of Democratic "leaners"). She also trounces Obama among Democratic female voters (48 to 19 percent) and enjoys a marginal lead among male Democratic voters (38 to 32 percent). Obama runs better among younger Democratic voters and minorities.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Arod: "Halloween Shame in the Castro"

We here at Stonewall Citizen salute blogger, Castro resident and insightful voice for queer outrage and sorrow,Arod, for his Shame in the Castro post below. Left, we show an image of another call out of the police as a tool of control of gays at The Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969.
Now the control in San Francisco is cultural, behind the facade of safety, and to cover the failure of leadership-and a complete lack of vision.
Homophobia can be laid on by gay authoritarians themselves, as Arod points out. Rise from the shadows, lusty Arods of the Castro and take back your neighborhood-and give the global LGBT community a new, safe and fabulous Halloween in the Castro in 2008.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Shame in the Castro

So the grey-complected bureaucrats, shivering in their dank shuttered offices in self-righteous fear of the lusty and boisterous city they haunt, have managed to do what homophobes and the cops of earlier eras never could ... they killed Halloween in the Castro. Shame on them. Shame especially on Supervisor Bevan Dufty, a gay man, who does the work of the homophobes.

As I write only a few blocks from the darkened streets of the historical core of the gay revolution, they have closed public transit and strong-armed merchants and bar-owners into closing early. They have barricaded the sidewalks so revelers cannot take the streets. They have banned parking not to make room for merriment or celebration, but to make room for their own police-state tactics. They did this in the name of "safety" because of a few fringe bad episodes in an otherwise exuberant celebration of hundreds of thousands of people.

It is not coincidental that this occurs a few day safter the New York Times features a story that does not lament the decline of gay neighborhoods ... are they passé, it asks. It's ostensibly about social change, but actually about obscene real estate prices. I believe that the moral force behind killing Halloween here is a combination of grumpy old gay property owners who begrudge to current youth the fun they had in their own youths, along with the new smiling straight property owners who pat themselves ceaselessly on the back for finding a neighborhood where they can be cool. Neither group wants our history except, perhaps, in a tasteful library display.

We need our history because it is a visceral reminder of the fact that we have had to fight with our bodies and our lives for the freedom we have. We conducted that fight in living memory. Stonewall happened when I was 16. When I was 10, on the day of Halloween, the reactionary San Francisco city authorities revoked the license of the epochal Black Cat, a well-known gay hangout. The "nelly queens" celebrated one last time that Halloween, drinking non-alcoholic beverages, and the place closed forever.

Halloween in the Castro, 1997

Gay people celebrate Halloween, the great gay holiday, because it is a festival of difference ... it is visceral play of the dialectic between appearance and reality. Look at it ... night plus costumes plus play plus blasphemy ... what is not gay about that? Many groups may claim Halloween, and so be it, but Halloween is ours. It is celebration of transgression, and our lives through no fault of our own have been transgressive since the dawn of christianity. The bastards cannot take it from us ... but the bureaucrats did. They stripped it from our heartland. How heartless.

Halloween in the Castro, 1997

Guys spend all year creating magnificent costumes. This has been a decades long focal point of creativity and expressiveness that allows our deeply creative community to strut its stuff, to show the world that we may be out there, but being out there is a great way to live. But such considerations of expression and creation are too much for the tiny minded civic school-marms. A pox on you, Dufty. Shame on you Before gay liberation, the drag queens of Toronto used to march back and forth between the Parkside Bar and St. Charles Tavern on Yonge Street to the jeers and pelting of a mob ... that lasted until 1980. I am reliably informed that similar parades of drag queens occurred in many cities but I do not have a reference at this point. But we had the guts to do it, and we had the guts to suffer the taunts and the attacks until we could mount a movement to secure our liberty. Halloween in the 70s and 80s in the Castro often featured violence much worse than the couple of incidents that form the "casus belli" against gay Halloween for our grey bureaucrats. CUAV, Community United Against Violence, was founded in 1979 to fight back against gay bashing, and it actively patrolled the neighborhood. The police in those days were of precious little help. As the celebration grew and grew, the police came to play a better role. Now they have been enlisted to kill the fun. This city likes to pretend that it is the "city that knows how." No way, now. This is a city that cannot runa transit system, that cannot pave its streets, that canot clean up its garbage, that cannot help its homeless, that cannot provide affordable housing, that can no longer serve the artists and misfits and refugees who make it what it is. Tourists come to San Francisco because it is different. But is is less and less different every passing hour as we are invaded by smug suburbanites and SUVs and nervous lookie-loos with no more creativity than blister packs of the consumerism that is there only joy. Now the city meekly claims it cannot manage a large, popular, recurring event. New Orleans can manage Mardi Gras, but San Francisco can't handle Halloween. New York can manage Halloween, but San Francisco can't. The city that mourns its lost bids for the Olympics whines and snivels that it can't handle happy people in costumes on the streets. For crying out loud, Pamplona an handle mad bulls rushing through the streets clogged with human beings, but San Francisco, o poor Ssn Francisco, can't manage a street fair. Shame on the bureaucrats. Shame especially on Dufty, who would know better if he had an ounce of sense of who we we really are or where we came from or what we have done. It is especially disheartening that Mayor Newsom, who has fought the good fight for gay marriage, does not understand what a kick in the nuts this is. Think big, Gavin. Don't be a grey-complected bureaucrat like teeny weeny Dufty whose political career is over nd who will go nowhere. We need the bold not the meek in office. In the background, I have just watched a 1997 History Channel documentary narrated by Harry Smith, called A Haunted History of Halloween, that doesn't bother to mention gay people at all, even as the chow pictures of the celebration in Greenwich Village. Our history is perpetually silenced. It is one of the chief methods of eliminating us. When the City of San Francisco silences our annual celebration of ourselves, it is complicit in that strategy. Closing the Castro Halloween Celebration is homophobic, and it is a stain on the careers of those politicians who established the policy, and on the city where we have fought for our liberation for a century. Shame on San Francisco. Shame.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Yes, Heather, There Still Is a Gay Glass Ceiling

Image: Strange De Jim. Castro Boys Slip Outside. How To Escape The Gay Glass Ceiling For a Few Wonderful Hours With Friends At A Community Event. Photo Taken during a 1970's era Castro Street Fair in San Francisco.

Source (click header for story).

" Heather (she wishes to be identified by first name only) and her partner have seen what happens to people who come out at their workplace. About eight years ago, she says, a co-worker came out, and her supervisor “went ballistic, he was so mad,” Heather said. A month later, the co-worker left the company. Things are better now, Heather said, but still are not great. Gay employees write anonymous letters to the Diversity Committee instead of volunteering to help or come to meetings. There is a rumor that there is a gay vice president of the company somewhere in Europe – but otherwise, there are no out gay executives. And she herself hasn’t been promoted since she started coming out. Heather has hit the gay glass ceiling. When it comes to the workplace, gay and lesbian activists have focused mainly on ending overt and obvious harassment and discriminatory hiring, firing, and promotion practices. Over the past few weeks, a raw debate over including transgenders in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has rocketed GLBT workers into the headlines. The inclusive bill would protect workers from being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, but it seems unlikely to be passed. Despite the absence of a federal law, however, gays and lesbians (and sometimes transgenders) are slowly being protected city by city, state by state, and company by company. Twenty states protect gay and lesbian workers from discrimination, as do 140 municipalities and counties, 470 companies in the Fortune 500, and hundreds of other companies and non-profits. These policies are fairly well supported by the electorate; in a September poll, more than one half of the respondents supported equal rights in the workplace for gays and lesbians. Most people see discrimination in hiring and firing as obviously wrong, and legislators, activists, and companies are working hard to end it, with popular support. Overt discrimination is not so much a glass ceiling as a thick cement slab. You can’t cut through it without the help of a legal sledgehammer. Legislation is necessary. But antidiscrimination policies, though a necessary first step, are not enough. Cultural gay glass ceilings can’t be legislated away. In such a workplace, no one is calling gays names or firing people who come out. Instead, there is a wage gap, or gay people or denied plum assignments or don't get promoted - or coworkers are just not friendly. Gays and lesbians in unsupportive (or openly hostile) workplaces are more likely to find themselves shut off from mentorship opportunities, are less likely to be promoted, and tend to have lower incomes than their straight counterparts. It is unhappiness through a thousand paper cuts.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

San Francisco Halloween Ban Shocks Other Cities

Image: Donna Sachet of Citizens For Halloween, a pro party group which has been trying to reason with San Francisco over their Halloween plans. Ms. Sachet acted as MC for 2 safe halloweens under former Supervisor Mark Leno's term as Castro Supervisor.

While some Castro denizens are actually congratulating all the bars and restaurants for following the cities "request"/demands, by closing early on Halloween, other cities all across the country are shocked by San Francisco's new found fright over Halloween. For these other cities Halloween is safe, fun and profitable. In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Castro Supervisor Bevin Dufty are telling locals to stay in, with a "Home For Halloween" campaign.

Last year, errors in crowd control by the city resulted in an restless environment and the shooting of 9 people. Rather than revamp the event and run it professionally this year, elected officials stalled on taking action, stiffed the community on promises of input, held close door meetings and only recently announced the shut down of the annual rite of fall-a rite and ritual which goes back thousands of years, and decades in the Castro neighborhood. Pressure from older gay male property owners, who lead various Castro community groups and supported Dufty and Newsom in previous campaigns, also encouraged the shut down. Pro-party folks refer to this strata as "The NIMBYS".

Here is what is strange, though. This Saturday, the 27th, the Castro is not shut down, so will this become the spontaneous, and unsafe pre-party with no plan again, this year? Historically Halloween costumed revelers hit the streets the week and weekend before the official day, if it falls mid-week, as Halloween does this year. Exceedingly strange doings indeed.

For those looking to be with their gay family-at-large, in a safe event, not hunkered down with that old familiar clique at some boring house party, here, down below, are what other regions are planning, according to the Bay Area Reporter.

Grab a plane and go to the real events. They will welcome you with open arms, not billy clubs. And San Francisco does not want to have you there. The City has not committed to porta potties for those who did not get the directive to stay home, sit down, and shut up. The bars will be closed, so where are people gonna go? This Tale of The City ends with a whimper and the sound of a police patrol car door slamming on a sad, cold deserted street in what used to be the gay mecca.

The B.A.R. story:
Halloween... everywhere but in the Castro by Matthew S. Bajko Bay Area Reporter Monday Oct 22, 2007

As San Francisco officials try to kill this year’s Halloween party in the Castro, leaders in other cities are welcoming revelers with open arms and weeklong celebrations. The holiday, quite simply, is a cash cow for city coffers and local businesses. And to tourist officials, Halloween isn’t viewed as a nightmare but as a marketing bonanza. Toronto’s tourism office helped launch that city’s first weeklong celebration this year and is hopeful it will become a magnet for vacationers looking for some ghoulish fun. In cities such as San Diego and Dallas, where the official Halloween events are planned for the Saturday night prior to Halloween, since it falls on a Wednesday this year, tourist officials have been plugging the parties to media outlets across the country. Ross Crusemann, senior vice president of marketing for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted, "Thousands of participants will don their creative best to celebrate one of Dallas’ biggest annual events." Halloween party planners in Canada and across the U.S. contacted by the Bay Area Reporter this week all said they had reacted in shock when they heard San Francisco not only had canceled its Halloween party but also were actively encouraging people not to visit the city come October 31. "That is unbelievable. It’s amazing," said Jeanne Fleming, who organizes the New York Village Halloween Parade, now in its 34th year and one of the country’s largest Halloween parties. "I just don’t believe in operating from fear. I believe you have to press forward to make sure everything is all right, because it is a small element that causes the trouble." Fleming works with a San Francisco-based puppet maker who helps design her parade’s signature element and has spoken with city officials about the troubles they have encountered with San Francisco’s Halloween party. She said her main suggestion was for the city to create its own parade that would start in the Castro and then snake its way to another part of town. "I talked about how I think part of the problem is with everything being centered in the Castro. You could begin the parade there and pay homage to its roots but then move it out of there so it isn’t centered so much in one section of the city where people close in on it. It opens it up to the entire community," said Fleming. New York’s parade attracts two million people to the city’s Greenwich Village and three other neighborhoods. The parade itself draws 60,000 participants and lasts four hours from start to finish. It is estimated that it brings in $60 million in tourist dollars and is the biggest night for businesses and restaurants. "Halloween is huge business," said Fleming. Bonnie Smith, the special events supervisor for West Hollywood, oversees that city’s now 25-year-old Halloween street party. This is the 20th year the city has been involved and Smith expects to have up to 500,000 people show up this year. Smith said she, too, has fielded phone calls from leaders in San Francisco asking her about her city’s approach to the annual street party. Except for problems with public drunkenness, Smith said her event has had little trouble. "We don’t seem to have the issues you guys were dealing with. We don’t charge, we don’t fence off the area, we don’t have metal detectors," said Smith. "It is a good crowd. It is a good event for us." Susan Christian, the deputy director of the Houston Mayor’s Office of Special Events, is working with several promoters of Halloween events this year, including a street party in that city’s gay neighborhood. San Francisco officials are discussing establishing a similar office that would oversee planning for next year’s Halloween and other events. "The city of Houston is so supportive of special events," said Christian. "We understand it is vital to the spirit of the city. It brings people together in a really celebratory manner." Christian said Houston has not had any violence-related problems on Halloween. "What we do is recognize it is going to be a fun night and people are going to be out," she said. "What we ensure is all of our departments know where all events are and support them in whatever manner we need to support them." Toronto is trying to duplicate the success American cities have had with its own Halloweek celebration, which includes pumpkin carving contests and special pumpkin entrees at 11 restaurants in the city’s gay village and culminates with a nighttime street block party. The celebration is the brainchild of Larry Peloso, a gay man and events director for the gay area’s Church Wellesley Business Improvement Association. Peloso said several years ago he saw "the potential for Halloween was amazing" and approached city hall and the tourism office about creating a branded event. No other city in Canada has tapped into the holiday to increase visitor traffic, he said. "What better place than Toronto? We are in the middle of pumpkin country," he said. Considering how Toronto officials have embraced his idea, Peloso said he couldn’t believe San Francisco’s leaders want to ditch the holiday this year. "I was surprised when I heard San Francisco was canceling Halloween. To outright cancel it seemed like a very extreme measure," he said. "They just can’t cancel Halloween. It’s like canceling Christmas." Unlike San Francisco’s Halloween, which has been marred by violence in recent years, the celebrations in New York and Toronto have largely been safe events, said Peloso and Fleming. Fleming credited the involvement of both the community and city leaders in the planning process throughout the year for helping make her Halloween parade safe. "We work closely with the police, who always saw it as a great thing for New York City. They feel the parade keeps the city safe on an otherwise high crime night in the city," she said. "You have to involve the whole community. You have to bring in all the players and hear all about it to figure it out. Sometimes the best solutions come from your strongest critics."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lesbian Fire Chief Jarman of San Diego

Image: Fire Chief Tracy Jarman, San Diego. An Out and Proud Lesbian.

Who is heading up San Diego's municipal fire fighting force? It is run so well with the available resources, its no surprise that a lesbian chief is on the job. Because San Diego is a very large county,with smaller cities around the metropolis, coordination is key to the fire fight. Kudos, Chief Jarman.

About Chief Tracy Jarman:

(Source: San Diego Magazine)

"Prior to Jarman taking over, the department and the position came under heavy criticism due to its handling of San Diego County’s 2003 Cedar fire, the second largest wildfire in California’s history—and it became clear that new leadership and new ideas were needed. Longtime Chief Jeff Bowman resigned soon after the fire and recommended Jarman as his successor. She certainly had the credentials: She had served as assistant fire chief and interim fire chief following Bowman’s retirement. And in June 2006, she took over by unanimous selection. Of the 24 female fire chiefs in the United States, only Joanne Hays-White of San Francisco runs a department larger than Jarman’s.

She’s taking on all of these new responsibilities despite the fact that she had been planning to retire just a few years ago. But she changed her mind when Bowman announced his resignation. “When Chief Bowman made his decision, I rethought mine,” says Jarman. “This is a great organization, and they need the leadership. It was the right thing to do and the right time to step up.”

Singpore Slings Sodomy

Sinapore's Loong and Another Gay Bashing Friend

If this is not the ultimate in self-serving hypocrisy, then what is? Oral and anal sex is now OK for "conservative" Singapore heteros, but not for gays? Please. And then to lecture and intimidate LGBT's on top of it all.

Do you get that gays are human, and as they say: GAY= Good As You. To put a fine point on it, now the globe knows they can come to Singapore and do what they want with prostitutes without fear of prosecution. Some straight power mongers are just laughable and transparent monsters in nice suits. So modern, so silly, but soooo menacing. Sound familiar, Prime Minister Loong?

Source: AP

"Singapore relaxes strict sex laws for heterosexuals, but retains ban on gay sex

Advocates for the decriminalization of gay sex said Wednesday they were disappointed with the decision by the country's parliament, but hoped for more informal dialogue on the issue in the future.

Parliamentarians passed the law Tuesday in the most extensive revision of the Penal Code in more than two decades.

The changes include making oral and anal sex between consenting heterosexual adults no longer an offense. But Section 377A, which deals with the same acts between men, will remain in force with a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

"Singapore is basically a conservative society. The family is the basic building block of this society," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a speech to lawmakers ahead of the vote. "And by family in Singapore we mean one man, one woman marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit."

Lee also warned gay rights activists against forcing the issue, which he said has become an emotional and divisive matter that was best left to evolve gradually.

"The more gay activists push this agenda, the stronger will be the push-back from conservative forces in our society," Lee said. "The result will be counterproductive because it's going to lead to less space for the gay community in Singapore."

The bill was passed after two days of debate that included a discussion of a petition submitted Monday by a group of Singaporeans asking to decriminalize gay sex. The petition, signed by 2,341 people in three days, said the government's proposal to legalize oral and anal sex for heterosexual adults only was unjust." CLICK HEADLINE FOR MORE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Advocate Asks Who Killed Halloween?

Got Gangs? Step up and get rid of em, muscle men of San Francisco. At least keep them and their guns out of the Castro. Giving in to bullies is never the right answer, and that is what we were supposed to learn on the school yards of our battered gay youth. Now put down your pruning shears and the AARP newsletter for a sec and take back the world's queer neighborhood. The Mecca you have stewardship of for the entire LGBT global community.

Read On...

"Granted, it’s a show worth watching. Halloween street parties have always been the perfect excuse for gays to showcase their creativity in an atmosphere free of judgment and scorn. “There were lots of very imaginative gay people who would come in wonderful things, like dressed as Imelda Marcos’s shoes,” says Ralph Lee, who is credited with starting the Village Parade in 1974. “One year there were these four guys dressed as stewardesses, with little carry-ons, each with a letter on it, and when they lined up it spelled T-W-A-T.” Costumes often tend to be topical too, reflecting the zeitgeist. The year 1979 saw an army of Eva Perons -- Evita had hit Broadway that year -- the more creative ones sporting a bank of microphones ingeniously designed into the dress to mimic Peron on her balcony.

In such a festive atmosphere, is it any wonder that Halloween became a gay national holiday -- it’s “gay Christmas.” And through most of the ’80s at least, before such events became formally organized and publicized, these parties were ours, a place where we could let our hair down and get crazy with our peers. It was our secret -- until word got out, and the mainstream decided to crash the party.

While the crowds of straight spectators at Halloween carnivals have been growing for years, 2006 may have been a tipping point. Last year, according to organizers, the festivities in New York and Washington, D.C., drew their largest crowds ever, with the parade in the Village stretching for a full hour longer than the previous year’s. The West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval on Santa Monica Boulevard, which today draws half a million, was “like a mosh pit for a mile and a half,” says Jeff Scott, a longtime attendee. For the first time in 18 years, he says, he went home early.

The media that dominate today’s events only add to the chaos. New York’s event is covered by 38 international television crews, says Fleming, who in late September had just fielded a photo request from Time Out Beijing.

As far back as 1998, a gay council member representing the Village asked the city to cancel or move the event, citing “a sea of homophobia.” A gay community board member summed up his feelings as a parade participant: “Many of these people who come out now are not there to laugh with us. They are there to laugh at us,” he told The New York Times.

Because the parties aren’t the domain of straight attendees, they don’t have a stake in their sustainability. “The gay people, you tell them to get behind the line, and they will,” says David Perruzza, organizer of Washington, D.C.’s Halloween High Heel Race. “The straight people, you tell them 500 times, and they keep pushing forward.”

It’s not just ridicule and unruliness that threaten the events, though -- it’s violence. Last year in San Francisco, where the party in the Castro has recently been bursting at the seams, gunfire exchanged between two gangs with automatic weapons left 10 people wounded, prompting the city to call off this year’s event. For the first time in three decades, there will be no official Halloween party in the Castro.

Bevan Dufty, city supervisor for the Castro district and the person who, with the mayor, spearheaded the movement to cancel the party, says, “Halloween is the most miserable issue I’ve worked on in my years as a public official.” It could be argued they waited too long to cancel: The year Dufty was elected, in 2002, five people at the event were stabbed, and another person brought along a working chain saw as part of his costume. “It was like Escape From New York,” Dufty says.

Though many attempts were made to bring the San Francisco event under control, things have just gotten more dangerous. Dufty claims that the party in the Castro has become “a rite of passage for young gang members” to attend and spark violence. Furthermore, he says, “all my neighborhood groups in the greater Castro area are just disgusted with it.”

The day after the 2006 shootings the San Francisco Chronicle’s online comments section was blanketed with calls to move or cancel future events. “The shootings occurred a mere two blocks from where I live,” read one typical post. “After they shut down the party, it continued for hours afterward on my street, which was clogged with people not from the neighborhood but tourists from other parts of the city and the East Bay…. Cancel it.”

But canceling gay Christmas, in the gayest neighborhood in the gayest city in America, is like canceling New Year’s Eve in Times Square -- which is to say, Won’t people show up anyway? That’s the question that now has San Francisco holding its breath. “I have lived in the Castro for 13 years,” says Donna Sachet, a drag artiste whose bewigged and bejeweled visage was the public face of the celebration on fliers, billboards, and bus ads from 2003 to 2005. “There are certain organic things that happen. The pride celebration -- it may be held at the Civic Center, but after it’s over, everyone comes back to the Castro. New Year’s Eve? Back to the Castro.”"

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Obama Show Includes Bush Loving Ex-Gay

Pams House Blend broke the story today, below. As Obama's numbers sink compared to Clinton, Obama appears to also be willing to sink to a new low to grab up the anti-gay crowd in South Carolina.

You really get to know someone when you see how they behave under fire. The cynical move to include a self-hating, self-promoting republican ex-gay in his entourage is a way of signaling to certain right wing elements in the south that Obama is willing to throw gays overboard in a desperate pursuit of votes; any votes, at this point in the campaign.

What an unprincipled move. LGBT urban village Boys Town in Chicago should take note, for their Senator is willing to hang with the anti-gay/ex-gay crowd. When it's all over but the echo of his failing campaign, Chicago gays should review whether Obama is really the Senator for them. For now, Obama should account to all his loyal and trusting gay supporters for this craven move to the right.

The story:
"In another attempt to connect with people of faith in South Carolina, presidential hopeful Barack Obama has decided to reach out by going on a concert tour with gospel artists, including known homophobe and recloseted homosexual Donnie McClurkin.
All three of the dates of the “Embrace the Change” tour are in South Carolina, where Mr. Obama is locked in battle with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for black voters.

Gospel acts including Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and Hezekiah Walker, Byron Cage and the Mighty Clouds of Joy are scheduled to appear.

“This is another example of how Barack Obama is defying conventional wisdom about how politics is done and giving new meaning to meeting people at the grassroots level,” Joshua DuBois, the campaign’s religious affairs director, said in a release. “This concert tour is going to bring new people into the political process and engage people of faith in an unprecedented way.”
McClurkin believes one can pray away the gay, that it is a choice, and, according to Keith Boykin, Donnie compares gays and lesbians to liars.
McClurkin explains, "There are certain things like, you know, anybody who has a lying problem; they get to the point where they hate being so, having such a lack of character that they make a change."

In the same interview, McClurkin argues again that homosexuality is simply a lifestyle choice. "There's a group that says, 'God made us this way,' but then there's another group that knows God didn't make them that way," he says. Notice the circularity in his rhetoric. The people who say that God made them gay don't know what they're talking about because the people who say God did not make them gay are right. Well how do they know if someone was born gay or not if they are not gay themselves? It's insulting and presumptuous of others to tell gays and lesbians that they're not smart enough even to know who they are.
The unmarried gospel singer and preacher at Perfecting Faith Church in New York is also Bush supporter; McClurkin performed for Dear Leader and friends at the Republican National Convention."

Friday, October 19, 2007

In The ENDA, Who Gets To Impact Strategy?

The Stonewall Citizen take is that the back story issue of ENDA is really about who gets to sit at the big table and craft strategy.

The real uproar was created when Frank modified his own legislation to exclude trans people- folks who were included in the original legislation. Hundreds of organizations and blogs moved quickly to rebuke Frank and Baldwin on this strategy, and insisted on having a say in framing the debate. The new big tent strategists were overwhelmingly for trans inclusion.
The new strategists also cracked open the effective monopoly over LGBT beltway policy that the well funded Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has enjoyed for decades. Looking forward, HRC has some take-home messages to seriously consider. HRC has a culture that is very male dominated, very money-centric, very exclusive.
strategy uproar, and The growing unhappiness over these flaws showed itself within the ENDA. HRC is now on the hot seat, along with Frank, and the guardians of LGB-minus-the-T civil rights.

Leaders are challenged, and their response determines, in part, the legitimacy of their leadership. Frank let us down, choosing stand-pat paternalism over sensitivity to his base. His pragmatist plea really appears to cover a commitment to maintaining power over the process.

HRC moved quickly to the fence, and just as quickly hopped off to action with Pelosi in support of creating an opening for trans inclusion. This reflected a good degree of flexibility, thus far. HRC has a lot more soul searching to do. Frank does as well, although his leadership of LGB, and LGBT community is so badly shaken, its difficult to see how he can recover, particularly with the Trans community. Baldwin is offering the amendment on the floor to include the T-which Frank assures us is the poison pill. Baldwin knows which way the wind blows. And perhaps as a lesbian, she has been elbowed away from the gay male table often enough to know how Trans folks feel.

BREAKING NEWS: FRANK JOINS BALDWIN AMENDMENT as we write. Let the makeover, and healing, begin.

Now, lets go get a real law in 2009, together.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Social Astronomer Stryker

The well known intellect and Transperson Dr. Susan Stryker has married her deft prose with cosmological metaphors, in her rebuttal of the "homocentric" arguments of gay political consultant and blogger Aravosis and those who move ENDA forward without the Trans community.

Says social astronomer Stryker on Salon:
"Aravosis isn't questioning the place of the T in the GLBT batting order; he's just concerned with properly marking the distinction between "enough like me" and "too different from me" to merit inclusion in the categories with which he identifies. His position is a bit like those kerfuffled astronomers not too long ago, scratching their noggins over how to define Pluto's place in the conceptual scheme of the solar system. Sure, we've been calling it a planet for a good number of years because it's round and orbits the sun just like our Earth, but now it appears that if we keep doing so we'll have to let a bunch of the bigger asteroids into the planet category, as well as some other weird faraway stuff we only recently learned about, which stretches the definition of "planet" into a name for things we don't really think of as being much like good ol' Earth, so let's just demote Pluto instead. In Aravosis' homocentric cosmology, men may not be from Mars, nor women from Venus, but transgender people are definitely from Pluto."

The Stonewall Citizen view is that what Susan is really scoping out is the long hidden caste, and economic class system that co-exists with gender identity and sexuality within the GLBT community. This is the true Dark Matter of the queer cosmos.
Well done, Susan. Please keep speaking truth, and may The Force be with you. By the way, Stonewall Citizen loves the word "kerfluffled." It sounds very tasty. We know we want to order up a side of the Susan Stryker Special Kerfluffle at the Bagdad Cafe next time we are in the Castro.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Frank Chastises ENDA Dissenters

Below is the entire speech of Barney Frank regarding ENDA. Let it never be said we did not give our gay elected Congressman equal time. We appreciate his service to the community, but we disagree with his views. And no, we are not isolated narcissists, nor are we living in policy Oz.

Stonewall Citizen came away a bit insulted, after reading Frank's speech.
Many of us have moved past the politics of division.

Put the flawed bill aside along with the politics of fear and please reintroduce an inclusive bill that reflects the Constitution, and can get through the Senate and be signed by the new President. Tomorrow, at your ill advised Press Conference, please take a deep breath and show some respect for your base, Mr. Frank.
Demonizing the free speech of your own people and most of our community organizations is not leaderly. You yourself deserve a better legacy than that. The community deserves the respect of listening, not lecturing.

Source: Pams

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Mahoney of Florida). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 18, 2007, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, let me do what I think you cannot do under the rules and reassure your constituents in Florida that you have not become a Tennesseean when they weren't looking. I believe the gentleman from Tennessee left the chair, and we do now have the gentleman from Florida in the chair.

Mr. Speaker, I want to address today a very important issue that is generating an intense discussion among a fairly small segment of people who follow things, and it seems to us it's not healthy and that we ought to have a broader discussion, both of the specific issue, which is a question of how to protect people against discrimination based on their sexual orientation and at some point I would hope their gender and their gender identity, and also how do political parties relate to those in the population who are the most passionate, the most committed and the most legitimately zealous about their feelings, often on one particular issue to the exclusion of a broader set.

Before I came to Congress in 1981, former Members, the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Abzug), gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Tsongas) and others, in the House filed legislation to make it illegal to discriminate against people in employment based on their sexual orientation; that is, they would have made it illegal in the same way that the 1964 Civil Rights Act made it illegal based on race, but in a different statute for a variety of reasons, for people to be fired, for people to refuse to hire people, for people to be denied promotions or in other ways discriminated against in the job based on their being gay or lesbian or bisexual. That was, and has been, the number one legislative goal of gay and lesbian, bisexual people for more than 30 years.

In many States subsequent to that enactment, that introduction, laws were adopted to do that. Wisconsin was the first in 1982; Massachusetts, the State I represent, the second in 1989. Many States now have it.

As we kept that fight up in the face of a good deal of opposition and as we began to educate people as to why the prejudice against people based on our being gay or lesbian or bisexual was, in fact, invalid as a grounds for economic discrimination, movement expanded to cover people who are transgendered, people who were born into one sex physically but who strongly identify with the other sex and who, in fact, choose to live as members of the sex other than the one they were born in, often but not always having surgery to enhance that new life.

We are at a differential stage in public understanding of these issues. We've been dealing explicitly and increasingly openly with prejudice based on sexual orientation for almost 40 years, since the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and since then.

The millions of people that talk openly and to take on the prejudice against people who are transgendered is newer. It is also the case that prejudice begins with people reacting against those who are different from them in some way. People are rarely prejudiced against their clones. So we have this situation where there is more prejudice in this society today against people who are transgendered than against people who are gay and lesbian, partly because we have been working longer at dealing with the sex orientation prejudice; partly because the greater the difference, the greater the prejudice is to start, the more people fail to identify, the more they are put off by differences, especially when those differences come in matters of the greatest personal intimacy.

We should be clear that as we talk about matters of human sexuality or the human sexual characteristics we touch on the most sensitive subjects that human beings will deal with.

So where we are today is that earlier this year, after years of our introducing the bill which we call ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to ban discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation, we added this year for the first time a provision that would also have banned discrimination based on gender identity as we have designated it, i.e., against people who are transgendered.

We began dealing with the transgender issue earlier in the context of the hate crimes legislation, and legislating against hate crimes, it's easier to do than sexual orientation. It is less intrusive, and it is easier to make the argument that assaulting people and destroying their property is wrong than it is to say that refusing to hire them is wrong. I think they're both wrong, but obviously, there is a distinction in this society. One is a serious criminal issue; one becomes civil.

We originally encountered difficulty in broadening hate crimes to include people of transgender. I first talked about that in 1999. I remember having to explain to people what we were talking about.

Recently, we were successful earlier this, under the leadership of the Speaker of the House, in getting legislation through the House that expanded the hate crime protection, not just based on sexual orientation, but based on people being transgender. The Senate followed suit; although one of the leading senators engaged in that effort noted that whereas, when the Senate voted on that dealing solely with the sexual orientation issue, there were 12 Republican supporters, this year there were only eight. Eight turned out to be just enough to get us 60 votes to break a filibuster, but there was a fourth or one-third of Republican support even on hate crimes which is the easier one.

Despite that, we thought we were in a position this year, under the leadership of the Speaker who had committed early to myself and the gentlewoman from Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin), my colleague, to bring these issues up, hate crimes first and then employment nondiscrimination, we thought we had the votes to pass it.

In fact, on September 5 of this year, when the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews), a great supporter of opposing discrimination for all sorts, had a hearing in his subcommittee on the issue, I personally spoke more about the importance of including people who were transgendered than any other witness.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that there are today people who are unhappy with my position because I believe, to get to the central point here, that we have the votes to pass a bill today in the House that would ban discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation, but sadly, we don't yet have it on gender identity. And I differ with some as to what we do about that.

But one of the problems we have today, both on this issue, and as I will discuss in a little bit in general, is people in our society, the most deeply committed, who believe that when a politician tells them an unpleasant fact, he or she must somehow be embracing that fact. Because I have been one of those who has felt the obligation to tell my friends in the transgender community that prejudice against them is greater than prejudice against gay men and lesbians for some of the reasons I talked about, I have been asked why I am so opposed to fairness for people of transgender.

I will submit for the Record statements that I made officially, either in committee or on the floor, two in committee and one on the floor, in September 2004, when I said on the floor of the House: Yes, there are people who are transgendered in our society, and they are sadly often victimized.

[Page: H11384] GPO's PDF

They're often victims of violence. Yes, I think it is a good idea to come to their aid, and if the gentleman thinks it is a mistake to go to the aid of people who are transgendered, who are more often than others victimized or who were put in fear of that, then we do disagree. September of 2004.

September, 2005, again in the hate crimes context: I should add, too, that we've recently seen more of an outbreak of this sort of violence against people who are transgendered, and it is important for us to come to people's aid.

And on September 5 of this year, when I testified at that point in favor of a bill that I hope we would have the votes to pass only a month ago, that was fully inclusive, I said: And then we have the issue that my colleague so ably discussed of the transgendered, my colleague being the gentlewoman from Wisconsin who often talks about this.

I said: I understand this is a new issue for people. There are people who were born with the physical characteristics of one sex and strongly identify with the other. Some of them have a physical change. Some of them don't. Let me make a plea to all of my colleagues. These are people. Think what it must be like to be born with that set of feelings. Think what it must be like. Think what stress, what agony you go through to defy society's conventions to the extent where you make that kind of statement. This is something people are driven to do. Is there any reason why any of us should make those lives of those people more difficult than they already are? Obviously, these are people who are coping, and things are getting better. Things are better in ways. When I was young, a lot of things were difficult that are less difficult today. But we say here is, if someone has these feelings, if someone is born with one set of characteristics and strongly identifies the other way, should you fire them? Do you deny them a promotion? Do you say to them no matter how good your job is, you make me uneasy so out you go?

[Time: 21:30]

I spoke in hopes, on September 5, that we would have the support to do this. To my dismay, not entirely to my surprise but to my dismay, I found that we did not yet have the votes to pass a bill that would protect people who are transgender. As I said, I have discussed this issue, I think, as much as any Member of Congress and more than most. I am determined to try to diminish that prejudice, as I was determined when I started my political career to diminish the prejudice based on sexual orientation.

Let me add one point here. I am, myself, of course, gay, so when I talk about passing legislation against sexual orientation discrimination, it's fair for people to say, well, you think about yourself. But I first got elected to a legislature in 1972. In the intervening 35 years, I have worked very hard for legislation further banning discrimination based on race, discrimination based on ethnicity, based on gender to protect women, based on age to protect the elderly, based on disability.

At the time that I voted to protect people against those forms of discrimination, I was not, myself, a victim of any of them. I was not a beneficiary of banning discrimination against women or against African Americans or against Hispanics or people who were disabled. I was not when I voted for it one who was protected against discrimination based on age, but I now am, but I wasn't when I voted for it. I have just been around long enough to do that.

I reject the notion that somehow I have only been concerned with the category in which I am a member. I will say this, every time I voted for one of those, I was voting to protect one group of people and not another. Because at the time when we voted, that was all that we could do, that was all that we could get the votes for, because a fight against discrimination is an incremental fight. I wish it wasn't.

Some of my colleagues, some of my friends, I say to my colleagues in the gay community, maybe I will do a little stereotyping, maybe they have seen the Wizard of Oz too often. They seem to have Speaker Pelosi, a wonderful dedicated, committed supporter of human rights, confused with Glenda the good witch. They think if she waved her magic wand she could somehow change things.

I have seen this woman work as hard as it is humanly possible to do to achieve results, but there are limits to what any human being could do in the face of difficult reality. You can move reality, you can chip away at it, you can try to shape it, but you can't just wish it away.

What I have learned in the past month was that we weren't yet at the point where we could wish away this prejudice against people with transgender. Yes, we have an overwhelming majority of Democrats for that, but not all of them; and we have very few Republicans, although we have some of them. By the way, I wish this wasn't partisan. People said, don't make it partisan. I wish it wasn't partisan. I also wish I could eat more and not gain weight, and I wish I was as energetic today as I was when I was not protected with age discrimination.

But this is one of the central points. Denying reality not only doesn't change it; it makes it harder to overcome it. That's where we are.

On September 5, I testified in favor of including people of transgender. We then learned from conversations with our colleagues that we didn't have the votes to do it.

Let me say, and I love being in this House and many of my best friends are Members of Congress, but we are sometimes, those of us in elected office, loath to tell people the truth when it will make them mad. We don't often lie directly, but we have ways of sounding more agreeable than we, in fact, are. We detect that in each other. We know when someone is being verbally more accommodating than he or she is likely to be when it comes time to vote.

I am afraid that some of my friends in the transgender community and the gay and lesbian community and the advocate community in general were misled by what we used to call in Massachusetts ``the wink and the nod,'' the smile, the oh, of course, I strongly sympathize with you.

People thought we had the votes. I hoped we had the votes. I wasn't sure. We do not have the votes. That has been confirmed.

The majority whip, a man whose own life has been one of dedication to overcoming prejudice, did a check, not of every single Member on the Democrat side, but a large number of Members who were likely to be problematic. What we have found was, and I have confirmed this in my own conversations, here is where we are after years of advocacy on the sexual orientation question, a few years of advocacy on the transgender issue.

I am convinced that we have the votes to pass in this House a bill that has been the number one goal of the gay and lesbian and bisexual community and our allies for many years, a bill to ban discrimination based on employment. I think it will be an extraordinarily good thing for America if we are able to do that.

I don't expect the President to sign it, but it has always been the view of advocates, including my gay and lesbian colleagues, that we don't get deterred from pushing ahead by the threat of a veto. It's important to get those votes and to get people on record and show your strength so you can move forward and set the stage for an enactment in 2009. After all, I don't expect the President to sign the hate crimes bill; he says he won't, although he doesn't always remain unchanged.

But no one that I work with said let's not pass the hate crimes bill, transgender inclusive, by the way, because we aren't sure George Bush is going to sign it or we think he might veto it. You push ahead.

So this is the question we now face. I am convinced that the votes are there to pass a bill that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment. I am also convinced that if we were to put up a bill that included people of transgender, that part would be stricken on a vote, and, unfortunately, a fairly heavy vote. Because what happens is when a tough issue, and the transgender issue is a tough political issue now, and if I have fought with colleagues, it is for not being honest enough with people. And people who would mislead you, I would say, Mr. Speaker, to those who come before us as advocates, people who would mislead

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you and let you think your task is easier are not your friends. They are undercutting your ability. Underestimating your enemy is the surest way, not only to lose, but to lose so bad it is hard to come back.

I had hoped that we would have a vote upon a transgender-inclusive bill and win. Getting a large vote in this body to say no to transgender inclusion will make it harder in the future to change that situation, partly because my junior Senator, as the Presidential candidate, was unfairly pilloried. His remark was caricatured about his vote on Iraq. He quite sensibly voted for one version of funding for Iraq and then voted against another. He phrased it inartfully. What he did was correct.

But because of that, the fear that Members of this body have and of the other body of voting one way and then later changing has been magnified. People now pay an unduly high price if they change their mind. So if you go ahead and get a negative vote on the transgender issue today, that will make it harder for us at some point, and I hope that point comes within the next few

years, to change things after we have done more education.

If we simply put the bill forward, and these become parliamentary intricacies, but they are irrelevant, if we simply put the bill forward and there was no amendment in the committee and it came to the floor of the House and it included the transgender inclusion, then you would see a series of very clever moves from the Republican side, motions to recommit, that could lead to the indefinite postponement in a repeated set of votes that would keep us from passing this bill.

Now, people have said to me, what's the message you send if you pass the bill banning sexual orientation and not transgender discrimination? Before I answer that question, I want to pose another.

What will be the message to this country who are not following all the intricacies of transgender inclusion? What will be the message that we will send if Nancy Pelosi, as strong an advocate of human rights for all people who has ever held high public office in the United States, if she is portrayed in the headlines as someone who says, I give up, we can't pass the gay rights bill this year.

If, after Nancy Pelosi ascends to the Spe
akership with her record of advocacy and after many of us, and I include myself in this, who have long been supporters of fairness, if we now are in a position of leadership in this House and we collectively say, sorry, you know that goal that you have had for over 30 years, that we have had, speaking for myself, of banning discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation? You know this message we wanted to send that it's wrong to do that all over the country? Not now, can't do it. Why can't we do it? Because we can't do it perfectly.

Now, the notion that you do not pass an antidiscrimination bill protecting large numbers of people until you can protect everybody, in my judgment, is flawed, morally and politically. It is flawed morally because I am here to help people in need. That's why I serve in this job.

If we can get a sexual orientation ban enacted, we will be protecting millions of people in this country who live in States where there is no such law. There are laws in some States and not others. The States that have the laws are probably the place where prejudice is most active.

I do not accept the argument that I am somehow morally lacking if I say, you know what, I would like to protect everybody, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, I am only at this point able to get a vote passed that protects the millions of people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual; but I will withhold from them that protection until I do anything. Because any time you insist on doing everything all at once, you will do nothing.

I think my favorite way to look at American history is to look at some of those wonderful principles that were set forth in the Constitution of United States, extraordinary declarations of basic human rights at a time when those were really quite unrealized in the world.

But as people pointed out, Thurgood Marshall most eloquently, there was a great gap between those wonderful universal principles, the rights of all, and the practice. Yes, everybody had rights on the paper, and rich white Christian men had rights in reality.

What we have seen over 200-plus years, in my judgment, is successive efforts to take those marvelous principles of freedom and equality and democracy and fairness that were set forward in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and apply them to more and more people, to diminish the exclusion. We have done it on race, we have done it on gender, we have done it in a number of other areas.

The last remaining barrier is sexual orientation and people who are transgender. We cannot do it, I believe, all at once. I have tried, and I will say that I have tried as hard, I quoted several statements I made. I will say this as an aside, I will get to this later, that one of the things that does bother me, to be honest, is that people who are now demanding that we kill a bill to protect people against sexual orientation and discrimination because we haven't done enough to protect people of transgender were silent on the issue awhile ago.

When I testified on September 5, I wasn't the head of some large movement. I was speaking out personally. I had been begging people for months. We knew this was coming up. It has been published since earlier this year that we would be voting on this bill now.

People are now having Web sites; people are bursting forward. Where were they when we needed them? I will talk about why we did not see them then and we see them now.

But the moral issue is, do you deny protection to millions of people because you can't give it to millions plus several hundred thousands? It's not the numbers that counted. More is always better; and, again, the notion that we shouldn't have helped blacks until we could help women, as somebody pointed out in an editorial, I think it was in the Washington Blade, constitutionally black men got the vote long before white women.

Now, I wish everybody had gotten the vote back at that time. There were suffragettes back then, but wouldn't it be fair to say we are not giving anybody the additional right to vote until everybody can? That's the issue. There are people who can test this and say, oh, if you had really tried, you could have gotten the vote.

They are simply wrong. I will tell them that I and many others, Speaker Pelosi and many others, have tried very hard to get those votes. They weren't there.

It's partly because some of the people who are now lately to this fight weren't there helping us through the lobbying. But even if they were, we probably wouldn't be there yet because we have been later to this game, and we have a deeper hole to fill. I believe we will get it done.

Now, there is one argument, let me actually hit two arguments, that people will say as to why we shouldn't go ahead now. One, they say, well, you know what, it's strategic. The President is not going to sign the bill anyway. Why go ahead with sexual orientation now without transgender?

But that argument is not being made honestly, because the argument is not that we shouldn't go ahead and pass the bill that George Bush would veto. The position taken by the various groups that want us to kill the gay rights bill now, because we do not have the votes to include transgender, are people who say to us, never pass the bill, even if you get a Democratic President who would sign it in 2009, and you get a House and Senate majority ready to pass it in early 2009, do not protect millions of people in this country against discrimination based on sexual orientation until you can protect everybody now unprotected.

I don't think that's morally a valid position, but let's be fair. It's not a tactical issue about whether you do it now or then. It's do you ever do it.

One other argument we get is, well, if you pass a sexual orientation, antidiscrimination law, you won't be protecting even gay and lesbian people, because people will then be able to fire gay men on the grounds that they are effeminate, not that they are gay. They will fire lesbians for being too masculine and that will take away the protection.

In fact, many States in this country still have laws that protect only against sexual orientation, including New York State, which passed it a few years ago with the strong support of many of the people who now tell us that Congress dare not do what New York did. How people think we are going to get more votes, we are going to get more votes for a better bill in America than they got only in New York, I don't understand, if they really think that the United States is a more favorable theater for these kinds of rights than New York.

But I have challenged people to give me one case in which in a State which protects only against sexual orientation, and most States had that originally and it was that way in many States for a while and it's still that way in a lot of other States, is there one case where a person was fired because of her sexual orientation, and that firing was upheld in the teeth of the law that said you couldn't do that because she was too masculine?

[Time: 21:45]

There are no such cases.

And I asked Lambda Legal which may decide to give me a case. They have the one case that they allude to. They don't give the citation often because it is so clearly not supportive of that position. It's Dawson against Bumble & Bumble. No, that was not out of Dickens. Dawson against Bumble & Bumble is a case from the State of New York. Its cite is 398 F.3d 211. And what the three-judge panel says here affirming a district court judge is very simple. The woman who brought the claim wasn't able to show that she was discriminated against on any ground. In fact, the argument was, you know, you didn't have transgender protection in the New York State law; that's why she was fired. It was mostly a case about title 7 of the federal law, which doesn't even mention sexual orientation, and much of the case comes up with her trying to get sexual orientation into it. But in fact, as the judges point out, let me read what the three-judge court said, and this is a claim from Lambda Legal, that this shows that you could fire a lesbian on the grounds of her being too mannish because she didn't have gender identity protection. Listen to who fired her. The district court found it to be particularly significant that Connie Voines, the manager of the salon and the individual who ultimately decided to terminate Dawson, is a ``presurgery male to female transsexual who, at the time of the events in question, was transitioning from appearing male to appearing female.'' She was fired by a transsexual. How in the world would having sexual gender identification protection have kept her from being fired by a transsexual? She was fired because she was a lousy haircutter. I don't say that negatively about her. I'd be a pretty lousy haircutter. But that's why she was fired. Dawson's performance was erratic. Sometimes she performed well, other times she did not. Over time, her performance and the educational program declined until it was unacceptable.

Now, she does say with regard to New York State law, the Federal law doesn't even have sexual orientation in it, so it's totally irrelevant. Under New York State law, which has only sexual orientation, she did say that, yes, it was a problem because a couple of people had made remarks to her about being a dyke. You know what the Court found? That they didn't fire her; that the people who insulted her had no power to fire anybody. She was fired, this woman, in a place that was about 50 percent gay and lesbian, by the way. The notion that this was a pretext for getting rid of gays and lesbians, it was a hair salon. This wasn't the backfield of the New York Jets. It was a place where most, half the people were themselves openly gay and lesbian, and she was fired by a transsexual. And they say that this shows that a sexual orientation law doesn't mean anything.

It's sad to see a legal organization for which I have respect making that kind of an argument because what they're doing is they are loading the gun against us. Because I will tell you this: If in a future case, anybody fired a gay man and said ``Well, I didn't fire him because he was gay; I just fired him because he was too effeminate'' in a State which had a sexual orientation law, if someone tried to cite this case as an argument for firing that person, Lambda Legal would say ``Of course not; you've misread it.'
' Please don't distort the case now for rhetorical purposes when you may be putting this weapon in. Fortunately, this case is so completely off the point, a woman was fired for being a bad haircutter by a transsexual, and we're told, ``Oh, if there was only gender identification protection, this wouldn't have happened.'' That's not good argument. What people really believe is, and it's not tactical. He's not going to sign it. It is not this principle. Do not pass a law that protects some people until you can protect everybody. Now that's a valid argument. I think it is terribly wrong. I also believe, by the way, from the standpoint of protecting people who are transgender, and as I've said I've listed my comments in favor of inclusion of people who are transgendered. I think I've got as good a record on this as others. And by the way, in listing what I've done on behalf of helping transgender people win, I will cite some of the arguments that people have taken issue with because I have told them how hard it's going to be. Yeah. A lot of people have been yessing people to death. And a lot of people, both in the gay and lesbian community and the broader advocacy community, and here in the Congress, people don't like to say no to people. You know, we Caucasians get all ethnocentric. We impute to people of Asian descent an unwillingness to be unpleasant face to face. Most people don't like to be unpleasant face to face. Most people tend to shade things. They tend to, you know, one of the things you learn here if you're in the whip organization, if you're counting, please discount by a very significant percentage what people say to you because that's a natural human tendency.

And I remember once when I was in high school reading, the New York Times had an article about a Member from the Midwest who was very angry at a New York Member of Congress. He said, you know, ``You told me you were going to vote with me and you didn't. You broke your word to me.'' And he said, ``What do you mean? I never told you that.'' And he said, ``Well, I asked you if you were going to vote with me and you said, `Yeah, yeah.''' And the guy said, ``Don't you know that in New York `yeah, yeah' means no?'' I mean, often that's where we are. That's the issue.

So again, there is a central issue here. Do you withhold protection from millions of people who live in States where they are now unprotected from discrimination based on sexual orientation? We had the case of a lesbian who was fired by Cracker Barrel who was a lesbian in the State of Georgia. They don't have a law. I think that's the morally flawed position. I reject the notion that when I want to extend protection to millions of people. And I want to go back. Am I protecting myself? Not anymore. Sure, there was a time when I was vulnerable. I'm now chairman of the Financial Services Committee. I really am very unlikely to be discriminated against. This is not a personal thing with me. But I remember what it was like to be young and gay and worried about the job. I know what it's like today when I talk to young people who are afraid, not in Massachusetts, not in California, not in Wisconsin, not in a lot of the States that have the law, but in many States that don't have the law there are people who are afraid. And again, we are being told by a very strongly motivated group, and it's not don't do it now because he's going to veto it. It's not don't do it for tactical reasons. It is very clear in what they say. Never pass a law that will protect people against discrimination because they are gay or lesbian or bisexual in their employment unless you pass a law that covers people who are transgender as well. My view is that we should try very hard to extend it to people who are transgender. I want to do that. But if I can't do everything, I don't want to be told to do nothing, because that is a way never to do anything.

And by the way, even Martin Luther King understood that. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act covers race, but it didn't cover all subjects. It didn't cover housing, didn't cover voting rights. And we've had people who said don't pass ENDA. It doesn't include everything, doesn't include housing, etc., etc. Well, neither did the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When we voted to protect people in the American Disabilities Act, we, in fact, protected people who had AIDS and

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people who are HIV positive. But we didn't protect people who weren't. That was a distinction among gay men. If you can show me that by helping some people I am making other people worse, then I won't go forward.

But there's a great concept in economics, there used to be. Maybe they changed it. They changed a lot of things since I studied it. It was called pareto optimality. Pareto Optimality meant, named for the sociologist Vilifredo Pareto, pareto optimality recognized, being sensible people, that you can never make everything better at once. Pareto optimality is if you make some things better and nothing worse. And that, by the way, is considered an unattainable ideal in economics. To be able to make some things better and nothing worse is unattainable. To make everything better and leave nothing behind is unthinkable. It's beyond unattainable. And I think we are at pareto optimality when we say to millions of gay men and lesbians, blue-collar workers, young people, other people who live in the majority of American States where they're not now protected against discrimination, we will protect you. And I wish we could protect people who're transgender.

And by the way, from my standpoint, there are three options now. We could go forward with the bill that included people with transgender. That would lose. I am convinced it would lose. We've looked and worked hard on this. And I'm someone who's been an advocate. The Speaker's been an advocate. Chairman Miller, the gentleman from California, the Chair of the Committee on Education and Labor, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews), advocates who said they were trying. We don't have the votes for it. It is not, in my judgment, in the interest of succeeding ultimately and including people who are transgender in this protection to have them lose by 50 or 60 votes today. And I started to say this before. What will happen is this: They will lose. We know that. And once they've lost, people who were ready to support them will say, you know what, they're losing anyway. I think I'd better not vote for them, because what's the point of taking a hit when it's not going to be of any use.

So we could go forward with the vote and have them lose and maybe lose the whole bill because of procedural maneuvering, or we could let the whole bill die and people say what message are you sending the country if you protect against sexual orientation and not transgender? Well, my view is the message we are sending is we are at a point in our fight against prejudice where we have made these gains but not those gains, and we will consolidate the gains we made and move forward.

And the alternative is, the Democrats took over the House and they have the Speaker from San Francisco and they've got a chairman who's gay and they've got all these other people who tell gay and lesbian people they're friends, and they couldn't even pass a bill to protect people. What message does that send to gay and lesbian people in all those States who are not now protected? So I think we should go forward. Do the best we can.

Now, I said we're going to lose. I hope I'm wrong. After we did our count and found that we didn't have the votes, all of a sudden, the cavalry mounted up. But they're coming from a long distance. I have been pleading with people in the gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender communities to lobby for us. Instead, they want to strategize, many of them. Some, no. Some have done a very good job. But many of them weren't there. And now they have announced, in the last couple of weeks, and they asked for a postponement. The Speaker correctly said sure, take a couple of weeks. It's hard to do that in a couple of weeks. Maybe they can turn it around. I will say this, Mr. Speaker, if at some point it looks like our count is turned around, I don't expect it to, but I hope it does, and we have the votes to include transgender, I'll be for that vote being taken. But I doubt very much that people will be able to undo months and years of inaction and of talking only to each other and not doing the hard lobbying within a couple of weeks.

So I will say this. If a week from now we've reached a point after this delay that was granted to advocacy groups where we have, as we did before, have the votes to protect millions of currently unprotected people against a form of job discrimination, but not everybody who's being discriminated against, then I say it's immoral not to go forward. And again, I understand that we may not get the bill passed this year. But I understand also that what we're debating this year is a proxy for when we do have the votes to get this passed, because we will be told whenever we are in this situation, and I don't think we're going to turn this around in a year. I wish we could. But if we have a President ready to sign the bill and a majority ready to pass it, we will again be told, no, you may not. You may not protect millions of people against discrimination because they're gay or lesbian or bisexual until you can also protect people with transgender. I have to say to my transgender friends, why would you want to say that? Why would you want to say until you can protect me, don't protect anybody else? I've never said that. I never said don't protect people against racism until you can protect me against homophobia. Don't protect some people against ethnic discrimination until you can protect other people because they're lesbians. That's just not the way we'll get there. We have got to get there working together.

And in fact, the best way to improve is this, there are irrational fears about what will happen if we pass a bill protecting against sexual orientation. You know what's odd? There are people who think the real fight in this world is whether or not we can include transgender. They kind of take for granted that we can pass sexual orientation. The fact that we are on the verge of passing a bill to protect people against discrimination based on sexual orientation is a wonderful breakthrough in this country. We've been fighting for it for over 30 years. A year ago, when we were trying to fend off a right-wing effort to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and retroactively cancel the marriages of thousands of people, I don't think people were confident that we would be on the verge of passing a sexual orientation antidiscrimination bill. That's a wonderful moment as we make advance after advance in civil rights. And I will not allow people without my dissenting to turn that great breakthrough into some mark of weakness.

It's a great thing to be able to go forward, and it's also the prerequisite for going even beyond that, because if we are able to establish in 2009 antidiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, within a year we will have alleviated many of the fears. We always have excessive fears about antidiscrimination. People always think antidiscrimination measures will cause chaos when they don't. And once we have done that, it will be easier to add people who are transgender rather than to say we're never going to do anything until we can do everything. That is not the way legislation has ever worked. That is not the way social advance has ever worked.

Now the question then is, and I think this is worth pondering in my closing minutes here. How did we get to the point, we certainly weren't there a year ago, where an announcement by a Speaker who has spent so much of her life fighting against prejudice, her announcement that she will bring to the floor a bill in which we will get a majority in the United States House of Representatives which would ban in the entire country discrimination based on sexual orientation, how did that get transmogrified in the minds of I believe only a few people, but a few very vigorous people? How did that become a bad thing? How did one of the great advances in civil rights protection since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 get labeled as somehow a sellout? And here's the problem. And it is a problem both parties face, and in some ways, this issue, do we go forward with a bill achieving a decades-long goal of for the first time getting either House to vote to ban sexual orientation discrimination, something gay and lesbian people have been fighting for a long time? And I do suspect there are some people who it's precisely because we're on the verge of victory that they decided they better not think it's such a good idea, because they are vested in the notion that we'll never win and that we must always be fighting.

[Time: 22:00]

But how do we reach the point where this is a negative in the minds of some? Well, here is the problem, and it is a problem, as I said, for both parties. It is how do you relate, those of us who hold positions of responsibility who have been elected by broad majorities and given a responsibility to govern, to govern in pursuit of our values? I'm not here as some neutral administrator. I am here because I have a set of values. I have a set of views about what I want this society to look like. And I'm here to try to move this society in that direction. And I do that as part of a broad coalition, and included in that coalition are some people who are fiercely motivated.

Now, this is the issue: Does a political party say to its most militant, committed, ideologically driven believers in purity that they have a veto over what the party does? And I say that procedurally because substantively I agree with them. I have spoken on this floor and in committee for including people of transgender. I have argued that with my colleagues in private. I have argued that with the Democratic Caucus. But I also believe that I have a broader set of responsibilities than to any one group and my job is to advance the moral values that I came here to advance as far and as fast as I can and not voluntarily to withhold an advance because it doesn't meet somebody's view of perfection. And the question is, how do we relate to those people? And it has become an increasing problem for both parties.

Frankly, until recently I have felt that one of the advantages we Democrats have had over our Republican colleagues is that we were more willing to be responsible, less susceptible to the most committed minority of our party having a veto. I think from the days of Terri Schiavo and before and since, the Republican Party has suffered from that. I don't want the Democratic Party to suffer from it. Not because I want to protect the Democratic Party as an end in itself, but because the Democratic Party is the means by which these values I care about are most likely to be advanced.

And let me talk about this ideological faction that we have. There are some characteristics that they have that I think led them to this profoundly mistaken view that the greatest single advance we can make in civil rights in many, many years would somehow be a bad thing because it would only include millions of people and leave some hundreds of thousands out. And I want to include those hundreds of thousands. I have done more to try to include them than many of the people who say we should kill the whole thing, but I don't understand how killing the whole thing advances that.

But here are some of the characteristics: first of all, they tend to talk excessively to each other. One of the things when you are in this body is you talk to people all over the country. You talk to Members of Congress from every State. And I have this with people who can't understand why I am not introducing legislation to impeach the President and the Vice President, and I find that this is a characteristic that these are people who do not know what the majority thinks, who do not understand the depths of disagreement with their positions on some issues. And that doesn't mean a majority that says George Bush is wonderful. That isn't there anymore, but a majority who would be skeptical of impeachment.

But let me get back to this. There are people who talk excessively to each other. They don't know people of other views.

There is another characteristic of these people who are so dedicated. They do not have allies. You can take an elected official who has been with one of these groups day after day for years, but let that individual once disagree, and it's a betrayal. It's a failure of moral will. And lest anyone think I am here being defensive about myself, let me be very clear: I will be running for reelection again. The likelihood that I will be defeated by someone who claims that I am insufficiently dedicated to protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation seems to me quite slender. I am not worried about my own situation, and let me also say that I have said that my colleagues suffer sometimes from the unwillingness to tell people bad news. It has been suggested that I may suffer from the opposite direction. It's not that I like telling people bad news, but I do think that you should when you have to.

I am not worried about myself, but here is what I'm worried about: I am worried about people from more vulnerable districts because not only do people talk only to themselves and not understand the differences that exist and not accept anybody's bona fides ever, that they will turn on anybody the first time there is an honest disagreement, but there is also the single-issue nature. That is, there are people who say, okay, you know what, I don't care about your survival to fight for any other issue.

Let me put it this way: there are people who say to me, wait a minute, when you say you don't want to take a vote on transgender because it might lose and it would be politically difficult, you are letting politics enter into it. Let me make a very blanket statement here in the first place for those who want to live in America or France or England or anywhere else. If you want a decision to be made without any regard to politics, do not ask 535 politicians to make it. That's called democracy when you like it; it's called politics when you don't.

But here is the issue: there are people in this Chamber who come from districts much tougher to win in than mine, districts which I could never have won. And I treasure their being here because they help us on the children's health program, on raising the minimum wage, on defending civil liberties and fighting racism, and, hopefully, in getting us out of the war in Iraq. Yes, I do take into account the likelihood that my colleagues with whom I agree on so many issues might be jeopardized in a fight that we are going to lose anyway.

And, by the way, I say to my gay and lesbian friends, there are people here who voted with us against a constitutional amendment that would have retroactively wiped out marriages in Massachusetts. They are ready to vote with us to get rid of the ban on gays in the military when we get a President who will sign that. They voted with us on hate crimes. They are ready to vote with us to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, which we have cared about for so long. They are ready to do other things that will be helpful to us.

I will not abide by people telling me that I have to totally disregard my interest in their continuing to be here on every single issue, and that's the problem with the single issue. You are willing to disregard progress on any other issue. So to demand 100 percent on the one issue and to scorn people giving 90 percent and to say I don't care whether they win or lose when they are with us on so many other issues, that is irresponsibility.

And I say this is a moment of truth for the Democratic Party. I wish it weren't the case. I apologize to my colleagues. It is awkward for me here. I have been pressing people for years. And, again, I want to stress a bill that bans discrimination and employment based on sexual orientation will be, I believe, the biggest single advance in fighting prejudice in many years, certainly since the American Disabilities Act; maybe since, in numbers, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And I know that is a tough vote for some people to cast. And I have got people saying, I don't care if it's a tough vote to cast. If they are not also willing to do it for transgender, then they are my enemy and I don't want it to go forward.

I am sure of this, Mr. Speaker: I have been here 27 years, and the longer I get here, the less I know about everything else than what is here. My mind is not expansive enough to do much when the day is over. So I think I know a lot about this place and increasingly little about everything else. What I am sure about this place is this: if we listen to the most dedicated, most zealous believers in purity and kill this bill that would be such a great advance in civil rights, we will be a long time in getting back to anything. People who think that if they are successful in killing this one and in attacking people and demonizing people who want to deliver, as part of a movement, this big advance that they will then be able to get more than that live in Oz, in not only a fantasy world but a nonexistent fantasy world and a dream. It simply will not happen.

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Let me close, Mr. Speaker. I am a great believer in free speech. I often am one of only two or three Members voting against telling people they can't read this or say that or look at such and such on the Internet. If I was inclined to ban forms of expression, it wouldn't have much to do with sex. I would make it a misdemeanor to use pragmatism and idealism as if they were opposing views. And that's what we have here. People say, well, you're going to be pragmatic and pass a bill that protects millions of people against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but, me, I am an idealist. I am for no bill at all because if I can't protect everybody, I don't want to protect anybody.

Let me put it to you this way, Mr. Speaker: of course you should start with ideals. You don't belong in this line of work making rules that other people have to abide by unless you are motivated by a genuine idealism about how the world should be. But the more committed you are to your ideals, the more you are morally obligated to be pragmatic about achieving them. What good are your ideals if they're never achieved and all they do is make you feel pure?

If we kill the gay rights bill this year and set back for some time to come the possibility of going after any of these forms of discrimination, there will be people who will be very proud of themselves. See, I didn't let those politicians compromise. I didn't let those politicians settle not for half a loaf but for about 85, 90 percent of a loaf. I insisted on absolute solidarity and absolute purity, and I feel much better about it.

And they probably will. But millions of people will be worse off because they will have been denied by this preference for purity a real legal protection.

Mr. Speaker, I filed a bill in 1972, in December, and my former colleague Jim Segel here who was with me as one of the few supporters of that, and we pushed for that. My colleague, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey), was one as well. We pushed for that. For 35 years I have been trying very hard to protect people against discrimination, and the people who are the victims of discrimination, they tend to be the most vulnerable people in places where there is the most hostility. And we are on the verge in winning in the House of Representatives an extraordinary historic victory, the passage of a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. And people say don't do that because you can't protect everybody.

I should add, Mr. Speaker, I talk a lot to gay people, gay men and lesbians. I find the view that we should not do anything until we can do everything very much in the minority. I understand the passion of those who are in organizational positions. But, you know, we talk about politics here. There are politics in organizations too. There are people who I have privately discussed this with who have said, yes, we wish you would go ahead, but I can't say that. I can't stand up against this organizational consensus.

Well, idealism by itself is going to be pretty fruitless, and idealism that is empowered by pragmatism is the way in which we make progress, and that is what we are called upon to do here. And so I am asking my colleagues, Democratic and Republican because there is bipartisan support for this, please do not be dissuaded by those who say do nothing until you can do everything. Look at the history of civil rights. Look at the fact that we helped one group here, we dealt with a certain form of discrimination there.

Even here, by the way, we are talking about employment discrimination. We are not talking about marriage here. There was an effort to try to put civil unions and partner benefits in the bill. It was a mistake. We'd get rid of it or it would kill the whole bill.

I do not believe that the majority of gay men and lesbians in this country want to take the position that nothing shall be done to enhance legal protection against the prejudice from which they suffer until we can do the job perfectly. I also believe that from the standpoint of including people who are transgender, for which I have and will continue to work, we will not accomplish that nearly as quickly. Maybe in 50 years it will all get done. I'll be dead; so tell me anything. I won't be able to argue with you.

But in the interim, we will get there much more quickly if we continue to follow the sensible strategy of working with allies, of accepting support that is overwhelming but not complete, of understanding political reality, of moving forward, of alleviating some fears by taking some partial steps. We are a lot likelier to get there.

So we have two choices today: we can say until we are able to do everything, we are going to abandon this effort; and I believe the consequences of that will be profoundly negative for any effort to revive this. People will say, wait a minute, those are the people who tell me not to do that. God knows what they're going to ask me for the next time. For 30 years they told me they wanted this. Now when I want to give them this, no, that's not good enough. They want that. I can't go through this again.

[Time: 22:15]

Or, we can take one of the biggest steps forward in the anti-discrimination march, in the march to make the American Constitution's wonderful principles fully applicable with everybody, we can take a major step forward on that issue. And having done that, we will be, in my judgment, better able to take the next step. That is the choice. And I hope, both for the substance, and for giving people a lesson in responsible governance in defense and in advancement of our values, my colleagues, especially on this side, but in the whole House, will opt for sensible and real progress that serves the interests of the majority and rejects the counsel of those who say that, absent perfection, we should leave everything as it was.


Rep. Frank's POV seems to be:

1) It's a numbers game: helping the millions of LGBs by passing the crippled bill (even if it faces defeat in the Senate or presidential veto) is important to help those without any protections in their states.

2) It's a numbers game, #2: Leaving the Ts behind is an "acceptable loss" for incremental progress.

3) We need safe electoral haven: Passing ENDA lite, even in a symbolic way, softens up Congress to then take on T-inclusive legislation later, and leaves them less politically vulnerable in 2008 elections. If they vote no, then they will have a harder time changing their vote because of fear of being tagged as a flip-flopper.

4) Purity of position without pragmatism jeopardizes any progress; half a loaf is better than none at all.

5) T-inclusive supporters represent the equivalent of the fringe-right, and will push the Democratic Party over the political cliff.

6) Lambda Legal is simply flat out wrong -- and dangerously so. The gender presentation discriminatino argument, he says, is dead wrong. (Legal expert on trans workplace issues, Jillian Weiss, doesn't think so).

This last one is kind of interesting, to me anyway, because it focuses on one of the core issues not really discussed before.

7) These noisy echo-chamber people and activists on the Internets are messing it all up (the "militant, committed, ideologically driven believers in purity crowd"): In the speech there seems to be a sense that somehow, people in the blogosphere, by stating/sharing their opinions, are making this spin out of control.

I can't speak for other people, but I don't exactly live in an echo chamber, sitting here in North Carolina, I speak with people all along the political spectrum all the time, both online and offline, people of different classes, religions, orientations, places of origin and races. I don't think that holds true of a lot of out-of-touch people who troll the Hill.

While I'd love to claim that level of influence, sorry to say, 4500 unique visitors a day to the Blend, for instance, doesn't exactly translate into massive political power. Does seeing the rough and tumble discourse out there magnify the anxiety of some folks out there? Probably.

Ultimately, keyboardists can only do so much to affect a vote on the Hill. Making noise is not the same as effecting real change, or being able to lobby effectively take advantage of backchannel communication that those higher on the food chain participate in. The dirty laundry aired online, rife with emotion and frequently reflecting misguided thinking, is the result of not having enough relevant information or access.

The fine line to walk is who should have access to information and who should not. Without information the vacuum is filled with wild speculation, doubt and conspiracy of malicious intent. More open communication is a hard call both for elected officials, advocacy organizations and lobbying groups who wish to reach new media voices.

The well-established playing field with well-known roles on the Hill that were used to move legislation is not the same as the murky world of the blogs, where all you need is a computer and internet connection to bloviate on just about any subject. Can you trust the blogger activist behind the curtain? Good question. However, that's a question that has to be answered by building trust over time - and a willingness to think outside the box. It's pretty difficult for the stiff suits when it looks like the Wild West out there.

We all may be tussling over ENDA, but the larger issue is how to handle issue advocacy and the successful passage of progressive legislation without damaging the infrastructure."