Saturday, October 06, 2007

The ENDA situation: how you can help.

ENDA is the name given to a bill prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. The bill is currently in the House, and while it originally included protections for transgendered people, on September 27, it was announced that the bill would be stripped of these protections in order to get the bill passed (you can read the original bill here.)

This is not the first time this legislation has been proposed, nor is it the first time that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has supported an exclusive bill. If you feel, as I do, that transgender protections should be included in this bill, please read on.

From Phyllis Randolph Frye, a.k.a. THE PHYLLABUSTER, at

HRC sent its press release out today. Essentially, it boasts of being inclusive of GLBT since 2004 and wanting an inclusive ENDA (HR 2015). BUT IT WILL NOT URGE ANY MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO OPPOSE THE BARNEY FRANK NON-INCLUSIVE ENDA SUBSTITUTE (HR 3685).

Okay, GLBT and supportive straight friends -- so what do we do?

1. Go here to learn how the Barney Frank non-inclusive ENDA substitute bill (HR 3685) also waters down the rights of regular gays and lesbians. (Way to go, Barn!)

2. Personally contact your Member of Congress and say you want the original inclusive ENDA (HR 2015) passed. Tell them that ole Barn does NOT represent mainstream GLBT folks!

3. If you have given money to HRC since 2004, tell HRC ( that "they lied" and you demand a full refund.

4. Look at this list.

a. Send your money to these groups instead.

b. If you want your group on this list, contact

5. If you live in Nancy Pelosi's district or Barney Frank's district, let them know about it.

6. If you live in Tammie Baldwin's district, thank her for remaining LGBT inclusive.

7. If you live in the DC area, protest this Saturday's (October 6) HRC National Dinner. For details contact, Ethan St. Pierre at

8. Go to the HRC website and type in your city to learn where your local HRC group contact is.

a. Bend their ear on this issue.

b. Learn when their HRC fundraiser is, and start preparing the protest.

9. Fro the best up-to-dates, go to either the NGLTF site or the National Center for Transgender Equality site.

10. Keep your eye on the prize and get all of your friends to do #2 above.

And from the National Center for Transgender Equality:
Daily Update on ENDA
from Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director
Thursday, October 4

Today I spent quite a bit of time explaining (re-explaining) to the media and others that the current ENDA situation is not one of pragmatic people versus crazy idealists (not that there is anything wrong with being either practical or idealistic). No one is demanding that transgender people get ours or no one gets anything. The greatest likelihood in fact is that this year will end with no ENDA protections becoming law to protect anyone. We will all need to work together to pass the bill in the House, even harder in the Senate and then somehow overcome a likely veto by the White House.

Additionally, gender identity is not synonymous with transgender and sexual orientation is not synonymous with gay and bi people. Just as trans people face discrimination based on sexual orientation, gay people face gender identity discrimination. Yesterday, five legal organizations (Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, The Transgender Law Center, GLAD, and the ACLU) issued a joint statement ( that explained this and other legal shortcomings of a sexual orientation-only ENDA.

A split ENDA hurts all LGBT people-whether you are pragmatic, idealistic or, like most of us, both.

Today (Thursday) was another very fast paced day in Washington and around the country. Congressional offices are definitely hearing from everyone and it is just as definite that everyone's great work is really impacting things. Members of Congress and their staffs are telling us that they are getting calls and visits from people like you-people who live in their districts.

The number of organizations who have publicly proclaimed their support for transgender people and our desire to pass the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 2015) was up at about 180 the last time I checked sometime this afternoon. Earlier today, we blew past 2,500 signatures on the petitions that we co-produced with the Transgender Law Center. People are really enthused and turning that enthusiasm into action. And it's working.

One side effect of all of this sudden somewhat unexpected activity is that our expenses have gone up tremendously. Suddenly we are paying for meals for volunteers, lots of taxis to Capitol Hill, consultants, cell phone minutes. This coming week, it looks like there will be some travel costs and hotel rooms for specific people who we need to have here in DC. All in all, we think that this may cost us an additional $10,000-15,000-all of which is very difficult for a small organization like NCTE. Though so many people are doing so much, your financial support would also be very helpful. One donor sent us $150-one dollar in honor of each of the LGBT organizations who has stepped up in solidarity to support transgender people and our effort of keep ENDA inclusive of all LGBT people. If you would like to make a donation, please go to our website. It would help a lot.

Thank you.


Mara Keisling
Executive Director
National Center for Transgender Equality

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization. For more information, please visit our website.

We need your support to continue this work. Click here to join our mailing list or to donate now. Thank you!

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