SPLENDA FTW!

by matttbastard

Via Tiny Cat Pants, John Aravosis has what kactus (in comments) calls “one of his periodic attacks of stupidity and entitlement”.

Sit-on-a-donut-ring-hoping-to-God-the-Preparation-H-kicks-in-soon burning stupidity:

I have a sense that over the past decade the trans revolution was imposed on the gay community from outside, or at least above, and thus it never stuck with a large number of gays who weren’t running national organizations, weren’t activists, or weren’t living in liberal gay enclaves like San Francisco and New York. Sure, many of the rest of us accepted de facto that transgendered people were members of the community, but only because our leaders kept telling us it was so. A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals, or at the very least why transgendered people qualify as our siblings rather than our cousins. It’s a fair question, but one we know we dare not ask. It is simply not p.c. in the gay community to question how and why the T got added on to the LGB, let alone ask what I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman. I’m not passing judgment, I respect transgendered people and sympathize with their cause, but I simply don’t get how I am just as closely related to a transsexual (who is often not gay) as I am to a lesbian (who is). Is it wrong for me to simply ask why?

I wrote on my blog last week about this issue, and shared my doubts and concerns and questions. And I was eviscerated for it. While the majority of my readers either agreed with me, or found my questions provocative and relevant, a vocal minority labeled me a bigot, a transphobe, a rich, white boy living in a big city who didn’t care about anyone but himself, and worse. An old activist friend even told me that my words were prejudiced, wrong and embarrassingly uninformed, and that no one of any consequence shared my concerns, and if they did, they were bigots too.

I know firsthand that it’s not safe in the gay community to ask questions about how the transgendered fit in. I also know that I am not alone in my questions, or my fear of asking them. While I’ve been taking abuse for my position, I’ve also been amazed by the number of phone calls, e-mails and people stopping me on the street here in Washington, both straight and gay, thanking me for asking the questions I did, for voicing the doubts that they share. (Not surprisingly, many of these expressions of solidarity have been off-the-record.)

It would have been easy to simply write a blog post, or an article here today, about how I respect and support transgendered people and their rights (and I do), but how it was unfortunately political necessary to cut them out of ENDA. I could have chosen to never touch upon the question of the role of the T’s in the LGB community. But that kind of self-imposed censorship is the reason we’re in the pickle we are today. For 10 years now, the right questions never got asked, never got answered, and as a result, support for the inclusion of transgendered people in the gay community remains paper-thin for a sizable number of gays. Normally that wouldn’t matter. But when we are asked — well, told — to put our civil rights on hold, possibly for the next two decades, until America catches up on its support for trans rights, a lot of gay people don’t feel sufficiently vested in trans rights, sufficiently vested in the T being affixed to the LGB, to agree to such a huge sacrifice for people they barely know.

Keeh-rist! For a second I thought I was reading Camille Paglia, what with all the “Imma courageous rainbow martyr just tellin’ it like it is” bullshit (so perfectly suited for Salon, btw).

How did the T get in LGBT?

Apparently John-Boy has never heard of Stonewall or Sylvia Rivera.

(Hey, does the preceding count as a variation on ‘Simple Answers to Simple Questions’? Because Aravosis is definitely ‘Wanker of the Day’.)

enda.jpg

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Holiday Blogwhoring: A Bountiful Cornucopia Of Bloggy Goodness

by matttbastard

Who luvs ya, baby? (Once again, all props to Melissa McEwen.)

The Apostate: Hoax

Reclusive Leftist: In which Dr. Socks becomes so disgusted with the casual ineptitude of the ev-psychos that she descends to name-calling and cursing (h/t RenEv)

Publius Endures: A few guidelines for Ron Paul supporters

Hatewatch: Extremist Group Announces Speech by Congressman

Jack And Jill Politics: Brits Pull Troops Out of Iraq — An African-American Translation

The Duck of Minerva: Expert advice

Politics ‘n’ Poetry: Employees Recount Stories of Radiation Exposure

Dymaxion World: Look, insanity in print!

The Angry Black Woman: The anti-immigration movement vs. US soldiers: Round one — FIGHT!!

The Gimp Parade: The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory

Tiny Cat Pants: Basic Human Dignity

Shakesville: The World According To Siegel and The Startle Reflex

Rachel’s Tavern: More Nooses, More Blackface-Qui annus est?

Orcinus: My interview with Medved

Leftist Looney Lunchbox: Question to white bloggers II

Shameless Blog: Wes Anderson: the ultimate heartbreaker (via Racialicious)

More Notes From Underground: A particularly bad (but probably not uncommon) reason not to support MMP

Dawg’s Blawg: Government by journalist: MMP vs. the press

They Call Me ‘Mister Sinister’: Deconstructing The Case Against MMP and A Word Of Caution

AngryBlackBitch: God said what?

The Galloping Beaver: His noodly appendage touches Missouri

Girl, Dislocated: It’s called duct tape. Use It.

Rox Populi: Extreme Historical Revisionism: National Columinist with a T.E. Lawrence Complex Edition

PoliTits: Adventures in Real Parenting: Bought and Paid For

Battlepanda: Space Money

T-Equality: Daily ENDA Update from Mara Keisling

TransAvocate: Observations From A Protest

“In Solidarity For Equality”

Via Marti Abernathey: Donna Rose – the first and only openly transgender member of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign; national co-chair for Diversity; co-chair appointee-elect for the Business Council.

Donna Rose – Choosing solidarity for equality:

I hereby submit my resignation from my post on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign effective Monday Oct. 8, 2007. I call on other like-minded board members, steering committee leaders, donors, corporate sponsors, and volunteers to think long and hard about whether this organization still stands for your values and to take decisive action as well. More than simply a question of organization policy, this is a test of principle and integrity and although it pains me greatly to see what has happened it is clear to me that there can only be one path. Character is not for compromise. I cannot align myself with an organization that I can’t trust to stand-up for all of us. More than that, I cannot give half-hearted support to an organization that has now chosen to forsake the tenets that have guided my efforts from day one.

To quote Populuxe in ObWi comments, “trans people were on the front lines of the fight for queer rights first. Abandoning them now is like pissing on Sylvia Rivera‘s grave.”

Related: Barney Frank responds to Lambda Legal’s analysis of the SPLENDA bill:

“…the one change that is made substantively from the old bill to the new one that I reintroduced is to drop gender identity.” No words have been added or subtracted that make it easier to fire a gay man because of some effort to transform homophobia into dislike of effeminacy and I believe the law continues to be a strong bulwark against that.

Well, isn’t that a relief – it’s only transpeople who’re getting fucked over by the cowards in Congress. That certainly changes everything *exhales*. Tracy Baim doesn’t think much of Frank’s perversion of pragmatism:

Rep. Frank’s rationale for these maneuvers sounds good on paper, but does not represent the reality for our community. We cannot ever justify exclusion as a course of action. To sever a significant part of our community would be wrong. If it takes losing “T” to get our rights, none of us should want those rights.

Speaking of spineless CongressCritters, Jerame Davis calls out three Democratic holdouts on the inclusive ENDA bill:

Baron Hill of Indiana’s 9th District, Joe Donnelly of Indiana’s 2nd District, and Brad Ellsworth of Indiana’s 8th District are three of the House Democrats holding out on HB 2015, the original – and trans-inclusive – ENDA legislation.

[…]

What the hell? Every time there is a queer issue that gets shot down, one or more of these three Indiana Democrats have their name attached to the controversy. And it’s usually not on the side of inclusion, equality, or progressive values.

Indiana residents click through to find contact information for each Representative.

Also: 24 hrs after stabbing its transgender constituency in the back, HRC tries to staunch the bleeding; Rebecca Juro continues her righteous assault on Joe and Co:

Proven liars, proven sellouts, proven panderers to the unreasonable fears of cowardly politicians, the Human Rights Campaign can no longer be credibly considered community leaders by anyone in our community who truly believes that we are, in fact, one community, and that this community defines political success as succeeding together, leaving no one behind.

More on HRC’s latest maneuver (and Barney Frank’s bullshit) from Pam Spaulding (make sure to read the comments; eastsidekate= pure WIN: “Barney Frank supports the right of Barney Frank to not be discriminated against for being Barney Frank. How generous.”)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

The Whole Loaf Or Nothing

by matttbastard

Via Hilzoy @ ObWI, today’s SF Chronicle:

“Leading gay rights organizations, with the pointed exception of the Human Rights Campaign [HRC], withdrew their support Monday from a landmark gay civil rights bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., pulled transgender people from the legislation that would protect gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination.

The intense backlash by the gay community surprised House Democratic leaders, forcing them to postpone what had been intended as a big House vote this week to include gays and lesbians in the nation’s job discrimination laws for the first time in American history.

The debate playing out between gay rights activists and two of their biggest supporters in Congress raises a classic political question: Are activists better off compromising and accepting progress or continuing to fight for everything they want?

Gay rights groups have been waiting for a decade for the bill to pass, and many say a few more months to try to build support for including gender identity would be worth the wait. They say transgender people will have little chance of winning protection from discrimination if they aren’t included in this bill.

Pelosi and Frank, however, fear the inclusion of gender identity will kill the overall bill – again denying gays and lesbians protection against job discrimination.

Pelosi, D-San Francisco, issued conflicting statements Monday in reaction to the turmoil. The first declared her personal support for including transgender people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act but asserted she would stick by her decision to drop them from the bill to give it a greater chance of passage.

About three hours later, the speaker issued a new statement saying, “After discussions with congressional leaders and organizations supporting passage” of the bill, committee and floor votes on the bill had been postponed to “allow proponents of the legislation to continue their discussions with members in the interest of passing the broadest possible bill.””

Hil’s post is well worth reading in its entirety as an introductory text for those who aren’t already familiar with trans issues (feel free to suggest in comments more/better examples of ‘trans 101’ posts and I’ll update accordingly). Also, Marti Abernathey and Vanessa Foster Edwards of TransAdvocate (here, here, here, here and here), along with the folks @ Pam’s House Blend, have been all over the bowdlerized ENDA the past several days. I suggest you go check out the aforementioned sources for the full 411. I also owe and offer my American transgendered brothers and sisters an unequivocal apology for not shining the solidarity spotlight on this much sooner, and brighter, than this.

And to those who would contend that a small victory is still better than total defeat, please consider: it’s a lot easier for lesbians/gays to ‘pass’ than transpeople. With that in mind, which group is most at risk of facing discrimination in the work place, especially if someone is in the process of transitioning or has already transitioned during their tenure of employment? By removing transpeople from the proposed legislation, the Dems have given the shaft to the ones most in need of its protection.

Sorry, Barn and Nance – “wait your turn” is not the answer. The Dem leadership (and the HRC) have proposed that transgendered people be tossed under the rainbow bus for the ‘greater good’; what incentive is there to include transpeople in any future legislation if the Dems–and the greater LGBT community in the U.S.–allow the bowdlerized ENDA to pass? What right do you have to ask the trans community to once again commit seppuko?

The rationalizations remind me of SSM vs. ‘civil unions’. Sure, the latter option may be more palatable for general (read: breeder) consumption in the US. But compromise is essentially giving up the fight for full equality for all members of the LGBT community–permanently.

‘Half a loaf is better than none’? My ass. That don’t mean sh*t to those still hungry and who will remain starving in perpetuity, especially when they’re the ones at the table who are most in need of nourishment.

Let me repeat Hil’s request:

If you think that people should not be fired because they seek gender reassignment surgery, or have some other sort of gender misalignment — if the very idea of choosing one of the toughest parts of a person’s already tough life to take away his or her livelihood for no good reason makes you as mad as it makes me — then now would be a good time to write your Representative and ask him or her to support the extension of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to transgendered people.

Edward_Winkleman’s eloquent dissent:

As a gay man, I don’t mind saying, I have no interest at all in becoming a “first-class citizen” if it comes at the expense of someone else’s status. I’ll happily take my chances with the current law before I’ll passively support the hideous assertion that gays and lesbians are kind of ok now, but transgendered Americans are still very much not ok. That folks can’t see why that’s so offensive to many gay folks suggests to my mind they don’t see why the current lack of protection is offensive to us either. It’s not about us. It’s about what’s right.

What this boils down to, quite frankly (no pun intended), is that I trust the motives of the transgendered community in this battle much, much, much more than I trust the motives of those among general public who are coming around and now ready to condescend to suggest I might be worthy of some of the same civil liberties they take for granted. In other words, if the sh*t hits the fan again, I’d rather stay aligned with the folks who’ve shown me constant, genuine support, regardless of how small a minority they may be, than be worried my new allies are still harboring bigotry and might turn against me again.

and offer this call to action from Rebecca Juro (hyperlinks and emphasis mine):

It’s time to get pissed off again and start calling out people and organizations out when they deserve it. It’s time finish the job that we started in 2004 and knock HRC from its undeserved perch as the leading LGBT civil rights organization and replace them with an organization which understands that civil rights are for everyone, even when they interfere with the interests of rich white gay guys. NGLTF isn’t perfect, but they’re far closer to that ideal than HRC has ever come or ever will. The fact that even the Empire State Pride Agenda has signed onto this letter as HRC and LCCR remain silent speaks volumes, both about how far some in this movement have come in being willing to support and work for truly inclusive civil rights laws, and how for others the only thing that’s really changed in any substantive ways is the rhetoric.

It’s time to take our movement back, gang…let’s go out there and make it happen. No delays, no excuses. The time to have an impact, for all of us, is right now. If we fail in this we only have ourselves to blame.

One, two, three, four, one, two, three…DON’T support the HRC!

Also, please sign the National Stonewall Democrats web petition:

and the petition sponsored by the Transgender Law Center (TLC) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE, via Nexyjo):

Oh, and PS: if I wasn’t clear before let me make things completely transparent, like fine polished CRYSTAL: fuck the HRC. There’s no substitute for the original ENDA.

[Update: Waymon Hudson @ The Bilerico Project on Lambda Legal’s analysis of the so-called SPLENDA bill:

“Leaving out protections for transgender people is unacceptable, and passing a bill riddled with loopholes will make it harder to achieve equality on the job. You can’t be fired for being a lesbian or a gay man, but you can be fired if your boss thinks you fit their stereotype of one.

More here.]

After the fold, statements from TLC, NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), along with the text of the original letter to Congress rejecting the trans-free ENDA. Continue reading