As a college professor, I’ve listened to many excuses on why the report wasn’t done over the past decade.
These included classic homework-eating dogs and tales of laptop explosions, Lazarus-like grandmothers who passed away, only to miraculously revive in order to have a funeral again in time for the final report due date.
But the one that really takes the cake is the explanation of why the Employment Non-Discrimination Act isn’t moving forward.
They haven’t had a chance to ask Representatives whether they’ll vote for the bill.
Never mind that they’ve had over a month to do it. Never mind that this has been pending since June of last year. Never mind that the window for Senate approval is fast closing.
This Professor ain’t buying it. I’m kind, but I’m not a sap. And you shouldn’t be either. It’s time to rise up and be heard.
This is the week of the International Day Against Homophobia, and Harvey Milk Day protests are planned across the country. A rally is being held at Pelosi’s SF office on Tuesday at 4:30 PST.
More on this, and The Metro’s right-on article “Left Jabs At ENDA,” after the jump.
The link for one click access to Congress on ENDA has been changed. It is now http://bit.ly/enda123 (all lower case). Please post this on your FB status and twitter to encourage them to contact Congress on ENDA with one click
The question on most people’s minds about ENDA is: can it really pass?
The National Center for Transgender Equality, along with the Transgender Law Center, and the Coalition of State/City Transgender Advocacy Organizations, held a conference call last night on the status of ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Those on the call learned that the legislators on the Hill have completed the weeks-long, extra-careful whipping process. (Whipping refers to asking Congressmembers how they will vote on a bill.) We learned that legislators are “comfortable” that there are well beyond a majority of votes to pass ENDA, right now. We learned that, specifically with regard to a potential motion to strip gender identity from the bill, there are enough votes to defeat that motion. We also learned that Congressmembers are getting calls and letters 2 to 1 in favor of ENDA.
After all of its ups and down, ENDA is ready to pass!
Here is a nifty new site that will give you one click-access to your legislators. Click below for one-click sending of an ENDA letter to your Congressmember and your Senators. Please send it to your friends on Facebook. I mean, how easy is this?
Also, more on the call last night here:
The Traditional Values Coalition has been successful in getting both CBS and Roll Call Magazine to characterize ENDA as a bill that would allow transgender teachers to harm children, ignoring the problem of severe discrimination and harassment against millions of LGBT people in the workplace.
Roll Call told me they were unaware of TVC’s status as a hate group listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s watch list, and might have made a different choice had they known. CBS said they are just reporting the news objectively and fairly.
TVC then responded on their website with an outrageous personal attack. I suppose my purpose in posting this is to let people know why this group has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s good to see the evidence.
Here’s TVC’s response.
‘Transgender’ Man Attacks TVC
‘Transgender’ Man Attacks TVCApril 22, 2010 – It seems that the Traditional Values Coalition’s expose of what the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) actually does has upset a few people.
Dr. Jillian Weiss is a man who has lived as a woman since 1997. This is a truly troubled individual. Whether he has actually gone through a complete surgical procedure to remove his genitals is a mystery. He may be living as a she-male hybrid. However, readers would never know he is a transgender based on his published bio.
He is also a writer for the LGBT Bilerico Project, which regularly tracks TVC’s opposition to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender political agenda. In addition, he’s a professor of law and society at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
Weiss has a mental disorder known as a Gender Identity Disorder, which the American Psychiatric Association lists in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders.
One of his most recent rants against Traditional Values Coalition was over TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty’s commentary published in Roll Call on April 20.
In that commentary, Lafferty pointed out that if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is signed into law, 38 state laws will be overridden putting transgender teachers in classrooms, and every public school will have to use the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to prevent parents from knowing if their students are being taught by transgender teachers. HIPAA protects the “privacy” of these individuals, but not the children who will be victimized by them.
The use of HIPAA has already occurred in California, which has an ENDA-like law that makes sexual orientation and gender identity into protected classes. In 2008, students and parents were outraged to learn that a female music teacher at Foxboro Elementary School in Vacaville, California, underwent mutilating surgery and returned to school as a man.
What Weiss failed to report is that parents were not informed about the bizarre so-called sex change in advance so they could remove their kids from her class. In addition, the kids were required to refer to her as “Mister.”
The school district said that it could not tell parents about this she-male’s so-called sex change because of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“Privacy” trumps parental rights. Yet, a so-called transition from one sex to another is not a private act. It is a public act and parents should have the right to be informed about it before a male teacher returns to school wearing a dress – or a female teacher comes back to school sporting a mustache or beard.
HIPAA was created to protect the health privacy records of individuals. It includes confidentiality on mental health issues. Mental health privacy is exempted when it involves the abuse of children or when law enforcement needs to identify a suspect.
Fortunately, 23 students from 15 different families transferred out of the music class into a physical education class.
Removing a child from a class taught by a she-male hybrid will not always be permitted if ENDA passes. In fact, children will most likely be trapped in classes taught by she-males or female-to-male transgenders.
The mentally disordered woman’s “right” to operate under the delusion that she is a male was protected by the California school district; the right of the children to be taught by real men and real women was violated.
In another case in Batavia, New York, parents had to battle school officials in order to get their children out of the class of a she-male hybrid. Weiss describes the school officials as being cooperative with parents, providing them with the option of removing their children. In fact, they were hostile to parents from the beginning. They only relented when threatened with legal action. Weiss is misrepresenting this serious case. TVC has inside knowledge of this case; Weiss does not.
The plan truth is that individuals who think they are the opposite sex, have the mental illness, Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Weiss clearly has this disorder as do others who claim to be the opposite sex.
Weiss claims there’s nothing in HIPAA that prevents schools from notifying parents of a teacher’s so-called sex change. But, as noted, HIPAA has already been used in California as the reason why parents weren’t notified.
School districts will err on the side of caution to avoid being sued or fined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if they reveal the so-called sex change of a teacher or transfer a cross-dressing teacher out of a classroom away from children. Now that lesbian lawyer Chai Feldblum is on the EEOC, she will enforce ENDA with a vengeance. Why? Because she was the primary author of ENDA.
ENDA will make it impossible for schools to consider parents or children in their policies involving teachers with Gender Identity Disorders (transvestites, cross-dressers, transsexuals, she-male hybrids).
The best Weiss and his allies can do to defend ENDA is trying to link Traditional Values Coalition as a hate group. In his argument against TVC, Weiss brings up the red herring that our organization is listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
This leftist group has also listed Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), and Fox News hosts Glenn Beck and Judge Andrew Napolitano as “haters.” SPLC has gone after Latin Mass Catholic groups as being haters. TVC nor any of these individuals are on any FBI watch list as dangerous to society.
This charge is supposed to carry some sort of credibility among leftists, but the fact is that the SPLC is long known to be a leftwing hate group that smears any organization opposed to liberalism, illegal immigration or the LGBT agenda. Suggesting the SPLC has any credibility is as absurd as quoting members of the Flat Earth Society.
The SPLC can’t seem to locate leftist hate groups. They don’t list the Communist Party, USA, the Workers World Party, Code Pink, MoveOn.org, Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, People for the American Way or other leftist groups as spewing hatred from their web sites or from their leaders. Several of these groups openly seek the violent overthrow of our nation.
The SPLC is the group that wrote a memo used by Obama’s Homeland Security Department claiming that veterans and pro-lifers were dangerous to national security.
Actually, it is a badge of honor for TVC to be listed by the SPLC as a “hate group.” It proves we’re effective in challenging liberalism, socialism, and the LGBT agenda.
On April 22, Weiss wrote a letter to the editor to Roll Call over my article. In it, he rehashed his previous misinformation and claim that TVC is a hate group. Tragically, Weiss will continue to live under the delusion that he is a woman, while pushing his political agenda on our nation’s children.
CBS News has allowed an anti-gay hate group, on the watch list of the Southern Poverty Law Center, hijack the debate over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We must act to let CBS News know that this is wrong. CBS News first posted this hateful screed on its blog on Friday, and has followed up aggressively with similar coverage on its television website. The CBS Evening News may be next. Would CBS let Aryan Nation define the debate on anti-discrimination law?
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a bill to prohibit job discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill has had little coverage in the mainstream media, having been kept out of the spotlight in favor of other, sexier issues, such as marriage equality and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal.
Now that it is moving towards a vote in Congress, the mainstream media is taking some time to focus on ENDA. CBS News is the first major media outlet to discuss the bill. Rather than fairly discussing the merits of protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from workplace discrimination and harassment, CBS News has allowed a known hate group to define the debate.
By failing to vet its sources, and allowing a known hate group to steer the debate towards bizarre allegations that have little to do with the merits of the issue, CBS News has failed as a journalistic enterprise.
Call CBSNews.com Editor-in-Chief Dan Farber at 212-975-4321 to let him know that CBS News shouldn’t let the Traditional Values Coaltion, a known hate group on the Southern Poverty Center’s watch list, define the debate on the job discrimination bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
More here: http://bit.ly/aMyLlk
Rep. Frank confirmed yesterday that a markup of ENDA will take place “this week or next,” followed quickly by a House vote. I’ll do a liveblog on Bilerico.com when that happens.
If you’re from the South, you’ve got a better chance than anyone else in this country to move the vote on ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Call these 13 likely ENDA supporters who haven’t yet publicly confirmed one way or the other.
They hail from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. You can click here to email them, but a call is way better.
If you have friends in the South, please send this to them.
Names, district maps and sample script here: http://bit.ly/ct305N
Congress is back in business today after the Easter recess, and action is starting on one of the major stated goals of our movement: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would finally stop overt job discrimination against LGBT people. A whip count is starting on ENDA today to ensure that we have the votes to pass the US House of Representatives. Call your Representative now at 202-224-3121 to demand an inclusive ENDA with gender identity protections.
Remember what happened the last time a whip count proceeded on ENDA? It was September, 2007.
–Guest post on ENDA from Congressman Barney Frank
Quoting Kerry Eleveld of the Advocate: It’s do-or-die time for ENDA. Here’s why you should call your Representative, again, right now, and every day this week, even if you know they’re totally for ENDA, or totally against it, or somewhere in-between.
THREE REASONS TO CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE RIGHT NOW
1. Now is the time we’ve all been demanding lo these many years. We are on the cusp of showing our national power as a community — or showing our lack of it.
2. Representatives need to know that ENDA-lite is not enough. In 2007, ENDA passed without gender-identity protections because too many Representatives were afraid. Then, and only then, did the LGBT community stand up and shout “No!” We created a nasty fight within our own community and within the Democratic Party — and rightly so. But the time to avoid having gender identity protection cut out of ENDA is N-O-W. Not after it’s too late.
3. Representatives have short memories. They won’t remember that a lot of people called last month, or last year. The only thing that will assure them of community support for an inclusive ENDA is your phone call now.
I’ll be discussing this today as I guest host the Michelangelo Signorile show on Sirius XM’s OutQ 109. Click here to learn more about the show and how you can listen for free on the internet.
Crossposted from Bilerico.com
A “markup” must precede a whip count, and a whip count must precede a House vote, and each of these items requires notice, so I don’t think we’ll see a House vote before May 1.
That’s good, because we need some time to organize.
It’s not enough to write emails, and though telephone calls are good, what’s better is the community organizing to show support. Frankly, I think ENDA is going to pass the House by a large majority, but the Senate backers, Merkley and Harkin, are weak on the issues, and are going to need a lot of help.
While the news sounds optimistic, and it is, there is some serious counter-pressure. We can’t sit on the sidelines behind our computers while this is happening. If there’s not some serious cheering from the LGBT side of the stands, egging on our leaders, they will fold at crunch time. It happens all the time.
I think we ought to be organizing rallies in the key states and districts where the votes are closest to the line. That means the Senate, and that means The Nine. I refer to the 9 possible Senate yes votes that have not yet committed, Murkowski, Pryor, Lincoln, Bill Nelson, Lugar, Hagan, Conrad. Voinovich and Byrd.
That means getting neighbors together and working on getting emails of supporters together, telephone conference calls of people willing to organize, conversations with supportive family, friends and neighbors, scheduling rallies and informational meetings. And not in Washington DC, but in Juneau, Little Rock, Miami, Indianapolis, Raleigh, Bismarck, Cleveland and Charleston.
A bunch of emails and letters doesn’t cut it. A blog post about a few people who sent in letters in Butte doesn’t cut it. Four people waving signs at the side of the road outside the statehouse doesn’t cut it. Either we will have mass community support, or we will wait for another shot at ENDA down the road.
When This Is Happening
According to the Advocate, a source with knowledge of the process said the floor vote was likely to be scheduled first, at which point the committee vote would then be coordinated to precede it by about a week.
The source said that representatives Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Polis would undertake an informal vote count (known as a “whip count” in Hill patois) upon returning from recess on April 12 and, assuming the numbers look good, majority whip Jim Clyburn would launch an official whip count while the Democratic leadership worked on scheduling a floor vote.
So that will take time, and that will give us time.
We’re going to need a strong, diverse strategy.
Who Needs To Do What And When
We’re going to need the advocacy organizations, like HRC, The Task Force, NCLR, and NCTE, which have staffs and budgets to weigh in on Capitol Hill with their suave lobbyists and glossy flyers.
Equally important are the state organizations, that have connections to local people who can be mobilized to bring local pressure to bear in the district.
We also need people who can bring respectful civil disobedience to bear when that type of pressure is needed.
Lastly, the most important element is spontaneous community organizing in local areas. While some organizations have some facility with this, like HRC, which has been continuously working in the background on the weak links through community organizing, like Rep. Bill Owens from upstate New York, and the Diaz-Balart brothers in Florida, we need locals successfully organizing the local community to talk to those legislators and demand equality through meetings and rallies.
Organizations are good, but it is no substitute for individuals standing together in solidarity. At the same time, organizations can be helpful in bringing that about. We need a partnership between our federal and state organizations — and we have one. It’s called United ENDA. I hope that the people running United ENDA will use their connections to bring about community organizing from the ground up (not the top down). Parachuting someone in from DC to hold a rah rah session and post a note online about it does not cut it. They are going to have to work with local activists, many of whom are not necessarily tony white-shoe suavity machines, but who want justice for their communities. They’re contradictory, weighed down by day-jobs, not always quick to return phone calls or to go along with the corporate line, but they are essential in this fight.
Did you notice how Organizing For America handled health care reform? They collected millions of emails and used them not only to ask people to call their legislators, but also organized local meetings and info sessions and rallies. They had websites you could go to that would give you five names of local supporters in the swing districts, and you could call them and ask them to call their legislators or attend a meeting. I did that several times. With all the money our community has, why don’t we have those things at work?
Why We’re Having Problems In The Senate And What To Do About it
One thing I’m thankful for is that freshman Senator Jeff Merkley, whose silence on ENDA suggests that he is overwhelmed by his new job and not up to leading in this fight, is not being left to twist in the wind by the Dems. As the Advocate reports, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa is also playing a central role in shepherding the measure since he chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. In 1990, Harkin sponsored and helped pass the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities. Obviously he knows how to make legislation happen, but I’m concerned about his understanding of the issues.
Frankly, I think Senator Harkin frankly needs a kick in the pants too, after his Senate hearing omitted any transgender witnesses, the one thing that HRC is now bemoaning that the Senate doesn’t have enough education on.
As reported in The Advocate story, Alison Herwitt, HRC’s legislative director acknowledged that the Senate poses more hurdles because of that issue. “We still need to continue to do education in the Senate around the gender identity language,” she said, adding that House members were much more proficient on the issue.”
Where were these people when the trans-less Senate hearing was being organized?
And then The Advocate story quotes a source familiar with Harkin that made me cringe:
“It’s doable this year, but far from assured,” said the source, adding that Harkin has personally vowed to help lobby his colleagues one-on-one for the bill. “He’s committed to working on it. It’s going to require a lot of work with the moderates to convince them that this isn’t an election loser.”
With friends like that, who needs enemies?
HRC and NCTE and the other orgs are going to need to offer daily assistance to the state organizations that actually have people on the ground in those cities, and GetEqual, Equality Across America and JoinTheImpact are going to need to start calling meetings in those cities where we need feet on the ground.
Hey DC orgs, what are you willing to do to help local activists in those cities?
Hey grassroots orgs like Get Equal, Equality Across America and Join The Impact, what are you willing to do to help local activists in those cities.
Hey local people in those cities, what are you willing to do to get job equality?
Get offline, get organized.
Last week we shared with you an open letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Cleve Jones, a pioneering equal rights activist featured in the film “MILK,” creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and Senior Advisor to the Courage Campaign. He asked that Speaker Pelosi move the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the House floor for a vote.
More than 16,000 of you have signed on already – can you add your name before we hand-deliver the petition this week? Sign up here:
Note from Bil: The Bilerico Project is participating in a blogswarm today with Daily Kos, Open Left, Americablog, Towleroad, Pam’s House Blend, Joe My God, Michelangelo Signorile, David Mixner, Daily Gotham, Culture Kitchen, Taylor Marsh, PageOneQ, Dan Savage, GoodAsYou, and many others. We’re asking our readers to contact Speaker Nancy Pelosi and ask that she move the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (HR 3017) to a floor vote. Contact info at the end of the article.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced in 1994, would prohibit job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But LGBT people have never been able to achieve the enactment of the bill, known by the acronym of “ENDA”.
Last year, the Administration’s highest ranking gay official, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, indicated that ENDA was highest priority on the LGBT civil rights agenda.
“If we can get ENDA enacted and signed into law, it is only a matter of time before all the rest happens,” he said. “It is the keystone that holds up the whole bunch, and so we need to focus our energies and attention there.”
Hearings were held last Fall in the House and in the Senate to demonstrate the need for the bill, and testimony was heard on the severe unemployment, underemployment and harassment experienced by LGBT workers. Witnesses testified to the scientific studies demonstrating this.
But nothing has happened. Click here to find out why and join us in swarming Speaker Pelosi’s office.
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