Gays are not the only ones who can be protected by including sexual orientation in hate crime legislation. This story from Kentucky illustrates yet another reason why these protections should be universal.
I know, one post since late March is kind of lame. But besides going through some serious personal BS, which I may or may not elaborate on here later, I think I was going through blogging burnout. I just felt I had nothing relevant to say.
But this morning I was reading an article on Salon.com by John Aravosis on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and it made me feel like pontificating. And this blog is where I used to do all my pontificating when I felt like getting on my liberal politics soapbox (although some may see it as more of a high horse).
ENDA would make it illegal for an employer to fire, or refuse to hire
or promote, an otherwise qualified candidate simply because of their
sexual orientation (gay, straight, lesbian or bisexual). (Contrary to
popular belief, it is legal to fire someone for being gay under federal
law and in 31 states.) When ENDA was first introduced 30 years ago it only
protected sexual orientation and never included gender identity. This
year, that changed, and gender identity was added to the bill.
This year is the first time that ENDA actually has
a snowball's chance in hell of passing both the House and Senate -- but only if
gender identity isn't in the bill, as much of the country is less comfortable with the transgendered than with lesbians, gays and bisexuals. I must admit that even when I first came out I too was uncomfortable associating with the transgendered. I have grown more comfortable in the years since, but I can understand the discomfort. However, this in no way means I condone it.
In any event, the bill's author, openly gay
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., dropped the transgendered from the bill in order to increase its likelyhood for passage. That is when the proverbial shit hit the proverbial fan, and all hell broke loose. Gay activists and gay rights
groups have successfully managed to delay action on the legislation and are throwing up roadblocks to its passage without the transgendered protection. They'd rather have no bill at all than pass one that didn't include the transgendered.
And that is what is chaffing my ass. I think that any gay activist that would rather sabotage the passage of employment protections for lesbians, gays and bisexuals than let it pass without protection for the transgendered are doing a grave disservice and are betraying the best interests of the LGBT community as a whole. It is quite simply biting off their noses (or ours) to spite their faces.
As Frank, the bills author said
"I believe that it would be a grave error to let this opportunity to
pass a sexual orientation nondiscrimination bill go forward, not simply
because it is one of the most important advances we’ll have made in
securing civil rights for Americans in decades, but because moving
forward on this bill now will also better serve the ultimate goal of
including people who are transgender than simply accepting total defeat
Almost all civil rights advances have involved compromise and renegotiation. Why not settle for the protections we can secure now for LGB people and work in the future to have the transgendered included. I am not suggesting we jettison the transgendered. But a partial victory is still a victory. Isn't a glas half full better than no glass at all? Ask a man dying of thirst and you will get a quick answer. I think forgoing likely passage of employment protections for lesbians, gays and bisexuals to instead push for the unlikely passage of protections that include the transgendered is irresponsible. And I for one will not support any organizations that do so.
Fortunately, not all gay rights groups are determined obstructionists. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) did not sign a petition objecting to the exclusion of the transgendered in the legislation, instead they issued a
statement saying it “did not assent” to the removal of
transgender people from ENDA. HRC’s Board of Directors voted not to support a sexual
orientation-only version of the bill, reaffirming the group’s 2004
policy backing a fully inclusive ENDA, but HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a statement HRC will not
encourage members of Congress to vote against a sexual orientation-only
version of the bill, either.
At least someone can see the trees for the forest.
I must admit, I rarely if ever embark on discussing transgender issues here, because A) I do not truly understand the complexities of them and B) I have a hard enough time getting my hands around society's, let alone my own issues with sexual identity not to mention gender identity. I admit, I still get a little freaked out when I see F2Ms in male gay bars, flirting with men. But that's my own head trash. I also still feel, and will surely get some flack for expressing such, that the gay rights movement's acceptance of gender identity into its fold of causes, thus becoming the LGBT movement, hurt the cause of gay rights rather than advancing them. It did however help the cause of transgender rights, which I guess is a good thing.
In any event, the reason for this post is to acknowledge the eighth Transgender Day of Remembrance. It fittingly remembers those who were victims of violence because they were "transsexuals, crossdressers, or otherwise gender-variant folks." Hate crimes against the transgendered largely go unreported in the US, so it is important to shed light on them wherever possible. Truth is the enemy of evil.
Last year the US House passed legislation that would have helped fight hate crimes against the LGBT community. The Senate passed a bill that did not include coverage of the transgendered. Not surprisingly the billed died in conference and was never enacted. Many states, including California are considering legislation that would make it more difficult for people to use "gay panic" as a defense in hate crimes directed at the LGBT community. Days like today and the attention they bring to the issue of violence against the LGBT community will make legislation like this more likely.
Tonight, I saw something that shocked me, yet it made me smile and feel good about things. I saw two guys, one Latino dude and one white dude, walking down the street holding hands and hanging on each other's arm. At first I thought I must be misreading what I was seeing. But the more I watched, the more obvious it was that they were a couple. Not because they were not masculine. They were manly enough. But because they were affectionate with each other. Now you might ask, why was I surprised? Well, I live in the Bronx. Mind you, I live in the North Bronx, which is far from the more notoriously rougher neighborhood of the South Bronx. But it is the Bronx none-the-less. And it certainly isn't Chelsea or the West Village. Hell, I couldn't even get an ex of mine to show even the slightest affection in the heart of gay-ville. These dudes had some balls to not care about what anybody else thought. To that I say bravo... kudos... my hat off to you. It made my day.
A dirty dozen reasons why homosexual
marriage is "bad" and why gay people should not be allowed to get married.
Homosexuality is not natural, much like
eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.
Heterosexual marriages are valid because they
produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get
legally married because the world needs more children.
Obviously gay parents will raise gay children
because straight parents only raise straight children.
Straight marriage will be less meaningful,
since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was
Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women
are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.
Gay marriage should be decided by the people,
not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not
courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.
Gay marriage is not supported by religion.
In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always
imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in
Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay,
in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you
Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to
all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets
because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage
Children can never succeed without both male
and female role models at home. That's why single parents are
forbidden to raise children.
Gay marriage will change the foundation of
society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and
we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't
adapted to cars or longer lifespans.
Civil unions, providing most of the same
benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a
"separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate
schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages
will for gays & lesbians.
Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
Got this in an email from him. Stole the idea of putting in my blog from him.
OK, so I am not exactly Martha Stewart... but this little discovery I had impresses me. I happen to like jarred candles but get frustrated with all the wax that is left in them after the wick burns down. I have been saving these candles (and actually consolidated the excess wax) in hopes that I could figure out some way to not waste it. And now I have the answer. The solution, simply put the jar on one of those coffee warmers and turn it on. It melts the wax and provides the room with the scent without a flame. Bingo... problem solved. And I have plenty of supply to use this way.