October 03, 2007
Stop lying, Matt Foreman!
Posted by: Chris
One interesting side point to the ENDA-transgender debate is how out of touch those who "lead" the movement are with the actual GLB folks they represent. (The T's are clearly on their side.)
Matt Foreman, the leader of those demanding a trans-or-bust version of ENDA, has publicly claimed, "In this defining and morally transformative moment, our community has come together in an unprecedented way and said once and for all that we will leave no part of it behind." In a statement today he claims, "Never before have we seen our movement so galvanized and so united in an effort to make sure no part of our community is left behind. This is unprecedented."
These are lies. There's simply no other word for them. He knows very well that there is a great debate raging among GLBs about which strategy to adopt. Foreman's characterization is a flat out lie intended to silence half the debate.
Foreman's statement is only accurate when it describes how the leaders of most GLBT organizations have responded. (It by no means includes all groups, by the way. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Servicemember Legal Defense Network and Log Cabin Republicans aren't on the list, just to name the first three that came to mine for me.)
In the insulated, politically correct world where these "leaders" operate, sacrificing our rights to score ideological points is a no-brainer. That's why, in the letter from 90 (now more than 100) gay groups gathered together by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force claims, "The undersigned represent the vast and celebrated diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in this country."
Back in the real world, GLB folks are actually very split on the question. Almost half (38.1%) believe that gay and trans protections are different enough that they should be in separate bills anyway. That's even further than I would take things. Another 14.3% agree with Barney Frank that if the votes for trans-inclusive ENDA aren't there, then it makes the most political sense to go forward with a gay-specific version. Finally, less than half (47.6%) agree with the "trans or bust" strategy urged by the Task Force and others.
On all sorts of blogs and gay web sites, the debate rages, and GLBs take all sorts of views. You can characterize that debate a number of different ways, but to claim as Foreman has that "the community" or "the movement" is "unified" is a lie -- a disingenuous lie intended to bully people into silence.
But we will not be silenced. We will continue to speak out and, as appears necessary, ignore our marginalized LGBT groups and speak directly to politicians like Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin who remember that the goal here is to pass what is achievable.
As Barney Frank is quoted as saying in a story by Lisa Keen:
“The question facing [the LGBT community and its supporters] is whether we should pass up the chance to adopt a very good bill because it has one major gap,” said Frank, in the statement. Frank said that public education and lobbying on gender identity was “much less far along” than that on sexual orientation discrimination.
Frank criticized what he said was “an unwillingness on the part of many, including leaders in the transgender community” to acknowledge that “there is more resistance to protection for people who are transgender than for people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual.” …
While LGBT leaders told Frank they would prefer to not go forward with ENDA at all, rather than delete gender identity, Frank said that would be “a disaster -- politically, morally and strategically.”
“[I]nsistence on achieving everything at once,” said Frank, “would be a prescription for achieving nothing ever.”
It's truly ironic that these "leaders" portray their trans or bust strategy as one of unity when it is the single most divisive step taken in the recent history of the movement.
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