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  • « Has United ENDA killed ENDA? | Main | Ignorant quote of the day »

    October 28, 2007

    'Diseased' gay men vs. ENDA?

    Posted by: Chris

    The personal attacks over ENDA just don't stop.  As regular readers of this blog know, I have been called every name in the book for agreeing with Barney Frank's compromise ENDA strategy.  I don't bring it up in a bid for sympathy.  I'm a big boy and have a decade of experience under my belt of this sort of thing.  (Actually, I should add in another seven years when I edited student publications in college and law school.)

    I bring it up because someone needs to call out trans activists for the gratuitously personal way they attack anyone who dares to disagree with the "trans or bust" strategy for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. It's especially ballsy of them (pun intended, since they are all male-to-female) considering that they are asking GLB Americans to forego employment protection for their sake.

    Monica_helms A little birdie offered the latest example -- a column being shopped around to GLBT newspapers by Atlanta trans activist Monica Helms.  Here is a choice excerpt:

    The only voices I have heard in opposition of a fully-inclusive ENDA have come from white gay men who suffer from what I call “Chris Crain Disease,” or “CCD.”  Crain, a former editor, former newspaper owner, former American resident, lead the charge early on with his infamous “Trans-jacking” articles, spawning a new industry in gay journalism called, “Blame the trannies for everything.” 

    Crain is “Patient Zero,” and the disease is spreading rapidly. It is important that those who suffer with CCD need to study history to remind them that back in the late 1980s, when most of them were in grade school or high school.

    Actually, I was in law school in the late '80s, and it's particular ironic, considering Helms is calling a gay man "diseased," that the history lesson she promises in her column concerns excluding HIV from the Americans with Disability Act when it was under debate in Congress.

    One difference, of course, between ADA and ENDA is that there was no whip count at the time showing that inclusion of HIV would kill the bill.  Also, HIV is a disability, so it would have required excluding something within the protected category.  "Sexual orientation" and "gender identity" are different categories.

    It's also ironic that in the "pitch" to editors that accompanies her column, the three publishing credits Helms mentions (Washington Blade, Southern Voice and Houston Voice) were all columns I published as exec. editor of those publications.

    For a movement that spends so much energy talking about "respectful dialogue," "education," "teaching moments," "tolerance" and the like, it's long past time that someone called out our trans sisters for the immature and disrespectful way they personally attack anyone who dares to disagree. 

    And I'm not just talking about Helms. There's Pauline Park at Logo's Visible Vote, Phyllis Randolph Frye in Texas, Rebecca Juro on Bilerico.  I could go on...



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    1. Andoni on Oct 28, 2007 5:20:08 PM:

      Yes, I have experienced the personal attacks from people who don't like my views on ENDA either. In my 20 years of activism, I have experienced attacks from Southern homophobes and religious crazies (Fred Phelps' gang) and the stuff I received from the trans or bust crowd is on par with those enemies.

      I would suggest the the leaders of "the 300" distance themselves from these crazies by putting out a statement condemning venomous personal attacks.

      This would be a good first step toward healing the community for a post ENDA period. At the moment, I don't know how I could ever support any of their issues in the future based on the some of the things that have been written to me.

      It is not we the "let's get passed what we can get passed crowd" who are blowing up the bus. It is the trans crowd and their allies who are tossing the bombs that will cause permanent scars.

      We need some real leaders on the other side to say enough is enough.

    1. Rebecca Juro on Oct 28, 2007 6:21:32 PM:


      Interesting how you complain about personal attacks about your own position on ENDA, and then the first thing you do is indulge in them yourself by calling us "crazies".

      Oh and you're a bit behind the times. The United ENDA coalition now includes over 350 different orgs, and is still growing steadily.

      The real leaders are those representing the will of the majority here, and it's very clear what that is. If there really were the kind of intense resistance to an inclusive ENDA some claim exists, there's no way so many orgs would be on board with this effort.

      Your issue isn't with us, it's with the greater community, our allies, and our friends and families, a group far larger than ourselves, who have joined with us in speaking out on this issue.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Oct 28, 2007 7:06:51 PM:

      Rebecca, what you and your fellow trans have demonstrated by your behavior shows why you need ENDA so badly.

      Simply put, the hate, vitriol, and personal attacks you regularly employ against people who disagree with you would never be tolerated in any workplace; by passing GENDA, you think you will be protected by law as you do to your coworkers what you have done to us.

    1. Andoni on Oct 28, 2007 9:07:18 PM:

      Rebecca, if you would consult a dictionary, the word “personal” means individual, one person. It does not mean collective or group of people. Referring to a group of people as crazies is NOT a personal attack. I can call the Republican Party of group of crazies and this is not a personal attack. If I call one person by name crazy, that is a personal attack.

      Furthermore, since you missed on the word “personal,” I believe you are also wrong on what majority means. I have just read an article that counts up the membership of your 350 organizations in UNITED ENDA and it turns out they represent a very small percentage of the LGBT community. That is NOT A MAJORITY.

    1. Citizen Crain on Oct 28, 2007 10:35:25 PM:

      I'm fascinated to see Rebecca argue that, "The real leaders are those representing the will of the majority here, and it's very clear what that is."

      So does this mean the majority in Congress, which was actually elected to office and opposes trans-inclusion in ENDA, are "the real leaders"? Or are "real leaders" only those who agree with the trans activists?

      As for the 300 (or whatever) groups now included on the United ENDA list, Dale Carpenter has separately dissected that group and just what a small sliver of "the community" they represent. We all know, Andoni and I both know from years in Atlanta, that a very small handful of volunteers and professional activists control these groups. They spend a good deal of time complaining about the widespread apathy of the actual masses in the community. Except now, they claim to speak on behalf of the very same community they have failed for years to motivate into action. And they claim to do so, iroically enough, when it is actually counter to the interests of that majority.

      No wonder only six people showed up for HRC's hastily arranged "townhall meeting" in Atlanta. No wonder most gay people feel turned off by their "movement."

    1. Robbie on Oct 29, 2007 5:02:32 AM:

      Six? Ouch.

      At first I found all of this stuff vaguely amusing. Everyone knew the gay establishment didn't represent the majority of gay people. Everyone knew the interests of the average gay individual weren't being expressed as the organizations busied themselves with radical, unrelated ideology.

      Now that the gay establishment is imploding, I'm startled to find myself feeling despair. It has always been my fondest wish to see the power of the HRCs and Taskforces broken and replaced by genuine moderate, nonpartisan organizations who would push a sane agenda with common sense strategies.

      But all of this. This is ugly, and the gay community is not coming off particularly well. The people who annointed themselves our leaders have decided to burn this village in order to save it.

      How on earth did we get to this place? Can anyone stop them?

      The majority, Rebecca? You have no idea what the majority of gay people think. If you knew, you'd turn away in disgust. Gays never signed on to half of the nonsense the activists push. We just didn't say anything because it didn't seem very important at the time.

      If ENDA goes down, I think many gays will suddenly discover that who the activists are is very, very important. It won't be pretty. And Rebecca? You'll hate it. So best reserve some of that hyperbole for the fights to come.

    1. Kevin on Oct 29, 2007 9:54:53 AM:

      You're right, Chris. It is amazing what this movement has devolved into. When did this movement for political and social change, born decades ago in meaningful actions, become a low-budget queer remake of "Mean Girls"? I think Robbie is on to something. The "majority" has long ago sailed off into facing reality on its own, without any regard for self-appointed "leaders". And history will be very unkind to the idiotic notion of mobilizing political activists to defeat the first positive, pro-active, substantially pro-gay legislative act by the U.S. Congress. Much like it will show that "leaders" like John Aravosis and Mike Rogers were more circus than substance, and left only human wreckage in their wake, nothing constructive.

    1. Rebecca Juro on Oct 29, 2007 12:47:32 PM:

      First, when I say "the majority" I mean the majority of politically-conscious LGBT people and orgs, not the actual majority. The true majority, regardless of gender ID, sexuality, or anything else, doesn't know or care about any of this. The true majority couldn't tell you what the letters in ENDA stand for, or even who their Members of Congress are. The fact is that while we who pay attention to such issues can debate and disagree from now until doomsday, the true majority could really care less either way because politics, community-relevant or otherwise, just isn't on their radar.

      I'm not surprised at all that HRC's meeting got such small attendance, and I'd be willing to bet that out of those six at least three or four were reporters of some stripe or another, looking to report back to their communities what was said there. The fact is that there's at least one thing virtually the entire community does agree on wholeheartedly: HRC are self-involved liars and sellouts who simply can't be trusted to represent the interests of the community. Their community credibility is gone, and that's what I believe that lack of attendance shows, that now HRC is simply shouting in the dark and few are listening anymore.

      To my way of thinking, real leaders are those who do, in fact, lead. In other words, it's their job to stand up publicly and say "This is what the members of my organization believe and wish me to say on their behalf.". Joe Solmonese and HRC's Executive Board don't qualify here, of course. They aren't interested in what their membership thinks, and HRC only promotes the interests of those the tiny group of uber-wealthy gays on its Executive Board.

      You really think all these organizations would be signing on to the United ENDA effort if the majority of their memberships were actually opposed to it? Yes, some perhaps, but over 350, including non-LGBT orgs like the National Black Justice Coalition and the National Organization of Women? Sorry, I just don't buy it. This level of intense activism and public support on an issue like we're seeing here doesn't happen in a vacuum or come from people who don't care or are in opposition to the cause.

    1. Double T on Oct 29, 2007 1:05:08 PM:

      You better "thicken" your skin. If anything passes, without the "T"'s. You'll be blamed for it for at least 10 years.

      You're a regular lightning rod.

    1. Jack Jett on Oct 29, 2007 1:38:35 PM:

      The T's are not the blame.
      If we were going to kick them to the curb, we should have done so years ago. Who is the person who firt put the T in GLBT?
      Who is the person that has added Q to the mix of GLBTQ?

      The blame goes directly to the HRC and other groups that take money from the gays...the lesbians...the bisexuals...the transgenders and I assume the queers. Our leadership is nothing more than a group of money grubbing media whores who care far more about a pissy dinner party than they do of anyone's rights.

      They feel they are above responding to critique.
      This is why some transgenders attack Chris Crain for fear of some reprisal from HRC or Victory Fund.

      Chris Crain doesn't even live in the United States.
      He hasn't been part of an American publication in years. He is not in the streets, in fact, he is not even in the state. It is wrong to blame a non-existant entity when there is plenty of blame to go around.

      Jack Jett

    1. Double T on Oct 29, 2007 4:13:13 PM:

      Jack, Please!!!! Chris' "BODY" may be in South America, but he's still present in the good ole US of A.(even if it's just a virtual presence ).

      And stop blaming HRC for all of the communities ills.

      If you don't like what HRC is selling, then shop else. But to stand out front and whine that they don't have the right to be open for business.

      Really?! Who the hell are you to make that decision?

      And as for Mr. Crain, a great man once wrote..."Those who are familiar with the publications I edited know not to expect this to be a “rah-rah” blog with an ideologically-driven “Amen corner” of any stripe. I seek out those who make me question my own views, and I try to be similarly provocative to others. If you’re looking for validation and reassurance about any particular world view, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you believe we can all gain from an honest, direct, no-holds-barred dialogue, then welcome, and please contribute your thoughts."

      Mr. Crain will survive.

    1. Just Meeeee on Oct 29, 2007 4:26:08 PM:

      "The fact you would call the compromise ENDA "a toothless joke" is just further evidence that you have no respect for the rights of GLB Americans."

      Chris, why, why, why do you have to make anyone who disagrees with you out to be the enemy?????

    1. MonicaH on Oct 29, 2007 5:01:05 PM:

      How exciting. This is a first for me. For the first time, I have received comments on an article before it has ever been printed. And a picture, too. What next? Thought Police comments?

      Crain did published a couple of my articles, but never paid me for them. Since he left, I have had much more published and I actually get paid for my work. Also, the current editors actually publish my entire piece rather than cutting out words and sentences they don't like. "That's the job of an Editor." BS

      It's nice to see that Patient Zero still likes to rearrange words to suit his skewed view on life. Oh, wait. I can here the crying now. "Personal attack! Personal attack." Can't stand the heat, then get out of the country. I forgot . . .

      I was at the HRC meeting in Atlanta and there were 15 people there, and the word went out the day before. I see that Crain likes to emmulate his good old buddy, Barney when it comes to telling the truth.

      "Personal attack! Personal attack!" You know, I can recommend a fine aged cheese to go with that whine.

      Too bad Crain didn't comment on the heart of the article, the last 3/4 of it. I talked about the various people who have been affected by unemployment. I could only get a few stories in to keep it at a resonable length. It appears that Patient Zero love to hear trans people suffering. I would say that it warms the cockles of his heart, but we are talking about the pre-Wizard Tin Man here.

      "Personal Attack! Personal Attack!" How quickly you forget. A whole generation of trans people learned from the master of "personal attacks," Patient Zero. Seems that he really didn't catch the true meaning of the label "Patient Zero." The important part os the second word.

      "Personal attack! Personal attack!" Go ask Alice if she cares. (Read the whole story for that reference.) I already have a few people ready to publish this.

      "Personal attack! Personal attack." How ammusing.

    1. Double T on Oct 29, 2007 6:46:31 PM:

      So what is the cure for CCD?

      Any thoughts?

    1. Double T on Oct 29, 2007 6:54:53 PM:

      OH WAIT!!!

      Monica, you still there?
      Quick question and I SWEAR I'm not trying to be a smart ass.

      Tomorrow. Pres Bush stands up and agrees to give Transgender people everything they want. Hate Crime, Employment, Health Insurance, you name it.

      However, he says this will only be cover Transgender. The gays and lesbian can "take a hike", they get NOTHING.

      Would you stand up and reject his offer?

      Could you reject his offer?

      Would such a rejection betray the Transgender community?

    1. MonicaH on Oct 29, 2007 7:13:51 PM:

      Double T,
      Sadly, there is no cure for CCD. Like other forms of addictive diseases (alcoholism, drugs, gambling,) the person has to admit they have it before they can be helped. Unfortunately, there is no official 12-step program for this.

      On the other question. Yes, I would easily reject, in a heartbeat, any offer to leave behind my gay, lesbian and bisexual friends if anyone said they can't have protection before transgender people. Unlike certain people, I have a conscience and a heart. I am sure that a majority of the trans community and 100% of the activists would reject that offer. There are homophobic trans people, but none of them are activists. I would sleep well if those people called me all the names in the book.

      You have to realize, I served in the military. When we say we don't leave anyone behind, we mean it. I wish others could learn that philosophy.

    1. Jack Jett on Oct 29, 2007 7:33:52 PM:

      Double T

      You are a funny man.

      jack jett

    1. Wes on Oct 29, 2007 8:37:01 PM:

      In my relatively small southern city (about 200,000 people), I know of *one* transgender person. I have volunteered at the GLB and *T* and *Q* center. So you would think I would have met more. But in my time there that is the only person I have met. That person is a college professor. The couple of thousand of GLB people I know here in this redneck mecca could really use the ENDA protections. Is it not at least somewhat logical to think that most transgender persons live in larger cities where they are not as likely to experience as severe discrimination as they would in smaller cities and towns? I could make a fair argument that the discrimination experienced by those T's is not as great as the discrimination experienced by the GLB in cities like mine. And if you add all the discrimination up pound for pound my personal opinion is there is no question the GLB experience more.

      Second point: All these umpteen years I have grown older watching ENDA sit in congress. Now it stands a chance at passage and that version of ENDA gets changed and a more difficult version for passage is presented.
      Is there some kind of a death wish for this legislation? Is it what the national gay organizations use to pull the gift wagons and they are afraid of reaching the goal?

      Third point: "SNAP". Did you hear that snap? It is my purse snapping shut on presumably two of the 300 or 350 or whatever number of organizations pushing for the death of ENDA's passage (HRC and Lambda Legal). There are alternative organizations (my local gay community center, for example) that I believe needs money more than these national organizations that have no desire to represent my needs or interests. These clowns will understand only one thing: Money talks. But alas it can also walk.

    1. Robbie on Oct 29, 2007 8:39:26 PM:

      I think it's interesting that a transgender who thinks gay men should be in complete solidarity with her feels free to fling around AIDS terminology in an insulting manner.

      So let's see, we support her on an employment bill to our own detriment, and she'll stop mocking the deaths of millions of our friends and family?

      If this were a right-winger, people would be screaming for boycotts and writing fierce letters to the editor. But because it's a T, and an activist one at that, this kind of thing is ok. Just imagine a Republican running around calling a vocal gay pundit Patient Zero. My god, the rending and gnashing that would follow.

      Hate is not solely the province of the Right. In fact, I'd say this stuff is positively Coulteresque. I'm sure people like Aravosis and Joe.My.God will be on this any. second. now.

    1. MonicaH on Oct 29, 2007 9:10:35 PM:

      What alternative universe do you live in? You reasoning that make you come to the conclusion that transgender people are less discriminated than GLB people is as flawed as Robbie's belief that I was comparing CCD with HIV. He didn't read the whole article, so he's only going by Crain's mixing up the words on the article and leaving out important words.

      Did you ever think that transgender people are so afraid of being out in public in any Southern city or town that you are not going to meet many of them? Why do you think they are afraid to be seen volunteering at a gay-specific event? Those who are employed don't want to have anyone see them, to keep their jobs. The fear of losing a job is so strong that they will not ever expose their situation to anyone. Hate and discrimination is so pervasive in the South (I live in a city north of Atlanta) that many transgender people are looking out for their safety and security. Before you make statements like GLB people being more discriminated then transgender people, you need to check your facts. You don't want to look as big of a fool as others have.

    1. Angela Brightfeather on Oct 29, 2007 11:34:26 PM:

      Here is the deal Mr. Crain. If you close your eyes and sink into the past 50+ years of your life, you will come to a time when gay men were dying of AIDS by the thousands. You will remember the funerals that you attended of your friends and loved ones, life partners and lovers, or associates that you had gotten to know over the years and you think, what a waste. You feel the pain of your loss and that of your friends. You see the pain in the eyes of their families who may have once shut them out of their lives for their being gay and that pain they display now mixes with the shame in knowing that they were wrong and the love of aparent should be unconditional. Your desparate for a cure. Your overburdened with remorse and racked with depression over all this.

      Now come back to the present and try to understand that the Trangender community of today feels exactly the way you did back then. Not so much over ENDA and being cruely cut from it by the straight acting, survivors of the AIDS epidemic, or the young progressive white gay males who have forgotten what it is like to lose people close to them and lovers, but because they know that HRC and Barney Frank consider all of you their backers in the perpetration of excluding Trans people from ENDA and to Transgender people, ENDA is a matter of life and death, just as much as the AIDS epidemic of the 70"s proved to be for gay males.

      So why you can't understand why Trans people are so critical of your political pragmatism concerning ENDA? Maybe you will stop and think about the friends that you lost back then and understand that the same thing has been happening and continues to happen to this day in the Trans community to our friends who are so depressed that they take their lives, not having any place to work and with their self esteem ripped away from their very being.

      Of course all that means nothing to the polticial pragmatist like yourself. You have forgotten about those people in your past and moved on with your life. Now there are drugs to protect you from dying within a few years. Life is wonderful and you don't have time to reflect on the importance of having a job or not.

      The lesson that you gay, white, rich, males need to remember is one that was taught to you by the losses of the past. The lesson that you refuse to face today, is that Trans people without jobs creates a life and death situation for some of them and that those losses of the past are still here, haunting us because you will not allow them to be put to rest by supporting an inclusive ENDA. How appropriate for this time of year and three days before Haloween, that you are reminded that your ghosts of the past are kept fresh in our minds by the loss of Transgender lives in the present.

      Teh people mentioned by Moncia Helms that you did not allow your readers to know about were real people. They were veterans, fathers of children, people with careers that they no longer have and supporters of families that they no longer can see because they can't pay child support without a job. With over 65% of Trans people unemplyed or underemployed, is it any wonder why many just can't take the losses any longer and slip into deep depression that ends so often with the loss of their lives.

      Exactly what is it you don not understand about a life and death situation, and if you do understand, what is it you do not understand about our anger and frustration of having to witness more of it every time we attend a support group meeting, because it is not politically feasible to connect our needs with ENDA?

    1. Citizen Crain on Oct 30, 2007 1:04:08 AM:

      Monica: I didn't publish your entire column because I don't own the copyright to it and it hasn't been published anywhere so I can't link to it. With your approval, I'd be happy to include it here in full for all to judge for themselves. What say you?

      Angela: Your attempt to compare the death of hundreds of thousands of gay men and the loss experienced by their friends and lovers, on the one hand, to job discrimination suffered by transsexuals and cross-dressers on the other, is so off-the-charts ridiculous that it's impossible to be offended by it.

      It reflects far more on you and Monica than on me or Barney that you try so hard to "push the buttons" of anyone who dares to differ with you that you would trivialize AIDS. If this is how you lobby your friends; I can only imagine how you would lobby Congress for the rights you would have us wait until they're ready for.

      What the "trans-or-bust" crowd doesn't seem to get is that whatever arguments they make about leaving trans workers behind works in the other direction only with far more force. Let's weigh the two sides:

      Pass the compromise ENDA:
      1. Millions of GLB Americans get historic workplace protections.
      2. Trans workers, who are much smaller in number, will remain partially protected by the long-standing Price Waterhouse precedent.
      3. Full "gender identity" protection will wait until XX date, unknown, when Congress is ready to protect transgender workers.

      Or we follow the trans-or-bust route:
      1. Millions of GLB Americans are completely unprotected from workplace bias in 31 states.
      2. Trans workers, who are much smaller in number, will remain partially protected by the long-standing Price Waterhouse precedent.
      3. Full "gender identity" protection will wait until YY date, also unknown, when Congress is ready to protect transgender workers.

      No one even knows if there is much of a difference between XX date and YY date, thought trans activists are convinced that LGBT groups will show no interest in passing T protections if they already have LGB protections. That is, of course, completely illogical considering more than 300 of these groups are already willing to FOREGO GLB protections to win T protections.

      The trans-or-bust position isn't just horribly unfair to GLB workers; it makes absolutely no sense.

    1. MonicaH on Oct 30, 2007 7:13:17 AM:

      You do realize that publishing even part of it is a violation of copyrights laws in the US. The person who sent it to you violated that and you added to it.

      Apparently, you forgot these things since you left the business. I will follow up with the appropriate people once I find out who sent it to you. Editors should not be sending out official submissions to others for giggles. Your lack of integrity became evident by your comments on this unpublished piece. I know you don't want trans people in ENDA, but in all the time I have known you, I would have never expected you to pull a copyright violation, or support a copyright violation stunt like this.

      I expect you to convince the unscrupulous friend of yours to do the right thing and publish the entire article in his publication, and pay me for it. Or, because I'm suppose to be a "screaming trannie," that's a reason to not treat me fairly like other writers? I'm waiting for your Editor side to kick in. Is he still there?

    1. Jack Jett on Oct 30, 2007 12:39:29 PM:

      The comparison to the plight of the transgender community to wealthy white gay men taking care of friends with AIDS is offensive beyond belief.

      I was far from rich while I watched and cared for 23 friends and watched them die. Many did not have insurance (not rich) and I struggled to find a doctor to care for them.

      Transgender people should know better than to generalize.

      jack jett

    1. Double T on Oct 30, 2007 1:02:26 PM:

      "Opposing" and "Not supporting" are two different things, even though the net result may mirror each other.

      The whole “copy write-thing”, that was a low jab. You name Crain in your piece. You imply, not that he has a disease, but that he IS the DISEASE. Now come on Monica, he’s supposed to sit back and take that? I have a vision of you and 1,000 other T’s chasing Crain down the street in the middle of the night, screaming “kill the monster”.

      I think a response is only fair.

      Monica, I have a couple of questions.
      1) Can Inclusion/Exclusion be debated? Or is this subject simply OFF LIMITS.
      2) Earlier, I asked if you would reject a less than perfect solution, you said you’d reject it. Yet you talk of people suffering right now, often in hiding. How could you tell members of the Transgender community to continue suffering until perfection can be achieved?

      Perfection. How ironic? The ENDA battle is a reflection of your own life. You were born less than perfect. You believed your true self to be female not male. The change took time. It was not an overnight thing, it took place in increments. People failed to support your change. And each day it moved forward. Sound familiar?

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