Tag: ENDA

Nov 09

“God didn’t make garbage.”

Leahnora Isaak identifies as a transsexual woman.  She is also a Mormon.  She is attempting to gain recognition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so that she can live her life…inlcuding worship…as a woman.  She says she will be filing a formal request in the next couple of weeks.

Leahnora says she was born without external genitals, but she was given testosterone treatments as a child and was raised as a boy.  She later married and raised a family in Ohio.

Her local stake (an assembly of local churches) has been supportive.  Church leaders have met with fellow members to help them cope with Leahnora’s transition.

I want happiness.  I want companionship.  And I want to live the gospel.  That’s what I want.  And I want this equal for everybody.  I want people to celebrate who I am.  Because I’m not ashamed of who I am.

–Leahnora Isaak

Oct 29

Reid: Senate to Consider ENDA



Yesterday Harry Reid announced that the Senate will vote on the Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA), described as a bill to expand the workplace rights, before Congress breaks for Thanksgiving.

Reid said the Senate will consider a version of the bill which would “work against discrimination on gender identity.”  That is, the version will be trans-inclusive.  Currently 29 states have no laws protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, while 33 states have no employment protections based on gender identity.

Sep 13

AFL-CIO gives transgender equality a big push



The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, amended its constitution on Monday by adding a provision banning discrimination based on gender identity or expression.  The AFL-CIO delegates have been at their annual convention in Los Angeles.

Several constituent unions had already added similar wording to their policies.  

Very exciting.  Labor has really been stepping up, and the AFL-CIO has been stepping up.

–Mara Keisling,  executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality

The labor movement has long been a leader on full inclusion in the workplace.  This important addition to the governing document of the largest federation of labor unions is a historic and important step forward to ensuring that every American has an equal shot at employment and equal benefits.

–Fred Saenz, vice-president of the Human Rights Campaign

HRC and NCTE are part of Americans for Workplace Opportunity, which is a national coalition pressing Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect LGBT workers from bias in employment.

Jun 16

Historic first testimony of out transperson before Senate…Traditional Values Coalition responds

On Monday, I published a preview of Tuesday’s Senate HELP Committee hearing on ENDA.

People lose their careers. It’s over when people find out you’re transgender.

Kylar Broadus

Speaking from personal experience, I’ll declare that one’s career is not necessarily over, like Professor Broadus said, but a person is damn well going to have to fight to maintain that career and contain the damage done.

Mar 16

New Push for ENDA

In an effort that has been ongoing for about two-decades, there is a new push for a Senate hearing and a committee vote on the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA).  I know I’ve personally been pushing an inclusive ENDA since 1995.

Yes, we know that it is unlikely to get any consideration at all in the House…unless it is negative consideration.  But Tom Harkin is chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and he is a longtime supporter of ENDA.

I hope he will use his chairmanship to organize an ENDA hearing this spring or summer.

–Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work

When there’s nothing else going on, it’s always good to try to get a hearing.  It keeps the ball moving. It keeps reminding everybody that there are some issues that we all know we have to cover eventually.

–Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality

Oct 15

Occupy Equality

Subtitle:  The majority of Americans (including small business owners) support ENDA

How high does the percentage of Americans who believe that GLBT people should have legal protection from discrimination in the workplace have to be before this country will act on the will of the people?

Last June a Center for American Progress poll revealed that 73% of likely 2012 voters supported workplace discrimination protections for GLBT people.  That was 81% of democrats, 74% of independents and even 66% of republicans.  Catholics favored the concept with 74% support and senior citizens with 61% support.  Voters who self-identified as having an unfavorable opinion of GLBT people even supported the idea at a 50% rate.

Since at least the early 1980s, a majority of Americans have supported equal rights and opportunities for gay people in the workplace. Polling questions about transgender workers have only been asked recently. But the CAP poll shows that voters support transgender protections at almost the same rate they support gay protections. Seventy-five percent of likely voters say they favor “protecting gay and lesbian people from discrimination in employment,” while 73 percent say they favor these protections for “gay, lesbian, and transgender people.” The responses are essentially identical.

Even among voters who identify themselves as feeling generally unfavorable toward gay people, a full 50 percent support workplace nondiscrimination protections for the gay and transgender population.

So what’s the problem?

Jul 11

Our Day Will Come

While the New York State Senate was approving same-sex marriage, the most recent version of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) was lying fallow.  Passed by the Assembly 78-53 for the fourth time (it was originally passed by the Assembly in 2007, then again in 2009, 2010, and this year), and having a reported 32 senators committed to voting for the bill, which would be enough for passage, it was never brought to the floor for debate or a vote.  And unlike marriage equality, there was no visible public campaign demanding a vote.

The majority leader, Long Island Republican Dean Skelos, controlled the agenda in the Senate, so GENDA was parked in the Rules Committee, which he controlled, where it sat until time ran out on 2011’s regular session.

Jun 29

The Next Civil-Rights Movement [sic]

The Cheat Sheet at The Daily Beast  provides us the following:

The Next Civil-Rights Movement

The 700,000 or so transgender people in the United States are, Eliza Gray writes in The New Republic, “some of the least protected, most persecuted people in the United States.”  One transgender person is murdered each month; more than one-third have attempted suicide; more than one-quarter say they’ve lost a job due to discrimination.  Gray tracks the story of one particular transgender woman, Caroline Temmermand.  In 2009, at the age of 55, she came out as transgender and soon thereafter began telling her family and children.  Last spring, she organized a vigil for Chrissy Lee Polis, the transgender woman whose attack was caught on video camera after she attempted to use a woman’s bathroom in a McDonald’s. “Transgender people clearly need more protection from our laws and society,” Gray writes. “But they can’t win these victories on their own.”

Apr 16

Job Requirement: Have you always had a penis?

El’Jai Devoureau was hired for a part time job by Urban Treatment Associates in Camden, New Jersey.  The treatment referred to in their name is substance abuse and addiction treatment.  El’Jai’s job was to observe clients as they created their samples.  That’s right, his job was to watch men pee in a cup.

Sometime between the day of his training and the next day, someone outed him to his supervisor as having been born female.  Now, El’Jai began hormone treatment suitable for transitioning to a male in 2005 and had sex reassignment surgery in 2009, but that, apparently, was beside the point.

His supervisor asked him if he was a man.  When he said he was, the supervisor asked him if he had ever had any surgeries.  El’Jai responded that it was none of her business…and was promptly fired.  El’Jai wasn’t, in her mind, man enough for the job.

Nov 16

Monday: Welcome Back From Your Trip, Mr. President of the Republican Party

President Obama is back from his Pan Pacific – Asian debt sales trip, and the Lame Duck session of Congress is now officially underway.

Dan Choi,Lt Dan Choi,Get Equal,White House Protest,DADT

Lt. Dan Choi and 12 other Get Equal civil rights activists handcuff themselves to the White House fence on Monday, Nov 15, 2010, to protest the military’s discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (photo of murky screenshot from video was highlighted. )

Oct 22

On Asking Experts, Part One, Or, Do Democrats Really Understand Their LBGT Problem?

Stories begat other stories, or at least they do for me; this two-part conversation came from a comment that was made after I posted a story suggesting that voting matters this time, especially if you don’t want environmental disasters like the recent Hungarian “toxic lake” that burst from its containment and polluted the Danube River happening in your neighborhood.  

Long story short, we are going to be moving on to ask what, for some, is a more fundamental question: if you’re an LBGT voter, and the Democratic Party hasn’t, to put it charitably, “been all they could be” when it comes to issues like repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” or the Federal Defense of Marriage Act…what should you do?

Now normally I would be the one trying to develop an answer to the question, but instead, we’re going to be posing the question to a group of experts, and we’ll be letting them give the answers.

And just because you, The Valued Reader, deserve the extra effort, for Part Two we’ve trying to get you a “Special Bonus Expert” to add some input to the conversation: a Democratic Member of Congress who represents a large LBGT community.    

Sep 11

Friday Philosophy: the Politics of Disappointment

Last week, you all recall there was a “moneybomb” for Jack Conway.  Hey, I get calls for money from democrats three or four times a day.  I usually write them back asking some questions.  They are generally not answered.

I asked, in the moneybomb diary, why there was nothing at the Conway website describing the candidate’s stance on GLBT issues.  I was told by someone who was apparently a supporter…and someone who thought he was much smarter than I…that it was Kentucky, as if that meant those issues didn’t matter there.

Excuse me?  I thought Kentucky was one of the United States of America…and that as Americans, and especially as Democrats, we were generally opposed to second-class…even third- or fourth-class citizenship.

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