Friday, October 12, 2007

Barney Frank is Dead to Me

here is his press conference from yesterday where he tries to defend the Democratic Leadership's decision to strip transgender protections from ENDA

I hate the fact that I can see his point and how in some ways he's right that there may be a few vulnerable districts and candidates, but it is a personal issue for me, though I am far from a one issue activists and I still think it's bullshit (as I've mentioned a time or two.) I just expected more from the democrats, I expected them to fight for equality, or at least throw a punch, not just wave a white flag before war is declared. When I was listening to Barney huff and croak out words (while looking sloppy and nervous) I was thinking of something that I couldn't place before I remembered it was a section of Martin Luther King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail"
One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor. will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant 'Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited .for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God- given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six- year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you no forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience."

I understood some of the political reasons for Democrats to separate the bills and I could respect them because politics is a fucked up zero sum game. I just didn't realize trans bias was so ingrained in the "equality" movement until I read Monica from TransGriot who wrote an amazing article about the division between transgendered people and LGB advocacy groups; some highlights (or lowlights if you had faith in the equality of groups fighting for "equality")

Why does the transgender community hate HRC? It’s a question I get frequently asked in GLBT settings. Considering the recent GLBT family feud erupting over ENDA, it's an appropriate one to ask as well.
The roots of the animosity start after Stonewall. In an effort to appear more 'mainstream' to the straight community, Jim Fouratt and friends bounced Sylvia Rivera and other transpeople out of New York’s GLF (Gay Liberation Front). Jim Fouratt’s anti-transgender comments culminating in a 2000 one at a Stonewall observance in which he called transpeople 'misguided gay men who'd undergone surgical mutilations' also added insult to the injury.

In a pattern that persists to the present day, The GLF had protections for transpeople removed from a proposed 1971 New York GLBT rights anti-discrimination bill under the pretext that it wouldn’t pass with such 'extreme' language....
In 1979 Janice Raymond poured more gasoline on the fire with her virulently anti-transgender book The Transsexual Empire. Raymond also took it a step further in 1981 and penned a quasi-scientific looking report that was responsible for not only ending federal and state aid for indigent transpeople, but led to the insurance company prohibitions on gender reassignment related claims. Germaine Greer’s anti-transgender writing combined with Raymond’s led to involuntary outing and harassment of transwomen in lesbian community settings. It also sowed the seeds for the anti-transgender attitudes in the lesbian community that persisted through the late 90’s.

The problem is that the senior gay leadership is still influenced by the Fouratt-Raymond-Greer negative attitudes towards transpeople. That sentiment is concentrated disproportionately in California and the Northeast Corridor. The early gay and lesbian leadership also sprang up from those areas as well.
One thing they didn’t take into account was how deeply entrenched the anti-transgender attitudes and doctrines were amongst gay and lesbian leaders. Barney Frank (D-MA) is a prominent example of it. They still persisted in holding the view that transgender people were ‘crazy queens’ who would cost them their rights. Gay leaders were still trying to use the 70’s assimilationist strategy to counter the Religious Right campaign against gay civil rights...
The predominately white and bicoastal-based gay and lesbian leadership were cavalierly dismissing their concerns about GLBT unity and the Religious Right threat, they arrogantly demanded that transpeople work to pass gay-only rights bills.

According to legal scholar Kat Rose, such laws have the effect of creating a regime in which the same gays and lesbians who fought to prevent trans-inclusion have the de facto right under the resultant non-inclusive law to discriminate against trans people. It also allowed them to keep their leadership ranks and employee populations in these organizations transgender-free without fear of facing discrimination lawsuits.

When transgender leaders would balk at those demands or point out the hypocrisy of leaving us behind, they would state they would ‘come back for us’.
So far the only states in which the gay and lesbian community has ‘come back’ for transgender people are Rhode Island (2001), California (2003), New Jersey (2006) and Vermont (2007). In New York they are still having a difficult time passing GENDA after transgender people were cut out of SONDA by gay rights advocating the same 'we'll come back for you' incremental rights spin.
The first gay only rights bill, passed in Wisconsin in 1982 has been that way for 25 years now. There's no indication by the GLB leadership in that state if they'll move to rectify the omission of their transgender brothers and sisters or if they'll assign it a priority as high as the one they place on marriage equality.
We also heard the excuses during the 90’s to justify the gay and lesbian strategy that ranged from ‘the country needs more education on transgender issues’, we need 'incremental progress'...

We're also pissed that the same people who demanded (and still demand) that we accept 'incremental progress' when it comes to trans rights hypocritically have no intention of accepting 'incremental progress' when it comes to legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

In conclusion, the drama between the transgender community and HRC (which sadly flared up last week after Rep. Frank introduced a non-inclusive ENDA) is a forty-year-old stew flavored with historical hatred, arrogance, political miscalculations, communication failures, misunderstandings, mistrust, and Machiavellian duplicity.

Well fuck them too. I guess all of us trannies in order to support ourself and protect against employment discrimination, should maybe just hope to find our own congressman who'd let us run a prostitution service out of their apartment. Oh wait...

I fucking hate politics. I'm moving to Europe.

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