Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oh I Love ENDA More and More

So you know how excited I was to hear that Congressional Democrats were cleaving transgendered protections from the Employment Non Discrimination Act? It gets better. Well apparently that's not all this fine piece of "progressive" legislation will do. According to a Lambda Legal analysis of the bill:

  • In addition to the missing vital protections for transgender people on the job, this new bill also leaves out a key element to protect any employee, including lesbians and gay men who may not conform to their employer's idea of how a man or woman should look and act. This is a huge loophole through which employers sued for sexual orientation discrimination can claim that their conduct was actually based on gender expression, a type of discrimination that the new bill does not prohibit.
  • This version of ENDA states without qualification that refusal by employers to extend health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of their employees that are provided only to married couples cannot be considered sexual orientation discrimination. The old version at least provided that states and local governments could require that employees be provided domestic partner health insurance when such benefits are provided to spouses.
  • In the previous version of ENDA the religious exemptions had some limitations. The new version has a blanket exemption under which, for example, hospitals or universities run by faith-based groups can fire or refuse to hire people they think might be gay or lesbian.

So people can be fired or refused to be hired because someone might think they're gay. Where exactly is the non discrimination part of this bill? Theoretically I could suppress everything I love about myself to find a job as a boy, but still be denied on no other basis then that I'm not a real man. It's disgusting. Here's a map of states and their current LGBT employment discrimination policies. So I guess while I'll go back to Carolina in my mind and memories,

I won't be going there for a job anytime soon.

I know I've gone over this ad nauseam but what the fuck, who decides what a "man or woman should look or act" like? And the fact that such a criteria of looking like a "real" man or "woman" is constantly evolving just makes this bill so damn irritating and dumb and infuriating. 45 years ago men who wore their hair long or had an earring were automatically and immediately tarred. 40 years ago women who played sports were ostracized or presumed to be lesbians. Decades a go a grown man who held hands with another man would not be thought to be acting like a "real man"


So basically the only Employees that are to be "non discriminated", are those employees who would least need the protection, those that fit societal gender norms. Who live lies and "butch it up" or "femme it down". The acceptable gays and lesbians who "don't put it in everyone's faces" who you would try to set up with your daughter or son because they just haven't found the right girl and are in danger of becoming an old maid. Those gay or lesbians employees who couldn't go out and date in public for fear of an employer seeing them and maybe deciding that is not how a "real man or woman" would act. This may be an extreme interpretation but it seems like it could force people back in that over sized closet.

(this is why there should be more cultural anthropologists in the halls of power there would be no issues of "real" men or "real" women.)

I would never do it but my disappointment in this Congress almost made me begin to perhaps theoretically think of maybe voting Republican just to show my displeasure.

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