Friday, October 12, 2007

JMO - Support all-inclusive ENDA

I wrote a blog on the ENDA and Representative Barney Frank and others' decision to remove gender identity from the Act, leaving only sexual orientation as protected under the Act. I was criticized in my view for not including transvestities, drag queens and cross-dressers because of the umbrella term of transgender to be all-inclusive under gender identity.

Well, while there are laws protecting gender presentation, there are few laws, meaning most states don't have them, protecting gender identity. Gender identity is an established medical condition in the DSM-IVTR and HBIGDA, and gender presentation is only a part of the whole process of gender identity. And while many with GID live for periods of times in the LGBT community as cross-dressers, it does not mean all cross-dressers have GID, and in fact, the vast majority are heterosexual married men usually with familes. Most of the rest are gay or lesbians.

Very few transgender people are transpeople under the medical definition of transsexual. Being a transvestite, draq queen or cross-dresser does not make you a transperson, but a transgender person who presents themselves in the gender different than their birth sex. That's all they do, and don't go through the medically defined process to physically and legally change their sex to match their conflicting gender identity.

And my point? If Congress wants to include all transgender people in the ENDA, fine, but don't exclude transpeople because you're confusing them with transgender people. Transpeople need inclusion because of the problems they face in their transistion to be protected from employment discrimination, violence and hate crimes, and other problems they face in their life during and after their transistion. Their problems are far different than mere gender presentation and worthy of their own protections.

While I applaud many LGB groups supporting an all-inclusive ENDA, I'm outraged some feel the transcommunity should stop riding their coattails. Since the early 1990's the transcommunity hasn't and has independently fought for inclusion in ENDA. And by the way, transpeople have helped you throughout your struggle, as well as the CD community, some of whom separated themselves from transgroups because they didn't want to be identiified as transpeople or separated themselves from the LGB community because they're straight.

As for the vote as Representative Franks says, who cares? We all know the President will veto it and Congress can't override his veto. So why not send the message to be all-inclusive and let him veto a real bill. Or are you afraid of being identified with transpeople to your voters? It's not just about the votes Mr. Franks, is it? Or else you wouldn't have dropped transpeople so fast to win the vote of the LBG voters. You jettisoned the transcommunity too fast to be just a votes issue.

Representative Baldwin is right, it's all or none. And while I make the distiinction with transpeople from tv's, dq's and cd's, I'll go along with an all-inclusive bill for gender presentation as part of gender identiy. It's not, in my view, right or true, but it's worthwhile. Clothes should not be grounds for discrimination. It's as simple as that. But in the end, it's just my view and opinion.

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