This is a continuation of my Dear Joe post on Friday, November 9, 2007 and then added to the next day. If you haven’t already read that, I suggest you read it first then return here.
Dave Parker from Greensboro, NC is on the PFLAG-all listserv run by PFLAG’s national office as am I. He sent this to us, and graciously gave me permission to post it on my blog. Be sure to read all the way so you don’t miss his second letter.
From: David N. Parker [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2007 4:42 PM
Please remove David N. and Joan Parker from your membership rolls.
Due to your support of an ENDA bill that fails to protect my family and friends, I will no longer be supporting HRC. I cannot support any organization that wants to separate some of my children and friends as worthy of protection from discrimination and some not.
I have actively opposed the current bill via lobbying my representatives, and will continue to do so. I will vigorously oppose ANY bill that is not transgender inclusive.
The “incremental gain” argument is specious – there is NO gain for any of the GLBT community in the current bill – GLB discrimination is largely based on gender presentation, whether or not the individual is gay. Without gender identity or presentation, no one in the community is protected.
HRC claims to want to serve the transgender population.
Your current action fails to support such claims.
David N. Parker
Dave was sent this reply which was essentially the same as the one I recieved when I wrote to HRC.
From: Lisette Fee [Lisette.Fee@hrc.org] On Behalf Of ENDA
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2007 2:47 PM
To: David N. Parker
Subject: RE: Resignation Member number …
We understand your concern and anger at the situation; HRC acknowledges that the ENDA bill that passed in the House is an important first step to fight workplace discrimination and we are not in anyway celebratory of the fact that our transgender brothers and sisters were not included in this bill. We want you to know that we will not stop fighting for the inclusion of gender identity in ENDA.
Although we decided to support this version of ENDA in the final hour, throughout the entire process our goal was to have a fully inclusive bill go to the floor. The disagreement on strategies by advocates for equality should not make us question each other’s commitment to the common goal of getting protection for all members of our community. The truth is our real enemies will stop at nothing to prevent equality from moving forward for GLBT people. That the extreme right wing is doing all they can to lobby for the defeat of ENDA, but it has nothing to do with whether or not it includes gender identity. Their goal is to simply have our movement fail and for ENDA to die in Congress, which would severely hinder any chance of protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.
While the bill Congress passed this week was not the bill we wanted, the Human Rights Campaign decided to stay at the table with Congress to ensure that millions of Americans receive the protections they deserve, and because passage of this bill is a first and absolutely necessary step toward preventing discrimination based on gender identity. Very soon, HRC will launch a new initiative to ramp up efforts on educating Congress on the importance of including gender identity in ENDA and protecting the entire gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. HRC continues to break down barriers in the corporate world through our Workplace Project. This year a record 195 major U.S. businesses earned the top rating of 100 percent on our Corporate Equality Index, and for the first time, a majority of rated firms – 58 percent – provide employment protections on the basis of gender identity.
The bottom line: The commitment of HRC’s Board of Directors for a fully inclusive bill has not changed. Because HRC stayed at the table, something we will continue to do, we were able to secure an unprecedented commitment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Without a doubt, the only path to achieving a bill protecting our whole community was by securing passage on this historic vote.
After twelve years of hostile leadership, we have come so far and changed so many hearts and minds. Only a year ago, it never seemed possible that we could pass any GLBT legislation. For the first time in history, both houses of Congress passed a hate crimes bill, and for the first time ever a workplace antidiscrimination law passed in the House. Even a year ago, we could not imagine this coming to fruition. Our fight will not be won overnight; it will be won one step at a time.
Whether or not you stand with HRC, we hope that you will continue to take action in the fight for equality for the entire GLBT community.
Member Services Manager
Human Rights Campaign
1640 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036-3278
To which Dave responded:
Thank you for your letter. To respond to your last statement first, as President of PFLAG Transgender Network and member of PFLAG Board of Directors, you may be sure that my efforts to fight for full equality for ALL Americans will not change.
However, an ENDA bill without protections for gender expression will not help GLB individuals either. Most discrimination is based on perception of variance from societal norms for male and female, not on knowledge of their personal lives. The excitement or satisfaction of passing such a weak bill is unwarranted.
For the first time in my memory, an anti-discrimination law has been passed that splits the interested group – almost as though racial discrimination laws only applied to those blacks whose color met a specific standard. With 360 major and minor GLBT groups joining to oppose any ENDA that did not cover ALL our families, it is very distressing that HRC opted to press for passage of a weak, non-inclusive bill.
HRC sought the financial support of the T community by promising NOT to leave them out, in the person of Joe Solomonese speaking both at Southern Comfort and in Philadelphia. Why is anyone surprised that the T community is upset?
Thank you, Dave.