The History of ENDA Prior to the 113th Session of Congress Re-Introduction (Part Two)

Stephanie Donald—LGBT-Today Special Report


TransgenderSymbolThe resulting anger from not only the transgender community but from other homosexual leaders and activists still resonates in the nation today.

Recently, a member of HRC’s staff tried to chase a transgender activist off the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on the day it heard the arguments for the Defense of Marriage Act, just before Chad Griffin spoke. The first report of this situation the HRC denied the incident and then later apologized for doing it.

This single incident illustrates that the framework of the ENDA bill is still quite fragile and despite promises from leadership organizations such as HRC and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as to their resolve to fight for transgender inclusiveness, if the fight came down to “us or them”, homosexuals would once again choose to delay fighting for transgender inclusiveness.

When interviewed in 2010, Congressman Barney Frank, on the verge of attempting to introduce ENDA once again (which he never did), was asked;Barney_Frank

“Would you, if faced with the same set of circumstances where Congress gave you a fait accompli of choosing between the homosexual community and the transgender community and you simply had no choice to move ENDA forward, would you make the same choice again?”

(There was an unusually long silence before he answered)

“You have to remember that (in 2007) we had very little time to make up our minds before ENDA was coming up for a vote on the floor. It was either sink or swim and Joe (Solmonese) did send out emails asking everyone to call their Congressmen and tell them to accept ENDA with transgender inclusivity.” He sighed. “It’s the LGBT and trans community’s fault that we had to take transgender rights out of ENDA in 2007!”

“You didn’t answer my question, though.” I remarked. “Would you do the same thing if you received an equal or greater amount of resistance in Congress?”

“Yes, I would if I couldn’t get the transgender community to call in and change their minds!” He concluded.

I called Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) immediately after speaking to Congressman Frank and played the recording for her.

“This must be completely out of context,” she commented. “I’ve been working with Congressman Frank for the past six months and I believe he’s thoroughly committed to transgender inclusion.”

DiegoSanchez_BarneyFrankA few minutes after I hung up the phone with Mara Keisling, Diego Sanchez, Barney Frank’s female-to-male transgender personal assistant called me.

“If you publish those comments by Congressman Frank, you will never work in the field of journalism again!”

One must conclude that even though Barney Frank has little to do with the introduction of ENDA to 113th Congress, House Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the Tea-Party majority will not exactly welcome this bill.

Informed eyes in the Beltway journalists are actually focused on the Senate version of the bill which has the full backing of President Obama.

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