Friday, June 27, 2008
“Maybe I can fool everybody tonight.
Maybe I can make everybody believe in me.
Maybe I can fool everybody –
And fool myself if I’m really lucky!” — Maybe I Can Fool Everybody, Crack The Sky
As everyone in the transgender community is aware by now, the Congressional Subcommittee meetings on transgender workplace issues in the U.S. House of Representatives took place Thursday. They were (as all advertised media noted) historic. All of the transgender members of the panel acquitted themselves well. To a person, there was nary a clinker in the bunch (save for one small part, which I won’t delve into).
The congressmembers on the panel were commendable, and in particular, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) was outstanding in his questioning and counter-responses, with specific kudos for the way he dismantled the religiopolitical arguments proffered by Glenn Lavy, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund. In fact, all of the congressional comments that were heard were very positive, with the only exception being Rep. Barney Frank’s insistence on using “people with transgender” comments. It was his party, he was going to do what he wanted to … even if it meant dissing the guests of honor.
That said, the rather seamy positioning and jockeying by those organizations who’ve recently lost face to now claim responsibility or ownership of this affair was a pretty sad display. It’s almost as if they expected everyone to have ephemeral memories of what just finished transpiring mere weeks and months ago! What a nice message that sends: we’re all brain-dead LCD dupes and we’ll buy this like nothing ever happened!
And certainly they have no memory, grind no axes, hold no grudges … right? Yeah, right!
The most obscene of these opportunists was HRC in the voice of Joe Solmonese, practically braying over the “historic” occurrence and their attempt to not-so-sublimely paint themselves as crucial part in all of this. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-solmonese/gender-identity-discrimin_b_109352.html] Seriously, this is the same guy who after his claims of not supporting non-inclusion in ENDA at Southern Comfort Conference, then went back to the same city to report that he “misspoke” or was misunderstood (they clearly didn’t support us in ENDA). So now, Joe wants to stake his claim and bask in his part of the sunshine of this historical moment in transgender history.
How shamelessly arrogant can one be?
“That's really not much to ask. Fair and equitable treatment. But, it doesn't exist.” — Joe Solmonese, HRC Exec. Dir. in response to Diego Sanchez’s testimony on June 26, 2008.
The above quote absolutely slays me. JoeSo feigns indignation over transgender disparity. Yet when it comes down to it, he’ll ditch us in a heartbeat and explain away his inability to deign us with such “fair and equitable treatment.” Truly it’s not much to ask … unless you’re transgendered and asking for such from most of America including the gay and lesbian elite! Then, obviously, it is too much to ask and won’t be granted! The only part JoeSo got right was “it doesn’t exist.”
“The time when we as a nation can tolerate arbitrary discrimination against any group of people has long since passed. That any hardworking transgender American should be denied the ability to contribute to the national economy and support his or her family is simply unacceptable.” — Joe Solmonese, HRC Exec. Dir.
Nice words. Also hollow words. If he or Barney Frank cannot even remember as far back as last September, what are these airheads doing in Washington? And if they do remember (which they do), why be so ridiculous as to make such an obviously hypocritical statement?
More to the point, if they can’t tolerate such discrimination, then why is it that the FEPA (Federal Employment Protection Act) which would’ve directly helped one of the trans panelists, Col. Donna Schroer, is still non-inclusive of gender identity? They worked with Mara Keisling to put on a similar hearing over that in the previous congressional session. Clearly it was to no avail.
Although Schroer’s high profile discrimination greased the skids for the gay and lesbian only submission of FEPA, no one says a word about that. There’s not even Mara Keisling having to call the trans leaders around the country to “give our friends [gay & lesbian organizations] a pass. Apparently when it comes down to it JoeSo, even you can “tolerate arbitrary discrimination.” And have no problems doing so, especially when it’s out of the harsh spotlight. HRC is certainly no hero – never will be.
In fact, the only heroes in this entire exercise were the transgender panelists in testimony and Congressman Rob Andrews and other congress critters on the panel.
Beyond that, this whole affair was a self-aggrandizement festival especially made for the Johnny-come-lately opportunists looking for cheap, easy fixes to facelift their horribly sagging public images. In a response to a member on the TS Menace International group, one response cut to the heart of the matter:
“The fact that organizations had to make it about themselves instead of the community they were suppose to be advocating for is appalling. There's a lot of politics involved over who was working with whom and what their motives were but the squabbling and passive aggressive, childish behavior which was displayed so publicly made me question whose intentions were actually for the best. If they want to play tug of war over such an extraordinary event, so be it but it should never be done at the expense of our community and I'm sick of this shit. Who ever makes the most money wins, good luck to all of them.” — Ethan St. Pierre, Chair of NTAC