Friday, June 27, 2008

Historical Shamelessness

“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. [] 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

Well stated!


Polar said...

I was impressed with the testimony of the witnesses (for the T community), and in the way the Congressmen conducted themselves. However, we have too many people trying to take credit for it.

A greater concern, from my point of view, is that I have the feeling of a setup. In particular, I assume everyone noticed that the transgender witnesses who were there because of high-visibility discrimination, Ms. Schroer and Ms. Tarabolletti, were there because of discrimination at the hands of Federal agencies, or Federal contractors? While I would very much like to see a Federal ban on discrimination against T people by the Federal government and Federal contractors, that will not be sufficient or adequate, if GLB people are included in ENDA and T is not. I fear this is the sop that is being prepared for the T community for 2009, and platitudes and kind words from Blarney Frank and Joe Solmonese can't be believed given their track records.

Kelli Busey said...

I beleave your skepticism is the bulldozer of change. I fall more into the Blondie twit category. But I am going to hold onto hope that real change is now inevitable and even the jockeying of politicians can't stand in the way.
Rock on girl friend!
ps stop by. I had to delete some personal attack comments but I know you have good taste!!

Bailey Woo said...

Oh yea? Happy the Congress is being politically correct. But you should see what Huffington Post is allowing as I write. The "pregnant man" had his baby today and the censors are letting people insult Transsexual people up and down the thread. It is a mockery.

This guy had some criticism of Barack Obama and couldn't make it through the censors to get it posted. So he came "to this silly thread" about "this ridiculous story" [about a transexual man] and his comment on Obama got posted right away, there being no cause in their minds for such a need.

Here is the second message I sent them because my first comment about the censors was the only one censored *(you can watch the number of posts at the top as they come into the queue).

This one is for the censors. I don't care if you post it or not. Looks like I'm the only one so far that got censored for addressing you youngsters and your censor-bot. You're probably struggling to make up your mind if its okay to allow a post to go through that criticizes your very job or the need for it on a so-called progressive blog. I just want to say this again. Directly to you this time.

You let a guy come here and post a crack about Obama -- hey fine with me -- except he couldn't get through the censors on the Obama threads. He said it himself. So he came to this "silly thread" and he got posted right away along with all the folks who are expressing overt hatred and bigotry but you censors think all that is just okay because its about GLBT people.

Here is just one brief example:

booksnmore4you See Profile I'm a Fan of booksnmore4you
"What a fu ckin' freak. I pity the child."

www DOT (the email attached by this comment-bot is not the one I use anymore.)

Kelli Busey said...

Thank you Nesse for you conscious gathering article. I was in the dark but Courtney made me make a sudden move and a loud POPing noise startled woke me up. It sure was dark in here. Please keep doing what you do my friend.
Hugs ~k

Bailey Woo said...

Facebook's gender trouble