Thursday, September 27, 2007

Déjà Vu All Over Again!?! Do We Hafta???

"So I get on my knees and pray ... we won’t get fooled again!" — We Won't Get Fooled Again, the Who

Fresh on the heels of Southern Comfort Conference (SCC), many of the transgender community reveled in what seemed a penultimate victory: HRC – yes, the Human Rights Campaign – was actually appearing to take the transgender community as equals. (Obviously the ultimate victory would be equal rights for us all, jobs and all.) All of the years of HRC’s historic missteps seemed to magically disappear. We’re now a welcome, if amnesiac community for the Equal Sign people.

During the speeches there was much congratulation and self-congratulation, and plenty of high spirits about the impending bills in Congress awaiting votes: Hate Crimes (already passed inclusively in the House) currently awaiting Senate approval, and the all-important Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) approaching the House vote. All seemed right with the world in Trans America’s focus point that weekend at SCC in Atlanta. All seemed eerily right to some of us long-timers with memories intact as well. Eerily too right.

After the speech, everyone clapped, ate, enjoyed the rest of SCC and went home. Most of us waited with baited anticipation. Myself, I couldn’t get over how this reminded me of 2002.

At the SCC in 2002, HRC came down and made the big presentation again, and ushered in the coming out of a brand new national activist on the scene, Mara Keisling formerly of then-disbanded WGTE – the group name under which a study in concert with HRC was conducted. She was planning to open shop with an org of her own. No more WGTE, now NATE or NOTE was the names she was hashing over at the time (later settling on NCTE).

HRC was not going to work with the existing trans orgs -- NTAC nor IFGE, while GenderPAC left the trans fold to focus on "gender." So Mara's sudden emergence fit them to a T, literally. So Mara’s sudden emergence fit them to a T, literally, and was welcomed in the HRC fold.

However, it wasn’t just HRC’s king or queen-making within the trans community that was the draw of this presentation. This was more about the study findings, ballyhooed as changing the minds of HRC about trans inclusion in legislation. Word went out, there at that conference, that HRC was behind transgender inclusion and would begin such a push immediately.

The question from the skeptical among us was posed as to what would happen if this ran up the HRC flagpole, and they instead decided “Nah!” and let Mara twist in the wind. Mara responded that they wouldn’t dare try, “and if they did, [she’d] rip them a new asshole for publicly trashing her political credibility.” I’ll never forget the look on David Smith’s face at her answer — curious.

The question was posed to Mara personally about how solidly on board HRC was, to which she replied to this writer that the Hate Crimes Bill “was a slam dunk, and even ENDA’s got a chance” at passing with inclusion in the upcoming 2003 session. Heady stuff.

Then we all went home then and waited with curiosity and anticipation. We waited until about the start of the Iraq War, when Mara herself dropped the bombshell that Hate Crimes would not be inclusive, and HRC was supporting its passage nevertheless. She began trying the line HRC used on her that “gender” was inclusive of us, which was virtually no different than Riki Wilchins and GenderPac in 1999 – which precipitated the creation of NTAC and many trans members redoubling efforts for explicit language.

Later that same year, the second shoe dropped – ENDA would not be inclusive either. So quickly that optimism went from hope to empty promise. Trooper that she was, Mara continued pushing HRC and giving us great stories of HRC’s heroism and – shock! – Rep. Barney Frank’s heroism on our behalves.

Needless to say, considering the earlier promise and the historical examples, it seemed a bit too improbable to get comfortable with. Fast forward to NTAC’s 2004 Lobby Day: Mara Keisling stopped by with a couple folks she’d rustled up and lobbied along with a number of the NTAC horde hitting the Halls of Congress.

At the invitation of Dr. Dana Beyer, I tagged along with she, Mara, Rachel Goldberg (board chair of GenderPac) and a trans man and NCTE member who’s name I never got. This visit was with who Mara described as a critical holdout to our inclusion in House legislation, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT). We were meeting with their new legislative aide on policy, Danielle Rosengarten. We arrived with some concern, but it was quickly alleviated by Danielle’s disarming openness and enthusiastic support of us! She even noted that Rep. Shays was on board and was ready to move forward with inclusive language in both our desired bills. We were momentarily overjoyed ....

Then, the bracing cold water in the face.

Danielle then commented that both she and Rep. Shays just didn’t understand why Barney Frank and HRC were unmovable about not wanting inclusion, about restating that “more education needs to be done” and that Congress and the public “just wasn’t ready [for gender identity inclusion] yet.”

[For a moment, contrast that sentiment in 2004 with the push for same-sex marriage and their thoughts on it at that early time and more so later.]

I can’t say that I was at all surprised, sadly enough. What did surprise me was the reaction by Mara upon learning (in front of leaders from both trans or gender organizations and others) that she was indeed left twisting in the wind. The official reaction was that “we (transgenders or NCTE, not explained which) should be tempered and measured.” Political credibility and all ....

Well, I got the same feeling this year at SCC as I had in 2002. Lots of buzz, lots of really enthused trans hopefuls, and an HRC leader reportedly saying that ‘he knew how we feel.’ Needless to say, that last comment raised a few eyebrows even among the hopefuls. But hope seemed to spring forth defiantly.

So we went home, and waited again. This wait was pretty short – less than a week. Jeffrey Hancuff, Labor Staff Asst. for the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee called NTAC Chair, Ethan St. Pierre requesting information on transgenders who have worked around children. Unusual request to come out of the blue! Turns out that there were suddenly concerns about transgenders regarding pedophilia and child molestation and that they needed statistics to prove otherwise!

Obviously, the first question would be “where did they get this?” You find more of that in straight society. The next question would be “how is the gay and lesbian community dealing with it?” Turns out, that question was only posed to our situation – odder still.

Just last night we had the latest brace of water in the face: an article in the Washington Blade stating that the House Democrats are wobbling and wanting to eliminate the coverage for gender identity. No, it’s not the typical Blade hatchet job, but actually from their only even-handed reporter, Lou Chibbarro. This doesn’t appear to be mere conjecture coming from Lou – rather unlikely.

And our reported hero over the years, Rep. Barney Frank, had this to say in the same article regarding transgender excision from ENDA:

Frank said that if the whip count found that ENDA could not pass with a transgender provision, he would strongly urge [House Speaker] Pelosi and his Democratic colleagues to move the bill to the House floor without a trans provision, with the intent of introducing a separate transgender bill at a later date.

"I think the notion that we should let the whole bill die if we can't pass [a] transgender [provision] is a terrible idea," Frank said. "It's exactly the opposition of what the civil rights movement always did," he said, noting that legislation protecting other minorities, such as women, the disabled and Latinos, came about incrementally over a period of years.

So now the ball gets tossed back into HRC’s court in what will be the hottest of hot seats they’ve ever had to sit upon. Yes, fresh from their victory over we transgender skeptics in the rest of America, HRC now has to see if they have the gumption to stick with us and piss off their primary constituency – gay and lesbians, primarily moneyed ones – or will they opt to go the ways of their antecedents and opt for expediency?

To be honest, I can sympathize with HRC’s predicament. The perennially Teflon-coated mega-org has no slick back door out of this one. They either choose to stand upon principle and fresh promise made to a historically disenfranchised and newly-hopeful community – transgenders – or choose to finally push the group over the hump and win what they’ve sought in vain for decades: an actual victory at the national level that would finally validate them to those who’ve supported this, the most heavily financed GLBT org in history. These are not easy choices from their vantage point. Most of all, for once their Teflon shield will do them no good. The must make a choice of one side or another, and all eyes are watching them

Where’s that Twix bar when you need it, huh?

Things are moving quickly now, and as I finish, a new press blurb came out in the same Washington Blade. Nine GLBT organizations stood firm and stated, “We would ... oppose any bill that did not protect transgender people.”

The signatories were all Washington-based orgs: PFLAG, NGLTF, NCTE, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Stonewall Democrats, the National Coalition for LGBT Health, Pride at Work / AFL-CIO, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects and finally the Mautner Project (an LGBT Health-based group originally out of Minnesota.)

Do you notice anything about the signatories to the above statement? There were some glaring omissions including NTAC (truth be told, we were not asked nor notified – not unusual.) So the question is: were the other omitted organizations asked? If not, why not? And if so, then to those organizations ... well ... why?

Baseball great Yogi Berra said it best: It’s Déjà Vu all over again!

So ... Why?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Freak Of The Week: The Tabloid Media

"Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it
And the reaction will be passionate.
Give 'em the old hocus pocus ….
Give 'em the old three ring circus”
— Richard Gere as Billy Flynn in the song "Razzle Dazzle" from the movie “Chicago”

What the hell is up with being trans?

Seriously, why is it such a heinous scandal to have someone attached to anything hinting of crossdressing or transsexualism? One would think that in 2007 we’ve progressed beyond that stage, but clearly that’s not so.

A couple of items jumped out at me this week prompting this. One was a tabloid (Star or Enquirer, can’t remember which) with a blaring headline replete with photos showing a sad looking Cher, and an alternate photo of daughter Chastity Bono in what appears to be a man’s suit. The headline was: Cher’s Heartbreak Over Chastity’s Sex Change Decision.

The other item concerns photos released of Oscar DeLaHoya and trumpeted as lead story on Entertainment Tonight for multiple nights in a row, even bleeding over into the nightly six o’clock local news at one point. The photos have what appears to be the boxing champ in a fishnet bodysuit, spike-heeled pumps and even wearing a wig with a jaunty fedora in one photo.

It’s very possible that both of these stories could turn out to have no veracity at all. We are, after all, talking about tabloid print and gossipy, paparazzi-esque TV tales (I hesitate to fix the word “news” to it).

The problem is why they make such a hugely salacious issue over them. It’s because using transgenderism or anything that peripherally smacks of it is for humor or titillation is still PC to America. Yes, anyone can gleefully and freely pick up the cudgel of “transgender” and beat the target of their derision into ultimate character assassination.

It’s not a new phenomenon, to be sure. For years it’s provided easy (and openly hateful) yucks for conservative pundits, but even daytime talk, sitcoms and night-time stand up comics have mined this subject with morbid fascination. Even a Gay Comedy Showcase on cable a couple years back had four of the five gay comedians tossing out tranny jokes early in their set. One comic even lamented the disappearance of transgender hookers in Times Square: “where are my tranny hookers?”

How nice … after so many years of effort, we in the transgender community are still simply reduced to “Tranny = hooker.” We’re always open season for them all. We’re the Freak of the Week!

In the case of Cher’s daughter, Chastity, she did look good in the suit. She’ll probably be able to transition over fairly easily, if indeed she decides that’s where she wants to go. But there are good ways to go about announcing someone’s transition, and not so good ways. This was a “not so good” way. Why, after years of being lesbian, is it suddenly so sensational a headline for her to be transsexual?

Keep in mind if Chas decides to transition to male, this will not (or should not) be a capricious decision. There’s a lot of heart-wrenching changes this makes to both family and perhaps more importantly societal relationships. Many are the times I’ve heard of lesbians making the transition to male only to lose most of their friends, their lovers and their previous community support base. An activist I know who worked for the Human Rights Campaign for many years, and for many years desired to make the transition but never did. When I directly posed the question to her, she was taken aback by my bluntness, but also confirmed that indeed that loss of lovers, peers and even career to that point were what stopped her (or rather, him) from moving forward. These will not be small-time concerns for Chas, who’s been long involved in the gay & lesbian community.

As for Oscar DeLaHoya, the story seems a bit more improbable. It certainly gives the tinge of someone vengeful wanting to put out a reputational hit on the pro boxer. However, if it is true, so what? I’m sure if you bring it up to his face, he’s likely to beat your ass to a pulp, trans or not. Would his being trans somehow lessen his prowess in the boxing ring? We’re not talking about steroids or other performance enhancement drugs. Should we place DeLaHoya in a lesser light than a Barry Bonds because America likes drug use better than transgenderism? For that matter, should DeLaHoya even be considered on the same level as the steroid-headed athletes populating much of sports today? If so, why? Simply because he wore what some would consider inappropriate clothing in what was supposed to be intimate (read bedroom) environs?

It’s a safe bet that none of us would like our private moments, or private fantasies and any dalliances in costumed play-acting publicized widely. The DeLaHoya photos were obviously not at a public event. Republican presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani’s drag performances in front of live audiences were public. Note the airplay that’s gotten, especially during an election season. There are photos of President Bush himself in a cheerleader costume – a female cheerleader outfit – during his prep school days. I’m sure that if these would’ve made the media mill in similar fashion that it would’ve drawn a strong rebuke from conservatives spouting the need to keep people’s private lives private.

But apparently folks like Chastity Bono and Oscar DeLaHoya are, as Karl Rove would put it, “fair game.”

The thing that truly bothers me is the ease with which media equates transgender with something automatically lascivious whenever it does choose to publish. You would think that after more than a decade of transgender activism that I’d be more numbed to this practice. In my case, the endorphins didn’t kick in. Instead it’s been like an upper arm that’s continually whacked in the same spot with a baseball bat until it becomes swollen with the bruising and perhaps even more tender than when it all began.

We’ve got innocent civilians in Iraq dying by the score daily in a war they didn’t request. We’ve got American soldiers stuck in a long-term civil war between two power-grabbing factions doing an impossible task, bored, underpaid, scared, angry and coming home in by the dozens flag-draped coffins every week. We’ve got millions of people slowly dying from diseases in the richest country in the world simply because they can’t afford insurance or healthcare. We’ve got people losing their homes to foreclosure, and workers being laid off while others get hired overseas, and income disparities like nothing we’ve seen since President William McKinley at the start of the 20th century. We’ve got people from New Orleans and a few who’ve returned there trying to piece together their lives in a country who doesn’t want to be distracted by their problems.

No, we’re a nation that would rather be distracted by more titillating news; something to get our heads wagging and our tongues clicking. Let’s focus on the Freak of the Week and impugn someone’s character by affiliating them with that! Yeah, that’s gotta draw in a few advertisers!

Let me say, I’m sick of being considered nothing more than a freak, and I’d daresay the rest of my community – the transgender community – feels likewise. Go make your money casting aspersions on some other community, and leave us be.

“Razzle dazzle 'em
And they’ll never catch wise ….
Give 'em the old flim flam flummox.”
— Richard Gere as Billy Flynn in the song "Razzle Dazzle" from the movie “Chicago”

“The longer we listen to one another -- with real attention -- the more commonality we will find in all our lives.” — Barbara Deming

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GOPs and Gays and Good Ol’ Politics

“The gays and lesbians are after me! The gays and lesbians are after me!!!” -- Texas State Rep. Robert Talton (R) while running down the halls of the Texas Capitol Building being chased by a transsexual activist.

All apologies, but I had to start this article with a bit about Robert Talton of Pasadena, Texas (or as we like to refer to our suburb here in Houston, Pasa-g*ddamned-dena). It was instructed to we trans activists not to bother with Talton, he was bad news – not the worst, but bad news. Well, myself and another close friend with me that day, Dani MacCleney, were always up for the challenges – giant killers we considered ourselves.

During that first visit any of us had made to Talton’s office we discovered something. He was very much into the evangelical playbook, fashioned his entire agenda after a tight circle of cherry-picked biblical text. However, he had some pretty serious skeletons in his closet. We both walked out with one word in mind: xenophobia.

In time, I and others learned to fight fire with fire, using biblical text to counter his own. That’s when the rules changed, he couldn’t see us any more, he needed DPS officers (state police here in Texas) to escort him to and from his appointments and to act as sentry outside his office to keep us out. He even singled out a female minister (sitting next to her husband), pointed and declared “I don’t like you and I don’t like your kind!” The minister was aghast, replying “What!?! Presbyterians?!?”

Apparently Talton presumed the minister, whose hair was short, was a lesbian even though she was sitting next to her legally-married husband.

Here in Texas, Robert Talton personifies the word phobia – whether homophobia or transphobia (or other unpublicized lesser-known phobias) he’s become Public Enemy #1 of anything GLBT. Indeed he revels in his reputation as a pig would wallow in mud.

Recently we had the latest in a recent spate of Republican outings and subsequent oustings from their political office and party participation itself. Former Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) has been a staunch anti-GLBT vote to the red-meat conservatives dominating the GOP. He comes from the mountain state red zone, Idaho, where anti-homosexuality rants play to standing ovations. Yes, he was a man in his element.

At least he was, so long as he kept his personal and private feelings about sexuality private.

Then came the infamous “sting” in June at the Minneapolis airport men’s restroom. Yes, it seems Sen. Craig got caught up in a sex-sting dragnet in airport bathrooms there. Kind of an odd place to pick up a quickie, but some will go to extraordinary lengths I suppose – no pun intended, of course. Apparently this is a recent fad, and one that even the conservative senator appeared to know about.

In typical hand-in-the-cookie-jar guilt, the senator tried his mightiest to wiggle out of being nabbed. First he plopped down his business card and demanded “how do you like that?” The arresting officer was unimpressed. After a bout of entrapment claims, Craig finally acquiesced and pleaded guilty to the charge.

Then came the contrition (or as best as the Republican senator could muster): “I’m not gay and never have been gay.” Note how he cleverly avoided anything to do with bisexuality (he is marred), and how we never here him talk of never having had a homosexual experience. Still … clever wording, very Republican.

The one major misstep by Sen. Larry … he admitted guilt to the charge. Cardinal sin in RNC-land. There was a literal RNC stampede away from ol’ Sen. Larry after the guilt plea. Who cares about honesty? When there’s consistent denial, it’s plausible deniability regardless of how red-handed you’re caught – at least in Republican-land.

Unless it’s adultery by a male politician with a woman (a-la Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), admitting guilt is a kiss of death. Witness the contrast between Randy “Duke” Cunningham (caught and admitted guilt) and Tom DeLay (caught and denied vehemently).

However, it was more than guilt that got him a speedy one-way ticket out of GOPperville. Compounding it was being caught as being gay. Though it may seem so in recent years, GOP does not stand for “Gay Old Party” – something the conservatives will be quick to point out. Again, when you have an “R” next to your name, you’re never truly gay until your caught by your own admission, red-handed or no. Why be like Mark Foley or Ed Schrock when you could be a David Dreier or even aspire to the highest office in the land like President George W. Bush?

Even though the hypocrisy of the consistently anti-gay legislator was blatant, hypocrisy by his own party is much more bluntly evident. Sen. Larry is a fine man up to the minute he admits his guilt. And in their defense, Republicans point out Gerry Studds and Barney Frank (both D-MA).

How weak is that?

Democrats aren’t the judgmental ideologues. That’s Republicans. Democrats pardon. Republicans never forget, nor let it go. And while Jesus forgives, and Democrats generally follow suit, Republicans tend to like Paul’s teachings better, or the Old Testament punitive styles better still (Jesus being a bit too liberal for their tastes.)

Later Sen. Larry hinted at wanting a do over. Or maybe not. He decided the error of his ways was admitting guilt, and that holding out for wearing the opposition down (RNC-style) is a better strategy. But then he even rescinded that by saying it’s his “intent” to step down September 30 as planned. Notice the equivocal wording. (Can you say “wiggle room”?) Who knows what’s Sen. Larry’s plans are – we’re not sure he knows just yet. Recently he’s flipping and flopping like a freshly beached fish on a hook.

One thing you can say, you gotta admire the chutzpah of Republicans and their morals. Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh railing about all druggies needing life in prison until he’s popped gaming scrips to feed his addiction to hillbilly heroin (aka: oxycontin), or President Bush taking hard line on lawbreakers until it happens to a well-connected aide such as Scooter Libby.

Sen. Larry was always a reliable vote against anything GLBT, a good RNC company man. The American Conservative Union rated Craig's 2005 voting record at 96 out of 100 points! After his guilty plea, he bleats at the crowd during his press conference back in Idaho, “I am not gay. I have never been gay ….”

But of course, rumors had been going around even in his own party circles of his rep. A report from the Idaho Statesman noted:

[A] man, who identified himself as gay, told a reporter that Craig cruised him at the R.E.I. store in Boise in November 1994, following him around the store for half an hour. (
And later ….

The last reported incident to the Idaho Statesman about Senator Craig's conduct came from a professional 40-year-old man with close ties to Republican officials. According to the man's story about the encounter with Senator Craig, the man "reported having oral sex with Craig at Washington's [DC] Union Station, probably in 2004." A reporter for the Idaho Statesman interviewed Craig on May 14, 2007 [a few weeks before the airport sting] regarding the allegations about his conduct, and in response to the reporter's questions, Craig said "I'm not gay, and I don't cruise, and I don't hit on men. [...] I don't go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!" (

Yeah GOPpers can’t get away from gays fast enough (especially if its one of their own). One word comes to mind when someone who they typically consider a good red-meat Republican ends up being publicly known as gay: Hypocrisy. It’s too jarring a 180 degree turn to not notice. Leave it to GOPs to be the only ones brazen enough to be so blatant and somehow get away with it in plain sight.

Gay panic aside, GOP-folk may miss some of that Log Cabin money and support in a really tight election season. One wonders if the RNC and GOP politicos will try to revisit their “almost victory” 50-49 senate vote of 1996 where they calculated their votes on the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) after the DOMA blowout. Maybe if they give another “almost victory” they’ll be able to fool enough well-to-do, tax-break-hungry gays and lesbians to pull off a victory again.

Although looking at the GOPpers' well-demonstrated history over the past decade, it’s hard to see how anyone gay or lesbian could find anything redemptive with an R next to its name. Not unless they’re really hardcore about social climbing, power mongering and addicted to those tax breaks on their economic recovery windfalls.
Regardless of whether gay or lesbian America ever decides to give them another chance, GOPs and RNC folks can always fall back on their newest victory cry for their red meat base: “I am not gay! I have never been gay! Oh! And Iraq was a justified war!” Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Nobody wants to know.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Who Needs Truth When There's Revisionism?

Post #12: Sept. 2, 2007

Just when you think you’ve heard it all ….

Just a couple weeks ago, President George W. Bush let loose what we in Texas parlance (at least among polite company) term “a whopper.” First he went on news saying how we needed to get more results from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s Administration, and start seeing real progress. This coming right on the heels of the Iraqi ministry taking a month of vacation while the life-or-death issues of this “fledgling democracy” teetering on the brink are put on hold with all the urgency of reviewing a bill on water allocation to farmers. Seemingly, give-‘em-hell-George appeared to be lighting a fire under the Prime Minister.

Then at almost breakneck direction change, the Mr. Bush calls another press conference to reiterate his “unwavering” support of Al-Maliki, and blasting critics calling for his ouster. He goes on to chide the critics of Al-Maliki, noting, “it's not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position. That is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy and not a dictatorship.”

Odd that Georgie would bring that up because a mere year and a half ago, it was Ibrahim Al-Jaafari that appeared poised to be re-elected as Prime Minister in Iraq. Unfortunately for him, the White House wanted none of that. The Bush Administration insisted Al-Jaafari step down, and Al-Jaafari dug in his heels initially and refused. With no small amount of arm-twisting, and some help by enlisting the cleric Ali Sistani to show that Al-Jaafari’s obstinance would hold the nation back, the man who the Iraqi Parliament would’ve elected stepped aside.

The man that Iraq’s Parliament on whole were not so keen on (especially the Sunni segment), was instead “democratically elected” – with a little help and wisdom from their neighbors halfway across the globe! Hey, we would expect nothing less in our own democracy, right?

And while Bush’s words sounded like the typical beat-up-a-Democrat, Congress-been-keeping-me-back rhetoric, he was actually responding to critics within his own party.

The astonishing part of all of this was … Bush did this with a straight face! More impressive, virtually no one called him on it!

It’s something we’ve seen a startling increase in, especially in the 21st century: Real-Time Revisionism. Unlike other examples in history, these days revisionism can’t wait for the history-book writers to massage the facts in a decade or two. No, history is now revised now in the span of a mere year or two.

This brand of nuanced politic-speak has been perfected to an art form by the Bush / Cheney Administration, most notably with the Iraq War mission creep. Revisionism has also become a well-used defense or attack strategy by the RNC, and to good effect. And in typical RNC fashion, as long as you say it loudly enough and long enough (especially if you shout the challengers down) it becomes fact. It’s notably helpful to have the press in your pocket, where they can participate in spreading the desired outcome of what’s already past.

To be sure, this isn’t strictly a conservative trait. Indeed some of their counterparts have watched their success with revision and wish to duplicate for themselves.

It’s become a concept that’s in vogue in the GLBT political community as well. It’s not a new approach by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as they’ve used this to lesser success over the years. Lately, however, it’s become much more forward, particularly with a sales push to the transgender community.

Claims made about their historical “support” of inclusive language in either Hate Crimes or Employment Non-Discrimination bills fly directly in the face of reality. In later years they’ve taken note of the pressure of other GLBT organizations pushing them to get with the program that most others adopted years ago: actively pushing for trans-inclusive language. It hasn’t stopped them from trying to support language such as the Senate bill that has gender only as they attempted to slide with in the previous Congress.

Now, with the assistance of a few trans leaders they tap to assist in getting their marketing message to the transgender community, the message is all about how they’ve supported us all along. Ahem, nice try.

Even one of the transgender organizations is now claiming they themselves has always supported fully inclusive language – i.e. gender identity. Yet it completely contradicts their helping market the message from HRC, which was “gender”, in order to become the insiders in 2003 - 2004. Even the explanations given about this discrepancy were explained away as being done to please legislative lawyers from these allied organizations. Yet they too wish to rewrite reality simply to assuage guilt or puff up their legacy.

The bottom line, both of these organizations wish to retroactively change their past behavior. Physically that’s impossible, but revising history is much easier, requires no difficult stands to be taken, and as the GOP has shown, is successful. At least it’s successful as long as you can intimidate the rest into not pointing it out or making an issue of it.

Therein is the key to successful revisionism: complacency by those of us who see it and who should say something about it, but don’t. If we let it slide, then we deserve the kind of false history we’ll get.

Those who actively succeed in real-time revisionist history, whether conservative or liberal, all have common traits. Revisionists want no responsibility for their actions. Sure, everyone wishes they could all have a “free pass,” but nobody gets that. In fact, these very same revisionists will be the first one to hold others accountable.

Revisionists are also keen on having a storybook legacy – they just don’t want the muss and fuss of actually going through the hardships to accomplish it.

We as a nation need to begin pulling in the slack, and not giving free passes to this behavior. We should all start questioning the equivocating speech by nailing them down on the specifics and keeping it on record.

If revisionism is allowed, then why bother expecting accountability? What’s the point of truth? It’s a sad day when money buys our history and we never live to know fact.

“Life ‘tis all a cheat
Fooled with hope, men favor the deceit
Trust on, and think tomorrow will repay
Tomorrow’s falser than the former day."

from the play "Aureng-Zebe" by John Dryden