No, Your Issue Isn't The Most Pressing Thing On the Agenda

by: Adam Bink

Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 12:09

There is something going around in the LGBT rights movement for months that has me more than a little irritated, and it's the attitude that everything has to happen now now now, and that LGBT rights is more important than anything on the face of this Earth, so why isn't Congress voting on it tomorrow?!?!

One latest example, from Alex Blaze at The Bilerico Project:

The AP's optimistic about ENDA. Considering the fact that 90% of Americans support job protections for LGB people and 65% of Americans support such protections for trans people, we shouldn't have to be waiting for the stars to align when we already have a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president who says he supports the bill. But that's the new reality, where anyone to the left of GWB is a crazed dirty fucking hippie, and everything can be put at risk by the a hecklers' veto from a minority of the country that will never go along with anything.

Okay. So I am with everyone on the note that the Administration fucked up and insulted our community with the DOMA brief. I agree that movement on DADT can be done now. I agree that they mishandled the expansion of rights for folks working within in the Administration, although I give them credit for doing what can be done absent the legislation needed to expand the full range of rights. I give the Administration, and Congress, poor marks so far.

But call me an Uncle Tom or whatever, I actually do believe it makes some political sense to enact measures that (a) candidates run prominently on (b) make a wide swath of people happy (c) are are somewhat urgent (d) enable the Administration and Congress to become more popular so you can push through the more controversial measures. We should learn something from Clinton's 1993 experience on Don't Ask Don't Tell. For examples of such measures, see: pulling troops out of Iraq. See: trying to get the economy out of a tailspin. See: legislation to reduce foreclosures. See: credit card reform. See: Cash for Clunkers. See: health care reform.

LGBT rights isn't that. Yes, you can point to 90% of Americans supporting job protections and all of that. You can tell me ENDA isn't controversial anymore. That's not the relevant statistic here. The relevant statistic is that ENDA is probably 168th on the list of things people care about, just below whether their recycling gets picked up once or twice per week. Like it or not.

Yeah, I know things like stem cell research, which the Administration issued an executive order on this year, isn't necessarily on the top ten list of urgent national priorities. But I do know it's more important to more Americans than ENDA. Or hate crimes. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.

So screaming at the President for not taking action on every single piece of LGBT rights legislation NOW NOW NOW and resorting to snark and whining is one tactic to pressure the Administration. I'm not sure it's the best one. I don't think LGBT rights should pushed off until the midterms or farther than that, and if some action isn't taken in Congress at some point early next year I will start having a problem. I don't think anyone should sit idly by while the Administration refuses action on DADT and screws us on the DOMA brief. But unless you're a single-issue LGBT voter- in which case, I have a serious nit to pick with you- I just don't think insisting your issue is the most pressing thing on the agenda is the the most politically savvy thing to do. Let's be smart about what to move on first.

Update:Over lunch, I read Bill Clinton's interview in the new Esquire edition. The part I want to highlight, where he answers a question relating to Obama pushing through a lot of change in a short period of time:

So do I think he's doing the right thing, even though he's jamming a lot of change down the system? I do. And he learned from some of the problems that I faced. For example, I am sure he's in favor of reinstating the assault-weapons ban, but he let Congress go on that and said, "Okay, you rural guys, we've got to deal with climate change, we've got to deal with health care, we ought to do this student-loan thing to get our college costs back in line and make it affordable again, so I'll cut you some slack on assault weapons."

Clinton said this in the context of how rural Democrats got destroyed in 1994. Something to think about as to perhaps why there is little movement on LGBT issues, rightly or wrongly.

Adam Bink :: No, Your Issue Isn't The Most Pressing Thing On the Agenda

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non-gay people think ENDA is already law (4.00 / 2)
I live in Texas, and it's amazing how many people think that you can sue for anti-gay workplace discrimination here, of all places.  And I don't mean conservatives with a persecution complex.  

It's actually pretty terrifying.  So I can understand why there's not much push for ENDA.  The only thing I'd really say, is how much effort would it take to actually pass a bill, though?  At least out of the House.  The law is written and completely formulated, and really just needs to be voted on, provided that they go back to the inclusive Barney Frank version.

obviously, I mean (4.00 / 1)
the original inclusive Barney Frank version.

[ Parent ]
n/t (0.00 / 0)
We can't even help people pay for advance directives.  I don't have much hope for the Senate passing pretty much anything of any value, at this point.

[ Parent ]
Well (0.00 / 0)
1) Not a lot of effort to get it out of the House. The Senate takes forever to move on anything, and even then it gets tied up in procedural knots.

2) I think it's less the easy vs. hard question and more the political question. The Senate could move on ENDA this week, for example, but instead is considering the Travel Promotion Act, "A bill to establish a non-profit corporation to communicate United States entry policies and otherwise promote leisure, business, and scholarly travel to the United States." It sometimes seems the Senate only is up for considering half a dozen "contoversial" bills a year, and after they're done, they're all so exhausted and the bipartisan comity is so damaged they have to take a long break and only consider stuff like this.

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[ Parent ]
poc lgbt people and working class lgbt people have been saying this for years (4.00 / 1)
while marriage equality lawsuits were being pushed thruogh as a single issue campaign by ngos that were accountable to no one (because social justice is prviatised in the u.s.) the concerns of a broad swathe of even lgbt people were and are being ignored - though a little less so now.

In hindsight, I'm not AS critical, but then, if you really think about the strategic (not moral) error of pushing for gay marriage through court cases and the backlash that that allowed and was manipulated during the 2004 election - well it makes some of these groups look very shortsighted, parochial, and narrowly self-itnerested - even to those of us who agree with what they're concerned about!

I never much understood pushing for marriage before ENDA (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
i don't think anyone who thinks it through would. (0.00 / 0)
marriage is important - and to an extent, elites decide what gets placed on an agenda - but the extent to which it's been prioritised it as 'the' lgbt issue is at minimum reflective of problems in the way that lgbt activism is organised.  But it's hard to pass a judgement on it without a coherent theory of social change that applies to the situation - which I don't currently have. :)  It's not hard to say that the single issue focus has been detrimental to broader progressive aims, including to some extent, some LGBT issues.  You can't ask for rights without being democratic and get away with it forever.

[ Parent ]
Just to be clear (0.00 / 0)
The ENDA is not currently about LGBT rights.

It is about LBG rights.  The transgendered people were unpopular so they got thrown under the bus.


That was the bill that Barney Frank stripped last session (4.00 / 2)
the bill currently being considered is trans-inclusive.  Click through on the Bilerico link.

[ Parent ]
With all due respect, mom, but did you pay attention to that debate? (0.00 / 0)
It was Barney Frank who worked hard to make ENDA, albeit a non-inclusive one, possible and who got thrown under the bus and ridiculed for it not being good enough. As a consequence of the majority of LGB organisations deciding to not leave the Ts out in the cold, that ENDA bill was abandoned. So, as I understand it, this time it's about a new bill including gender discrimination. However, as people have warned the LGBT movement, it may take a long time to get it passed. Will be hard to raise interest for that now. And I guess that's partly because many hetero supporters are still pissed about the way they were treated during the last discussions.

Read about the new bill here:

[ Parent ]
Barney Frank wore an inclusive bill (4.00 / 1)
and then stripped out the transgender language for reasons that were murky and dubious at best.  

And the hetero supporters aren't the ones getting passed up for promotions, fired, screamed at on the street, and getting lectures every time that they use a public bathroom.  Please don't lecture the LGBTers about poor treatment.  The trans people are the ones that need job protection the most.  Leaving them out was very close to unconscionable.  

[ Parent ]
Well, I'm quite sure the majority of lawmakers is hetero... (0.00 / 0)
...and has no direct personal interest in passing ENDA. So, you're a bit missing the point, imho...

[ Parent ]
There is no direct personal interest in passing any civil rights law (0.00 / 0)
That's not the point.  The point is doing what is right.  Not to mention that ENDA, inclusive or no, was certain to get vetoed by Bush anyway.

[ Parent ]
Imho the point is doing what is possible. (0.00 / 0)
I like "beautiful losers" as a rock song (by Bob Seger), but in real life, it's not a productive strategy.  

[ Parent ]
The issue was symbolic until Bush left office anyway, though (0.00 / 0)
there is no 'what was possible.'  Bush was going to veto the bill.  

[ Parent ]
As far as I remember, he never explicitly said that. (0.00 / 0)
And afaik the argument was that despite his many failures, Bush actually is not a homophobic. Barney Frank, at least, say a real chance to get it signed.  

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)

And he had an even more expicit veto threat against the hate crimes bill:

[ Parent ]
Must have missed that "signalling" (0.00 / 0)
I guess Dubya cited a bible quote with a hidden meaning only hardcore christians can decipher...

[ Parent ]
The statement is in the link (0.00 / 0)
the white house cited a bunch of pretend constitutional problems with the bill.

[ Parent ]
Also, I really doubt there is anyone (0.00 / 0)
who supports ENDA who would oppose the Matthew Shepperd act.  

[ Parent ]
"murky and dubious"? The votes weren't there to include the Ts! (0.00 / 0)
That was a bridge too far for many lawmakers. Too much, too soon. This sure is lamentable, but what's to be gained from ignoring the sad reality?

[ Parent ]
There wasn't a veto-proof majority in either case (0.00 / 0)
Might as well bring something just to a floor vote rather than piss off your entire activist base by making it look like you were machinating against them.

[ Parent ]
Barney Frank did all the hard work! Do you think he had a hidden motive... (0.00 / 0)
..for deliberately leaving the Ts in the cold? I like conspiracy theories, but this "machinating against them" accusation is really ridiculous. Frank was interested in getting ENDA passed, not in making a hypothetical point by seeing it voted down. From his professional assessment, he had a good chance to get a non-inclusive bill done, but not his original proposal. And if he would have been able to present widepsread support for this to his collegues, you mayalready have ENDA now and the new focus would be on an ammendment for the Ts. I really don't see how the delay has helped anybody, but, ok, your mileage may vary.

[ Parent ]
So let me get this straight (0.00 / 0)
You're annoyed that people are angry that Obama hasn't moved on equal rights, but if Obama hasn't done so by the mid-terms, you'll join them. You sound like Steve Hilderbrand: stop bitching progressives! you may start bitching, 'cause my deadline is correct.

Because we all know that after Obama pushes through this mediocre trigger-happy health care bill, and moves on to easy topics like climate change, immigration reform, Afghanistan, and trying to fix the still-broken economy, he's going to have so much political capital and bipartisan good feeling that he'll be eager to move on gay rights.

Okay (4.00 / 2)
So make me a serious argument that there's something wrong with plotting the order of what should be voted on first, and there's something wrong with having patience until it's exhausted.

Also, perhaps you're not aware, but hate crimes and ENDA and DADT are actually tough votes for people to take (DADT actually is codified in law). Asking lots of conservative Dems to vote on all of those and then do immigration reform, climate change, and health care, which is perhaps what you're proposing, is not a winning strategy. The ENDA bill last session had to have transgendered protections stripped out because the votes were not there in the House precisely because the Mike Rosses of the world would vote down such a bill.

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[ Parent ]
I didn't say there's not a case to be made (0.00 / 0)
for plotting the order. And had you written such a post, I probably wouldn't have commented. Instead, you wrote a post blasting the purported impatience (and vanity) of people only somewhat less patient than you--yet one more STFU post.

I'm sure you know understand why some equal rights supporters are wary of we'll-get-around-to-it assurances.

[ Parent ]
Avoiding the issue (4.00 / 1)
The issue is political strategy. If people are being unstrategic and hurting chances for broad progress on a range of issues, including LGBT, I'm going to say so. Call it patience, call it strategy, call it whatever you want. Just don't get your feelings hurt by it, and respond in kind. Folks upset that Hildebrand contradicted himself are well within their rights to point it out, but on a strategic basis, as tremayne did yesterday. On the other hand, anyone who whines at STFU posts without making a counter-argument to the actual content usually doesn't have one, and is avoiding the issue.

So, make me one.

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[ Parent ]
Easy there, tough guy (0.00 / 0)
I suppose I'm not talking about precisely the issue you want to be talking about, that doesn't mean I'm not talking about THE issue.

First of all, my feelings aren't hurt, not least because you weren't talking about me. I'm just sick of posts where "pragmatists" attack critics on the left. Usually they do so exactly as you do, by setting up a straw man. You claim that there are people who say

everything has to happen now now now, and that LGBT rights is more important than anything on the face of this Earth

Tben you link to someone who in no way makes the point you attribute to him. Wait, I know the word for that. It'll come to me: oh, yeah: lying!

Now, closer to the issue you want to be discussing, of course you have to prioritize, had Obama come out and quickly for pushed for equal rights, the media would've said Uh, Oh DADT all over again. But as I said up top, it's foolhardy to think there's going to be a "good" time to move.

[ Parent ]
Go and read (4.00 / 1)
Alex's full commentary, and the rest of his posts going back to January. You can also read Aravosis, Joe Sudbay, Bil Browning, and a number of other folks who have all expressed impatience. I'm not inventing it out of whole cloth. Alex's post used sarcasm and snark to reflect his opinions that there has not been any action taken and it should have been far more immediately.

And by the way, you shouldn't take everything I write incredibly literally. Just because Alex didn't write "LGBT rights are the most important thing in the world!" verbatim doesn't mean his tone, and the tone of others I have read for the last eight months, doesn't reflect that to some extent. It also doesn't mean you can accuse someone of lying, for  goodness sake. I use snark in my own way, too, as do lots of people. So, relax.

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[ Parent ]
News flash: Alex isn't a straight cissexual. (0.00 / 0)
I'm really not understanding you.

Why would you think that he wouldn't prioritize his rights?

[ Parent ]
Alex has actually explicitly written that LGBT issues (0.00 / 0)
aren't the number one issue in politics, and that there are a good deal of broad legislative priorities to be taken seriously on an individual basis, however.  Bil Browning has said the same thing.  they were particularly pointed about this during the primaries when responding to log cabin republicans pushing for Guliani, or equivocating between Guliani and the Democrats.

That is different than saying that they disagree with the legislative strategy on these particular issues.  But I think the tone would be much different if something as relatively non-contraversial as the Matthew Shepard hate crimes act were already passed into law, rather than sitting in conference committee with a poison pill attached to the Senate version.  

And after the Clinton years, perhaps some sketpicism of democratic leadership is somewhat warranted.

[ Parent ]
That's roughly what I thought (0.00 / 0)
There is something going around in the LGBT rights movement for months that has me more than a little irritated, and it's the attitude that everything has to happen now now now, and that LGBT rights is more important than anything on the face of this Earth, so why isn't Congress voting on it tomorrow?!?!

If I had not read your prior writings, this would seem like it was written by someone suggesting that fundamental human rights should be delayed further. For example, it seems in direct opposition to the Dallas Principles http://www.thedallasprinciples... . Of course, this would make more sense if it actually referred to the Dallas Principles, what principles you disagree with, and why. As it is, this article seems to imply that the author is unfamiliar with the principles behind the behavior they're observing.

The relevant statistic is that ENDA is probably 168th on the list of things people care about, just below whether their recycling gets picked up once or twice per week. Like it or not.

I'm curious where you get this statistic from. In any event, to many of those who are denied their rights, this is likely higher than the 168th item on the list of things to get done. I can tell you that for me, it's pretty much #1. It's been at that position for decades.

I don't think anyone should sit idly by while the Administration refuses action on DADT and screws us on the DOMA brief. But unless you're a single-issue LGBT voter- in which case, I have a serious nit to pick with you- I just don't think insisting your issue is the most pressing thing on the agenda is the the most politically savvy thing to do. Let's be smart about what to move on first.

To me, your text above seems to come across as insensitive at best, and intolerant at worst, even though I'm now certain that it's non-intentional.

I will note that since you claim that your post is about "plotting the order of what should be voted on first", you may want to spend more space next time describing those measures that you think are more important than fundamental human rights for a significant minority than the space used to attack the impatience of the LGBTQQIA movement. I'm counting 36 words "For examples of such measures, see: pulling troops out of Iraq. See: trying to get the economy out of a tailspin. See: legislation to reduce foreclosures. See: credit card reform. See: Cash for Clunkers. See: health care reform." for the purported topic, which is far less than the quotes above.

In summary, I think what you actually wanted to write about are the Dallas Principles, and your disagreements with them. Doing so in a more straightforward manner would tend to clarify this post, and make it appear significantly more sensative.

[ Parent ]
I think there's more to sequencing bills than just prioritizing them (4.00 / 1)
by importance.

There is also a component of wanting to get the big, difficult to pass stuff done first, and then to follow that with other bills.  I'm not enough of a wonk to know if this is completely accurate, but I could buy that, for someone wanting to pass BOTH ENDA and the health care bill, that the latter is a much tougher sell, with much stronger entrenched interests opposing it, and it's probably better to expend the political capital on that first, and then follow it up with a much less contraversial, and much less front-pagey type ENDA bill.  

[ Parent ]
Well (0.00 / 0)
I am well familiar with the Principles. I'm not much for concerned that any sort of writing are in violation of the- in fact, seldom think about them- so I'm not sure why you're referencing them.

On the other stuff, it gets at the question of whether you view yourself in a broader context as part of a movement trying to advance progressive politics, and trying to strategically get things done so as to ensure a lasting majority that can do things like improve LGBT, or if you're a single-issue voter who only cares about LGBT rights and that's it. For example, I think it's a better idea to advance the issues I listed.

By the way, just because it's #1 for you, doesn't mean it is for a lot of people. I'm gay, and it's not high on my list. The same goes for many of my LGBT friends. Before you get bent out of shape because my opinion is contrary to how you feel, and because I don't link to a poll, can you produce polling telling me it is? And if I write "pest control as a public concern doesn't seem to be very high on people's national priority lists", do I have to cite a poll on that, too? You should feel free to use gut political sense, to some extent.

That doesn't mean anyone should go throughout writing making assumptions that have no basis in, for example, some backup data, and I usually do. But if you're insisting on raw data for every political opinion, I would suggest it's ridiculous.

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[ Parent ]
Okay (0.00 / 0)
I think I understand your position better now. However, it's not like my advocacy for ENDA prevents me from writing a letter to my representative about health care.

Since you're looking for a poll, here's the best I can do in under 5 minutes (warnings: 3 years old, methodological difficulties, pdf file):

Policy priorities: Marriage/partner recognition, discrimination and hate violence
Of the 1,440 respondents, only 1,162 circled or wrote in three policy priorities or fewer as directed. Only these surveys were analyzed to produce the results in this section.
The three most frequently chosen "policy priorities for the LGBT community" were:
1. Marriage equality/partner recognition (chosen by 800 respondents)
2. Anti-LGBT discrimination (chosen by 526 respondents)
3. Hate violence/harassment (chosen by 434 respondents).
HIV/AIDS was the fourth most frequently chosen priority (379 respondents), followed by "youth and education issues" (332 respondents)

There's a more recent poll here, but it's methodology is highly suspect. However, the results are pretty similar.

[ Parent ]
It will *never* be the most pressing thing on the agenda. (4.00 / 1)
Unless history takes a holiday, there will literally always be a domestic or foreign matter of greater national import. There will not literally always be a Democratic president with large majorities in both houses, and our insane system keeps us in election season three years out of four.

This is the reason why people are demanding immediate action. In gay rights on the national level, there is no difference between "later" and "never."  

You could have had non-inclusive ENDA. Don't complain now. (0.00 / 0)
Lots of people sympathizing with the LGBT movement made the argument that a "sparrow in the hand is better than a cock on the roof" (no pun intended). We warned that it could be a long wait until the super duper ENDA that includes the transgenders would become possible. But out of honest, respectable solidarity with the tiny minority of transgenders you refused to go for the chance, scrapping all the hard work Barney Frank and others invested into it.

So, don't tell us now that you (the LGBT community) suddenly regret that it is difficult to raise interest for another attempt at getting the legislation passed. We told you so. Don't be surprised if some may call you hypocritical now.

Bunk (0.00 / 0)
It's ridiculous to protect some people and to not protect other people.  Furthermore, the machinations behind stripping the transgender inclusion were vague at best.  Also, Frank's defense of the stripping of the language was... erm... insensitive.

And we can have an inclusive EDNA now.  It's more a matter of scheduling it for a vote at this point than for anything else.

[ Parent ]
Only "a matter of scheduling"? (0.00 / 0)
The public option isn't in the sack yet, but inclusive ENDA should be no problem? That's good news. Good night, and good luck.

[ Parent ]
Polling says that ENDA is less contraversial than the PO (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
You (0.00 / 0)
I don't know who all this "you" is addressed to, but presumably not me. What you're saying doesn't seem to pertain to what I wrote, unless I'm misunderstanding you. But please don't use "you" to refer to me as the official representative of the LGBT community.

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[ Parent ]
My fault, sry. (0.00 / 0)
I should have put the statement "you (the LGBT community)" earlier in the text. I wasn't referring to you personally, Adam.

[ Parent ]
Sigh.... (4.00 / 2)
The non-inclusive language didn't just leave out Transgenders and Transsexuals; it also left out a significant group of Cisexuals, including LGB, some S, but particularly Q, and I.

Here's a detailed example of why inclusive language is needed for Gays:

Short quote:

"This absurd double-bind that Brian Prowel faces should make crystal clear the importance -- for all of us -- of including protection for gender identity and expression within ENDA.  Suppose that Congress were to enact a non-inclusive ENDA, one that covers only sexual orientation.  Then the bind that Brian Prowel faces would simply be reversed.  Employers and co-workers would say, "No no, we tormented and fired this man because he's a 'princess' and a 'rosebud' --because of his gender expression -- not because he's gay."  Sometimes that ploy will work, and a victim of antigay discrimination will lose altogether.  Indeed, this ploy will give hostile juries an additional excuse to deny recovery, if that's what they want to do.  And even where the ploy does not work, it will make it more difficult and expensive for many plaintiffs to recover, because they will often have to go in front of a jury and attempt to prove that their employers were motivated by antigay bias and not by a hatred of their mannerisms or other modes of gender expression. "

[ Parent ]
Very good, interesting points (0.00 / 0)
As someone from the outside looking in, someone who cares a great deal about equal rights but hasn't really thought about the details, I find this very interesting.  You make a strong point.

I'm assuming from the "sigh..." that this is all obvious to those actually working on this issue, but it isn't to the rest of us.  It is good to make these points (yes, over and over again, as only a few people see it each time) to those of us on the outside.

[ Parent ]
Transgender (4.00 / 1)
This actually raises a tricky point.  In general, I'm always in favor of passing  the best legislation we can that makes an improvement over the status quo.  But realistically, how many years would transgenders have to wait before a bill that only includes them passes?  I'm guessing at least 50 years, to be honest.  Getting transgender rights in conjunction with a larger bill is much easier.

I think a case can be made that it is better to hold back LGB rights a year or two in order to get LGBT rights.  Regardless of ones opinion on that answer (I'm not so sure myself), it clearly is a point worthy of debate.

[ Parent ]
What do you base this assumption on? (0.00 / 0)
Any real life examples for this? I mean, really, 50 years???

Remember the civil right legislation. After a bad start, it was amended every few years. Would an all inclusive bill have been faster to get passed? Isn't it more reasonable to assume the strategy of small steps instead of one big leap was more realisitic? And what about all the victims of discrimination that would have suffered in the meantime?

[ Parent ]
did Martin Luther King advocate for rights for certain blacks first? (0.00 / 0)
Did he push for legislation for the educated blacks, or for those with white blood or a lighter skin pigment, and then move on to the 'scarier' blacks?  

No, the incrementalism there was to push for rights for all racial minorities, but to incrementally look for certain rights first, and then others, and then others.  In that sense, the '60s civil rights movement was a climax of a long process.  

But, as far as I know, the NAACP did not abandon certain sectors of their community.  And it would be extremely wrong for the gay community to do the same.  

[ Parent ]
did Martin Luther King advocate a single "cure all" bill? (0.00 / 0)
Probably you know more about this than I do, but I'm quite certain MLK was more pragmatic than that.

[ Parent ]
ENDA is hardly a 'cure all' bill (0.00 / 0)
An important first step, yes.  But there would still be work to do afterward, certainly.  

[ Parent ]
No, but (0.00 / 0)
MLK didn't first try to protect mix-raced browns before blacks.  The rights might have been incremental, but the people covered were not.

[ Parent ]
Oh, did MLK try to protect gay African Americans, too? (0.00 / 0)
If you really want to strain the comparison, this is the obvious next step. You can always divide people into different interest and problem groups and find some who are still disadvantaged, in comparison. The point simply is, every example has its limits.  

[ Parent ]
I thought of pointing that out (0.00 / 0)
But figured you could see the difference for yourself.

There never was a black/gay alliance.  The two causes are linked only at a much higher level.

Only including the first three quarters of LGBT is pitting various parties of the same group against each other.

I never thought of this subject until today -- never even heard about this specific example of incremental.  However, it hasn't taken long for me to realize this is a good example of incrementalism done incorrectly.  Note that I'm very much an incrementalist by nature in that I'll take what I can get to improve people's lives, so this goes against my basic instincts, but the case seems very solid to me.

[ Parent ]
Very little (4.00 / 1)
I could be completely wrong on the timing -- it is pure intuitive speculation on my part.  

But I think the intuition is reasonable.  It is much harder to justify protecting someone's dress choice inside the workplace then lifestyle outside the workplace.  This is particularly true when directly compared to legal dress codes.  "If I have to wear a tie, why the hell doesn't he, or she or whatever!"

Also, the transvestite/transgender community probably isn't large enough to push through much of anything on its own, they way the LGBT community can when it sticks together.

[ Parent ]
Good point. But that problem is the same in an inclusive bill. (0.00 / 0)
So, I don't see how this makes the "big jump" approach any easier...

[ Parent ]
because you have a much larger group (0.00 / 0)
which is already quite sensitive to trans people's issues (or at least more sensitive than the population at large) backing that bill.  

[ Parent ]
Hmm? Where does that group come from? (0.00 / 0)
Just take our discussion here. Looks like most OpenLeft regulars aren't interested at all. That doesn't mean they don't support inclusive ENDA, but it's not interesting enough now. Sry, but this seems to be the reality.

[ Parent ]
I'm talking about the gay movement (0.00 / 0)
Once you cordon off the trans people from the gay movement, they have much less ability to push legislation.

[ Parent ]
How would someone "cordon off the trans people from the gay movement"? (0.00 / 0)
Didn't the solidarity stance of the LGBs, abandoning the non-inclusive bill, show that this fear is unbased? I remember transgender folks at the discussions at the A-Blog voicing those concerns, but imho the strong show of solidarity should have put an end to this. As I see it, there's no reasonable base for fearing that the LGBs would have ignored the Ts waiting in the cold after getting the non-inclusive ENDA into law. But, ok, hindsight is 20/20.

[ Parent ]
Not the same (4.00 / 1)
As Valatan points out (and I hinted at) you have a larger group to push for this.

But also, a larger bill hides the edges better.  Voting for just transgender rights is a lot different than voting for gay rights that just happens to include transgender rights.  Senators and Reps can weasel around and say "no bill is perfect", and so on.  If all you do is vote for the right for men to wear dresses at work, it looks more extreme.  (And yes, the T is much more than that, but I think the point holds.)

[ Parent ]
That's all a lot of guesswork. (0.00 / 0)
Let's leave it at that. Sry, I'm tired, and don't want to replay all those arguments from the discussions about the first ENDA attempt. Even though our debate here is much more civil than the horibble, unmoderated shouting game at the A-Blog way back then...

[ Parent ]
Ah! (0.00 / 0)
You've been through this arguement before.  That explains why your acting quasi-hostile.  Not really hostile, mind you, but just on the edge.  I've done that as well when I've already had hostile debates and it comes up again.  It is easy superimpose the previous hostility on someone else's arguments that sound like something you've heard before.

It doesn't help that once above I did write something quasi-hostile myself, reflecting what I saw from you.

Yes, the joys of the internet!  :-)

But seriously, this is a brand new topic for me and I'm thinking out loud as much as anything.  I actually find this a fascinating philosophical discussion on the pros and cons of various kinds of incrementalism.

[ Parent ]
Yup, lots of bad memories coming up. (0.00 / 0)
Sry if this came through as hostility. I guess I should have stated this right at the start. Actually, the horrible ENDA "discussions", plus the violent fights during the primaries are the reason why I don't comment at the A-Blog anymore. Neither John nor the rest of the gang were doing any serious moderation worth its name, and the result was nightmarish.

[ Parent ]
In fact, HRC's 2002 poll showed that 61% of Americans support laws to (0.00 / 0)
protect transgender people. This is damn shitty, to blame transgenders, who apparently are non-entities because they aren't sizable enough in number.

[ Parent ]
Who blames transgender people? (0.00 / 0)
They have the right to be selfish. And I don't "blame" the LGBs for their honorable solidarity, either. I just point out that their decision quite probably didn't expedite anti-discrimination laws for transgenders in any way, but delayed the legal protection for themselves. Honorable, but not very reasonable.

And, btw, we all know that majority support by the general public can't be directly translated into Congress votes. Otherwise, Barney Frank would have had no problems in getting his first version of the bill passed.

[ Parent ]
ENDA = Economic Security (4.00 / 1)
Period. That's the strategy & that's why its a pressing issue. I'm sorry, but if the bill were couched in these terms and attached onto an economic-specific measure it would have an easier shot at passage. The right to work should be a fundamental one, at least a right that the avg. citizen could wrap at least a piece of their mind around. I'm tired of the civil rights of LGBT citizens being seen as an afterthought or their lives being viewed outside the prism of the typical concerns all citizens face.


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