Sunday, October 07, 2007

Danna and Candis audition. . .performing gender

View video here.

The ENDA situation: How you can help.

October 6, 2007

ENDA is the name given to a bill prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. The bill is currently in the House, and while it originally included protections for transgendered people, on September 27, it was announced that the bill would be stripped of these protections in order to get the bill passed (you can read the original bill here.)

This is not the first time this legislation has been proposed, nor is it the first time that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has supported an exclusive bill. If you feel, as I do, that transgender protections should be included in this bill, please read on.

From Phyllis Randolph Frye, a.k.a. THE PHYLLABUSTER, at

HRC sent its press release out today. Essentially, it boasts of being inclusive of GLBT since 2004 and wanting an inclusive ENDA (HR 2015). BUT IT WILL NOT URGE ANY MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO OPPOSE THE BARNEY FRANK NON-INCLUSIVE ENDA SUBSTITUTE (HR 3685).

Okay, GLBT and supportive straight friends -- so what do we do?

1. Go here to learn how the Barney Frank non-inclusive ENDA substitute bill (HR 3685) also waters down the rights of regular gays and lesbians. (Way to go, Barn!)

2. Personally contact your Member of Congress and say you want the original inclusive ENDA (HR 2015) passed. Tell them that ole Barn does NOT represent mainstream GLBT folks!

3. If you have given money to HRC since 2004, tell HRC ( that "they lied" and you demand a full refund.

4. Look at this list.

a. Send your money to these groups instead.

b. If you want your group on this list, contact

5. If you live in Nancy Pelosi's district or Barney Frank's district, let them know about it.

6. If you live in Tammie Baldwin's district, thank her for remaining LGBT inclusive.

7. If you live in the DC area, protest this Saturday's (October 6) HRC National Dinner. For details contact, Ethan St. Pierre at

8. Go to the HRC website and type in your city to learn where your local HRC group contact is.

a. Bend their ear on this issue.

b. Learn when their HRC fundraiser is, and start preparing the protest.

9. Fro the best up-to-dates, go to either the NGLTF site or the National Center for Transgender Equality site.

10. Keep your eye on the prize and get all of your friends to do #2 above.

And from the National Center for Transgender Equality:
Daily Update on ENDA
from Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director
Thursday, October 4

Today I spent quite a bit of time explaining (re-explaining) to the media and others that the current ENDA situation is not one of pragmatic people versus crazy idealists (not that there is anything wrong with being either practical or idealistic). No one is demanding that transgender people get ours or no one gets anything. The greatest likelihood in fact is that this year will end with no ENDA protections becoming law to protect anyone. We will all need to work together to pass the bill in the House, even harder in the Senate and then somehow overcome a likely veto by the White House.

Additionally, gender identity is not synonymous with transgender and sexual orientation is not synonymous with gay and bi people. Just as trans people face discrimination based on sexual orientation, gay people face gender identity discrimination. Yesterday, five legal organizations (Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, The Transgender Law Center, GLAD, and the ACLU) issued a joint statement ( that explained this and other legal shortcomings of a sexual orientation-only ENDA.

A split ENDA hurts all LGBT people-whether you are pragmatic, idealistic or, like most of us, both.

Today (Thursday) was another very fast paced day in Washington and around the country. Congressional offices are definitely hearing from everyone and it is just as definite that everyone's great work is really impacting things. Members of Congress and their staffs are telling us that they are getting calls and visits from people like you-people who live in their districts.

The number of organizations who have publicly proclaimed their support for transgender people and our desire to pass the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 2015) was up at about 180 the last time I checked sometime this afternoon. Earlier today, we blew past 2,500 signatures on the petitions that we co-produced with the Transgender Law Center. People are really enthused and turning that enthusiasm into action. And it's working.

One side effect of all of this sudden somewhat unexpected activity is that our expenses have gone up tremendously. Suddenly we are paying for meals for volunteers, lots of taxis to Capitol Hill, consultants, cell phone minutes. This coming week, it looks like there will be some travel costs and hotel rooms for specific people who we need to have here in DC. All in all, we think that this may cost us an additional $10,000-15,000-all of which is very difficult for a small organization like NCTE. Though so many people are doing so much, your financial support would also be very helpful. One donor sent us $150-one dollar in honor of each of the LGBT organizations who has stepped up in solidarity to support transgender people and our effort of keep ENDA inclusive of all LGBT people. If you would like to make a donation, please go to our website. It would help a lot.

Thank you.


Mara Keisling
Executive Director
National Center for Transgender Equality

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization. For more information, please visit our website.

We need your support to continue this work. Click here to join our mailing list or to donate now. Thank you! . . .

The Great American Public On Transgender: Just the Numbers

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Did you know that the first trans-inclusive legislation goes back to 1975? I didn't. Did you know that 32 years later it is deja vu all over again, vis-a-vis debating what to include and how?

From the HRC's last workplace studies release (page 13), the rise in companies recognizing gender identity and gender expression:

Free Image Hosting at

Does that growth rate look like "11 years" of toil? Here's another, showing the trend:

Until 1999, there were few transgender H.R. policies at employers, and none at large employers. However, policy adoption began to rise in 1997 and began a rapid rise in 2001. ... [in 2004] 200 companies ... 50 companies of the Fortune 500.

Cheryl Jacques in 2004:

In fact, recent polling shows 61 percent of registered voters and 85 percent of registered GLBT voters support workplace protections for transgender people.

... starts to look like that other white elephant walking around Congress, DADT.

The NGLTF 104 pages on transgender history and equality measures before the law. Did you know that the first trans-inclusive legislation goes back to 1975? I didn't. Did you know that 32 years later it is deja vu all over again, vis-a-vis debating what to include and how?

It's not too late to send a Congressman to boot camp:

From Cornell's highly respected ILR School:

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
DV214 $ 695.00
Scheduled dates: [next is November 29th in New York]

In many workplaces, diversity training and education either ignores the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity or addresses these issues in a superficial way. This workshop is designed to prepare organizations, trainers, and other interested parties with a step-by-step guide for effectively addressing sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

From the APA.

Symbolic legislation? Here is the current map of non-discrimination statues from NGLTF.

That doesn't include local ordinances, but that map is hardly a boat full of fish. True, there are ways around many (if not most) employment laws; but for every clever one there is probably at least one dumb one.

The rest of the English speaking world.

Britain dealt with gender-identity in what looks like a fairly comprehensive way in 2004. Yes. 3 years ago. (Go to "Schedule 6" at the very end of the document).

Our friends to the North appear to be less comprehensive, but moving forward just fine:

Gender identity is another story. The North West Territories is the only jurisdiction in Canada that lists gender identity specifically as a protected ground in its human rights legislation. Manitoba is a close second with its reference to protecting "gender-determined characteristics." Alberta references gender. But, that's it. In other provinces, human rights legislation has generally been interpreted to include gender identity under the protected characteristic "sex". Beyond that, there are only a handful of legal decisions in Canada that address discrimination in employment on the basis of gender identity. Now, that does not mean that Commissions haven't been talking about gender identity and trying to raise awareness about discrimination and harassment faced by transsexuals and transgendered persons. For example, click here to read the Ontario Human Rights Commission's Policy on Discrimination and Harassment because of Gender Identity.

[more on the international as it becomes available]

Barney Frank, Gay Rights Group Spar Over Employment Non-Discrimination Act


By Bryan Ochalla

When Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) unveiled a revised version of the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) last week that only would protect sexual orientation—a separate bill would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity—LGBT rights groups across the country displayed their displeasure by sending a letter to Congress that urged lawmakers to reject the “substitute legislation.”

The altered legislation also prompted a press release from Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart claiming the legislation had been “modified in several additional and troubling ways."

“In addition to the missing vital protections for transgender people on the job, this new bill also leaves out a key element to protect any employee, including lesbians and gay men who may not conform to their employer's idea of how a man or woman should look and act,” Cathcart said in the release. “This is a huge loophole through which employers sued for sexual orientation discrimination can claim that their conduct was actually based on gender expression, a type of discrimination that the new bill does not prohibit.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Frank responded with a press release of his own, in which he stated, “Lambda Legal’s analysis of the bill I have reintroduced to outlaw sexual orientation discrimination contains one essential error, and two misunderstandings of where we are in the legislative process.”

The “essential error,” according to Rep. Frank, involved Cathcart’s comment that the wording of the bill had been altered beyond the removal of the transgender protections.

"The second bill does omit reference to people who are transgender, but it makes no other change in the wording on this point," he said. "It neither adds nor deletes any reference to employers’ rights to fire people based on how they appear."

“The sexual orientation language in H.R. 3685 is the same language that has been in every version of ENDA since its first introduction in 1994,” Rep. Frank added. “There is nothing in case law or in ENDA’s history to indicate that absent gender identity coverage, the bill would inadequately protect gay, lesbian and bisexual people from discrimination.”

Rep. Frank’s main issue with the Lambda Legal release was that it asserted the new version of the bill would allow gay men and lesbians to be fired because they are too effeminate or masculine.

Such a statement “is an invitation to bigots to try to get around the law,” he said. “Fortunately, as Felix Frankfurter once said, the Constitution outlaws sophisticated as well as simple-minded forms of discrimination, and so do statutes specifically banning sexual orientation. Lambda Legal itself would easily defeat such an attempted end-run around the sexual orientation language.”

Lambda Legal made a supposed similar error regarding the religious exemption appearing in current and past versions of ENDA, according to the Congressman, according to Frank. “The fairly broad religious exemption that is in the new bill I recently introduced is essentially the same broad exemption that we had to give religious groups in previous years."

“We did make an effort to narrow it in the first ENDA bill this year, and a very good job of rewriting this was done with my strong support,” he added. “But once again we found that this would simply engender a degree of opposition from religious groups that would keep the bill from going forward.”

In a letter sent to Rep. Frank yesterday, Lambda Legal reiterated it’s stance on the revised bill, which was supposed to come before the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday but has since been postponed.

Removing gender identity "diminished the bill not only by excluding transgender people—a consequence we oppose in itself,” the organization stated in the letter. “The cut also made the bill far weaker by denying protection of the earlier version to those who may not identify as transgender but who are discriminated against because they are perceived as gender nonconforming. Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals frequently are perceived that way." . . .

Controversy dogs sexuality researcher

. . .Transgender response. . .(to a controversy. R.A.)

Susan Stryker, a queer historian, filmmaker, and author, told the B.A.R. that she considers Dreger a friend and reviewed the unpublished manuscript of the article. Stryker said she advised Dreger to "significantly revise and to think" about the article because she disagreed with Dreger's "interpretation of the controversy." She believes that Dreger is taking some of the heat from Bailey with the article by asserting her academic position and not taking into account the validity of how transgender women feel about Bailey's book and research.

"[She] doesn't address what the people are actually angry about and a part of that anger comes from ... other people putting themselves in a situation to define and determine the truth or authenticity of a transgender person's life," said Stryker.

Stryker felt that Dreger had a "genuine desire" to "shed some light on this place where there's a lot of heat," but that it was "misguided and misframed" and in the end "what Alice does is reproduce the very things that people are angry about."

It doesn't help, as author Julia Serano and Stryker point out, that Bailey and Blanchard are on the editorial board of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, where the article is being published.

Stryker is currently writing a response to Dreger's article for the journal.

Bailey doesn't believe that his position on the editorial board matters, because he told the B.A.R. that he did not review the manuscript. Dreger agreed that Bailey's position on the editorial board didn't matter.

Stryker told the B.A.R. that the transgender women who are angry about the book are scientists who think that The Man Who Would Be Queen is "bad science." What's worse, according to Stryker, is that bad science is being promoted in a popular book as "science" about transsexual women. Therefore, it's Stryker's opinion that Bailey misused his position as a psychologist.

But to Bailey, Blanchard's theory "explained what I was seeing" and went against what he believes is "this false idea that all transsexuals are women trapped in men's bodies" and "leads us on the wrong path to understanding gender identity in non-transsexual people."

Furthermore, Bailey adds, "The scientific work is not mainly mine ... my book is about the science of transsexualism, it's not the science of transsexualism."

Stryker believes there is a power struggle happening now that transgender women are gaining the platform to speak for themselves.

"What I say about you is what matters, not what you say about you," said Stryker about Bailey's attitude. "Who's the boss here? I'm the boss. It's really that kind of struggle that is going on."

Bailey and Dreger insist that the book wasn't scientific and therefore transgender women's arguments against the book through what Dreger discovered about the controversy aren't valid. She said that everything in her article is backed up with evidence.

"Even if Bailey didn't do anything as far as scientific fraud," said Serano, "he still promoted a non-scientific book as science, a book full of antidotes as though it were actual rigorous science."

Not only that, Bailey saw an opportunity to make money, which Serano perceives as "essentially exploiting trans women for personal gain."

Bailey doesn't perceive the fact that he wanted to make money as a problem.

"I don't think that makes me unusual to like the idea of making money," said Bailey. "And at that time I was pretty broke, so it had a special appeal."

But Serano believes Bailey's financial goal from the book only made the controversy worse. "I think this got personal because Bailey really tried to publicize it and make money off of it," she said.

Bailey doesn't believe that his book is anti-transsexual. He told the B.A.R. that he strongly supports sex reassignment surgery, especially in circumstances where it will improve an individual's life. He also said that he has actually received encouragement from transsexuals who are afraid to stand up in support of him because they fear similar attacks being made against them by Conway, James, and McCloskey. . . .

A traveling forum for equality

Bryana White at a picnic in New Paltz, N.Y., with other activists.
Bryana White at a picnic in New Paltz, N.Y., with other activists.

WHO: Bryana White, 23, of Kingston, R.I.

WHERE: New York

WHEN: Two weeks in July

WHY: To participate in the Right to Marry Campaign, organized by Soulforce Q, the young-adult arm of Soulforce, a nonprofit group based in Lynchburg, Va., that promotes "freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance."

WHY CARE: "Marriage equality is an issue I'm passionate about," said White, a New Bedford native and doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Rhode Island. "Being heterosexual, I feel like I take it for granted, but it's ludicrous that friends of mine can't marry. I do have many friends who are LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer], and this is one way I can help them. And as an African-American woman, I see a lot of similarities with the civil rights movement. I feel like my generation isn't really politically active. A lot of us think no one will take us seriously. But this is a forum where we can do something."

WHY SOULFORCE: White heard about Soulforce from a friend at Vassar College, where she earned her undergraduate degree. "They follow the practices of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. We would be talking to lawmakers and regular people. A lot of people who aren't for marriage equality don't really know what it is. So it's not open bigotry, but misunderstanding."

WHY NEW YORK: Governor Eliot Spitzer proposed legislation this year that would legally sanction same-sex marriage in the state, though the Senate has yet to vote on the bill. Soulforce organized four caravans totaling 32 young adults to crisscross the state visiting the home districts of state lawmakers. They first had several days of training in Albany. "We went over the literature on marriage equality, talked about lawmakers, the process, and how we personally felt," White said. "It was one of the most amazing experiences I've had, being with this big mix of people from all over the country. It was predominantly people who were LGBTQ and comfortable with themselves, and speak passionately and eloquently. I would just be angry. The leaders were amazing people, young adults who have given themselves to these rights not just for two weeks, but for years."

TOWN TO TOWN: White's group "traveled all over upstate New York in our little van. For the most part we stayed at churches that were LGBTQ-friendly, or homes. We brought sleeping bags; it felt a little bit like summer camp." The route took them to Syracuse, Binghamton, Catskill, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, and Long Island before reconvening with all the campaigners in the Bronx. Before scheduled meetings, "we'd arrive a few hours before and change into our meeting clothes in a Starbucks or in the van. Sometimes we'd talk to a senator or representative, sometimes a staff person, or sometimes they refused. When that happened, we'd contact supportive community members and throw a picnic in a local park."

DOOR TO DOOR: Occasionally the group canvassed neighborhoods and businesses to discuss the difference between civil unions and marriage. White said they were generally well received. "Maybe it's our youthful naivete and that we were a group of fresh-faced, well-dressed young people. People are generally respectful, even when they're not for something." . . .

Money can’t buy brains in 2 new shows

TV’s powerful men, as they follow the siren songs of their hormones, are blithering idiots.

Updated: 10/07/07 8:40 AM

Bless television. We learn so much from it. Because of cop shows, the most sheltered of suburbanites can casually refer to a “perp’s jacket” as it were a phrase that tumbled from their lips daily. The rest of us know exactly what’s meant, too — not a dandy new piece of fall wardrobe but the criminal record of some rotten scum just hauled in for questioning by Horatio Caine or Olivia Benson.

We know from all the “CSI” shows that you don’t need blood to check DNA, just a quick cheek swab will do. So we were all fully prepared when the Bike Path killer was caught by cops swooping down on the silverware he left after dinner at the Sole restaurant. (Imagine how that news story would have played if we had never seen “CSI.” Our jaws would still be on the floor.)

If it weren’t for the guys in the booth, most of America’s Sunday football fanatics couldn’t smugly lecture their wives, girlfriends and daughters on nickel and dime defenses and the vicissitudes of the West Coast offense.

And now, courtesy of TV’s new fall season, the phrase “trannie hooker” (transsexual prostitute for you Disney Channel partisans) is probably as commonplace a phrase over the breakfast table as “soccer practice,” “working late at the office” and “soy milk.”

No less than two — count ’em — trannie hookers figured prominently as pivotal plot moments in new fall series about the excessively rich. And both of them were used to prove that wealthy and powerful white guys are secretly kinky and hopeless doofuses besides.

One of them — ABC’s nicely unsavory and genuinely sophisticated “Dirty Sexy Money” — was played by an actual transsexual (Candis Cane, whose real first name was Brendan) who decided, as part of the show’s inaugural hype, to go on as many infotainment shows as possible and reveal what she looked like when she used to be a man.

As the world of “Access Hollywood Inside Entertainment Tonight” covered this “story,” we were all supposed to marvel at how this tall beautiful shapely woman was once a man even though her voice was about an octave lower than mine (and in my high school glee club, I was in the bass section).

To have virtually the identical semi-comic plot development in new TV shows in the same week was nothing if not bracing.

On “Dirty Sexy Money,” Billy Baldwin played a rich ambitious pol — a future senator from New York State — who was suddenly set upon by the transsexual girlfriend he vowed to break up with before his wife found out, only to spend the night with her at his favorite four-star trysting palace.

On “Big Shots,” Dylan McDermott is a tough guy executive with a perennial three-day beard who is now being blackmailed because he had a truckstop assignation with a youknow- what (this one, though, without the benefit of metamorphic surgery).

The point, in both shows, was essentially comic — that powerful men, as they follow the siren songs of their hormones, are blithering idiots.

The show’s themselves are night and day.

“Dirty Sexy Money” is exhilaratingly wicked because it has a veneer of genuine sophistication about the world of the super rich — where yacht-buying idiot sons have elementary hygiene problems and the nastiest S.O.B. in the entire mega-money family is the one who wears the clerical collar. (And there, I submit, is a genuinely new wrinkle in American TV, its first snobbish, mean-spirited, hypocritical, vicious clergyman. Somewhere in heaven, Nathaniel Hawthorne probably approves.)

“Big Shots” is a dumb, bad but marginally watchable fantasy about a group of very wealthy and powerful men who complain to each other at the country club that they’ve become “the new women.”

As much as “Dirty Sexy Money” actually seems to have a genuine feel for the alarms and diversions of those who, as the proverbial old saying goes, have “more money than God,” “Big Shots” seems to be making it up as it goes along, just to show you Joshua Malina as a crisis manager with a gymnastic girlfriend on the side, Christopher Titus as a whipped multimillionaire (to please his wife last week, he got a Brazilian wax) and McDermott whose cynical, free-spirited long lost daughter has come back into his life at the exact same time as his blackmailing truck stop assignation.

The cast deserves a muchbetter show, but if its writers can just keep on watching “Dirty Sexy Money,” they might actually get a few decent ideas to make their show cannier.

About “Cane,” CBS’ most hyped of all the “Rich Are Different From You and Me” shows, the less said the better. It’s a preposterous cyclamate melodrama about the sugar business, an English language telenovela that wants to marry “The Godfather” and “Dynasty” and winds up, instead, humiliating Jimmy Smits and Hector Elizondo worse than any kinky assignation.

What a thing to do to Smits who, when last seen on prime time, was the president of us all. . . .