Lesson of the Day NOT Filed Under ‘Satire’

A history lesson from Vanessa Edwards Foster:

Ten years ago this past Monday, on March 22, 2000 was the meeting between the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) at HRC HQ in downtown DC, not far from K Street.

Six weeks earlier, on Feb. 11, 2000 was the National Roundtable meeting between the Gay & Lesbian organizations, Trans organizations and a few from academe at the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) headquarters, then on Kalorama NW. in Columbia Heights.

The NGLTF roundtable was the brainchild of their executive director, Kerry Lobel, with assistance from PFLAG, and came at a crucial point in GLBT history. It was a period of flux, where the Trans community first began truly exercising its voice.

Only nine months had passed since the largest Trans lobby day on record at GenderPAC, but it created fissures within the T community, with GPAC announcing a move toward “gender” and later “gender orientation.” Also at that lobby day was a seeming closeness developing between GPAC and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and a simultaneous cooling off between them and NGLTF.

As for that Feb. 11 meeting (which I participated in via phone):

“The meeting was a very good start to build alliances,” NTAC vice-chair, Yoseñio Lewis, noted at the time. “For the most part everybody played well together. There was a tense moment when Nancy Buermeyer brought up the friction between HRC and NTAC.”

Indeed I was out of the room getting the nickel tour with Kerry Lobel, and when we walked back in, it was over: Monica Roberts and Chelsea Goodwin had their backs up, Nancy Buermeyer was crying and Michael Gray was offering to set up a group-to-group meeting between HRC and NTAC. Nancy shoved, and apparently Monica and then Chelsea shoved back.

However, to a person, everyone except Buermeyer left that roundtable with a lot of hope and enthusiasm.

And for the record, I’m not overlooking [] NCTE. At that point no one in political circles had heard of Mara Keisling as she was still months away from her first participation in Trans activism with GPAC, and three years away from creating her own organization.

Think about that whenever you see Gramma Frumpp act as though she speaks for anyone other than herself and her personal puppetmasters.

Much has changed since those meetings in early 2000. At the beginning of 2001, HRC suddenly announced they were including transgender in their mission statement and shortly after began billing themselves as the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights group in the nation. They were not going to allow us our own voice: they would declare oversight of it in order to manage our message themselves.

And think about that whenever you see or hear Gramma Frumpp’s organization being involved in anything.

NCTE effectively supplanted NTAC and all its members. It wasn’t for malfeasance or being in the wrong (we were actually correct, which ironically worked to our disadvantage). We were replaced strictly for not playing the Washington game: we didn’t feel that Trans folks should simply accept our “place” at the bottom of the pecking order.

In summation:

In early 2000 we seemed to be on a track of true GLBT community cohesion. From 2010’s vantage point, that view was quite delusional. The good relations NTAC had with other organizations through 2002 magically vanished almost overnight in 2003, coinciding with Mara’s arrival. Shortly thereafter, media relations vanished as well. Most everything began singularly funneling through Mara Keisling afterwards. This was no longer a community dialogue, but a top-down controlled environ

I reiterate: Think about that whenever you see Gramma Frumpp act as though she speaks for anyone other than herself and her personal puppetmasters.

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