Washington insiders and ENDA

Not everyone who has worked on ENDA for years sees throwing the transfolk overboard as a good idea. Here is Chai Feldblum, guest-blogging at QueerSighted:

I was one of the main lawyers responsible for drafting and negotiating the provisions of ENDA from 1992 until 2002, first as a consultant to the Human Rights Campaign and then as a consultant to the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. I believed, for many years, that it was fine for ENDA to protect only LGB people and for transgender people to be protected under a separate law.

I changed my mind in 2002. It was not that I suddenly believed that civil rights are not achieved through incremental gains if that’s what the political realities of the time require. (God, my whole political career has been based on that truism!) But I came to believe that protecting LGB people, but not T people, in ENDA, was akin to having the Americans with Disabilities Act cover all people with disabilities, but not some with HIV and AIDS, or like having a hate crimes bill cover crimes based on race and religion, but not those on sexual orientation or gender identity. It became different for me from other forms of incrementalism that I have endorsed – such as covering only employment in ENDA and then moving to housing and public accommodations in a later bill, or covering people with disabilities in housing first and then moving to greater coverage in the ADA.

She wraps up with:

I believe we can pass a bill that covers both sexual orientation and gender identity, and that we have the time to make that happen before a new President takes office. It will take work; it will take education; it will take perseverance. But let’s not short-circuit our efforts by moving precipitously to limit our efforts to a bill that gives up the battle before we have even begun to fight – a bill that will not become law, whatever its scope.

Read the whole thing. 

One Response to Washington insiders and ENDA

  1. translegalhistorian says:

    Kudos to Chai.

    I levelled off on her a few times pre-2002 – and feel no need to apologize. However, I’m glad she allowed her position to evolve – and I’m certainlt glad that she’s sticking with it now that times are rough.

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