A history lesson from Gwen Smith in the Bay Area Reporter:
In 1994, when I was a freshly out transgender woman still laying the groundwork for living full time in my preferred gender, I heard of a bill that was heading to the 103rd Congress. That bill was the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994. It never made it out of committee. That year, as the battle over ENDA started in earnest, I found myself in Houston, Texas on a hot, sweaty summer’s day, attending the Transgender Law Conference.
In one particularly contentious panel, a representative from an organization then known as the Human Rights Campaign Fund tried to quell rising anger about the lack of transgender protections in ENDA. Those assembled were told not to worry, that this was all a first step, and HRCF would not leave us behind. We were informed that Congress was simply not ready to deal with transgender issues, and the bill would not be able to muster enough votes if transgender rights were included. Indeed, this HRCF wonk suggested that if this non-inclusive ENDA was passed, they would come right behind to start work on an ENDA that would specifically protect transgender people – oh, and can they have a donation?
Funny how a ‘Fund’-ectomy changes so little, eh?
And speaking of changing so little over the course of a decade and a half…
[Barney] Frank hasn’t been a fan of gender identity language in ENDA, often citing concerns about pre-operative transgender women in public restroom facilities. To quote Frank asking if he would include transgender people in ENDA back in 2000 – by way of transgender activist Miranda Stevens-Miller – “He got red in the face and started shouting, ‘Never.’ His problem was that until we could answer the question of ‘people with penises in [women’s] showers,’ there is no way that he would support it. The conversation got rather heated to say the least. And with Barney speaking very loudly and repeatedly about ‘penises in showers,’ we attracted a lot of attention in the restaurant.”Other activists, including Katrina C. Rose, have pointed all the way back to 1975, when Frank was still in local Boston politics fighting against transgender people in some of the area nightclubs. That was largely about prostitution, supposedly, not shared bathroom facilities.
I do exist!
And, so does the analysis of even the ENDA language that us non-Chosen Ones have been allowed to see:
[Diego] Sanchez has let the community know that ENDA would not mean transgender people could not use the restroom at work, and that employers would need to make “reasonable accommodations for transgender/transitioning employees.” Further, employers could not force people to use the “wrong” bathroom, but that people in transition would not have the right to sue over the use of the “right” bathroom when it is occupied.
I’m not going to ascribe the next step of my analysis to Gwen, but I am going to repeat what led a certain Chosen One to decry this reality-based one as an ‘idiot’: Extermination.
Does that word include activities for which Zyklon-B is necessary? Of course. I, however, include economic extermination under the general umbrella of extermination.
What’s a key step toward the Zyklon-B-style extermination? Being ‘othered.’ Then and there, the other-ing involved, among other things, the Enabling Act and sewn-on stars of David.
But don’t for one second believe that that is the only way than one can be ‘othered’.
What is a different form of othering? Ensuring that never, under any circumstances, will trans people be fully transitioned in the eyes of federal employment discrimination law.
If you begin transition on a job, that transition will never actually be complete – unless your employer degins it to be so. If you’ve already transitioned and are outed – be it by some jerk who might have known you pre-transition or by a Social Security ‘no-match’ letter – then the built-in employer superiority (someone gets to define ‘reasonable’, and it won’t be you) kicks in and you will be officially regarded as in transition no matter how long ago you actually completed transition.
- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.
- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the construction of new or additional facilities.
Certain Chosen Ones are trotting around the country and flapping their overly-funded, never-voted-upon-by-those-who-they-claim-to-represent gums – reinforcing the illegitimate foundations of their fake legitimacyby attempting to tear down those who have refused to join the cult of the Chosen Ones.
They can trot, but they can’t hide from the reality of what they’re pushing.
Those two bullet-points are direct quotes from the current incarnation of ENDA – the HR 3017 that we excluded Non-Chosen ones are allowed to see.
And, as I’ve pointed out before (and pointing such out is apparently a capital offense to the B.O.s), that current incarnation is the ceiling, not the floor; its only going to get worse.
Would even M.T. – the wife whose womanhood was validated as clearly as it could be validated in the 1976 New Jersey case M.T. v. J.T. – be free from being ‘othered’ under even this as-good-as-its-gonna-get-but-rest-assured-that-its-actually-gonna-be-much-worse-if-it-ever-passes ENDA?
Those of us who live in reality – and whose brains haven’t been so thoroughly permeated with B.O. B.S. that we’ve lost the ability to read and comprehend plain (well, as close to it as Congress is going to get) English – know what the answer is.
And so do The Chosen Ones.
But they have a narrative to push and a constituency to placate.
And if you’re trans, neither you nor your life is actually a part of either – because if you were, The Chosen Ones wouldn’t be idiot-ing those who are pointing out that nothing has really changed over the last decade.
In 2000, Miranda Stevens-Miller wrote:
I found Barney [Frank] without a group of people around him, so I once again engaged him in conversation. “So,” I said, “does your support of transgender inclusion in the VAWA mean that you might be changing your mind about inclusion of gender-variant people in ENDA?” An innocent enough question, but you would have thought that I was threatening him with a loaded weapon. He got red in the face and started shouting, “Never.” His problem was that until we could answer the question of “people with penises in [women’s] showers,” there is no way that he would support it. The conversation got rather heated to say the least. And with Barney speaking very loudly and repeatedly about “penises in showers,” we attracted a lot of attention in the restaurant.There was no way to win this argument. In fact, it was déjà vu, recalling a similar conversation we had almost two years ago when Barney was in town for a meeting of the Stonewall Democrats. At that time, it was “men in women’s bathrooms.” I pointed out to him that while he was discussing urinary rights, I was talking about human rights and employment discrimination. His only come-back was, “What’s the matter? You too good to talk about bathrooms?”
This time I was using the argument that the shower issue is really an employee’s privacy matter that needed to be dealt with by the employer. Again I contrasted the right to privacy, with the right to hold a job and make a living without fear of discrimination. His only comeback this time was that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and that I should stop with all my rhetoric.
His adolescent preoccupation with genitals is one of the major stumbling blocks in getting federal legislation introduced to protect the gender variant people of America. With his fantasy of penises in showers, he is almost single-handedly holding back the tide of the national gender rights movement.
It was around this time that I suggested that since, clearly, St. Barney’s problem was with penises in women’s showers, then he and his highly-paid brethren should simply write ENDA so as so explicitly include post-ops under all circumstances and explicltly make genitals irrelevant in any situation where neither showers nor bathrooms would be involved.
Its now 2010 and that is what The Chosen Ones are, for all practical purposes, telling us that we have – even while insisting that the notion that there will be genital police is idiocy.
Why would you trust a bill that goes to so much trouble to ensure that you have no right to sue about the one issue that is most likely to interfere with your career if you’re a trans woman?
And why would you trust those who – from the safety of their own permanent employment in the gay rights industry – insist that there’s nothing to worry about even though it is clear that the bill is going to change and not possibly in trans people’s favor?
And, even if you were heretofore inclined to side with The Chosen Ones’ de facto claims that their critics’ ability to read amounts to paranoia, considering what has come to pass regarding the ‘compromise’ on DADT – fake legislation which, even if it passes, will not actually result in any change at all, much less any real change(all change being subject to nebulous policy determinations that will not happen until after the next election), but will allow the permanently-employed B.O. activist class to claim ‘success’ at the next black-tie fundraising dinner, and the dinner after that, and the dinner after that…. – why are you no longer willing to believe that a similarly-fake, non-substantive-at-best-elmininationist-at-worst final ENDA solution is what The Chosen Ones are willing to sign off on (or, as plenty of us suspect and have no real reason not to suspect, have already signed off on)?