Richard Rosendall in Bay Windows:

Incrementalism works.

We know where this is going, right?  Well, it is going there – but covertly.  Strangely, he actually calls out the Marriage Derangement Syndrome crowd for being unwilling to accept incrementalism on their diesired legal nugget.

If you are an all-or-nothing purist but your state doesn’t have marriage equality, maybe you should look around and try a different approach.

The covert message, however, preceded that sentence.

The District of Columbia’s 1992 domestic partnership law, far from blocking the path to marriage equality, helped lay the groundwork for it.

Overt message: 19 years is okay to wait for gay marriage.

Subliminal message: 19+ years must therefore be okay to wait for trans-inclusion in civil rights legislation while gays and lesbians grow bloated at the civil rights feast.

Fact: Where trans-inclusion is concerned incfrementalism is a lie – always has been, always will be.  And the mirages that the trans-inclusion incrementalists will point to in order to prove their point in reality prove exactly the opposite.

  • California – 4 years.
  • Rhode Island – 6 years.

Putting aside DC (which, because of the murky “personal appearance” clause, may have covered us long before “gender identity” was added specifically), if the ‘promised land’ end of incrementalism doesn’t materialize within six years of a gay-only “sexual orientation” front-pay grab, then “gender identity” is not  going to materialize until after gays get more of what they want – namely civil unions or gay marriage.

  • New Jersey – “civil unions” in 2006; statutory “gender identity” concurrently.
  • Vermont – “civil unions” in 2000; “gender identity” in 2007.

And that’s pretty much it.

  • Massachusetts?
  • Connecticut?
  • New Hampshire?
  • New York?


You know.

And I won’t even mention Wisconsin’s 29-years-and-counting (albeit sans gay marriage.)

I won’t.  I really won’t.

Decisions have consequences. LGBT activists collectively decided three years ago to oppose a non-transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Instead of blaming others for ENDA being stalled, let’s get on with the work of organizing, electioneering, and lobbying.

Decisions have consequences?  So does deception.

More stealth bullshit – implications (1) that the gay-only ENDA that was never going to become law with Dubya in the White House somehow failed because most non-DC, non-Gay, Inc. LGBT people wanted a legitimate ENDA, and that (2) “others” somehow didn’t cause ENDA to die multiple deaths.  (Complaining about “blaming others”?  Pot?  Meet black.)

4 Responses to Spin

  1. Of course we should not wait. The question is what is ripe and what needs more work. I realize the passion behind the notion that any advance which is short of total victory is a betrayal, so I suspect there is little chance of my changing many minds at ENDAblog. But a great deal of evidence shows that there is no practical possibility of the LGBT movement ending its efforts for transgender equality.

    Here in D.C., where I am a local activist with a strong record of supporting transgender rights including good coalition work with the DC Trans Coalition, we did indeed have protections for transgender people under the D.C. Human Rights Act before it became explicit 5 years ago. But explicit is better, as was demonstrated when we had to fight the city’s effort to repeal those protections via rulemaking (which was totally illegitimate, and which we successfully beat back).

    I object to the accusations of a “stealth” agenda, since I say what I mean and there is thus no stealth about it. I realize that there is a painful history here.

    The bottom line is that the community has collectively decided to oppose a non-transgender-inclusive ENDA, and we have plenty more work ahead to pass an inclusive ENDA–including defeating the Republicans, who are not about to let any kind of ENDA pass the House in the next two years. If you want to spend your energy attacking imperfect allies and picking scabs, so be it. But I don’t see how that helps our common cause of equality for all.

  2. Since I’m sure I will be challenged regarding evidence, let me point out: hundreds of LGBT groups endorsed United ENDA three years ago. Only if all of those groups fold and all of the United ENDA supporters drop dead or give up their activism can our transgender brothers and sisters be “thrown under the bus.”

    BTW, of course ENDA was not going to become law as long as George W. Bush was President. But the passage of any kind of ENDA even by only one house of Congress was an advance over where we were before. No, we were not satisfied, and will not be satisfied until justice runs down like water (see Dr. King on that).

    As to D.C. domestic partnerships, we did that twenty years ago not because we would ever have been content with anything less than equality but because we wanted to move the ball forward and the work necessary for marriage equality had not yet been done. DPs were not an alternate to marriage, they were a stepping stone toward marriage–at least they were for us in DC! We won marriage equality before most states did, so I don’t know why someone supporting equality would disparage our successful strategy. (Though sure, if you’re determined to disparage me and GLAA you can look up Chris Crain’s contemptuous comments, and you can also look up my response.) Can’t you restrain the anger for five minutes and recognize that you are attacking an ally? Activism is hard work, and I’ve been doing it for 30 years. I’m still at it, which is a sign that I recognize we are not done. But D.C.’s marriage equality law is very well-positioned to withstand any Republican efforts to overturn it; that is because of the thorough job of preparation we did.

    • Here’s reality about the ENDA almost put on the floor which you laud as a improvement Richard.

      The ENDA Miller and company wanted to pass to a house vote would have mandated employers and providers of public facilities require proof of gender transition from all who wished to use their facilities.

      The committees work was kept secret for a while. Despite Franks inexplicable press releases during that time cluing us in that something was ghastly amiss.

      Chairman Miller sought to placate the Catholic Church and religiously invested representatives with a dehumanizing “human rights” bill as they strove to craft acceptable verbiage not obviously totally contrary to our constitutional rights.

      That turned out to be a insurmountable proposition. How would they placate transwomen after being striped of rights afforded naturally by society? How would they make a case for allowing transmen to be exempted from sexual reassignment surgery after all top surgery for transmen is the commonly accepted procedure required for legal transition.

      Their failure was undeniable after the true reasons for ENDA’s was stuck in committee were revealed and became undeniable. The straw that broke this ENDA’s back was quislings failed smoke screen lamination’s of “its better than nothing” as her words fell on our communities increasingly enlightened ears.

      This was ENDA was in no way incremental, it was criminal.

      Chairman Miller and the Quisling >sic HRC< conspired to subjugate our entire gender community under the "Incremental" banner. It was criminal and the fact it almost reached the House floor in no way was a victory.
      UnitedEnda beginings origaly coalesced from rage from protests of the million dollar black ties by trans people like myself.

      Many climbed on the UnitedENDA wagon so as not to be left out becuse as our momentum increased. protest HRC's domination of national equality movement and there duplicious acquiescence to Congressman Barney Frank's gutting HR2015 and throwing trans people under the bus.

      The truth many gay men and there proxies organizations would damn us to subjection of the DSM and would still leave us behind is undeniable blogs like this. Sometimes the truth stings for trans people "Incremental" means death.

      Richard no ones attacking you with anything other than a request for full disclousr.

      • Considering that I sign my name to my work and have been quite open about my views, your talk about “full disclosure” appears based solely on a determination to stoke distrust. Question: would you rather that we work together toward the goal, or just be angry? The mantra “throwing trans people under the bus,” given the strong consensus for a trans-inclusive ENDA, suggests that some people are so determined to nurse grudges that they don’t care if they are hurting the cause more than helping. Allies are seldom perfect. Let’s not be like the Roman Catholic Church, shrinking down to its ideologically pure core. That’s the opposite of effective coalition building.

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