Inclusive ENDA Introduced; “We Are Beyond” Removing Gender Identity Protections, Says Frank


Via the Twitter feed belonging to Mara Keisling, president of the National Center for Transgender Equality: an inclusive ENDA, the bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in workplaces, was re-introduced in Congress today.

According to Keisling, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the bill’s sponsor, is "very confident of ENDA vote in House this calendar year."  At a press conference following the bill’s introduction, Frank was asked whether the protections for gender identity and expression would be stripped this year in an effort to make ENDA more palatable, as they were the last time an ENDA was considered (with support from the Human Rights Campaign). "No — we are beyond that," Keisling says Frank responded.

Activists have struggled over whether or not protections around gender identity should be, can be, and will be included in non-discrimination bills that protect sexual orientation since the very first city ordinances to protect queer people were written, I discovered when I wrote about the history of the relationship between the fight for lesbian and gay rights and transgender rights for The American Prospect. The best way I’ve ever seen this question framed is by Shannon Minter, an attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who wrote in his groundbreaking essay, Do Transsexuals Dream of Gay Rights?, "The question that calls for explanation is not whether transgender
people can justify their claims to gay rights, but rather how did a movement launched by bull daggers, drag queens
and transsexuals in 1969 end up viewing transgender people as outsiders
less than 30 years later?"

Let’s hope that Frank is right, and this time around there’s no question that we can’t jettison protections for gender identity without fundamentally compromising ENDA’s liberatory promise.

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