Don't
November 8, 2007 1:21 AM   Subscribe

Don't make Barney Frank angry.

He won last night, by the way.
posted by awesomebrad (60 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't watch YouTube at work so could you give me a hint as to what this is about? I am intrigued to know how this is best of the web.
posted by grouse at 2:07 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll summarize for you, grouse: CSPAN clips. Politicians yammer on and on about dull things. Best of the web, this ain't.
posted by hjo3 at 2:16 AM on November 8, 2007


The first one is amusing.
posted by creasy boy at 3:17 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


The second one is abusing.
posted by Termite at 3:18 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


He's my rep. He and Senator Kennedy are the only people I vote for with any enthusiasm. Barney Frank helps make me happy to live in Massachusetts.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:51 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Barney Frank is fantastic. I would vote for him for President.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:06 AM on November 8, 2007


Barney Frank is awesome and I support the bill, but if by "won" you mean got the House to pass something that the Senate won't and Bush would veto if they did, then yes, he "won".
posted by DU at 4:14 AM on November 8, 2007


Barney Frank is one of the most quick-witted politicians we have. I remember him on Hardball with Chris Matthews discussing the Monica Lewinsky case, while the issue was very current. With perfect timing, Barney Frank said (in his trademark Joe Quimby with a lisp voice) "I am not an expert at leaving stains on dresses." The remark was not just priceless because it was funny, but because I could literally watch the remark flying over Chris Matthews' head. I have never laughed my ass off at a pundit chat show so much, either before or since.
posted by jonp72 at 4:40 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, I enjoyed watching the second link. It was worthy of the applause he received near the end.

Frank by name, frank by nature, heh?
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:47 AM on November 8, 2007


Barney's awesome


THE GENTLEMAN MAY NOT MAKE AN INQUIWY!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:49 AM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


ENDA passes House

Passage came after openly gay Rep. Barney Frank made an emotional plea to his colleagues.

"There are people who are your fellow citizens who are being discriminated against," said Frank, his voice choking in a rare display of emotion. "Please don’t turn your back on them."

The House erupted into applause. ...

posted by Carol Anne at 5:02 AM on November 8, 2007


Thanks Carol Anne for finally explaining what this is about.
posted by grouse at 5:07 AM on November 8, 2007


Barney Frank makes me glad to be from Massachusetts. He's a real patriot. He's so quick-witted that Republicans barely bother to engage him anymore. He'll win every time, and they know it.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:15 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Politicians yammer on and on about dull things

Pass me the bong dude, who's on "Ow My Balls" tonight?
posted by psmealey at 5:49 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I remember when Barney Frank was first running for the House, and he'd stand on the corner in Coolidge Corner asking people to vote for him, talking to them about issues, and the like. I was too young to vote then, but I liked him and would've voted.

But this ENDA* thing is fucked up. This: "There are people who are your fellow citizens who are being discriminated against," said Frank, his voice choking in a rare display of emotion. "Please don’t turn your back on them." Yeah, Barney. Unless those fellow citizens are transgender, in which case it's fine to turn your back (cuz it's just temporary, guys! Be patient - you'll get your rights, some day!). I'm a dyke and if you'd told me 20 years ago that I'd be this angry about the passage of a gay rights bill in Congress I would've called you crazy.

I still hold a place of nostalgic fondness in my heart for Barney, and I'm happy with so much of the work he's done over the years. Not this, though. Not at all.
(*more links, contentious discussion)
posted by rtha at 5:54 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Barney's my hero. The only genuinely witty man in politics.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:03 AM on November 8, 2007


"Does whining come out of my time?"

I am a huge fan of Barney Frank. His wit is always razor sharp, and he backs up his viewpoints with cogent analysis. He's also very pragmatic: for instance, he was actually opposed to gay rights groups pushing for official marriage rights (he felt that it was too soon and would cause an unnecessary backlash), but when he saw that they were going to push anyway he became a vocal and political supporter.

We could use a couple hundred more Barney Franks.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:04 AM on November 8, 2007


I'll like you when you're angry, Barney Frank.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:10 AM on November 8, 2007


Personally, I would love to see Barney run for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat when Teddy finally retires (hopefully at the end of his current term in 2012).

He's easily the best member of the Massachusetts delegation (who are otherwise a mostly useless bunch) and would be a first-rate Senator.
posted by briank at 6:17 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Barney does indeed have a sharp wit.
I'm trying to remember that younger dude's name who stayed with Barney for awhile. My memory is really foggy here, but I want to say they were running some kind of 'business from home' thing...
posted by rockhopper at 6:35 AM on November 8, 2007


I vote Democrat, always have. I have a lot of friends who are Democrats. I have a lot of political discussions with those friends. For practically my whole voting life, I have heard these friends (not the same friends, of course, different friends, through the years) at some point during the presidential election cycle whinge on and on and on about the "unelectability" of some candidate or another.

Clinton? The U.S. isn't ready for a female president!

Obama? The U.S. isn't ready for a black president!

Gore? The U.S. isn't ready for an intellectual, environmentalist president!

I used to nod my head in agreement. But now, I think to myself - and sometimes say out loud:

Imagine its 1981. A Massachusetts Congressional seat has just been vacated by a Catholic priest. A former member of the MA House of Representatives is running for that seat against a heavily favored republican who would later become Reagan's secretary of Health and Human Services. Our candidate is a jew, has coke-bottle glasses and a heavy lisp, and there are persistent rumors that he's gay.

Suppose I asked you: What do you think his chances are?

You'd probably say: Microscopic. Massachusetts simply isn't ready to elect an eccentric intellectual gay jew with a lisp to the U.S. House of Representatives.

And suppose I said: Actually, I think he's going to win. In a landslide. And be re-elected. And be re-elected again, even after publicly coming out and becoming an ardent supporter of gay rights. And again, and again. In fact, he would stay in the House for 26 years, surviving reprimands for an ill-considered relationship with a male prostitute, and publicly being called "Barney Fag" by the House majority leader. He would eventually become chair of the House Financial Services Committee.

You'd probably say something like: Well, that's Massachusetts, but the rest of the U.S. would never go for a candidate like that.

And I'd say: Don't be so sure.
posted by googly at 6:36 AM on November 8, 2007 [8 favorites]


I ♥ Barney Frank.

I loved this quip he made when he appeared on "Real Time With Bill Maher" in March 2005:
"I try very hard to be a responsible citizen and as a gay man I try very hard to keep track of the marriages I have destroyed, and there really aren't that many. I may have some secret admirers out there and I may have wreaked more havoc than I realize, but they haven't called."
posted by ericb at 6:44 AM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


Barney on "Flip-flop" Romney:
"The real Romney is clearly an extraordinarily ambitious man with no perceivable political principle whatsover. He is the most intellectually dishonest human being in the history of politics." [video]
posted by ericb at 6:50 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


A post about ENDA entirely composed of YouTube links with a mystery meat coating? Puh-lease.

And I'm trying hard to recall a single bill written and passed by a politician ostensibly on behalf of a community THAT WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY ANY MAJOR ADVOCACY GROUP IN THAT COMMUNITY and coming up empty. Until Monday night, when the Human Rights Campaign switched its position, there wasn't a single gay political organization that was behind this, although lots of non-gay leftwing groups were. And I love this:

Asked whether NGLTF and other groups pressing for an inclusive ENDA had received House Democratic leadership's commitment to plan for an ENDA that includes gender identity language in 2009, assuming, as seems inevitable, that it does not become law under President George W. Bush, Foreman said, "We're still working on that..."

Forgive me if I want to make Barney Frank angry. Very, very angry. I said it before and I'll say it again, but fuck Barney Frank *and* his emptily symbolic little "win."
posted by mediareport at 6:52 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


...when the Human Rights Campaign switched its position

Mike Signorile interview with HRC's Joe Solmonese -- "Joe Solmonese definitely didn't sound like a happy camper."
posted by ericb at 7:00 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also keep in mind Lambda Legal's position that by abandoning language protecting gender identity, Barney's little bill utterly fails to protect effeminate men or masculine women from discrimination:

There can be no debating that this cut weakened the bill. As our prior analysis indicated, this cut diminished the bill not only by excluding transgender people --- a consequence we strongly oppose in itself. The cut also made the more recent bill far weaker by denying the protection that would have been provided by the earlier version to those who may not identify as transgender but who are discriminated against because they are perceived as gender nonconforming. Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals frequently are perceived that way.

Barney's badly designed bill is bullshit through and through. It leaves huge segments of the community still open to discrimination, ignores the opinions of almost all major queer civil rights groups, and kicked trans folks off the bus in such a sudden unannounced way it was guaranteed to stir up ugly divisions in the very people it was meant to serve. But it gets him into the history books, right?

Fuck. Barney. Frank. on this one.
posted by mediareport at 7:02 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, the perfect is the enemy of the good, then?
posted by Richard Daly at 7:09 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you can call this good.
posted by mediareport at 7:13 AM on November 8, 2007


Richard Daly: Political choices have political consequences. The argument is not that any bill coming out of congress must be perfect, no one expects that. The argument is here is that Frank and the HRC have chosen rather cynically to sacrifice 30 years of coalition-building for a largely hollow and symbolic win. Transgender and Genderqueer people have every right to feel like they've been thrown under the bus for breadcrumbs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:22 AM on November 8, 2007


Barney Frank demonstrates that gay rights legislation can get past the house? Sounds good to me, but I haven't been following the debate closely.

Given that just a few years ago the Republicans beat the Democrats with Gay Marriage amendments to drive voter turnout, this sounds like a start.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:25 AM on November 8, 2007


Should have previewed.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:26 AM on November 8, 2007


Please don’t turn your back on them. says Frank. How ironic, since he so easily turned his back on transgendered folks! Thanks for selling out my family, friends, and lovers, Barney, and for relegating transgendered folks to the 'back of the pack' and heaping more vulnerability on to a segment of the queer community that needs guarantees of protection in this crazy, fucked up and discriminatory world.

I'm glad that people like Tammy Baldwin are out there, who truly do represent ALL members of the queer community/family. She is the only respectable Representative who should be lauded for keeping up the inclusionary fight!
posted by kuppajava at 7:30 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


I haven't been following the debate closely.

Reading the Lambda Legal analysis of Barney's bill would be a great place to start.
posted by mediareport at 7:32 AM on November 8, 2007


Barney Frank went to the wedding of one of my cousins! I wasn't there, unfortunately.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:41 AM on November 8, 2007


The argument is here is that Frank and the HRC have chosen rather cynically to sacrifice 30 years of coalition-building for a largely hollow and symbolic win. Transgender and Genderqueer people have every right to feel like they've been thrown under the bus for breadcrumbs.

Coalitions are not tightly-knit affinity groups; they are loose arrangements of disparate groups that identify common goals and agree to work towards those specific common goals. Each coalition member recognizes that there are areas in which their agendas overlap, and areas in which they don't.

The great thing about coalitions is that they allow groups that otherwise might work at cross-purposes to work together and thus have more combined political weight than they would separately. In particular, very small groups can gain disproportionate political clout by aligning with relatively larger and stronger groups.

The crappy thing about coalitions is that, ultimately, they are a temporary alignment of convenience. In particular, the importance of small groups to the larger groups they align with is extremely tenuous indeed. When the more powerful groups in a coalition sense a chance to gain advantage without the help of the less powerful groups, they will take it.

Experienced coalition-builders (I'm thinking here primarily of politicians in established parliamentary systems) recognize this as a risk of coalition politics. They know at the outset that their membership in the coalition only extends as far as their usefulness does. Does it suck? Sure. When they are dumped, a lot of hard work goes down the drain, and often the less powerful members do feel 'thrown under a bus.'

But its a bus that they should have seen coming a mile away. And to take this particular outcome personally, and demonize Frank as particularly evil or insensitive, is both too Manichean and politically naive. Frank is a politician with an agenda, and he's doing his job. That doesn't make him good or right or fair, it just makes him a politician. Most importantly, it means that, regardless of what happened in this iteration, he might well be a useful ally in the future.
posted by googly at 7:45 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


If there were only two options
1) this bill became law
2) this bill didn't become law
Which would be preferable, then?

Obviously, there's a third option
3) A vastly better bill became law
that would have been... vastly better.

The question then seems to be, "is that vastly better bill possible, and in what time-frame?" Would the passage of the weakened law slow down that vastly better bill? Kill it completely?

When you're dealing with issues of justice, political compromise does begin to look like injustice. Is it? I'm asking these questions sincerely.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:57 AM on November 8, 2007


I remember the first time I heard of Barney. It was a re-elect ad in 2004. At the end he said "I'm Barney Frank and I endorse this message....I mean, who else would?"
posted by DU at 8:06 AM on November 8, 2007


googly: The problem is with the desire of the HRC and Frank to have it both ways. They want to both pretend that they are leaders of an inclusive movement, and the freedom to act in ways that are not inclusive. And that is where this debate is centered.

And in particular Frank has gone beyond just saying that the exclusion of gender expression from the bill is a matter of temporary political necessity. He placed the responsibility for that exclusion not on the reluctance of his fellow congresscritters, but on the claimed failue of TG and GQ activists to engage in necessary consiousness raising. TG and GQ people who have been politically active in the struggle for equal rights have every right to say, "what the fuck have we been doing since Stonewall?"

The other side of the story is that no equal righs movement has ever made gains by staying within the comfort zone of congressional majorities. The gains are made by continuing to push the issue to its full conclusion.

Richard Daly: We know that no version of the bill is going to become law. Bush will exercise his veto powers, and there is not enough voice for even a dream of a congressional override, so this is entirely a symbolic victory.

And certainly it is the nature of politicians to play the games of political necessity. But on the other hand, politicians who compromise justice for political nicessity deserve to have those compromises criticized.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:07 AM on November 8, 2007


Barney Frank For President
posted by matteo at 8:13 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Good questions, Richard Daly. For me, it boils down to 1) the practical question in Lambda Legal's analysis and 2) the dueling symbolism of passage of *any* kind of bill vs. transgender exclusion.

It's astonishing that Barney Frank was unaware that by dropping the language protecting gender identity he was also seriously weakening the protections for all folks who don't fit gender stereotypes. That idiocy - and I don't need to demonize Barney to see that it's idiocy - required us to throw trans folks out of the coalition "temporarily" (although the anti-trans bias in certain g/l folks certainly did bubble up fast in the sudden discussion that followed). And for what did Barney make that horrible, horrible symbolic gesture?

For a symbolic gesture that doesn't have a chance in hell of becoming law under this president. Sorry, but an awful lot of us feel that the tradeoff was very far from worth it. The symbolic gesture of transgender inclusion means so much more to many of us than Barney's choice of symbol.

googly: But its a bus that they should have seen coming a mile away.

Barney talked with none - I repeat, none - of the major glbt rights groups before announcing his exclusion of transgendered people. Every activist I spoke with or read about says they were taken by surprise. That's bullshit, googly. Frank knew what he was doing would cause a stink, and he went about it in the most underhanded way possible.
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on November 8, 2007


Mayor Curley: "Barney Frank helps make me happy to live in Massachusetts."

Yes, folks, Barney Frank is that awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 8:30 AM on November 8, 2007


Rockhopper, the name you're looking for is Gobie. It doesn't sound like they were in business together. From a Washington Post of August 27, 1989:

Frank, one of two openly gay members of Congress, confirmed Friday that he paid Gobie for sex, hired him with personal funds as an aide and wrote letters on congressional stationery on his behalf to Virginia probation officials, but Frank said he fired Gobie when he learned that clients were visiting the apartment.
posted by the Real Dan at 8:35 AM on November 8, 2007


mediareport: "Every activist I spoke with or read about says they were taken by surprise. That's bullshit, googly. Frank knew what he was doing would cause a stink, and he went about it in the most underhanded way possible."

Whoa. Calm down there, pardner. All I meant was that all coalition partners should recognize that the politicians they work with may well "throw them under a bus" when they see an opportunity to gain political advantage. That is the risk of coalition politics.

KirkJobSluder: "They want to both pretend that they are leaders of an inclusive movement, and the freedom to act in ways that are not inclusive. And that is where this debate is centered."

I don't disagree. But again, I will maintain that this is a side effect of coalition politics. Frank is happy to "include" weaker political allies in his coalition precisely as long as their inclusion furthers his own agenda. The second it doesn't, his agenda (whatever it may be) will take precedence. That's politics.

Like I said, this doesn't make what Frank did right or good or fair. You have both convinced me that what he did was slimy, self-serving, and probably politically ineffectual.

My only point - and its admittedly a small one - is that this is precisely how coalition politics work. A number of communities with overlapping - but not identical - agendas work together to mutual benefit. Hooray! One member decides that the coalition is less important than his own agenda. Boo! A rift forms.

The important thing now is: does that rift become permanent? Do the coalition members allow their personal hurt feelings to prevent them from ever working together again? I hope not. That has been the sad experience of a lot of left-wing activists in the U.S. for quite a few years now, and is one reason that it has been so ineffectual.

I hope, instead, they come out of this experience wiser, and a little more cognizant that coalitions are fragile and ephemeral, but nonetheless powerful things. And that they keep an eye out for that bus every time they cross the street.
posted by googly at 9:25 AM on November 8, 2007


I am generally in alignment with Rep. Frank (He's trying to get online poker decriminalized, yay!), but reading through the discussion here has put a question in mind: Isn't any progress for humans rights to be celebrated? Can we realistically expect to extend rights enforced by law to each and every possible group every time? Here, let me disclaim, I have trans friends (M-T-F), and I grieve for their exclusion. However, it's not the end of attempts, legal and otherwise. I can have hope for them. I am puzzled by the vehemence of some of the comments. I feel I should point something out: Anectdotally, I suspect that the breeders (and I am one,) do not really associate the transgendered with gay and lesbian issues. You'll notice that the MSM usually refers to 'gay', or occasionally 'gay & lesbian', but almost never uses GLBT, which seems to be the almost exclusive province of the alt papers and the GLBT press itself. I suspect this attitude is part of the problem with transgedered recognition. Perhaps it is time for the trans community to strike out for it's own identity. In the meantime, I suspect that Barney ain't done with this yet, and future action may come in a new and hopefully Democratic administration.
posted by Fferret at 10:20 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Barney Frank and the HRC can go to hell. Not only did they abandon part of the community at the first moment that there was any resistance, they did it for a bill that's not even going to pass. The ENDA itself is symbolic - but their willingness to throw the T community under the bus as so quickly isn't.

They even worked hard to make sure nobody included gender inclusion in the bill. They threw them under the bus, and then held them there.
posted by evilangela at 10:23 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sad that Barney Frank, long a hero of mine, is being attacked. Instead of beating up him, why not go after the homophobes in Congress? I'm a 62-year-old lesbian who supports the ENDA bill and hopes that transgender protection will come soon. Politics is the art of compromise.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:54 AM on November 8, 2007


Carol Anne, the bill probably would've passed by the same amount had Frank not forced the exclusion of transgender and genderqueer people from it. (And as others have explained, it probably would not pass the Senate, and even if it did, it would get vetoed.) So the real obstacle here for TG and GQ rights was not the homophobes, it was the transphobes -- the most important of which was Barney Frank.

...

The news has made me very sad, even depressed, but it also makes me happy, because now I know where the HRC really stands (I don't think I'm ever going to give them the benefit of the doubt again), and I know that there are many GLBT organizations that really do value the rights of G, L, B and T. Thank you to everyone in this thread, and everywhere else, who supports human rights for every human, not just those who certain congresspeople deem passable.
posted by jiawen at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2007


So, the perfect is the enemy of the good, then?
If you can call this good.
WTF? I wanted cake and ice cream, but you only gave me cake, so the cake's no good?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:06 PM on November 8, 2007


The cake is a lie.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:19 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anectdotally, I suspect that the breeders (and I am one,) do not really associate the transgendered with gay and lesbian issues. You'll notice that the MSM usually refers to 'gay', or occasionally 'gay & lesbian', but almost never uses GLBT, which seems to be the almost exclusive province of the alt papers and the GLBT press itself. I suspect this attitude is part of the problem with transgedered recognition. Perhaps it is time for the trans community to strike out for it's own identity.

I'm a lesbian. A born-female type of lesbian.

If this bill - without the trans-inclusive language - were actually to pass the Senate, and then get signed by El Jefe, my employer could then legally be prevented from firing me because I'm a dyke.

But I'm a butch dyke, and as far as I understand this, they could fire me because my "gender expression" is not stereotypically female. I don't identify as male, and I don't really consider myself trans - although I'm not insulted to be counted in that camp - but the inclusive language would have done more to protect butch women and nelly men (whether they're gay, straight, bi) than the current language does.

Passing a civil rights bill by cutting out some portion of people who worked for its passage and who deserve protection is bullshit.
posted by rtha at 12:36 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I think a part of the problem is that the initiative for watering down the bill came from a person who, having positioned himself as the voice of the GLBT community in congress, should have been its primary advocate. If the compromise that left gender identity on the editing room floor had come from Pelosi or some other congresscritter, if Frank had joined Baldwin and others over more inclusive language, then I don't think that there would have been as much anger on this, and it would have been celebrated.

But Frank didn't step up for the full bill. He was the one to throw his allies under the bus, and he fought hard against inclusion over weeks of debate that he could have spent going from office door to office door educating his peers about why the full language was important and needed. Rather than trying to be an ally of the people who need gender identity language in the bill, he insulted them by calling their activism efforts inadequate.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:43 PM on November 8, 2007


This is so perfect an example of what is now considered "winning" Washington. Give up the principles you believe in order to "win" a symbolic battle (i.e.: pass a bill, even a symbolic bill). The Democrats are getting to be experts at this, and it is killing their chances of getting anything accomplished to further their "principles". How in the world is that winning?

The Mulcasey vote in the Judiciary Committee is another example of this, where two Democrats ignored a fundamental principle of law in our country (that torture is ILLEGAL), and let a Bush nominee slide rather than facing up to Bush's threats.

The Republicans don't do this, and their twisted principles are becoming more and more ensconced in our country, even when a majority of the citizens don't support them. And they rarely compromise.

As someone who has admired Frank, I am very discouraged. Is there anyone who is willing to stand up to display integrity and honesty in the defense of their principles, even if it may mean not "winning"?
posted by birdhaus at 12:48 PM on November 8, 2007


rtha said: "Passing a civil rights bill by cutting out some portion of people who worked for its passage and who deserve protection is bullshit."

Perhaps. I empathize with your statement, but it's getting it passed that was important. Unfortunately, the BT portion got the shaft, mainly because of public perception among the congresscritters Frank had to convince to vote for the bill.
posted by Fferret at 1:50 PM on November 8, 2007


Was the emancipation of slaves "bullshit" because women didn't get the vote until some time later? Was the drafting of the bill of rights "bullshit" - something to be angry about - because it didn't free the slaves? Is walking "bullshit" because it's not teleporting? I find this ENDA rage very confusing.
posted by stammer at 2:08 PM on November 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


I think what people who are baffled by the anger at this are not getting is that this compromise didn't come into existence last weekend, and neither did this conflict. Frank's compromise has been on the table for an ugly few weeks. And it encouraged a large number of asshats in the GLB community to voice all manner of prejudice about transexual and transgendered people. There is a large and vocal minority of the GLB community that just plain hates trans and gender-variant people. And they don't see this as a first step, but as a good opportunity to say, "great, we got ours, now good luck with getting yours you fucking freaks."

Frank himself in defending the compromise has said some pretty condescending things about trans activism. His role in this, rightly or wrongly, is seen as yet another example of a very old and very ugly conflict that is a canker in the community.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2007


Was the emancipation of slaves "bullshit" because women didn't get the vote until some time later?

The EP was not a situation where the slaves were freed because women were denied the right to vote.

Was the drafting of the bill of rights "bullshit" - something to be angry about - because it didn't free the slaves?

Well, I'd argue yes, but in the case of the Bill of Rights, I'm definitely on the side of half a loaf being better than none. And it was 200 years ago - things were different then.

Is walking "bullshit" because it's not teleporting?

That's just silly.

Look, the ENDA house vote was PURELY SYMBOLIC. It is not going to pass the Senate. It will not go into conference. It will not end up signed (or vetoed) on the the president's desk. It was politics, and the fact that it passed at all is pretty encouraging. But an important coalition partner (transpeople) and EVERY GLBT rights group (except one) said "Don't take the trans language out! We'd rather have it not pass than take the trans language out!" should tell you something.

It's bullshit because this bill is much weaker now than it would have been with the trans language. It's bullshit because people I know and love have been told to fuck off - well, it's been more polite than that, I suppose, more like "Oh, sorry, but you know, you'll get your rights later! Maybe! Ok? I have mine now, so I'll just leave you to it..."

And as I said above, I do have some self-interest here, and so should everyone else who knows someone (or is someone) whose gender expression falls outside the norm.

And, on preview, what KirkJobSluder said. There was a whole lot of trans bashing in this process, and it was sickening. Is that the price I'm expected to pay in order to get some rights? No thanks.
posted by rtha at 2:44 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


What stammer said.

And contrary to what was previously said in this thread, a trans-inclusive bill did not have the votes to pass. That's why this was delayed three weeks: the deal, brokered by Barney Frank, was that trans activists had three weeks to round up the necessary votes, and it just couldn't be done. It's better to offer protection to some, even if it's just symbolic (although the White House does seem to be coming off its veto threat), than protection to no one at all.
posted by awesomebrad at 2:50 PM on November 8, 2007


From what I can tell, the transgender community is rather small, and thus if the GLB community up and abandons them in this fight, it's going to be a long time before they are able to get anywhere by themselves no matter how many activists step up.

Besides, as rtha points out, the dropping of the gender pieces from ENDA significantly hurts GLB folks that don't fit gender stereotypes, as they pretty much get no benefit from the new rules. It doesn't help if you're protected from being fired for being gay/lesbian if they can just fire you for being too feminine/masculine. "Yeah, you can tell people you're gay and not be fired, just as long as you don't act like it."

The biggest thing for me is that this bill won't become law. It won't happen. Even if it made it through the Senate, Bush won't sign it. So it's all posturing and PR and symbolic. So there's no solidarity from Frank and HRC even when it doesn't count.
posted by evilangela at 2:58 PM on November 8, 2007


I find this ENDA rage very confusing.

Well, you could try to help unconfuse yourself by engaging, in some way, the Lambda Legal argument, echoed by rtha above - namely, that THE CURRENT BILL IS SO WEAK IT DOESN'T PROTECT ANY PERSON WHO PRESENTS THEMSELVES IN A NON-TRADITIONALLY GENDERED WAY.

I mean, we've said it over and over in this thread, and we're still getting moronic comparisons like "Was the emancipation of slaves "bullshit" because women didn't get the vote until some time later?"

Yeesh. Stop ignoring what some of us queer people are saying here and address the legitimate concerns about this horrible bill, please. Thanks.
posted by mediareport at 7:15 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure that the argument, "I didn't fire her because she was a lesbian, I fired her because, uh, she acted like one," will find much support in a court of law. However, I do understand the trangendered community's feelings of being thrown under the bus. However, cake is not cake and ice cream, but it's better than no dessert at all.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:20 PM on November 11, 2007


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