Thursday, November 08, 2007

Which would you rather prefer: legislation that establishes anti-gay acts as a species of hate crime or nothing?

I've had it with people who feel that because the legislation in the House doesn't include protection for transgendered people that it's completely flawed and is a sell out. It shows the myopia of the gay rights movement in some of its historic centers. It's no doubt wonderful to be able to live in a gay neighborhood where safety is more or less assured, and where if something happens there will be a real response to it, but not everyone has this privilege. Are you willing to tell the kid who just got beaten black and blue because of his sexuality that he's not going to get any help because the Democrats were unwilling to add transgender protections to the bill, and so the bill got little support from gay organizations, and so the bill failed, leaving people with nothing? I realize the issue, but the legislative process is not Christmas. You can't just make up a list and hope to have it all be magically delivered to you on one day.

So please, spare me, and have some compassion for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who aren't as privileged to live in a tolerant place like you are.


Rick in Kansas said...

You're either confusing two separate issues here or you simply don't have a clue as to what you're talking about. Not a particularly good either or proposition if you ask me.

The legislation passed by the House yesterday was regarding employment discrimination, not hate crimes. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced and re-introduced as a gay/bi protection on and off for the last 30 years without success. Last year, after a number of years of lobbying by LGBT civil rights organizations, employment protections for the trans community were finally added to the legislation. Unfortunately, due to some rumblings from the more conservative elements of both parties it was believed that the bill in this new form would not be passable so primary sponsor Barney Frank (D-Ma) pulled the original version and re-introduced it as once again gay/bi protections and screwing over the trans community that had been counting on these legal protections. The House then passed this revised bill yesterday on a 225-184 vote. The reason for the uproar is that the rights of some of our community are not any more or less important than the rights of all of our community. The likelihood that trans employment protection will be passed on its own based on the results of states that have their own protections is not particularly good.

As for hate crimes legislation, that is an entirely separate issue. The Matthew Shepard Act was passed by the House back in March as an independent measure and cleared the Senate when the legislation was attached to a Department of Defense spending authorization bill. This legislation is now before a House/Senate conference committee pending final approval. The Matthew Shepard Act unlike ENDA recognizes the rights of our entire community and not just of the gay/bi people in it. This 'hate crimes legislation' is written so that bias crimes against all members of the LGBT community will receive the same protections.

Personally, I am from one of the states that offers no employment protections for our community and federal assistance is more than welcome. I am a gay man and not transgendered or trans-sexual but I do have friends who are. The thought that my rights should be protected at the expense of theirs to me shows a short-sightedness of both the organizations that supported the revised legislation and the House which passed it. There has been a recognition that our community is in need of employment protection for more than thirty years now, having to wait another year or two until we could have gotten it right for all of us does not seem to be an unnecessary burden.

Anonymous said...

Which would you rather prefer: legislation that establishes anti-gay acts as a species of hate crime or nothing?

I'm sure Marxists would have a good line on this. So why not become a Marxist John?
I'm not saying we wouldn't miss you @ anarchoblogs...just you might be happier thats all.