President Obama surprised the nation by announcing the appointment of Amanda Simpson, a transwoman with a stellar resume designed for the job, as Senior Technical Advisor in the Commerce Department. Reactions were not surprising, with GLBT groups praising the appointment, with conservative groups panicking, and comedians finding fodder for quips. (David Letterman is in big trouble for a joke inferring panic upon learning that Amanda was male-bodied at birth. GLBT activists have stated that the panic-defense is often used by perpetrators in cases about hate-crimes towards the gender-variant. In this case, do punchlines contribute to punches? ) Personally, we love Rachel Maddow’s response to this appointment, which can be seen, along with more about the controversy around David Letterman) at http://www.transequality.org. A few days after the Simpson appointment, we heard that a major government employment site (www.usajob.gov) added language explicitly banning employment discrimination because of gender identity.
Well Hallelujah! I can’t imagine Bush, Jr. making these moves. Setting an example for America is a good thing. At the same time, I keep asking where is ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act right now? Looks like ENDA is in committees in both the House and Senate. Unfortunately, most bills never make it out of committee. Oh, and if you’ve forgotten your high school civics lessons about how a bill is made into a law, check out our old favorite I’m only a Bill from Schoolhouse Rock on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEJL2Uuv-oQ
I’ve heard a lot about Amanda but not much about ENDA lately. Are they going to let it, once again, die a quiet death in some remote corner in Washington. Without being able to feel safe coming out in the workplace as gender-variant, any movement forward towards gender-acceptance is threatened. Stalling ENDA is stalling the revolution. For more information on what you can do to help pass ENDA, we again send you to http://www.transequality.org.
Change at the top is exciting, and Simpson could not be more qualified or deserving. But real change will come when Joe Sex-Change doesn’t have to worry about losing his job because his name used to be Josephine.
Things You Can Do:
- Follow ENDA progress at http://endanow.com
- For the House version, check out http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3017. For the Senate version, check out http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-1584. Both links enable you to also look at a summary of the bills.
- For more information on what you can do to help pass ENDA, we again send you to http://www.transequality.org.
- Go to this link to call or email a legislator (includes suggested wording): http://eqfed.org/campaign/ENDA_CongressionalCampaign_passENDA
- We have also discovered a transgender-specific online employment board: http://www.tjobbank.com/ and a related list of truly gender-inclusive employers: http://www.tjobbank.com/trulyinclusive/