Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 2:48 AM
Subject: Response to Rep. Frank's speech of Oct 9.
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
Keystone, CO 80435
The Honorable Barney Frank
2252 Rayburn H.O.B.
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Frank:
I am a retired engineering manager, a former professor, a parent of teenage children and a transsexual woman. I was deeply hurt and disappointed to watch your special order speech to the House of Representatives on CSPAN this evening. I ask that you reconsider your action to remove gender identity protection from ENDA and that you also reconsider your negative characterization of solidarity within the mainstream GLBT community.
You implied that transgender people are somehow unworthy of employment protection, possessing only “… few years of advocacy on the transgender issue.” In fact, Mr. Frank, my transgender sisters and brothers fought alongside my lesbian and gay sisters and brothers at Stonewall and have struggled with courage and distinction for understanding and basic human dignity each day since. It is not a lack of diligence by transgender Americans that is to blame for our denial of civil justice; rather it is obstacles posed by horrible false stereotypes, unprecedented among other minorities. Sadly, Congressman, you yourself have promoted some of the most degrading of these. In 2003, you were quoted by the Concerned Women for America, maligning transsexual women as, “people with penises who identify as women [who want] to be able to shower with other women.” Tonight you stated, “We are at a differential stage of public understanding of these issues.” Rather than exacerbate this disparity, I invite you to educate yourself on gender diversity issues and help us educate your colleagues and their constituents.
I was most disappointed at your attack this evening on gay and lesbian organizations and community advocates who support transgender inclusion in ENDA legislation. You belittled them to your colleagues as “militant,” as an “ideological faction,” as “zealous,” and as possessing no allies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over 250 of this nation’s leading GLBT and civil justice advocacy organizations have signed a letter to Speaker Pelosi supporting gender identity inclusion in ENDA legislation. These include such prominent organizations as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Stonewall Democrats, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, PFLAG and the National Black Justice Coalition. These organizations comprise mainstream gay and lesbian and civil justice advocacy and are hardly a radical fringe. In truth, sir, it is your current position on transgender exclusion that now stands well outside the gay and lesbian movement.
Mr. Frank, we transgender Americans are human beings and fellow citizens who have earned a place at the table within the GLBT community and a chance at civil justice in this nation. Please listen to the counsel of the mainstream gay and lesbian community and support HR 2015, including protection on the basis of gender identity.
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