Monday, July 11, 2011

While I was happy that marriage equality passed here in New York State, I was disappointed that the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) was not. It was on the same agenda and had enough votes to pass. In my opinion, the groups that are supposed to represent transgender folks didn't press it hard enough.

It seems to me that trans activists were always the stepchild to the gay and lesbian lobbies. We had to constantly prove our mettle and we did. I may remind some that transgender people were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Later, we were pushed to the margins by the predominantly middle class, white gay male leadership. If you look at the boards of many of the mainstream LGBT organization that paradigm still exists. The fact is that the vast majority of transpersons killed, in jail, or unemployed or underemployed are people of color.

While I'm disappointed, I'm not deterred from working to see that the best bill possible that benefits transgender people will pass. The state assembly had a golden opportunity to pass both marriage equality and GENDA at the same time but they passed on it. Perhaps, it's time for us transgender people to carry our own banner and march.


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