Thursday, October 04, 2007

An Interesting Perspective

Thank you Caucus President Jenifer Rene Pool for passing this on.

The LA Times sports writer Christine Daniels is a true hero for our community. She has been breaking down barriers since April when she announced to the paper that she, then Mike Penner, would begin transitioning her body to express her true gender.

Read about her transition here.

Christine offers a powerful perspective on the current ENDA fight. She is lucky enough to work in a place that rejects discrimination and celebrates Christine's heroic authenticity. Unfortunately, this is not true for many transgender workers who need protection from workplace discrimination.

From the LA Times:

ENDA: We've only just begun

The basketball expression for it is “low-bridge.” It is the dirtiest foul in the sport, the act of suddenly taking out a player’s legs as he or she leaps for a rebound, pass or to attempt a jump shot. It’s a cheap and devious move, often appearing to happen spontaneously but almost always pre-meditated -- and almost always a prelude to a fight.

That’s what happened to the transgender community during the past week. We were low-bridged. By -- of all people -- Democratic Congressional leadership that included Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi.

In a shocking upset, the transgender community picked itself off the court, dusted itself off, rubbed its newly scraped elbows and decided to fight back.

Frank, Pelosi and Co. didn’t know what hit them....

I realize I am lucky. California is one of about a dozen states with such protection for transgender employees. My friend Susan Stanton did not have that kind of backup in Florida and lost her job as Largo city manager in February despite a long and outstanding record of public service.

So I have a personal and professional stake in what’s happening to ENDA right now. So do you, if you care about the most basic rights being extended to a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend who might be transgender but afraid to tell anybody because a national ENDA is still but a concept being picked apart by some short-sighted political opportunists.

A program handed out at last month’s Southern Comfort transgender conference in Atlanta included several advertisements posted by gender-friendly corporations. One of them read:

“Whether or not it’s a choice, we’ve made ours.

“Before committing to treating GLBT individuals inclusively, some people believe that you have to answer the ‘choice or nature’ question.

“At PricewaterhouseCoopers, we believe that it’s not our business to decide.

“We accept you as the person that you are.

“Because when you can be yourself, you are happier, more fulfilled and more productive.

“We welcome among our professionals all persons committed to excellence, teamwork, and leadership.”

That sounds like the American way to me.

Read the entire editorial here.

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