Friday, November 9, 2007

More on ENDA

The debate surrounding the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act continues to rage among LGBT activist circles (and organizations within the broader movement for LGBT rights). In conversations with several sources over the past couple of days I have reached the following conclusions: ENDA's passage amounts to a historic victory for (gay and lesbian) Americans because it is the first time lawmakers on Capitol Hill has passed a comprehensive piece of gay and lesbian-specific legislation but the Human Rights Campaign has failed to adequately explain its decision to endorse a transgender-exclusive ENDA to a largely skeptical LGB and especially T constituency.

HRC and other national LGBT organizations must constantly explain their existence to a largely indifferent LGBT public and to core activists and donors who support their work through their time, activism and especially money. The lobbying organization, for the sake of argument, has its pulse in tune with how Capitol Hill works. But most people outside of that Washington realm don't. Those outside the Beltway become outraged without understanding the rationale behind a particular decision, strategy, tactic, etc. Hastily prepared press releases, heavily messaged blogs and strategic sound bites in the case of ENDA are simply not enough to convince these skeptical activists who, among other things, have demanded HRC President Joe Solmonese's resignation. Cooler heads often prevail but HRC has a lot of explaining to do in order to possibly defend its decision to back a trans-exclusive piece of legislation. I am cynically holding my breath!

2 comments:

Nick said...

Again, I think many believe it was a good idea to deal only with same-sex couple issues in ENDA (at this time), but won't say so because it's not politically correct in a social millieu that sees itself on the cutting edge of egalitarian values. I doubt the HRC President would resign, as this will only enhance HRC's reputation as the moderate more politically pragmatic gay rights organization.

Nick said...

Again, I think many believe it was a good idea to deal only with same-sex couple issues in ENDA (at this time), but won't say so because it's not politically correct in a social millieu that sees itself on the cutting edge of egalitarian values. I doubt the HRC President would resign, as this will only enhance HRC's reputation as the moderate more politically pragmatic gay rights organization.