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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Garden State Equality will work to defeat any version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act that excludes the transgender community

The Garden State Equality Board of Directors today adopted the statement below as organizational policy.


The Washington Blade reported today that Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are likely to drop anti-discrimination protection for transgender people from the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill now making its way in Congress.


We are fortunate that New Jersey state law prohibits all discrimination, employment and otherwise, against transgender people. In 2006, New Jersey enacted a sweeping law to prevent anti-transgender discrimination, expanding the state's Law Against Discrimination. But federally and in too many other states, discrimination against the transgender community continues without impunity.


Were Congressional Democrats to remove the transgender community from ENDA, they would be sending a morally repulsive signal that discrimination against transgender community is acceptable.

With fury over this potential Congressional disgrace, and with not an ounce of equivocation, Garden State Equality hereby declares that we will work passionately to oppose any form of ENDA that excludes the transgender community.


We wish to emphasize what our opposition would mean. We would not merely be silent or neutral on an ENDA that excludes the transgender community. We would actively oppose the bill.


We would involve our 21,000 members - and hundreds of thousands of other LGBT New Jerseyans and our allies - in a hardball grassroots campaign that would relentlessly communicate our opposition to members of the state's Congressional delegation. We would aim to stop a trans-exclusionary ENDA cold.


Is Garden State Equality really saying we would rather have no ENDA at all, rather than an ENDA that excludes the transgender community? You bet. Let there be no doubt.


The standards today must be different for a Democratic Congress than the standards might have been when the Republicans were in the majority.


With Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, the notion of being practical, or taking one step at a time, with something as simple as preventing basic discrimination, is obsolete and grotesquely insulting.

Public officials in the party to which most LGBT people in America belong - and vote for and contribute to - cannot be given latitude to sell out any segment of the LGBT community, especially the transgender community.

For decades, transgender Americans have suffered heinous discrimination in employment. Transgender Americans, like the rest of the LGBT community, have been told for too many years to wait their turn. Meanwhile, they worked hard to elect a Democratic Congress.


If this is what the transgender community is getting in return, it's enough to make the skin crawl of anyone with a conscience. The LGBT community is one. Garden State Equality insists that we stand together for one another. The time has come to say enough.

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