November 20, Activists to hold Transgender Day of Remembrance vigils, marches around the country

The Day of Remembrance has become a day to put aside the differences that have consumed so much energy over the last ten years and to acknowledge that in the United States a person described with a trans prefixed word is murdered on the order of once a week or more.

Often in the same vicious manner that caused the outrage over Matthew Sheppard’s murder.

Often times the victims of these murders have the crimes against them treated less seriously not only because they are describe by a trans word but also because discrimination against them pushes them into the sex industry.  Or a history of abuse as a child has the same effect.

Hate crimes laws are only a start.  We have to offer an alternative to high risk sex work.  Counseling and assistance to lower the risks to the groups who are the most vunerable.  Especially true since the victims are not evenly distributed among all people, of all the socio-economic groups described by transword but mainly occur among the poorest, the most naive, the most desperate.

We need to think beyond remembering and move on to preventing.

From The Edge-Boston

by Renee Baker
EDGE Contributor
Wednesday Nov 18, 2009
Gwendolyn Smith founded the TDOR in San Francisco in Nov. 1999 as a way to “memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.”

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Ethan St. Pierre misses his aunt Deborah Forte everyday, but the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance remains a stark reminder of how Forte was brutally murdered in 1995 because of her gender identity and expression.

“I was called in to identify the body,” St. Pierre recalled to EDGE. “She was unrecognizable.”

November 20 marks the TDOR’s 11th anniversary. And St. Pierre remains passionate about honoring those murdered individuals who identified as transgender.

A man whom Forte met at a bar brought her back to her apartment and stabbed her numerous times. The suspect turned himself into local authorities two weeks after he killed Forte. A judge sentenced him to 15 years in jail, but he has yet to show remorse–and he is up for parole.

“Every bone in her neck was broken,” St. Pierre further recalled.

Gwendolyn Smith founded the TDOR in San Francisco in Nov. 1999 as a way to “memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.” The vigils have grown in scope to over 200 internationally, and are held in November specifically to coincide with the anniversary of Rita Hester’s murder in her Boston apartment in Nov. 1998.

The exact statistics are not known, but the TDOR database that St. Pierre updates indicates there have been 120 trans murders since last year’s commemorations. St. Pierre added there is approximately one trans murder a month in the United States.

More than 300 domestic trans murders have been recorded since 1970 with 11 recorded so far this year.

California leads in total trans homicides at 57, followed by 36 in New York. Texas and Florida follow with 20 anti-trans murders in each state.

Saint Pierre said he believes the actual numbers of deaths are much higher due to under reporting or misreporting. He added he feels many reports do not include the victim’s gender identity or expression.

“Often times,” he says, “it can be risky to report the victim as transgender because the queer family can be ostracized.”

Saint Pierre further described anti-trans homicides as not just simple murders, but those with a horrid element meant “to obliterate us and make us go away.” He said most victims are tortured or burned before their assailant or assailants kill them. Some are dismembered and decapitated. And others are shot in the face or genitals.

“One woman,” he says, “was branded on her breasts with a hot iron while the aggressor told her that she was not real.”

Saint Pierre added he feels this hatred and rage against trans individuals stems from homophobia. He said some individuals find themselves attracted to trans or gender variant people, can’t accept it, and then want to erase the man or woman to whom they are drawn from existence.

“It is really hard to see the pictures of these beautiful people, so smiling and young,” St. Pierre said as he noted those murder victims to which the TDOR Web site pays tribute. “These are people that should not be forgotten.”

Day of Remembrance vigils will take place on Nov. 20-21 around the country. Below are a list of commemorations that will take place in cities EDGE specifically covers.

The Metropolitan Community Church of Las Vegas (1140 Almond Tree Lane) will hold a vigil on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. Log onto www.mcclv.com for furthe information.

Two vigils will take place on Nov. 20-21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Chapel at MCC Sunshine Cathedral on 1480 SW Ninth St. in Fort Lauderdale. Log onto www.SunshineCathedral.org for further details.

Chicago’s Center on Halsted will hold a vigil on Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

The city of West Hollywood, Calif., will hold a memorial service and march to Matthew Shepard Square on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. Log onto www.WeHo.org for further information.

San Francisco’s Congregation Sha’ar Zahav (290 Dolores St) will hold a vigil on Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Log onto www.ShaarZahav.org for more information.

A vigil will take place at Baltimore City Hall on Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Saint Luke’s and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (5 St. Luke’s Road) in Allston, Mass., will host a vigil on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. Log onto www.ForMinistry.com/usmaecusaslase for more information.

Also log onto www.TransgenderDOR.org for further details about additional vigils and other commemorations.

Dr. Renee Baker is a massage therapist, transgender consultant and board member of Youth First Texas. She may be reached on her website at www.renee-baker.com

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We Are… Everywhere

While the conservative pseudo-scientists of Psychiatry insist that the prevalence of Transsexualism is incredibly rare those of us who are sisters and brother with a medical history of Sex Reassignment Surgery know different.

Studies by Lynn Conway and the late Femke Olyslager place our prevalence at some where between one in five hundred and one in a thousand. Not people with transgenderism but post-SRS folks.

The thing is that mosT of are not Kim Petras, or Kate Bornstein or for that matter Amanda Lapore. It may come as a surprise to the conservatives who like to label us as sick and portray us all as sex workers, man of us are in a wide range of careers that do not involve subjecting ourselves to the brutality of the sex indistry.

This is not to deny that there are many of us who are so far down on the socio-economic scale that we do sex work and measure status according to the form of sex work. We often come from background of severe child abuse including physical, emotional and sexual. We are often throwaway children and grow up to be substance abusers.

We are diverse population. My Facebook friends include professors and lawyers, writers and musicians both brothers and sisters.

I have been talking a lot about ENDA and Critical Mass favoring trans-inclusion for both people with transsexualism and people with transgenderism.

Today there were articles about post-SRS women in both the New York Times and in the Dallas Morning News. One a concert pianist the other a police officer. A picture of diversity one from the northeast and one from Texas. Both major metropolitan centers known for their diversity with many being surprised by the fact that Dallas has non-discrimination laws that protect transsexual and transgender people.

From the Dallas Morning News

17 years on the job, Officer Joe became Officer Debbie

08:52 AM CST on Sunday, November 15, 2009

By SHERRY JACOBSON / The Dallas Morning News
sjacobson@dallasnews.com

After 17 years with the Dallas Police Department, Officer Joseph Grabowski showed up at work one day sporting makeup, a feminine hairstyle and a new first name: Deborah.

Deborah Grabowski says she had a happy childhood growing up as Joseph Grabowski. In 2005, though, she decided she’d kept her feelings of being female secret long enough and started the process to change her gender.

The 44-year-old officer was scared and relieved that the secret was finally out.

“I have always felt like a woman and, suddenly, everybody knew I was going to have the surgery to make it real,” she said.

Because the city of Dallas does not offer health insurance coverage for sex-change operations, Grabowski paid for the costly procedure herself.

In recent years, a few cities – and a growing number of private employers – have decided to cover the cost of these surgeries, and the city of Fort Worth is considering whether to join them.

Continue Reading at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/tv/stories/DN-sexchanges_15met.ART.State.Edition2.4bb8770.html

From the New York Times

Anything He Can Do, She Can Do

IN September 1998, David Buechner, then 39, a prominent classical pianist, came out as a transgender woman, explaining that from then on, she would live and perform as Sara Davis Buechner. The pianist had been accustomed to rave reviews (at 24, David, in his New York City concert debut, was called “an extraordinary young artist” by a New York Times critic). But the debut as Sara, reported in a Times magazine article, was not so well received, even by loved ones.

Elizabeth and Anthony Buechner, the parents, as well as Matthew, the older brother, all expressed their opposition. In a recent interview, Matthew Buechner, a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Kansas, said he had counseled David to remain a man publicly and cross-dress in private. “A lot of people live that kind of dichotomy,” Matthew said. “I saw the switch as something that would destroy a career. Classical audiences are very conservative.”

But Sara Buechner was determined to be. She said that from when she first took lessons at age 3, she knew she’d be a pianist, and not long after, realized she was meant to be a girl. (“On the playground, boys yelled ‘David’s a girl’ and I’d think, ‘You got that right.’ ”) She believed that bouts of heavy drinking and depression during her years as David stemmed from not being true to herself.

In the next years, Ms. Buechner largely disappeared from public view, though not by choice. David had done 50 concerts a year — performing with philharmonic orchestras in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland and San Francisco — but as Sara, she couldn’t get bookings. “Apart from local gigs, from 1998 to 2003, I did three to five concerts a year,” she said. David taught as an adjunct professor at Manhattan School of Music and New York University, but as Sara, seeking a full-time professorship, “I applied 35 places and wouldn’t even get a response. Behind my back, I’d hear, ‘Is it safe to leave him in a room with undergrads?’ ”

She left Manhattan, where she got the wrong sort of attention (“In line at the bank, I hear, ‘You’re the guy living on the sixth floor having a sex change’ ”), and moved to the Bronx, where she was only Sara. She took a job teaching the piano to children at the Amadeus Conservatory in Chappaqua, N.Y. “A nice lady said, ‘Why teach here?’ I lied. I said, ‘I want to teach kids.’ I needed work.” She earned a third of what David had made 10 years earlier.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/fashion/15genb.html?_r=1&ref=style

When I came out over 40 years ago I could count the number of books either by or about people with transsexualism.  Now I cold easily fill a couple of IKEA 72″ Billy bookcases were I to even half try to keep up.

Yet for all our diversity we are mostly an invisible minority, although in the world of the internet and data banks probably far less invisible than many sisters who claim to be stealth think they are.

Yet many of us question why we shouldn’t treat having been born with transsexualism as just that, a fact of life neither a source of pride nor of shame.

I’ve come to realize I like some of my sister and some of my brothers while disliking others and it rarely has much of anything to do with their having been born either transsexual or transgender and a great deal more do do with them as people.

And yeah I am glad when people have the courage to tell their stories, especially when their live have more to them than just what they were born.

 

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What is a Committee Markup? It’s Next For ENDA.

From TransEquality Blog, DC, USA

Friday, November 13, 2009

As we have noted, ENDA will finally see committee action in the House of Representative this next Tuesday, November 18. This action is called a markup. So what is that?

A markup is a session in which a Congressional committee does its work. It is called a markup because, basically, the committee takes a proposed piece of legislation and marks it up, thus amending it. (Marking up used to mean that they actually wrote the amendments on it—they don’t do that anymore.) Members of the particular Committee make statements, consider and vote on amendments and then refer the bill to the full House for debate and a final vote.

I’ll walk you through what that means, using ENDA and the House Education and Labor Committee as examples. Here is what to expect.

Next Tuesday at 10 AM in Room 2175 in the Rayburn House Office Building, The Ed & Labor Committee will mark up ENDA (HR3017). To watch a live webcast of the markup, go here <http://edworkforce.house.gov/>. I doubt it will be shown on C-SPAN <http://www.cspan.org/>, but we do not know.

Chairman George Miller (D-CA), who is a very strong LGBT supporter from the Northern East Bayin California, will chair the meeting. He will be joined by a shifting group of between 10 and 40 other members of Congress who sit on the Ed and Labor Committee. A list of Committee members is available here<http://edworkforce.house.gov/about/members/>.
I say “shifting” because, these days, members come and go during markups and hearings and meetings and probably lunches. Because they have Blackberrys, they can move between meetings, coming to markup when they must or can, but leaving for other business. Many of them will be there most of the time, but others will just fly in to vote and leave.

There will also be quite a few staffers who sit or stand behind the members. There will also be tables off to the side for staffers and sometimes a table for media.

The committee has 30 Democrats and 19 Republicans. It is actually a pretty good committee for equality legislation. Chairman Miller and most of the committee are very supportive of ENDA. In fact three Republicans on the committee (Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Michael Castle (R-DE) and Todd Platts(R-PA)) are co-sponsors of ENDA, and all but three Democrats are
co-sponsors, except for Reps. Jason Altmire (D-PA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Dina Titus (D-NV). Jared Polis (D-CO) is the only openly LGBT member of the committee, but there are many other really strong supporters including fourteen members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus<http://lgbt.tammybaldwin.house.gov/membership.shtml>.
There is one Independent on the Committee, Delegate Gregorio Sablan from the Mariana Islands. He is a co-sponsor and supporter of ENDA and caucuses with the Democrats.

Here is an interesting sidenote: there are two delegates (representing non-states) on the Ed & Labor Committee. In addition to Mr. Sablan (I-MP), the Puerto Rican Delegate, Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), sits on the Committee and is also a co-sponsor of ENDA. Though they Delegates from non-states do not have a vote in the full House, they are treated as pretty much full members of committees for speaking and voting in committee. Mr. Pierluisi is technically called, not a Delegate, but the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico. The rest of them are Delegates, though.

Another interesting sidenote is that five of the six delegates from non-states are ENDA co-sponsors. Only the Delegate from Guam, Madeleine Bordallo (R-GU), is not (yet?). But we have DC, American Samoa, U.S Virgin Islands, Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. These Delegates do not get to vote on the final passage of ENDA in the full House, but Sablan and Pieriluisi do
get to vote in the Ed and Labor Committee next Wednesday. To see a full list of 189 ENDA co-sponsors, go here<http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d111:1:./temp/%7EbdwaSP:@@@P%7C/bss/111search.html%7C>
.

Once Mr. Miller convenes the markup, he will make an opening statement and then allow an opening statement from the ranking member (most senior Republican on the committee) John Kline (R-MN). Kline will talk about how ENDA is not necessary and it is vague and it violates religious organizations’ rights to discriminate against LGBT people. If you have read
ENDA, you will wonder if he has. He will likely use the phrase “chilling effect.” Other members will make short opening statements. In committee, statements, voting and even seating is all done by seniority and party.

All the Democrats will sit on one side of the room and the Republicans on the other. These days, though, there are so many more Democrats than Republicans (30-19) that some of the more junior Democrats need to sit on the Republican side.

The committee will consider amendments and there are likely to be quite a few. Some are likely to be useful and will make the bill better, either substantively or politically; others are likely to be bad ideas that are either offered in good faith or as a way to obstruct the process. For instance, opponents of ENDA are likely to propose quite a few amendments
that they say will make ENDA better and then admit that they won’t vote for ENDA even if the changes are made. There will also be typical opposition amendments designed only to make a political statement, such as unborn, undocumented transgender immigrant children are allowed to possess automatic weapons while they are drilling for oil in national parks as long as they don’t send text messages while voting.

Each amendment that is called is briefly debated and voted on. When a vote is called on an amendment, at first there will be a lot of absent members, but they will quickly show up, say how they vote and then leave for other business. I stay away from doors during votes. Sometimes they vote on amendments one by one, other times they debate in batches and then vote in batches. Each time there will be a voice vote (“All in favor say aye . . . ” ), and then each time equality opponents will insist on a rollcall vote in order to waste time and to say in a hypothetical later campaign that the ENDA supporter voted 17 trillion times to support LGBT people—except they won’t call us LGBT people.

It is possible that the committee will consider every offered amendment; it is also possible that opponents will offer so many obstructionist and redundant amendments that eventually the Committee will decide to stop hearing amendments.

I should note here that the markup in the House Judiciary Committee Hate Crime bill earlier this year was spread over two days because there were so many amendments. I’m not saying that will or even can happen with ENDA, but don’t be surprised.

Finally, a vote will be held on whether to send the bill with amendments to the full House of Representatives for a vote. We are very optimistic that there will be sufficient votes in the committee. Generally, on a bill like ENDA, committee chairs will not schedule markup until they are pretty certain the bill can at least pass out of committee.

NCTE staff will be attending the hearing and will be Twittering as @transequality <http://twitter.com/TransEquality> and as @marakeisling<http://twitter.com/marakeisling>.
If you do not twitter, you can follow our twitter posts on our main webpage at www.transequality.org <http://transequality.org/>.

I hope this was informative and interesting. If you really want to learn more, here <http://www.rules.house.gov/archives/98-188.pdf>is a Congressional Research Service document that describes the markup process in gripping detail.

Please keep up the contacts with your members of Congress. It’s ENDA time.

Posted by Mara Keisling at 4:09 PM

http://nctequality.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-is-committee-markup-its-next-for.html

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H1N1: 40% of private-sector workers in US lack sick days

Ah the joys of living in a Corporate Fascist State where the rich elite have seized the government and enslaved the people.
Remember when the Personnel Department became Human Resources back during the Reagan years?
That was when you went from being a human being to being a resource.  Those of us who were hip enough and cynical enough to observe described ourselves as “wet ware”.
Did you know that in France, where they still have an industrial base people get a months vacation and paid sick leaves along with national health insurance?
November 5, 10:38 AMPittsburgh Grassroots ExaminerMike Boda

A man (sic) too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.
-Spanish proverb

Most people can make the connections between globalized consumer capitalism and its role in shuttling various organisms around the planet, but with US workers increasingly forced into competition with their counterparts in developing countries for the sake of the shareholders, does such a requisite lowering of wages and loss of workplace benefits, such as access to health care and paid sick leave create the perfect conditions for the spread of infectious diseases, such as H1N1, better known as swine flu? In the US, 40% of private-sector workers, most of us in low-wage service (tourism) industry jobs that require contact with the public (or their food, drink, cas, and cards) have no sick days. Not that being granted paid sick time as a part of a benefits package is any guarantee that you will not be disciplined for using them, as I learned the hard way, ironically, while employed by a local health insurer. Although unpaid sick leave is mandated by federal law, calling off, for any reason is frowned upon by the service industry and small businesses, as State right-to-work and “at-will” employment laws give employers the last word.

As is the case with many social problems, being forced to work while sick has a disproportionate effect on women, who make up 22 million of the 57 million US workers who are unable to take a sick day. This translates into sick children being sent to child care providers and schools, as their parents or parent are unable to stay home to care for them, due to the loss of a day’s wages or the job (or jobs).

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, leaving the house only to get medical care. Schools and workplaces are encouraging this policy to avoid infecting other students and employees.

Worldwide, run-of-the-mill seasonal flu is responsible for between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths annualy, with some 36,000 of them in the US. In an increasingly part-time, temporary culture of employment where office equpment is more valued than office workers, the continued emphasis on profits over peoples’ lives continues to puts us all at risk.

Friday Night Fun and Culture

Billy Bragg singing There is Power in a Union

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Will Progressive Groups Help Feminists Stop Stupak?

From The Women’s Media Center

http://womensmediacenter.com/ex/111309.html

By Peggy Simpson

After the shocking setback in the House for abortion rights, women’s rights groups turned their attention to the Senate, which could begin debate on health care reform next week.

November 13, 2009

Whether the Senate blocks a House-passed amendment that would vastly expand federal bans on abortion depends partly on whether the women’s groups can persuade their progressive allies to stand up with them in opposition.

The jury’s out on that right now. But much organizing is underway against the amendment by Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa), which was added to the House health care reform bill in a shocking move last Saturday.

Many progressive and left-of-center groups had focused their efforts on passing health care reform. They celebrated its narrow victory in the House, by a 220-215 margin, and gave short shrift to the Stupak amendment, representing the most significant expansion of the Hyde amendment’s ban on federal funding for abortion since 1976.

That didn’t sit well with some.

Amie Newman, managing editor of RH Reality Check, headlined her article: “Dear Progressive Allies in Health Care Reform: Where Were You on the Stupak Amendment?” She wrote that she got elated emails from MoveOn.org, her state Democratic Party, Americans for Democratic Action and SEIU about House action on health care. But “none of you mention the heinous hit women’s access to abortion care took when this House bill was passed.” The groups ignored the fight ahead for pro-choice legislators. “Not one of your emails touches on the ways in which abortion access is critical to a broader progressive agenda. …How can it be that somehow abortion access has been largely ignored by other progressive organizations working for health care reform?”

This is indeed a watershed moment, a wakeup call, for Democratic women.

Representative Diane DeGette (D-Co) gets credit for buying time for reproductive rights groups to overcome their shock, rally their own troops and start “educating” the progressive groups about the weight of abortion rights within the overall health care issue. By Sunday, fewer than 24 hours after the House vote, DeGette announced she had commitments from 41 House members to vote against any final health care bill that contained the Stupak amendment. That sobered political leaders, including in the White House, into realizing this was no simple “disagreement.”

The media took notice and editorials and critical cartoons began appearing. Joel Pett, a cartoonist from the Lexington Herald Leader, portrayed an angry Town Hall-type of protestor, waving his anti-abortion placard at an Uncle Sam figure, saying “I don’t need government making my health care decisions. … I need you making HERS,” pointing to a woman going into a clinic.”

Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards convened a Tuesday meeting with leaders of 80 progressive groups and summoned grass roots reproductive rights leaders to Washington for a day of lobbying November 18. By Thursday, MoveOn.org introduced a fundraising email by talking about the radical anti-abortion amendment attached to the House health care reform bill.

President Obama, meanwhile, had used a network interview to express his dismay. He said the bill without the Stupak amendment preserved the principle of Hyde that “federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.” He said he opposed moves to restrict “women’s insurance choices” in the new health care insurance exchange.

Months ago, this issue was addressed in both the House and Senate reform bills with a compromise shaped by Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), a nurse who had crafted many of the women’s health initiatives in the reform packages. The Capps compromise (which became the model for a similar provision in the Senate Finance Committee plan) would allow private insurers who participate in the health insurance exchange to include abortion coverage in their health care plans—as a majority of private plans now do, including, it turns out, the Cigna plan for the Republican National Committee. Capps would segregate federal funds from private funds in the health care exchange, including in plans for moderate to low-income people getting subsidies to buffer the costs of insurance. The portion of the premium paid privately by the insured person would pay for the abortion coverage.

With the floor vote about to be taken, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops pressed for a far more Draconian expansion of Hyde. With two dozen anti-abortion House Democrats, they forced a House vote on the Stupak amendment that for the first time would apply the Hyde amendment to the private sector. It would prohibit private insurers in the health care exchange from offering abortion coverage for the millions of people expected to get federal “affordability” subsidies to buy insurance plans. The amendment passed, with the votes of 64 Democrats and a near-unanimous array of Republicans.

Mainstream political commentators said the same thing would happen in the Senate—and the reproductive rights groups would just have to take their lumps.

The fury of pro-choice women began to have an impact within several days, however. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who personally opposes abortion, said he thought the language already in the Senate Finance Committee bill would suffice to wall off any federal financing of abortion. That was said also to be the view of another anti-abortion Democratic senator, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who had voted in committee against a Stupak-type provision a month earlier. A moderate Arkansas Democrat facing a tough reelection fight next year, Senator Blanche Lincoln, said the Senate Finance Committee had gone to great lengths to respect the Hyde amendment and “didn’t add to it or take away from it in any way.” That should be enough, she said.

An estimated 30 million people are expected to buy insurance in the new exchange, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Office—about nine million of them in plans bought by small businesses. Millions of others buying in would be individuals who have not been able to get coverage on their own in today’s marketplace. Many, but not all, could get federal subsidies to lower the insurance costs.

Meanwhile, the role of the Catholic Church and its own wealth of federal funds came under scrutiny. The bishops are experts in separating public and private dollars—as is called for by the Capps amendment in health care reform—because that’s what they do with the federal money going to Catholic Charities (which totaled $2.8 billion in 2008).

“The bishops never question their own ability to lawfully manage funds from separate sources to ensure that tax dollars don’t finance religious practices,” say Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, and Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. ”Yet they reject the idea that others could do the same. This is the very definition of hypocrisy.”

Eyal Press in The Nation said if Stupak and others were serious about assuring taxpayers they won’t be subsidizing abortion in any way, “why haven’t they drawn up an amendment abolishing tax breaks for employer-sponsored health insurance?”

In another op-ed, former NARAL president Kate Michaelman and Frances Kissling, former Catholics for Choice president, couldn’t resist saying “We told you so,” about the Democratic Party’s recruitment of anti-abortion Democrats. “When it comes to abortion, [Democrats] seem to think all positions are of equal value so long as the party maintains a majority. But the party will eventually reap what it has sown.”

In her own blog, Kissing said she sympathizes with the dilemma faced by her friends in House leadership. “These votes will trouble them for years to come.” But she added that “the Catholic in me says the next step is restitution. All is never lost. That restitution is their unswerving commitment and tireless work to overturn the Hyde Amendment.”

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Thinking Beyond ENDA

Transsexual and Transgender activists like Jillian Weiss have put a lot of focus upon getting protections for the various peoples associated with trans prefixed words added to the forth coming ENDA bill.

Let’s assume we are added and it passes. (By no means a done deal) We have Obama who has promised to sign it, although according to Michelangelo Signorile  http://www.signorile.com/2009/11/lgbt-leaders-and-low-hanging-fruit.html President Obama has to this point failed to tackle issues he could have changed with executive decree and has put harder issues such as DADT on the back burner.

The thing we have to realize is that ENDA is just a start.  An important start if you are being discriminated against in a job you already have but kind of meaningless in an economy that has been shock doctrined into accepting the out sourcing of so many jobs that 10% unemployment could become the new standard of full employment replacing the old one of 5%.

Welcome to part time hell where people with BAs are working at Walmart and Target as clerks and stockers.  Where people with MSCEs are working at Best Buy and Frys.

Without health insurance, steady hours, regular schedules, paid sick time or vacation.

Nearly 40 years of neo-liberal Ayn Rand policies accelerating in the years since Reagan have reduced the status of the hourly wage employee to peon or virtual slavery.

Good luck if you are over 50 and forced to change jobs.  A virtual certainty for those below the top in a world of down sizing, human resource adjustments and out sourcing.

Barbara Ehrenreich gives a good picture of those forced to hunt for employment in her book Bait and Switch.

If this passes then we need to work on larger issues such as the Employee Free Choice Act and National Health Insurance as well as Minimum “Living Wage” laws.

The struggle is a life long thing and goes far beyond transsexual or transgender issues.  Being transsexual or transgender just makes you part of the oppressed people of the world who are a minority only because we are too busy fighting each other to deal with the real sources of our oppression.

Support ENDA

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