LGBT/T Americans Outraged At Delay In Basic Job Rights

Press Release – December 4th, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, DC – In light of continuing delays in the House of Representatives, we must state clearly and unequivocally: Passing basic job protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people must happen now. At a time when our government is deeply focused on the critical issue of employment, it is inexcusable to delay action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Each and every job lost to prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity needlessly compounds the unemployment challenges facing our nation. We call on Congress for the immediate passage of ENDA.

For decades now, we have called upon Congress to pass legislation to address the basic right of LGBT people to work free from discrimination at our jobs, and now Congress tells us we must wait another year. In 29 states, it remains legal to fire people based on sexual orientation and in 38 states, discrimination based on gender identity remains legal. In failing to take swift action to pass ENDA, our government allows unfettered bigotry to go unchecked, leading to the loss of jobs, fear in the workplace, economic instability, and personal hardship, while allowing employers to lose competent experienced workers. ENDA is urgently needed by our communities.

The majority of Americans consistently state their support for employment protections and voters have affirmed similar state and local measures. There is absolutely no reason for Congress to continue to delay this non-controversial bill or drop LGBT issues to the bottom of their agenda. We will not be denied basic rights any longer.  Nothing is more important than protecting peoples’ jobs so ENDA must pass now. Further delays are absolutely unacceptable.

Matthew Coles & James Esseks, Co-Directors, American Civil Liberties Union LGBT Project

Terry Stone, Executive Director, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Toni Broaddus, Executive Director, Equality Federation

Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family Equality Council

Lee Swislow, Executive Director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

Jarrett Tomás Barrios, President, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign

Rachel T. Niven, Executive Director, Immigration Equality

Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO, International Federation of Black Prides, Inc.

Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director, Lambda Legal

Christian Berle, Director of the Log Cabin Republicans National Office

Sharon J. Lettman, Executive Director/CEO, National Black Justice Coalition

Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality

Rebecca Fox, Executive Director, National Coalition for LGBT Health

Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

Michael Mitchell, Executive Director, National Stonewall Democrats

Gregory Varnum, Executive Director, National Youth Advocacy Coalition

Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National

Jo Kenny, Interim Director, Pride at Work AFL-CIO

Masen Davis, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center

Additional organizations may be added.

PRESS CONTACT:

Jenna Lowenstein

Director of Communications

202-625-1382

jlowenstein@stonewalldemocrats.org

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Friday Night Fun and Culture

This week a Two-Fer

Gloria Gaynor— I Will Survive

Sister Sledge— We Are Family

Suicide Prevention and the Need for Support Beyond Transition

I’m sort of shaken this morning by a letter I received from someone who read yesterday’s post.

I feel the same sense of powerlessness I felt back in 1987 when I quit taking drugs and told a number of my very self destructive friends not to come to my apartment or even call me when they were high, which basically meant severing my friendship with them.  I couldn’t continue to be around users and get clean.

It took years more for me to get sober.  In a few weeks it will be nine years since my last drink.

I didn’t find a transsexual/transgender NA/AA.

Most support groups are all about transition.  If they approach self destructive issues such as substance abuse or sex work they do so the way my friend, Shirley Bushnell’s center did and address those issues in terms of harm reduction.

Popular wisdom is that we shouldn’t have much to do with each other and that having friends who are TS/TG is a sign of failure.  That all our friends should be normborns who are clueless regarding what we have gone through and continue to go through.

Remember what I said about John Rechy saying that LGBT/T people are the only oppressed minority born into the family of the oppressor. Damn it like Sister Sledge sang, “We are Family” and it would highly behoove us to stop tearing each other down and especially stop with the tearing down of the people trying to do something to better all of our lives.

Some wrote to tell me how strong I was and how I may be rough around the edges and not sugar coat word but that I speak the truth. Those made me feel good.

But the letter that left me shaken told me of  a life filled with pain and emptiness and plans to end that pain with suicide.

I do not know this person in 3D.  Only a name from a mailing list of someone who reads but does not post for before blogs mailing lists were places people went to read the interchange of ideas from a few who wrote the bulk of all the posts.

I do not know of an on line or 3D suicide prevention unit I could suggest that is staffed with TS/TG people who understand the issues.

The old National Transsexual Counseling Unit wasn’t political.  I oftten think that is why it was a historical blank space.  Like the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center it offered support and services.  I know all the arguments about how so many of us are only part of any sort of transsexual community for the period of transition.  It is as though we think we are much better than others like ourselves.  we come from solitude and shame and return there.

The few activists do what they can and burn out by being overwhelmed by those who need so much, ask for so much and have so much pain discourages most of us from becoming helping professionals.

I don’t have an answer.  Perhaps someone reading this will and will post of places one can seek this sort of help.  I will pass any information to the person who wrote.