Call me cynical if you will, but I don’t think an inclusive ENDA will do jack shit for anyone, except perhaps a few already privileged professionals, who are LGBT/T.
Mainly because the structure that is fucking all working class people over will still be in place.
It is illegal to discriminate based on religion yet companies such as Hobby Lobby and Chick Fil-A are alleged to demand to know job applicants religious affiliation.
This leads be to believe an Atheist, Muslim or Jew would have a snow ball’s chance in hell of getting hired or keeping a job there.
Twenty-three states have anti-union “right to work” laws which basically are hire and fire on the whim of the employer laws.
When I hear transsexual and transgender people pissing and moaning about gay and lesbian people continuing to work towards marriage equality instead of dropping every thing to work on ENDA I find myself thinking two things.
- Many people in the transgender movement are so monofocused or caught up in the idea of pure identity politics they fail to realize that the Gay and Lesbian Movements have never been monofocused. Gay and Lesbian people have a history of working on a whole slew of different issues at the same time with some people focusing their activism on one issue while others focus on a different issue. For example many lesbians divide their focus between the lesbian movement and the feminist movement.
- Too many TS/TG people enjoy heterosexual privilege when it comes to marriage. Whether this privilege comes from being able to marry an opposite sex partner after SRS or prior. Many lesbian transgender and a few post-op transsexual people use their original sex for purposes of marriage. Too many heterosexual post-ops expect lesbian and gay sisters and brothers to support their marriage but actually oppose marriage equality on the grounds that it will some how make their marriage a “gay marriage”.
I’ve never had all that much trouble supporting a number of causes. I can support both marriage equality and ENDA. Hell, I supported the ending of DADT and I’m anti-war/anti-militarism.
As I said at this point in my life marriage equality is more pressing than an ineffectual ENDA, which will do nothing to end violence because the people working the streets will still be working the streets.
ENDA does nothing to advance the idea of a Living Wage. Nor does it offer job training or assistance in leaving prostitution. It doesn’t establish one treatment center that will help sex workers deal with their generally accompanying substance abuse issues.
I went to my first demonstration for same sex marriage in late 1970 or early 1971. That was twenty years before there was a real transgender movement.
Gay and lesbian people have grown old waging the struggle for marriage equality. There are couples who have been together for ten, twenty, thirty, forty and even fifty years who have never been able to marry their life partners.
We are old and have a hard time guaranteeing we will be able to take care of each other or stay together during our final years.
Because of DOMA even those of us who have been able to marry and live in those states where marriage equality is the law still face having our lives destroyed when our life partner dies. As far as the Feds are concerned we are legal strangers and have to pay huge taxes on our shared assets upon the death of one partner.
This can result in the surviving partner being faced with homelessness or suicide.
The assumption that marriage equality is less worthy of our efforts than ENDA smacks of both heterosexual privilege and ageism.
Especially when such a big fucking deal is made when a heterosexual sister has a court void her marriage.
Why should I care about her? Why should I defend her heterosexual marriage since defending her marriage does nothing to stop the violence against transgender sex workers?
Over the years I have listened to way too many sisters who are still married to women they married prior to surgery. In the UK some grouse about the Gender Recognition requiring them to divorce their spouses because the UK still doesn’t have marriage equality.
Now I understand how long time marriages shouldn’t be voided. I personally see that as a major reason to support marriage equality.
I have another bone to pick with TS/TG objections to L/G focus on marriage equality.
The TS/TG Movements have been serous language police when it comes to jumping on language infractions by gay and lesbian people, however I often hear TS/TG people referring to same sex marriage and marriage equality in the same gay marriage sort of terms I hear from groups like NOM.
I personally see too many TS/TG people spending too much time fighting each other or their allies and think our movements would be better off devoting that energy to targeting certain legislative enemies for replacement with people who would support our cause.
I also think if we were to stop the fighting among ourselves and were to start allying with other movements including the union and workers rights movements we might get further.