Marriage Equality Is In Many Ways a More Important Issue For Me Than ENDA

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

8 Responses to “Marriage Equality Is In Many Ways a More Important Issue For Me Than ENDA”

  1. edithpilkington Says:

    “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?”

    Simple, because the court is actually calling her a “he” and that has far reaching implications.

    Now go ahead and paint the portrait of me as enjoying all the “fruits” of “heterosexual privilege” because I’ve been legally married for thirty-eight years like you know what went down or how it works out, then try to explain to me how unfair life is.

    You know an awful lot I don’t, Suzan but you don’t know everything.

    • Suzan Says:

      Okay at the same time the court was calling Nikki a he Meghan Stabler claimed she was still a he to be able to marry.

      This is all an argument for marriage equality.
      Having a marriage obtained using heterosexual privilege that can be fucked with by the courts is reason to work for marriage equality. It isn’t reason to tell people they shouldn’t work for marriage equality but should instead work for ENDA.

      People can do both. It is sort of like being anti-war and also working for clean air.

  2. tinagrrl Says:

    Great — you’ve been married for 38 years —— and?

    What sort of marriage? Did it pre-exist transition? Is it a joy? A burden? Something else?

    You are married for 38 years — I can’t marry. Even if married in a US state that accepts “gay marriage” (actually expanded marriage rights), if one of us were to die, the remaining partner would not have the same rights the survivor of a “normal”/heterosexual marriage would have. No social security, etc., etc., etc.

    Simply put — no matter what your specific state says, no matter how long together — you’re on your own. No assets shielded. No way to insure her (or his) half of the house is now yours — etc.

    Now tell me — an old retired woman — ENDA would do WHAT for me?

    How do you think I feel when I’m told I MUST work to protect YOUR MARRIAGE while YOU will not, cannot, refuse to, even CONSIDER working toward expanded marriage rights simply because YOU FEAR it might make yours a “gay marriage”?

    Oh yeah, I MUST also work toward YOUR ENDA (which does me no good at all), while YOU will not even CONSIDER working toward MY marriage rights.

    The only sensible response I can make to that is F@^% YOU!!

  3. steviejayne Says:

    Over here in the UK we have “Civil Partnerships”. These are not marriages. The Civil Partnership Act insisted that partners live together for 6 months before a partnership can be registered. There is no such rule before a marriage can take place. Likewise those who are heterosexual cannot enter a civil partnership if they prefer that option. What is needed is equal marriage rights for ALL, not second class options for L/G couples.

    The European Convention on Human Rights states that all have the right to marry.

    The fact is that civil partnerships is not marriage. Therefore the UK is currently in breach of ECHR, which it is a signatory too.

    The government say they are going to introduce equal marriage. However there is a slight snag in their plans – the fact that it needs to pass through the House of Lords before it can become law, and their Lordships could well delay the legislation to the point where it is lost due to the dissolution of Parliament in 2015. Let’s not forget there are a load of reactionaries in the Lords, and also there are the Bishops of the Church of England, who have opposed equal marriage, in the Lords.

    Fine words from a coalition which doesn’t know how to honour a promise. We await the legislation with interest.

    in the meantime, it should be enacted in USA too – federally to avoid the possibility of states refusing to implement it.

  4. steviejayne Says:

    Let’s not forget some important legal issues involved here:

    1) There are no automatic inheritance rights for partners if not married. This means that a surviving partner in an L or G partnership has no rights in the event of the death of their partner, which can mean being served with an eviction notice by relatives of the dead partner.

    2) The surviving partner would have no rights with regard to the dead partner’s pension.

    3) The surviving partner, if they did inherit anything, would have to pay inheritance tax

    These issues are without the issues mentioned by Suzan and Tina above.

    Equality of marriage is a basic civil right and should be enacted now.

  5. Jessica Sideways Says:

    Nikki Araguz and Christie Lee Littleton … that’s why we as trans* people, no matter our sexual orientation, should care about marriage equality. So our marriages won’t face the same legal nightmares upon death.

    Because the other guy counts too… that’s why we as human beings should care about marriage equality, the same reason all straight people should. It is wrong to deny someone the right to marry and I look forward to the day that marriage equality is a reality in so many more places, not just in the United States but around the world.

    • Suzan Says:

      Ahh but here is the problem some sisters seem to think we should only work for the marriage rights of heterosexual sisters and brothers, otherwise their marriages will be considered “gay marriages”. Ironic since “gay marriage” exists only in the twisted minds of the right wing religious fanatic. In states and countries where same sex couples are permitted to marry, there is no “gay marriage” there is only marriage that same sex couples have equal access to.

  6. Jessica Sideways Says:

    Yeah, when I was living in Alberta, I did not see applications for “gay” wedding licenses, I just saw applications for wedding licenses.

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