‘Asterisk Equality’ Isn’t Real Equality: Fighting for an ENDA Without Exemptions

From RH Reality Check:  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/11/06/asterisk-equality-isnt-real-equality-fighting-for-an-enda-without-exemptions/

by Kirin Kanakkanatt, GetEQUAL
November 6, 2013

I attended Catholic school in Ohio for 13 years. For 13 years, I sat daily in religion classes and made weekly trips to church. I was taught to believe in a god that loved all of creation. I was taught to believe in a god that created a beautiful diversity of humanity. Sadly, the god being invoked today by conservative legislators bears no resemblance to the god I encountered in Catholic school. This god—a god of political ambition and radical ideology—has no place in my education, in my uterus, or in my civil liberties.

There is a bill pending in the Senate right now that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), has been languishing in Congress for decades. Despite popular support for passing the bill, legislators are invoking the god of political ambition and radical ideology to include a broad religious exemption in the bill—and there’s a threat of that exemption becoming even broader as ENDA is debated on the Senate floor this week.

To accept the broad religious exemptions in ENDA is in an insult to the incredible progress the LGBTQ community has already made. We come from a history of people who fought tirelessly to humanize our lived experiences. Our community, our culture, and our souls are rooted in the traditions of those warriors who have blazed trails ahead of us.

For them, and for us, separate but equal is not good enough.

As a first-generation Indian-American queer woman who is cloaked in “otherness” every day, I am distinctly aware of how being seen as “other” informs one’s reality. Historically marginalized communities are used to fighting for our very humanity. We fight because we are separate, and we fight to become equal.

We have been fighting for workplace equality for decades. This fight is steeped in generations of political complicity with inequality—of forced closets, of dehumanization, of separation. And this is the same fight that others who have been marginalized have fought and continue to fight.

Continue reading at:  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/11/06/asterisk-equality-isnt-real-equality-fighting-for-an-enda-without-exemptions/

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