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  • Topic: TRANSGENDER PROTEST IN WASHINGTON

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    • October 8, 2007 1:29 PM BST
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      Approximately 100 demonstrators gathered in Washington, DC Saturday in an action organized by the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition to protest efforts in Congress led by Congressman Barney Frank and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to rewrite the Employment Non Discrimination Act (H.R. 2015) in such a way as to eliminate proposed protections for transgender Americans, extending protection based solely on the criterion of sexual orientation.

      The group was protesting at the Washington Convention Center, site of the Human Rights Campaign’s annual donor banquet, where Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Frank were scheduled to be in attendance. HRC’s commitment to transgender advocacy was called into question last week when representatives of the organization failed to respond to Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Frank’s amended version of the bill (H.R. 3685).

      Though HRC eventually released a statement of support for the trans inclusive version of the bill, they are conspicuous by their absence from the list of some 300 national, regional and local LGBT support and advocacy groups that are currently signatories to United ENDA (http://www.unitedenda.org), a petition intended to persuade Congress to consider the original version of the bill that included gender identity as a criterion for protection against workplace discrimination.

      HRC’s lack of immediate response to changes in the legislation has caused transgender advocacy organizations nationwide to question whether HRC ever intended to lobby in favor of the trans inclusive legislation, and if they were, in fact complicit in the drafting of the amended version of ENDA. The organization’s failure to respond eventually resulted in the resignation of high profile transgender HRC board member Donna Rose and North Carolina steering committee member Robbi Cohn.

      Also represented at the protest were key members of the International Foundation for Gender Education, the National Center for Transgender Equality and numerous LGBT advocacy groups. The protesters, while vociferous, were well ordered, and there were no incidents. Reaction among the formally attired attendees to the banquet was mixed. Some of the donors actually accepted and wore lapel stickers from the demonstrators bearing the slogan “EQUALI_Y….There is no equality without the ‘T.”

      Transgender advocacy groups intend to keep the pressure up in Washington, continuing to lobby members of Congress to support the trans inclusive legislation, so far experiencing moderate success. Individuals who support inclusive protection are encouraged to write their representatives to Congress (http://www.house.gov/writerep) and express support for H.R. 2015, the trans inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act.
    • October 8, 2007 6:21 PM BST
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      Trannyweb members Robyn Webb and Anna Griswold
      gather with other transgender activists in Washington
    • October 9, 2007 6:29 AM BST
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      Damn! I knew we were forgetting something!
    • October 9, 2007 6:03 AM BST
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      Well done, Robyn. BTW, I'm still waiting on the corner of Hollywood and Vine for my ride to the demonstration.

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