Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Matter of Trust

The Lesson of Lucy and the Football

Most everyone is familiar with the wonderful humor and perspective of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts Gang. One running story throughout the lifetime of the strip was Lucy enticing Charlie Brown into kicking the football as she held it in a teed-up position. Then, as he came rushing at the place of impact, she would pull the football away, Charlie Brown would miss wildly and plop onto the ground. In all those years, Lucy was able to get Charlie to bite.

I'm back to politics today with news that the Human Righ*s Campaign (there is no "T" in HRC) is unveiling several initiatives on behalf of transpeople. At first glance, all seem noble, worthwhile and needed. And yet....."Aaugh!"....

I was new to all this as the ENDA battle developed this past fall. Frankly, I didn't know who HRC was until a couple of years ago - possibly due to my ignorance, possibly due to their fuzzy marketing - and while I'd heard rumbles about pensive past relations, I was more than willing to see what happened. "Aaugh!". The football got yanked away....again. As I became more aware of the history of HRC and the Trans Community, I began to see what others had been hinting - or flat out stating - for most of the year leading up to the abandonment on ENDA.

This is from a press release/letter from Joe Solmonese. Is he Lucy? Am I Charlie Brown?

I am so proud to include this new resource as part of all HRC’s efforts of behalf of transgender equality. HRC continues to pursue work across the organization to educate policy leaders and the public on the need for gender identity protections. Examples of this work include:

  • The addition of two new transgender voices to the HRC Business Council;
  • Creating and growing the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness, made up of over 50 leading companies in Corporate America signing on in support of federal legislation for gender identity protections;
  • Working with a coalition to develop hearings this spring in the U.S. House of Representatives around transgender discrimination in the workplace and the need for gender identity protections;
  • A March Lobby Day during which over 200 HRC members gathered on Capitol Hill to meet with key Members of Congress urging support for a fully inclusive ENDA;
  • Publishing “All Children All Families,” a guidebook to train adoption and foster parent agencies on placement of children with transgender parents and families, as well as gay, lesbian, and bisexual families;
  • Developing a “Welcoming Schools” curriculum currently being implemented in three school districts across the country that helps educators understand the harms of gender stereotyping and ways to support gender variant students;
  • Forthcoming Healthcare Equality Index which specifically rates hospitals on their sensitivity and training towards transgender patients and employees.
  • Mobilizing communities of faith to do transgender education in the 40 targeted congressional districts.

This is but a sketch of all the work on transgender issues HRC has done and will continue to do. I will keep you all updated as we continue to roll out our groundbreaking efforts.

You know how I feel? Patronized. This is coming off like they know best. In fact, that has been Joe's essential mantra regarding the ENDA issue....."I know better". I am actually hoping the faith initiative DOESN'T come to my area as it will cause some incredibly conflicted emotions for me.

Note - "two new members" to the Business Council. Not mentioned...two "replacements" for losing Donna Rose and Jamison Green - two outstanding advocates - from the Business Council who resigned in protest...and pride.

Note - the March Lobby Day with over 200 joining in. The National Center for Transgender Equality was able to generate that many transpeople for a separate lobby day this month. And they were all transgenders - HRC doesn't mention their population.

Note - Healthcare Equality Index. How about requiring employers in the HRC Equality Index to FULLY cover transgender health needs. Currently a company can earn a 100% rating by providing just ONE "benefit" - covering counseling, OR covering hormones, OR covering "medical visits to monitor the effects of hormones and other associated lab procedures", OR covering "medically necessary surgical procedures such as hysterectomy (note they DON'T mention Genital Reassignment Surgery), OR short term disability to accommodate surgery, OR diversity training regarding gender identity issues OR has supportive gender transition guidelines.

Show us how "incrementalism" can work....make it TWO of these - and I'm certainly being sarcastic with that comment.

You know what I'd like most though? An apology. A simple acknowledgment that what happened this fall was wrong, that HRC "gets it" now and lets move on together. Until I see that apology, this will all feel like I'm being patronized and that the football will, as always, be yanked away.

No Lucy, uh Joe...Not this time.

1 comment:

Penny said...

People like Joe don't apologize until they've been put waaay back down the ladder where they belong. And then they do so only in hopes that it will regain them their previous prestiege. So yeah, we've gotten back 'incrementally' to where we were several years ago. Going in that direction is regress, not progress, Joe. Yeah, I'd like to strangle the idiots at HRC awhile to make them think a bit more deeply about their attitudes towards us, but that won't get things done. We either need to work to change HRC or work to end HRC. As long as there's hope I'd like to make changes, but as long as Joe's at the top that won't happen. Somehow we need to go forward again and I hope it's sooner than later. Haven't we waited long enough?