Over 90 national and state organizations that signed a letter delivered to Congress Monday, Oct. 1, urging to keep the Employment Non-DiscriminationAct ( ENDA ) trans-inclusive, including organizations with local ties.
Equality Illinois ( EQIL ) was one of the first state organizations to respond with an immediate 'all or nothing' attitude. After all the State of Illinois, Cook County, the City of Chicago, and local civil rights codes in areas such as Moline and Decatur were able to get non-discrimination laws on the books without leaving the trans community behind.
EQIL's Rick Garcia described the news of the introduction of new legislation that would exclude protections for trans individuals 'very disturbing' and 'sad.'
'If protecting transgender people can play in Peoria and Moline, it can and should play in D.C.,' Garcia said. 'Congressman [ Barney ] Frank bailed on transgender Americans,' Garcia continued, describing Frank as 'hardly a leader' in the LGBT community.
Garcia added that when it came to the passage of a statewide non-discrimination bill in Illinois, there was a suggestion that protections for trans people be taken out. 'They said it would make it 'easier' to pass it,' he said. 'We dug our heels in and said that is not a topic for discussion.'
Mary Morten, an Illinois board member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force ( NGLTF ) worked on the Illinois and Chicago human rights ordinances. She expressed disappointment and surprise. 'I think sometimes we forget that we all are oppressed, and have to move forward together as a community,' she said. 'To forget those of us who are marginalized and underrepresented in our own ranks is a huge, huge shortcoming, and will only continue this state
Many have also expressed dismay that the largest LGBT-rights organization in the country, Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) , hasn't made a statement or joined the over 90 other organizations in fighting for trans rights.
'What is going on?' asked Garcia. As the largest organization, Garcia feels that HRC needs to help give direction and inform organizations in the front lines, and not 'abandon' the trans community.
'ENDA without gender identity is no victory for this community,' he said.
Without and urging from staff, the NGLTF board reaffirmed its commitment to the trans community by only wanting to work towards an inclusive ENDA, according to Morten.. 'I'm very proud we have taken this stand as one of the
three largest LGBT organizations,' she said. 'They are standing strong, that either all of us move ahead, or none of us do. I think that is the right thing to do.'
Morten described it as 'confusing' that a national organization, especially one that has previously stated support for the trans community. would not join the forces. '…At time when we desperately need their support,
apparently we don't have it.'
National Association of LGBT Community Centers
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.
National Stonewall Democrats
National Transgender Advocacy Coalition
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
American Institute of Bisexuality
Bi Mental Health Professionals Association
Bisexual Resource Center
Bi Writers Association
COLAGE ( Children of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere )
Equality Project Investor Advocates
Faith In America
Family Pride Coalition
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
GLSEN – the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Freedom to Marry
International Federation of Black Prides
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Metropolitan Community Churches
Mautner Project: the National Lesbian Health Organization
New Ways Ministry
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Pride At Work, AFL-CIO
Reconciling Ministries Network ( United Methodists )
Transgender American Veterans Association
Transgender Law and Policy Institute
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
TransYouth Family Advocates
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
Transgender Law Center ( California )
AMBI ( California )
Equal Rights Colorado
Love Makes A Family ( Connecticut )
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.
MEGA Family Project ( Georgia )
Idaho Equality Committee of Your Family Friends and Neighbors
Kentucky Fairness Alliance
Triangle Foundation ( Michigan )
PROMO ( Missouri )
Montana Human Rights Network
Citizens For Equal Protection ( Nebraska )
Garden State Equality ( New Jersey )
New Jersey Lesbian & Gay Coalition
New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition
Concord Outright ( New Hampshire )
Seacoast Outright ( New Hampshire )
Equality New Mexico
Empire State Pride Agenda ( New York )
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy ( NYAGRA )
Equality North Carolina
EqualityToledo Community Action
Kaleidoscope Youth Center ( Columbus, OH )
Basic Rights Oregon
Equality Advocates Pennsylvania
Northeastern PA Rainbow Alliance
Marriage Equality Rhode Island
Alliance For Full Acceptance – South Carolina
Equality South Dakota
Tennessee Equality Project
Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
R.U.1.2? Community Center ( Vermont )
Equal Rights Washington
Center Advocates ( Milwaukee, Wisconsin )
-List compiled by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force