Gay And Trans-Inclusive ENDA Introduced Again, Probably Going Nowhere Again

Today Barney Frank will re-introduce ENDA, with trans-inclusive language protecting people from being fired from their job because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or presentation, to the House of Representatives. Since this bill has already been brought up and voted down approximately infinity times, no one, including Frank, have high hopes for its passage this time. A trans-exclusive version passed back in 2007, but since then legislators have not been very enthusiastic about including trans people in the protections it offers, and since the current strict conservative House majority has already proven its agenda to discriminate against groups much larger than the trans community, like “all women and most other humans,” chances are basically zero . So why bother to bring it up at all? Frank says it’s not about the legislation itself, but the rallying point it provides.

Although the bill is not expected to move forward in the House under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Frank, talking with Metro Weekly on Sunday, March 27, says, “It’s an organizing tool. Obviously, with the Republicans in power, you’re not going to get the bill even considered.”

But, Frank — the longest-serving out member of Congress — says, “I’m going to be urging people to spend their time talking to those who have voted in the past for ENDA and are supportive of ENDA but where we’re not certain they’re still with us on the transgender issue.”

Frank is also quoted as saying that far from being overshadowed by DOMA proceedings, he thinks we’ll see ENDA passed in Congress before we see a legislative repeal of DOMA. His reasoning is a little unclear – it’s true that high-profile social issues like marriage might be more meaningful for the House to oppose, especially with an election looming, but the history of the legislature leaving the trans community behind again and again is hard to ignore. But he’s right in that there’s a momentum building around pro-gay legislation despite the climate in Washington DC, and it’s possible that some of that love will eventually find its way to the trans people who have been made to wait for it for so long. This doesn’t look like ENDA’s year. But if Frank is right, maybe it’s coming sooner than people think.

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

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9 Comments

  1. thanks for posting this. As I’ve said before, I do appreciate that trans concerns are discussed here – it means a lot.

    While I do appreciate that Mr. Frank has a staffer who is a trans man, for my money, he has serious problems with trans people or at least, trans women. Even here – we are the “transgender issue.” He in fact was one of the architects of throwing trans folks under the bus in previous versions of ENDA. If anyone is in doubt about Mr. Frank’s trans misogyny, shall we say, try a google search.

    I appreciate the good work Mr. Frank does, but I profoundly wish he could, idk, transcend his generation of gay men and maybe see trans men and trans women as just who we are and claim to be.

  2. It’s frustrating that things like this even get made into a big deal. The world would be such a better place if we just accepted that everyone deserved respect and we are all human and to come together in our differences and learn from each other *sigh*…

  3. I quite like the poster too, except for one major omission… it excludes intersex people and intersex people, too, are fired simply for being born intersex.

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