🏳️‍🌈 Gayskool: Don’t Leave the T out of LGBTQ

There were times when lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people did not stand united as one group. These will remembered as the darker moments in LGBTQ history.

The most egregious example of this came in 2007. The LGBTQ community was having difficulty getting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which would protect LGBTQ people at work) act passed, so Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) neutered the bill so that it would only cover gay and lesbian people — and not trans people.

The thinking was that this was the only way to get any kind of bill passed, and some protections would be better than none at all. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) supported this approach as a “tactical decision.”

I remember the huge outcry and divided viewpoints when this happened. LGBTQ people protested Frank and the HRC. This unfair version of the bill passed the House but got nowhere in the Senate.

The trans inclusions were added back to the ENDA proposal later. And then, the provisions of ENDA were folded into a broader bill called the Equality Act, which also covers things like housing.

Just like the gay- and lesbian-only bill, ENDA and the Equality Act have never made it into law despite being reintroduced each year. That means there are STILL no federal protections for LGBTQ employees.

There is one good outcome from this debate: Gay and lesbian people realized that they could no longer ignore the plight of trans people. Today, the alliance between L, G, B, T, and Q is stronger and we work together to advance the rights of everyone.

(Photo credit: The Washington Blade.)