Letters

Posted on 18 Jan 2007 at 2:53pm

HRC’s had right strategy on ENDA

In the days since the announcement that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act could be stripped of gender identity language, a disturbing trend has emerged in the LGBT community. Some groups have chosen to adopt the “you are either with us or against us” rhetoric that has been used with devastating effect by the Radical Right.

Although we differ on strategy, the Human Rights Campaign’s position is not without principle. One need only look to the considerable work HRC has done on behalf of the transgender community from funding the nation’s first transgender career expo to fighting for an inclusive hate crimes bill to recognize that that the organization’s difficult choice not to oppose the new ENDA is part of strategy with a specific goal in mind: equality for the entire LGBT community.

As a member of HRC’s Board of Directors, I can guarantee that this decision was gut-wrenching and was made thoughtfully.

HRC is the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group and wields considerable political influence, and thus occupies a unique position. Much of HRC’s power is manifested in the relationships it has with congressional leaders.
To immediately come out against the non-inclusive bill would have jeopardized those relationships and in turn jeopardized the entire GLBT community’s ability to affect congressional policymaking. This would have been a shortsighted and unwise move.

HRC’s decision not to support the non-inclusive legislation but not actively oppose it kept the door open for further discussion on achieving an inclusive ENDA and many other protections the GLBT community needs.

Jay W. Oppenheimer
Dallas

Don’t penalize LG part of LGBT

Re: Dale Carpenter’s column, “ENDA should go forward without the “‘T,’” (Dallas Voice, Oct. 12).

Occasionally, I find myself in agreement with the views expressed by Dale Carpenter. This is one of those occasions.
A lot of people have worked very hard on putting together the possibility of passing ENDA and almost all of them have been gays and lesbians.

I was active in the Dallas Gay Alliance when we added the “L” to become the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and I thought, “OK, gays and lesbians are both homosexuals.”

And then the “powers that be” in the “national GL political realm” decided to add the B (bisexuals) and the T (then transsexuals, now transgenders).

I wondered at the time what was the commonality, except the word sex. But, I went along to get along.

I rationalized it by saying that when bisexuals have affinity for people of the same gender then they are homosexuals. But, when they turn around and have affinity for people of the opposite gender, they are heterosexuals and not part of “our community.”

When a person transitions to a woman and has affinity for women, then she is a lesbian. Likewise, when a person transitions to a man and has affinity for men, then he is a gay man. But, when people transition to a different gender and then have affinity for the resultant opposite gender, they are heterosexuals and are not part of our community.

Therefore, simply the aspects of being a bisexual or a transgender by themselves do not make that person a member of our community.

It is time we got back to our roots in the fight for gay and lesbian civil rights. We can have empathy for and be helpful to others in their struggles. But we do not need to throw away the work over many years of a lot of dedicated people by forcing the ENDA legislation to fail.

Michael Milliken
Dallas

Stonewall supports trans-inclusive ENDA

The Stonewall Democrats of Dallas stands in solidarity with its transgender sisters and brothers and will not support an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes protection for transgender persons.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas calls upon its members and the community at large to demand that their congressional representatives support the original inclusive language of ENDA that includes gender identity. This position was formally adopted via a resolution during our Oct. 16 general meeting.

We invite the community to come to our Nov. 20 general meeting, being held on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, to hear local leader Jessica Davis, co-founder of Gender, Education, Advocacy & Resources, speak about transgender civil rights.

For more information on Stonewall’s efforts to advocate for the original ENDA legislation, please visit www.nosubstitutes.org.

Jesse Garcia, president
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

Gay, Republican and seriously mistaken

A statement made by Robert Schlein, a special contributor to the Viewpoints section of the Dallas Voice (“Gay, Republican and proud,” Oct. 5) is simply disgusting. Mr. Schlein wrote that “to come out as gay and Republican takes courage. In our own community, it often takes more guts to come out as Republican to our gay friends, than it takes to come out as gay to our straight friends and family.”

I could not disagree more. I have yet to read or hear an account of anyone who has been kicked out of their home, physically assaulted or murdered for coming out as a Republican.

Mr. Schlein’s careless remark only serves to further victimize all those who have faced such severe consequences for accepting their sexuality. It also shows that Mr. Schlein, and many who share his political ideology, are grossly out of touch with the world around them. I hope he will more carefully consider his words in the future.
Democrats do not have a perfect record in the fight for LGBT equality. The current ENDA struggle proves that. By making comments like Mr. Schlein’s, however, Republicans prove just how much further they have to go.

Daniel Melder
Fort Worth

Thanks for story on transgender officer

Because I am on the board of directors for the Transgender Community of Police & Sheriffs (TCOPS), I was sent an article that John Wright wrote for Dallas Voice about Debbie Grabowski of the Dallas Police Department (“Smooth transition,” Dallas Voice, Oct. 12). I wanted to drop the Voice a quick line to say that the article was very well written.

I know Debbie through our TCOPS organization. About the time she was coming out to her department, I was “outed” at mine in Fort Worth. With my forensic manager’s, deputy chief’s and chief’s support, we started preparations for my on-the-job transition, and I started living full-time as a female on Dec. 29 of last year.

Debbie’s story is an inspiration to all of us, whether we are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual. We all face the same type of fears of rejection and discrimination. It is also the type of story that the public needs to read so that they can become educated on the subject of transgendered individuals.

Hopefully, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will be passed in its original form and we can eventually join mainstream society as protected, taxpaying, hard-working citizens.

Thanks again.

Tori Van Fleet
Fort Worth

Another complaint about towing company

I’m writing in regard to your article about the Illegal towing from the Office Depot parking lot in Oak Lawn (“City officials give towing company 2 citations,” Dallas Voice, Oct. 12).

On or about April 8, my boyfriend’s truck was also towed by this company, Cencir Inc. I spoke with the Office Depot manager, who was fed up with the issue but did say that people had permission to park there after hours for the clubs. I even got a signed statement that no one from Office Depot called to have any vehicles removed from the parking lot.

I took photos of the surrounding area, and there were no signs letting people know who did the towing.

Then I got on the Internet to find out how to file a complaint, which I did with the city Dallas and the Texas Department of Transportation.

There was violation after violation. According to my research, the storage facility is supposed to have somebody on grounds 24/7, and you have the right to get your vehicle within one hour. Well, I called and called and called and eventually learned that the number listed is a cell phone. I expected a call back but never got one. I got a “voicemail is full” message many times.

The good news is that I did get my money back after telling them I plan on filing a court case.

The problem is that there is no clear info on how to contest the towing, so people just pay that $100-plus and go on with their day.

I personally think that the tow truck driver literally stole my boyfriend’s truck and if Dallas would put an ordinance in effect to make the actual truck driver have a responsibility, then they might think twice when they go out and just pick and pull.

Hit their pocket book and then they’ll start playing by the rules.

Cencir Inc. and Carr Storage Corp. need more than a slap on the wrist; they need to be shut down.

Jeff Daniels
Garland

NBC’s Lauer wrong to say Craig is gay

How dare Matt Lauer say that U.S. Sen. Larry Craig “performed a sequence of events used by members of the gay community looking for sex in public restrooms” (NBC, Oct. 16).

Lauer would have been more accurate to say “performed a sequence of events used by men who want to have anonymous sex with other men in public restrooms.”

Most of those men don’t even identify as gay!

Jim McCoy
Dallas

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 19, 2007

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