The hearing continues

Listening to the testimony before Congress is an amazing experience. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of jobs and families lost and the pain that transgender people have been through. At the same time, however, it is incredibly liberating to see trans people taking such a powerful stand for our community, speaking directly to members of Congress about the need for employment protections.

On the eve of the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we can reflect on how we’ve come from the days when people of diverse gender expressions fought discrimination with fists and beer bottles. Now we are advocating for ourselves in the halls of Congress. May the work we’re doing now honor those who began the struggle because we need to be in the streets and on Capitol Hill.

8 Responses to The hearing continues

  1. sunshine9924 says:

    I was lucky enough to be home sick today and got to view the live feed of this hearing.The heartbreaking stories of those transgender people that have been subjected to discrimination touched me, and, I am certain, made a dramatic impact on the Committee.The bravery of the witnesses who testified should be marked in the history books as a momentous step forward in the efforts to end discrimination against transgender people and against all people.I did enjoy Mr. Andrews questions directed at Mr. Lavy. I believe it was a very successful attempt to catch Mr. Lavy refuting his own testimony by showing he would theoretically apply rights to certain parties only when it suited his beliefs.Anti-discrimination legislation cannot be applied when one feels like it. It cannot be interpreted to mean that discrimination is intolerable in one instance, but is rightfully acceptable in another. Legislation that mandates non-discrimination is just that – a mandate not to discriminate at ANY time, any place, or any situation.Based on Mr. Andrew’s closing comments, I believe that he feels Congress should, indeed, enact legislation to end discrimination against transgender people.Won’t it be a fantastic day to celebrate when we finally get there?

  2. bolowolf says:

    I began watching the hearing after the break, and saw what was the last hour and a half or so. (I’m pretty sure I saw you in the seating Justin.) Initially I was discouraged by Rep. Miller’s line of questioning regarding the morality of legislation protecting people who are transgender. As I watched more I had a growing sense of optimism that this committee hearing would be fruitful. The closing comments made by Rep. Miller about a similar issue that the House voted on yesterday in regards to the ADA and seeing transgender protection in the future was exciting. And it may not happen this year, but it seems it will happen in my lifetime.I heard discussion about the use of language in legislation that made some good points about the importance of language. It sounded like the Committee was willing to work with NCTE and the HRC about education. I didn’t hear a definition of transgender. I bring this up for the purposes of inclusion. Seeing as how different agencies have different requirements for designating sex changes, how does a person get the transgender designation? Here in NY, I needed $10, a letter from my psychiatrist, and a trip to the DMV to have my license changed. I called my local SSA and asked them about having my sex designation changed. The woman stated I would need a letter from a medical professional stating I had surgery to alter my genitals. I asked her what if I didn’t have that surgery or couldn’t have it? She didn’t have an answer for that and I’m waiting for a phone call back. Will it be possible for people who are non-operative transgenders to be included? That would be exciting…

  3. Clay in Pittsburgh says:

    I was able to watch the hearing as well and I was very impressed with how it went.Bravo to Diane, Diego, Sabrina and Shannon. And to NCTE for making it happen.

  4. tonei says:

    I wish I could have seen the testimony…unfortunately the hearing started at 6:30 AM local time, which was about 6 hours before I woke up.

  5. Kyle Boyer says:

    Tonei, and anyone else who missed the hearing:Donna Rose has created a great compilation of podcasts, blogs, interviews, and more at her blog.We are working on getting the subcommittee’s transcripts; they haven’t released them yet.

  6. J D "Ox" Freeman says:

    Folks, I just watched these videos on You Tube. One word…WOW! It went well. The sub-committee was friendly. The witnesses on our behalf were excruciatingly well prepared and well spoken. The witnesses against us were easily rendered ridiculous by the sub-committee chair. I spotted both Lisa Mottet and Mara Keisling in the background, sitting back and watching the monster presentation unfold that they, with others, have worked so very hard to make happen. This dialogue could not have happenned even two years ago. Understand, Congress has never bothered to listen to us before. Hell, the never let us in the friggin’ door before… yet lack of education in Congress was the lame excuse for dropping us from ENDA. They didn’t want to learn. They wanted to preserve that lame excuse. I did not think I would live to see this day. I really needed this. Grassroots activism is grinding, ungrateful work. It is not difficult to lose sight of optimism…particularly when fighting the good fight in hostile territory, like here in Alabama. This morning, I am renewed with an emotion that I rarely get to feel…that is hope. Those who know me well, know that I tend to think in song. At the risk of revealing what an unhip old fart I truly am, here’s the tune that’s stuck in my head this morning: “I was alive and I waited, waitedI was alive and I waited for thisRight here, right nowThere is no other place I want to beRight here, right nowWatching the world wake up from history.” – Jesus Jones Onward,Ox

  7. Kelli Busey says:

    Absolutely Brilliant day for all transgender people! I was so cynical and will hold my breath forever hoping Barney Frank does nothing to jeopardise this fragile admiration society.On my blog I gave credit where credit is due, and you know, I was criticised for it!!! Oh well.GREAT JOB Mara and the entire staff!!! Thank you.

  8. Paula says:

    As much as this is one giant leap for transkind, we still have tremendous amounts of work and struggle ahead of us. Nobody ever gave the oppressed anything, ever.It’s great that our allies and sympathetic listeners are making themselves known. We have to rethink some of our old ways.Being Stealth does more harm than good. We have a chance for real change. We need to seize the moment.Just remember to stay dignified, united, and be heard. If we do this, we will get there.Also, remember this latin phrase..”Illegitmus non tadum carborundum”Don’t let the bastards get you down.

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