Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The view from the back burner

I was looking through the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) website this morning and was struck by the general dearth of coverage there of the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) and the fight to make it law.  I noted the paucity of coverage and was considering a blog post about it when I saw that Kat Rose, on the ENDAblog, noticed the same thing and beat me to it.

What she showed is more proof, as if it were really needed, that GENDA always was, and apparently always will be, so far on the back on the rearmost ESPA burner that the danger of its being pushed off the back of the stove is as real as the danger of my being unemployed for the next decade or so - until I hit retirement age, if I survive that long -  since my civil rights protections still haven't been passed into law.

 To give credit where it’s due, ESPA has done work for GENDA and the trans community in New York. They sponsored many trans people, including me, for their Equality and Justice lobbying days in Albany and have at least one trans person, a trans man, on their payroll to be the point person for organizing around this issue. The problem I have relates not to the work they’ve already done, work that I’m grateful for, but how their priorities stack up and, as the ENDAblog post shows, their priorities simply do not place much importance on the gender variant gay, lesbian, straight and bisexual trans people in New York.

I figure ESPA to be in the same mold as the HRC, run primarily by and for the well to do white gay men of the state who will always make certain their priorities are given the greatest attention, “collateral damage” be damned. They haven’t figured out yet that pushing employment and housing protections for gender variant people would ultimately give them greater resources to fight for their issues, which so many trans people support but cannot contribute to because they are too wrapped up in scratching out their own survival in a state that still considers them third class citizens.

I’m going to look at more trans centered organizations, probably NYAGRA (the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy), to push more aggressively in the face of ESPA failures in this regard. I’ve lost hope that ESPA can ever get the job done.

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