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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Kennedy mum on new version of ENDA

After a few problems with Blogger, I'm back.

Here's an interesting article from today's Houston Voice about ENDA, the federal bill to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and, perhaps, gender identity. The article talks about Senator's Kennedy's failure to state his position on a transgender inclusive formulation of the bill. I can certainly understand his caution, and, to my mind, the question is whether proponents of a transgender inclusive formulation can be ready for all questions that will be raised on this issue, so that it won't go down in flames like the recent NYC Board of Health proposal about changing birth certificates. It sounds like Rep. Barney Frank has been thinking about it, and the article mentions his consideration of the dress code issue, which we've discussed previously. There are others issues that they need to be ready for, like the bathroom issue, of course, but also its effect on health insurance, sex-segregated facilities (e.g., jails and DV shelters), security clearances, and others. All these can be dealt with, as long as someone does a little thinking in advance.

"Kennedy mum on new version of ENDA"

Trans-inclusive rights bill faces unclear future in new new Congress

. . . Over the past two years, the nation’s most prominent gay rights groups joined forces with transgender advocacy organizations in calling for a modified version of ENDA that also bans discrimination based on “gender identity” and “gender expression.” Legal experts have adopted those terms as a means of defining transgender persons in civil rights legislation.This year, as activists rejoice in the prospects of a Democratic-controlled Congress moving forward on gay rights legislation, alarm bells have sounded quietly and behind the scenes among insiders working on ENDA within the ranks of various advocacy groups. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the lead Senate sponsor of ENDA in past years, has so far withheld disclosing publicly whether he will support a trans-inclusive version of the legislation. . .

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