By Kelli Busey
June 26, 2008
The Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee holds first ever hearings on work place discrimination against transgender people.
The opening statement by Congressman Robert Andrews(D-NJ) set a precedent not heard by transgender people before. Congressman Andrews stated that he feels bias and discrimination against transgender people to be unfair and should be made unlawful. He later stated that he believed this to be the moral obligation of this Congress and the American people to see this to completion .
Congress Woman Tammy Baldwin(D-W) Testified she believes that transgender people need to be protected under law.
Glen Lavy, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative religious group, spoke of the deeply felt religious objections the people he represented felt towards allowing transgender people equal rights.
Congressman Andrews later pressed Mr Lavy on exactly what basis he used to support his argument. Congress Andrews examination of Mr Lavy's position was exact, defining and thoroughly exposed the underlying bigotry that the religious right uses to manipulate, control and subjugate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people.
JC Miller argued that allowing transgender people legal protections would open many unknown legal precedents.
Congressman Andrews then pointed out that it was the duty of the legislature to make laws and the job of the judicial branch to either question them or enforce them.
Congress Andrews stated he felt that this was simply the job that needs to be done.
The following transgender people and allies gave accounts of transition, work place success and failures that they have encountered.
Shannon Price Minter, Legal Director for National Center for Lesbian Rights (founding member of NCTE)
Diane Schroer, Retired Colonel, US Army (member of NCTE)
Diego Sanchez, Director of Public Relations and External Affairs for AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (Founding Board of Directors for NCTE)
Sabrina Marcus Taraboletti, Former Space Shuttle Engineer (founding member of NCTE)
Bill Hendrix, Chair of Gays, Lesbians, and Allies at Dow (GLAD) for Dow Chemical Company testified on the success and economic wisdom of including transgender people in the competitive work place.
The minority party has called the following witnesses:
JC Miller, Partner at Thompson Hine
Glen Lavy, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defense Fund
In a word, a absolutely brilliant day for all gender diverse people. From conception and execution to completion by defunking the misconceptions spun by the right all parties involved should accept a most heartfelt thank you from the transgender community and the nation as a whole.
Involved at the very center of this event is master mind Mara Kiesling and the NCTE. Also involved is the Human Rights Campaign and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.. A lot of us growl in agony at the thought of HRC becoming once again integrated in our struggle. But I offer that the people who did this were mainly HRC members and it would not have happened without them. And yes our old friend and sometimes adversarial Congressman Barney Frank. Thank you. This happened because you willed it to Mr. Frank.