Gay fundraiser to be picketed by trans activists

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America’s leading LGBT rights organisation is bracing itself for protests tomorrow at a key fundraising event.

Tomorrow night’s Human Rights Campaign’s National Dinner in Washington, D.C will be picketed by trade unionists, trans groups and others over its position on new legislation designed to protect people from workplace discrimination.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) originally contained measures to protect trans workers.

Those provisions were dropped when it became apparent that only gay, lesbian and bisexual worker protection would be approved by the House of Representatives.

The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition has issued a call for people to join their members, members of other organisations and numerous individuals in protesting at the HRC National Dinner.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, will be a keynote speaker at the event.

Pride at Work, the LGBT constituency group of trade union AFL-CIO, announced today that it would also picket the event.

HRC said in a statement yesterday that they support trans protections at work and are “profoundly disappointed” by the decision to remove them from ENDA.

“We’re facing a stark reality,” said HRC President Joe Solomonese.

“The House leadership and bill sponsors are moving forward with a non-inclusive ENDA – even without the full support of our community.

“They view this as the best opportunity this year to get a successful vote on legislation extending protections to the largest number of people.

“I want you to know we made every possible effort to avoid having a non-inclusive bill introduced and we did succeed in helping convince Congressional leaders to delay action on the new bill until later this month.

“We now have a window of opportunity to try and line up the votes we need to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA.”

Recently, Shannon Minter of the National Centre for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) authored and circulated a letter signed by more than 150 different state and national organisations and submitted to Ms Pelosi petitioning for a return to one inclusive bill for ENDA in its inclusive form.

A new ad-hoc campaign, United ENDA has been formed.

It is a collective of organisations that have agreed to the principles of explicitly inclusive legislation submitted to Congress.

HRC has not signed onto an endorsement of the statement signed by the members of United ENDA, opposing the split of the proposed bill into separate legislation – one for sexual orientation and one for gender identity.

“We are very disappointed and angry that any civil rights organisation claiming to advocate for our rights can turn their backs on us when the going gets tough,” said Ethan St.Pierre, Board Chair of NTAC.

“It amounts to a betrayal, since HRC earlier promised to support only an inclusive ENDA.”

The only transgender ever seated on the HRC Board of Directors, Donna Rose,

resigned earlier this week in disappointment.

“We want to ensure people note that this is a non-violent protest, and that we should avoid working to our detriment by being profane or verbally attacking,” said NTAC Media Director, Vanessa Edwards Foster.

“Icy glares and stone cold silence work well.”