Barney Frank: Transgender people don’t have rights legislation because they wouldn’t help lobby

Retired congressman Barney Frank has attacked the head of the Human Rights Campaign for apologising to trans groups, and claimed trans people are only excluded from rights legislation because they wouldn’t help lobby for it.

The openly gay Democrat, who retired from the US House last year, made the claims in an interview with the GaVoice.

He was reacting to news that Chad Griffin, the President of the Human Rights Campaign, had apologised for his group’s previous lack of integration with the trans community, and lack of trans-inclusive LGBT rights legislation.

Mr Frank said: “Chad Griffin’s one of those people whose political judgement seems to be off.

“The transgender community had this mistaken view [in 2007] that if Nancy Pelosi waved a magic wand, transgender would be included. And we were insisting to them that, look we don’t have the votes, help us lobby.

“Instead of trying to put pressure on the people who were against them, they thought they could just insist that we do it. We said, ‘We’re trying, but we need your help.’

“The issue was we did not have the votes for an inclusive bill. It wasn’t a failure of will. Then the question was, was something better than nothing? Was it better to pass a bill that was protective of lesbian, gay and bisexual people or pass nothing? We tried very hard.”

Mr Frank was the first ever openly gay congressman, and in 2012 became the first congressman to have a same-sex marriage while in office.