Jonathan Capehart, The HRC, And Today's Washington Post Editorial

This is a “connect the dots” post. It’s an hindsight argument as to why HRC’s/Logo’s VisibleVote*08 choice of Jonathan Capehart was perhaps an LG choice for a journalist/questioner, and not an LGBT choice for an LGBT debate.

1.) Today, the Washington Post published an editorial entitled A Civil Rights Law; Employment discrimination against gays and lesbians should be outlawed.:

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-Mass.) is set to introduce two versions of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the House Education and Labor Committee. One would extend civil rights protections based on sexual orientation. The other would do so for gender identity, which would cover transgender people who have changed their sex, are living their lives as the opposite sex or who do not conform to traditional gender roles. This will be done because within the past few days it became clear that an inclusive bill would be defeated because of the transgender protection. Mr. Frank, one of two openly gay members of Congress, deserves credit for devising the plan that might well save the basic bill.

It requires time and patience to educate the public and lawmakers about how prejudice harms some people. That’s what gays and lesbians have been doing in their quest for equality for nearly 40 years. And that’s what transgender people will have to do. Delaying passage of ENDA, which was first introduced in the House in the mid-1970s by Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.), until the transgender community changes enough hearts and minds would be a mistake.

2.) Jonathan Capehart is an editorial writer for the Washington Post.

3.) Back when Jonathan Capehart was a writer for the New York Daily News in 2002, he argued against including transgender protections in New York’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA):

[New York State Senator Tom] Duane [(D-Manhattan)] and his gay constituents already are protected by [New York] city’s human rights law. The transgendered, too. The senator’s fight puts the protection of gays and lesbians throughout the state at risk.

“I’m not trying to stop SONDA,” he said recently. “What have I been in office for? It’s been a part of my platform.”

But the eleventh-hour amendment could undermine that platform. That’s why Duane should put off his transgender activism until after the bill is passed. Untold numbers of gays and lesbians around the state need legal protection. It’s long overdue.

When the HRC and LOGO picked Capehart as a panelist/questioner, they picked someone who in the past of advocating against transgender inclusion in a non-discrimination act. Now the Washington Post, with Capehart as an editorial writer, is advocating against transgender inclusion in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). I believe Capehart’s previous commentary on SONDA and the Washington Post‘s current editorial on ENDA are too similar in perspective to be disconnected.

I guess no one should be surprised to learn that Jonathan Capehart asked no transgender specific questions at the VisibleVote*08 forum.

Should I be inferring anything about the HRC’s position on transgender exclusion from ENDA because LOGO and the HRC chose Capehart as an LGBT community representative for the VisibleVote*08 forum?

Again, the HRC’s silence so far is deafening.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King Jr.

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