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Pogo: “We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us.”

“‘Today, we witnessed the making of civil rights history in the U.S. House of Representatives by the passing of ENDA,’ said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. ‘This vote by Congress is an important step at ensuring that millions of gay and lesbian Americans will never again have to go to work in fear of losing their jobs because of who they are.'”  [For the full comment from the HRC, see here.]

If I didn’t think Solomnese was serious, I’d think it was some kind of a sick joke!  Our Transgendered sisters and brothers are betrayed, thrown to the wolves, excluded from the “community” of LGBT people, and the President of the HRC, an organization that is supposed to be committed to acquiring civil rights for LGBT people (Notice, when it solicits donations on its website, it states: “Make your contribution today and join a grassroots force of over 700,000 members and supporters standing together for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.”), calls the passing of a non-inclusive ENDA “…the making of civil rights history….”? 

And what makes this whole bizarre scenario surreal is the fact that this bill that has so many holes in it, as well as its exclusion of Transgendered people, will be surely vetoed by Bush and, believe me, his veto will not be over-ridden by Congress!

And to state that, “This vote by Congress is an important step at ensuring that millions of gay and lesbian Americans will never again have to go to work in fear of losing their jobs because of who they are,” is absolute nonsense!  This bill, as I understand it, would allow religious organizations to fire and/or not hire anyone who is Gay; would allow all organizations and employers to discriminate against any employee who is perceived to act in a way not culturally or personally defined as being in accord with that person’s gender.

The HRC and assorted “liberals” have shown themselves to be the kind of people who will not only sell out others for the sake of political expediency and/or rank selfishness, but will also sell others’ out for mere crumbs of incrementalism that Massah may provide them! 

As evidence for this contention, the poll results, sponsored by the HRC, regarding attitudes toward the non-inclusive ENDA bill of 514 LGBT people, as reported on Towle Road, shows that 67.7% of the respondents agreed with the following statement: “National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organizations should support this proposal because it helps gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers and is a step toward transgender employment rights.”  I have no reason to assume that this is by any means a random or representative sample of LGBT people, yet I wouldn’t be at all surprised if similar findings weren’t obtained if a representative random sample of Gay people were polled!

As I wrote to a friend of mine the other day regarding this issue, “I think far more than internalized homophobia is the culprit here.  I think it’s basic satisfaction with crumbs, and as long as that attitude prevails (and it seems to me it is prevailing), not only will there be no meaningful civil rights accruing to LGBT people, but their disdainful attitude toward meaningful activism will further embolden the haters to retard, prevent, and even erase what current semblance of civil rights and respect that LGBT people now enjoy.”

If we’re going to count on sellouts, politicians and organizations who will betray others and throw them under the bus, those who will betray the principle of full and equal acquisition of civil rights, LGBT people will not only continue to remain second-class citizens, but will find that they will lose many of the civil rights protections they already have; irrevocably fracture the LGBT “community” in the process.  Talk about playing into the hands of the homophobes!

When dealing with a school yard bully, one quickly learns that by trying to be nice, by trying to accommodate that bully, that bully ups the ante and escalates his/her attacks.  The same holds true regarding the bullies who seek to keep LGBT people “in their place” as second class citizens!  If we don’t demand full and equal civil rights, and nothing less, for everyone, and continue to agitate for those rights until they are obtained, this ordeal, if for many it is, indeed, an ordeal, will last interminably. 

As long as all too many Gay people, assorted politicians, and assorted Gay Rights organizations can be seen to be willing to settle for incrementalism, such as Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, and a non-inclusive ENDA, it is to that degree that the bullies will become emboldened to up the ante and fight that much more ferociously to preserve their stake in the status quo that promises to further retard the acquisition of full and equal civil rights!

If we don’t stand up to the bullies and demand full and equal civil rights for everyone, the bullies not only win, but LGBT people will lose, and lose by their own willingness to settle for what crumbs are offered them to keep them quiet and keep them in their place!

Self-respect demands that all LGBT people and people of good will never settle for the crumbs of incrementalism; never settle for being viewed and treated as second-class citizens; never sell out the principles of fairness and “equal justice for all”; never sell out our Transgender brothers and sisters or anyone else, as by such actions full and equal civil rights and respect will never be obtained, and further contempt will be heaped upon LGBT people.

And no one with an ounce of self-respect can stand for such treatment!

[Also posted on A Christian Voice For Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender Rights.]

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Jerry Maneker

Jerry Maneker