Gov. David Paterson, of New York, has issued a proclamation calling the NYS Senate into special session tomorrow, Wednesday, June 24th. The proclamation lists same sex civil marriage as its first priority. The Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act, GENDA, is nowhere to be found.
Once again, gender variant people in New York State have been shoved under the bus, as I feared as soon as Gov. Paterson introduced same sex marriage legislation back on April 16th. In an apparent repeat of the legislative violence trans people suffered in 2002, we have been forgotten. I'm sure we'll be told again that we just need to be patient, that the GLB community will “come back” for us. I'm also convinced if same sex marriage equality becomes law in New York, the state's femme gay men and the butch lesbian women, along with the transsexual people, the genderqueer people, the straight but feminine men and the straight but butch women, will have to wait until the unlikely event that the federal government and the GLB lobbyists who
want need donation generating victories above all else, decides we are worth the trouble of consideration.
I believe this will happen because once marriage equality becomes law in New York, the financial support and political will necessary to pass a trans inclusive set of laws in the state will wither away. I'm sure the leadership of the GLB(t) organizations will hasten to assure us that protecting gender variant people is the next fight on the list. After all, they need issues to justify their continuing existence but once marriage equality is achieved, what large issues are left for the GLB community in NY? Few, if any, that I can see.
I will never be so selfish as to advocate for the defeat of the civil marriage rights bill in New York because GENDA is still not law. I am a lesbian as well as trans woman and I know this is important for our community. I won't, can't, leave the GLBT community and I'm afraid it will leave me.