The renaissance of the trans human rights movement in the late 80s early 90's led to our first lobbying foray into Washington DC in 1994. One of the things we asked for at that time was to have trans people covered in ENDA by adding gender identity language in the bill which the GL community and Gay, Inc. either ignored or was openly hostile to.
In 1996 a non-inclusive sexual orientation only version of ENDA reached the final vote stage in a GOP controlled Senate and failed 50-49
It took a lot of work and lobbying by myself and a cross section of transpeople since 1994 to get us included in ENDA. Many of those people who took up that cause are no longer here on this planet or are retired from the movement. There were some bumps and bruises along the way as we continued the make the argument that ENDA would pass with transpeople in it and 'incremental progress' is unacceptable.
Yesterday I cried a little when I saw the trans community's nearly two decades of lobbying work vindicated when S.815, the trans inclusive ENDA passed on a 64-32 vote with the support of 10 Republican senators, 2 independents and 52 Democratic senators.
Sen Bob Casey (D-PA) didn't vote because he is away with his wife in Boston who is having surgery to repair a heart valve according to a Washington Post story..
Who were those GOP Ten? Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH.), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John McCain (R-AZ.), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA).
Sens. Hatch and McCain were in the Senate during the 1996 ENDA vote and voted NO at that time.
The 32 ENDA NO votes were all GOP senators, so keep that in mind when they run for reelection in 2014, 2016 or 2018.
We still have much work to do. It can't become law until it passes the Teapublican controlled House and receives President Obama's signature.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is too 'scurred' of the Tea Party to let that bill hit the House floor for a vote it could probably pass because he desperately wants to keep that speaker's gavel.
But before we roll up our sleeeves to do that, we take a moment to savor this legislative win before rolling up our sleeves for the tough battle ahead.