I'm going to be pulling the blue and black power suits out of the closet, packing my black flats in my bags and heading to DC next month to take part in NTAC's portion of Transgender Lobby Week May 15-17.
NTAC, NCTE and GenderPac are all hitting the Hill that week to lobby in support of HR 1592, the transgender inclusive Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevetion Act that has been introduced in the House by the CBC's Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and in the Senate by Sen Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen Gordon Smith (R-OR).
Yesterday the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in the House by Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Christopher Shays (R-CT). NTAC is currently examining the bill language to ascertain if the proposed legislation actually covers transgender people. If it does then the lobbying effort will be expanded to advocating for passage of that bill as well.
I haven't been up there since 1999 and I'm looking forward to it. This trip to DC will have a different feel to it. In addition to this being the first time I've participated in a lobby day when the Dems were running thangs on Capitol Hill, we actually have a damned good shot at making some history happen.
If you're interested in participating and haven't lobbied before, no sweat. A training session will be held on May 15 and we will have some experienced peeps to pair you up with. Lobbying is not just the province of DC based law firms, 527 orgs or corporations. You do the hiring and firing of these congresspeeps by exercising your right to vote. It is your right and duty as an American citizen and constituent to see what your congressmember is up to.
If you're worried about what to say, don't. You are more persuasive than any K Street pro in the eyes of your congresspeeps. All you have to do is stand tall, dress professionally and simply tell your story.
If you want to help make some history and participate drop AC a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit up the NTAC website at www.ntac.org
You don't have to be transgender to participate. If you simply want to help I'm sure Ethan, AC and company will greatly appreciate any time or assistance you can give them in terms of making this lobby day a fun, prductive and successful event.
TransGriot note: I'm definitely planning on giving y'all the 411 on what happened while I was on the Hill exercising my constitutional rights to visit my lawmakers. I hope some of you can join us as well.