Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You GLB's Ain't Off The ENDA Hook Because Diane Won

"To demand freedom is to demand justice. When there is no justice in the land a man's freedom is threatened. Freedom and justice are interdependent. When a man has no protections under the law it is difficult for him to make others recognize him."

That 1969 quote by Dr. James Cone is eerily prescient when you think about the parallels between the current transgender civil rights push and the ongoing fight of African-Americans for first class citizenship.

While Diane Schroer's win in federal court is wonderful news and may be the legal nail in the coffin for Ulane v. Eastern Airlines, we're still a long way from knowing for certain that transgender people are covered under Title VII.

So it is premature as I've been hearing in some GLB circles to think it's okay to 'ditch the trannies' and try to spin this as justification for transpeople getting immorally cut out of an inclusive ENDA by Barney last year and proceed full speed ahead with the gay only non-inclusive one.

The point I'm making is that legal victories are a major help in terms of acquiring first class citizenship status for transgender people. But more importantly, we need laws written that back up what was won in court.

Just as you GLB peeps aren't relying solely on court rulings to make marriage equality a reality, neither will transgender people put our fragile civil rights eggs in one basket either. We also will not rest until we have an inclusive ENDA passed and signed into law.

Court victories without laws to back them up are just Band-Aids placed on the wounds of injustice. All it takes is an adverse ruling to rip off the Band-Aid and reopen the wound. Laws combined with court rulings affirming them close the wound and promote the healing that protected civil rights promote.

And at this juncture, we need an inclusive ENDA on the books promoting the justice and freedom that Dr. Cone spoke so eloquently about.

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