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by Roslyn Manley
Saturday, May. 11, 2002 at 5:29 PM
An open letter regarding the Orange County Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center's support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which discriminates against the Transgender community. PLEASE REDISTRIBUTE!
The following letter was sent to the Orange County (California) Federation list serve. The Federation list includes all Orange County LGBT supporting organizations and their memberships. For reasons not expressed to me, the letter has not been redistributed. I assume that it has been moderated.
It is my opinion that each person must reach an independent evaluation regarding ENDA 2001. They may hope, wish, support, or criticize as their conscience and evaluation dictate. However, I oppose a (c)3 outreach organization such as the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Orange County supporting and recommending any position that is not in
the best interests of their clientele and their contributors . . . all of them.
Because I am being denied a rebuttal position on the listserve that the Center distributed their supportive letter on ENDA, I am seeking a wider distribution through various lists in the hopes that friends an allies will redistribute this letter back to LGBT community of Southern
Thank you for your assistance.
AN OPEN LETTER
The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Orange County, also known as The Center OC represents itself as being an LGBT supportive community center. During recent years, the Center has taken steps towards transgender acceptance and support, especially with reference to the Youth Drop-In Center. I have given, and will continue to give accolades for the wonderful work being accomplished for our community youth.
In response to this movement, the transgender community responded to the Center’s “Gala” dinner by filling more than four tables, or approximately 10% of the attendees. In proportion to our population, we may have been the most prominent group in attendance.
On May 9, 2002 The Center distributed email correspondence urging support of Senate Bill 1284, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2001. Like each prior version since the 103rd Congress in 1994, this version will also fail. It will fail because this Congress and administration simply cannot support ENDA over the various opponents and objections, but also because it is an exclusive special interest bill that is not worthy of passage.
With the exception of the Human Rights Campaign, most other major national and state organizations withhold support for ENDA because it is not fully inclusive of transgenders and gender variant, many of whom are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. It provides no protection for the men or women who are perceived as not being sufficiently masculine or feminine regardless of their orientation or identity.
We are disappointed that the Center has elected to turn its back on its transgender clientele and supporters. It chooses to ignore the 70% transgender unemployment, and 20% underemployment rates. It forgets that unemployment drives transgenders to the street where HIV studies find the inner city infection rates ranging from 30% to 70%! It forgets that along with unemployment comes the loss of benefits such as health insurance. It forgets that transgenders have an exceedingly high suicide rate that is substantially the result of family and career issues. It forgets that transgenders are murdered sixteen times more frequently than the general population, another statistic that can be related to unemployment.
THE CENTER STAFF IS FULLY AWARE OF THESE MORBIDITY FACTORS, BUT IGNORED THEM.
. . . and they ask for transgender support? They seek our contributions so they can address these same factors?
I do wish that my friends at the Center had thought of these issues before they cast their recommendation to support a special interest bill that, at it’s best, would benefit only that portion of the gay and lesbian community who pass as normal.
I’m so disappointed. I had hoped they were serious about being inclusive.
May 9, 2002
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