HRC denies wrongdoing in alleged transgender flag incident at Supreme Court

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, faced criticism in various social media today after allegations surfaced that one of the group’s staffers told transgender community members to remove their flag from a podium area at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Human Rights Campaign’s usually blue-and-yellow logo was shaded red to show support for marriage equality this week. It was shared heavily on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

The national group, which is denying any wrongdoing, was one of several organizations present during press conferences and other short speeches at the court, where two historic cases challenging anti-LGBT marriage discrimination were heard this week.

Various posts on Facebook and Tumblr asserted that an HRC staffer asked transgender community members to remove a transgender flag from the podium area and said, according to one post, that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue.”

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Jerame Davis, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats, said in an update on Facebook that he witnessed an HRC staffer asking that a transgender flag be removed, though he did not hear the alleged statement regarding marriage and transgender issues.

“I was there. I saw this happen,” Davis wrote on Wednesday. “It was only the HRC reps asking for the trans flag to be moved. If they’d only asked once, I’d have given them a pass, but they continued to harass this person over a flag.”

Davis described the incident as “really poor behavior.”

HRC Communications Director Michael Cole-Schwartz issued a statement to qnotes in response to the allegations.

“It was agreed that featuring American flags at our program was the best way to illustrate this unifying issue which is why when managing the area behind the podium, several people were asked to move who were carrying organizational banners, pride flags or any other flag that was not an American flag,” the statement read. “Several people refused and they were allowed to stay. The coalition welcomed the variety of signs and flags that were throughout the plaza that demonstrated the wonderful diversity of our community.”

HRC added, “It is a not true to suggest that any person or organization was told their flag was less important than another — this did not occur and no HRC staff member would ever tolerate such behavior. To be clear, it is the position of the Human Rights Campaign that marriage is an issue that affects everyone in the LGBT community.”

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The national group’s history with the transgender community has been strained. In 2007, the group faced tremendous push back when it endorsed a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which excluded protections for transgender workers.

HRC is also facing criticism from United We Dream’s Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project. In a video posted to YouTube today, QUIP leader Jerssay Arredondo claims his speech at an HRC-organized event at the Supreme Court was revised by the national LGBT group. qnotes has reached out to United We Dream for further clarification on the alleged revisions.

HRC’s full statement below:

“Tuesday and Wednesday were historic days for our community, as thousands of LGBT people gathered in front of the Supreme Court and in every state across the country to demonstrate their support for marriage equality. HRC was proud to play a role in these events as a member of the United for Marriage coalition, the group which organized the gathering at the Supreme Court. Marriage equality is an issue that fundamentally impacts hundreds of thousands of LGBT people and families across our nation and is greater than any one organization.

“It was agreed that featuring American flags at our program was the best way to illustrate this unifying issue which is why when managing the area behind the podium, several people were asked to move who were carrying organizational banners, pride flags or any other flag that was not an American flag. Several people refused and they were allowed to stay. The coalition welcomed the variety of signs and flags that were throughout the plaza that demonstrated the wonderful diversity of our community.

“It is a not true to suggest that any person or organization was told their flag was less important than another – this did not occur and no HRC staff member would ever tolerate such behavior. To be clear, it is the position of the Human Rights Campaign that marriage is an issue that affects everyone in the LGBT community.

“The events at the Court featured lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender speakers as well as LGBT families, religious leaders, Republicans, military spouses and civil rights activists. This has been a historic week and truly demonstrated how all of us – lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight, transgender and cisgender – can unite as one voice to advocate for our constitutional rights.”

 

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

60 Replies to “HRC denies wrongdoing in alleged transgender flag incident at Supreme Court”

  1. The HRC as shown a continual contempt for Transgendered individuals. They have abandoned Transgendered people at every opportunity, when it was politically expedient. The Transgender Flag episode is just further evidence that there is no LGBT community, in the eyes of the HRC, but rather a LG and sometimes B community.

  2. I don’t see anywhere in HRC’s statement where they deny that an HRC staffer repeatedly demanded that a trans rights flag be removed, as Jerame Davis described, or that an HRC staffer said that trans rights have noting to do with marriage as others have claimed.

    So I guess we’re to assume that these reports are accurate? Not sure about the others, but I trust Jereme.

    1. If everyone who wanted to fly a flag other than the American flag received repeated request to move it, the flag issue in particular is a non-issue. If rainbow flags were not allowed, bear flags were not allowed, etc., they were perfectly within their rights to ask — even repeatedly — that a trans* inclusion flag not be flown either.

      However, the statement that ““marriage equality is not a transgender issue” is, at a minimum, unacceptably insensitive. In an “in-house,” academic setting, I can see where one can attach some truth to that — if one accepts governmental limitation of either/or gender, that is. Same-sex marriage is an issue; gender identity and what the state requires to accept it is an issue. If those are addressed independently, then it could be said that, same-sex marriage is not a trans* issue. But (a) that’s academic hair-splitting, (b) it’s still phenomenally insensitive, and (c) it’s still based on replacing a fifty-year-old understanding of gender with a twenty-five-year-old understanding of gender.

      1. Marriage is absolutely a transgender issue. Instances when trans women have been married to cisgender men…. a straight relationship…. have been invalidated in court by insurance companies seeking to avoid payment on the grounds that it was a ‘gay marriage’ and therefore legally invalid. The truth is we get double jeopardy….. trans people’s marriages can be (and are) argued to be gay and therefore invalid whether they’re with a cis man OR a cis woman. With marriage equality, he have just as much to gain as cisgender same sex couples. Therefore, the HRC had displayed not only disregard but outright ignorance.

  3. Whether it happened as claimed or not, the reality is that the issue before the SCotUS is NOT a trans* issue. The only way trans* even remotely bootstraps into the discussion is that they have contorted laws in certain States in a manner that legal sex is not physical sex on some of the documents used to prove up eligibility to marry.

    The reality is that most of those claiming trans* identity are not generally the ones seeking same-sex marriage where the two people at the Clerk’s window have matching physical characteristics. Instead the flag issue becomes yet another instance of trans* trying to make this all about them…

    1. Kylee Michelle March 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      so, if a transwoman, who is legally and physically a male wishes to marry a man she loves, it doesn’t matter? the law stil says they cannot marry? what of the legally and physically transwoman who wishes to marry a woman? or that has the marriage voided because same sex marriage is illegal?

      this IS a trans issue because it is a HUMAN issue. unless trans people are not humans anymore.

      HRC ditched trans people with ENDA as well. they keep ditching us when convenient to further GAY rights. it’s not the first time this has happened.

      1. “what of the legally and physically transwoman who wishes to marry a woman?”

        The fact that one of the people seeking a marriage license in that situation is trans isn’t really relevant.

        Substitute any other characteristic for trans there–a short woman wants to marry a woman and cannot. Does that make same-sex marriage a short people issue? Not specifically, no. And it doesn’t follow from that that short people aren’t human. Some short women want to marry women, some don’t, their shortness is an unrelated issue.

    2. Michelle, there are gay and lesbian and bisexual and pansexual etc. transgender people just as there are among cisgender people. That, in addition to the issues you raise about legal documents, makes this just as much a trans* issue as anyone else’s. If the HRC is going to continue their current path, they should change their name to the GLRC.

      1. It is trans* that created the legal fiction that women could maintain a penis and men could have ovaries. Those with such documents are NOT truly seeking to enter into a same-SEX marriage- to the eyes of anyone rational who took the most basic of classes dealing with human anatomy, those are NOT same-sex relationships. Biology matters!

        1. I wish you would say those words to my face, or the face of any person who has had trans family, friends or lovers. I can’t believe that somebody who has had to contend with homophobia could spew that transphobic vitriol.

        2. What a cool Trans* Exclusionary Rad Fem (TERF) thing to say.
          So glad you’re clear about kicking trans* folk off the inclusion bandwagon.

          Why does biology matter so much to you?

          You got TERFed out of Autostraddle?

          Go back to the h8ters at GenderTrender, they won’t argue with your lack of logic.

          I hope that some day the gender variant people who started the resistance at Stonewall will recognized and honoured, instead of being thrown under GL (I’ve got mine) bus.

        3. writes_on_water March 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

          Michelle, here’s a mirror in your own words:

          “It is lez* that created the legal fiction that women could maintain a relationship and have children. Those with such documents are NOT truly seeking to enter into a marriage- to the eyes of anyone rational who took the most basic of classes dealing with human anatomy, those are NOT procreative relationships. Biology matters!”

        4. Michelle, i find it disturbing that you would be so concerned with any person’s genitalia that you are not in a relationship with. Non-trans women who have mastectomies and hysterectomies do not cease to be women. Cisgender men who lose their genitals in accidents are still men. You’re right: biology matters, and the science backs up the fact that gender is not determined by our body parts, but by our brains.

          1. The examples you cite are apples to oranges- in neither of those medical situations are the women claiming to be male nor are the men claiming to be female. The same cannot be said for trans* who demand recognition of an identity that is not steeped in biological reality.

        5. Wow, you’re one of those TERF’s huh? How about you take your bigotry elsewhere and keep your mouth shut. You can try and deny it all you want but trans women are women.

          Bigots like you make me sick.

          1. Have no idea what a TERF is. Sounds more like another slur hurled by trans* though, not unlike all this “cis” nonsense that makes an appearance in the comments to this article.

            I have always found it rather humorous though at how quickly the trans* demographic wants to claim people are bigots simply because someone disagrees with them.

          2. Michelle, we’re not calling you a bigot because you disagree with us. We’re calling you a bigot because you disagree with mounds of medical and psychological evidence. Many different medical organizations, such as the AMA, support every single thing the trans population responding to you have said here. You are the one throwing bigoted views our way.

            I have experienced this same thing as an atheist. Religious individuals don’t care what I say. To them, I’m the one who is wrong. They have been brainwashed to believe that their correct is always correct and that any other correct is wrong. I would assume that you are a religious type, since most religious types aren’t open to learning about things outside of your comfort zone. I praise the people who are, but what I’ve learned is that people with strong convictions, even ones proven wrong by scientific and medical evidence, will never listen to the evidence until they decide to seek it out themselves.

            Here’s to hoping you do search out the information necessary and exchange your opinions for true evidence. Until then, the label still applies.

            Noun
            bigot (plural bigots)
            1.One who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.
            2.One who is strongly partial to one’s own group (e.g. religion, race, gender, political party, etc.) and is intolerant of those who differ.

        6. I am an ftm transman. I can see that part of what M is saying is, roughly translated: it doesn’t matter if your black or white, red, green, purple, tall or short, penis-wearer or not; being legally allowed to marry a person of either male or female gender, regardless of your own gender, negates any other characteristic that might be involved. Example: a transwoman wants to marry a ciswoman; if gay and straight marriage are both legal, she can whether the government considers her a man or not. THEREFORE, I think what M is saying is they just don’t think it’s necessary for every person with every characteristic to fly their specific flag at the rally since the rally was about male identified people being allowed to marry male identified people and female identified people being allowed to marry female identified people and therefor we are all rallying behind the HRC flag together. BUT 1. flying the different flags isn’t taking away from the bigger group, it was supposed to be to voice our support, just like while feminist groups were attempting to win the right to vote, subgroups flew their flags to show support. 2. what about gender-fluid, gender-queer, gender-variant, etc. people? they fall under the trans* community, and saying that this issue doesn’t effect the trans* community is saying those people either don’t exist, aren’t important or HAVE TO CHOOSE.

          Okay, now M, COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO MARRIAGE, but commenting on your other allegations; as far as biology goes, the phaloplasty is the surgery necessary for me to have a penis. This surgery costs roughly $100,000 dollars and is not covered by insurance. It has a high risk of rejection and even death. This surgery almost always leaves the recipient permanently unable to experience sexual stimulation. With it you cannot achieve erection or ejaculation, and it is very difficult to wear a strap-on OVER a phallus. I would not be able to make love to my partner in a way that makes me feel like a man either. I don’t want an expensive non-functional, life-threatening penis so I decided instead to actually LIKE the parts of my body I can’t change. My penis is little and not very externally visible, and you’re saying that because of that I can’t be a man. I suppose really what we should be fighting for is varied-gender marriage. I’m afraid of people like you, Michelle. Your opinion is ignorant and uninformed. You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

          Okay, now M, COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO MARRIAGE, but commenting on your other allegations; as far as biology goes, the phaloplasty is the surgery neccesary for me to have a penis. This surgery costs roughly $100,000 dollars. It has a high risk of rejection and even death. This surgery almost always leaves the recipient permanently unnable to experience sexual stimulation. With it you cannot achieve erection or ejaculation, and it is very difficult to wear a strapon OVER a phallus. I would not be able to make love to my partner in a way that makes me feel like a man either. I don’t want an expensive non-functional, life-threatening penis so I decided instead to actually LIKE the parts of my body I can’t change. My penis is little and not very externally visible, and you’re saying that because of that I can’t be a man. I suppose really what we should be fighting for is same-gender marriage. I’m afraid of people like you, Michelle. Your opinion is ignorant and uninformed. You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

          1. *to clarify, when I say M, I mean Michelle, not the person who’s SN is M. sorry about the confusion.

    3. I have always supported equal rights for all Americans, in marriage, and in all other endeavors. The attitude of the above writer seems pervasive among many women, including a large percentage of lesbians, however. It seems that the larger community, including the LGB community, insists that trans people be viewed as the “other”. Would the writer refuse the support of a straight supporter on the basis that marriage equality is not a straight issue? Maybe I should remember this the next time that I receive an email from HRC asking for my support.

      1. Thomas Leavitt March 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        HRC hasn’t treated the bisexual community any better. Also, while it isn’t universal, I think you’ll find that bisexual organizations and activists have a long history of being much better on trans inclusion and acceptance and ally work than the mainstream lesbian / gay communities. Please don’t lump us in with the transphobes.

        1. “HRC hasn’t treated the bisexual community any better”

          Yes it has.

          It has never actively sabotaged legislation that included “bisexuality” within the definition of “sexual orientation.”

          1. Hey, let’s be cool here. If the HRC treats bi people poorly too, it isn’t our place as trans people or any other kind of people to say “Well you haven’t suffered as much as I have.” We’re all in this together, and I think that’s the whole point of the controversy.

    4. It is not a singular L, singular B, singular G issue, Michelle. you are misinformed if you’re not aware that many trans are involved in the same fight as anyone else within this spectrum.

      since I’m Queer, ftm, and bi as well as part of a binational couple that’s considered same-sex married but we are seen as ‘hetero-normative’, we are affected by DOMA. Gravely. We can’t be together until DOMA is history.

      Trans people are more heavily involved than you might think. I don’t mind educating my queer kin first before I educate others. Better our potential allies “get it” first before we try convincing no queers to ‘get us’.

    5. writes_on_water March 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Gender is a complex subject and it is easy to adopt beliefs and opinions that don’t reflect those of the researchers, scientists, and clinicians that have spent their lives working in the field. Dr. Bushong dedicated his life to researching the facts. And a great many researchers have advanced his work forward as more facts have become available. The link below is a fairly easy read that is a good starting point for deconstructing a rigid binary view of gender and learning to grow beyond transphobic opinions.

      http://www.docbushong.com/pubs/what_is_gender.asp

    6. Toni Browning-Early March 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Excuse me, Michelle.

      The only reason that the “people at the clerk’s window” are not trans* is that we can’t AFFORD to get married because bigots like you and the others at HRC keep pushing true equality, societal reform, and the passage of truly helpful legislation like ENDA to the back burner.

      We have more than double the homeless and unemployment rate of the rest of the LGBT community… and why? Because ignorant, hating people like you continue to accuse us of some imagined impropriety and demote us to second or third class citizens even within the LGBT community.

      Unfortunately, we can’t hide in society and the workplace in order to maintain jobs and support ourselves like lesbians and gays can. Our assumed sexuality and gender presentation is apparent on the outside and not as easily concealed.

      So seriously, before you open your uninformed and bigoted mouth to spew hatred, you should really arm yourself with facts, and not some transphobic lesbian “they’re not really women” prejudice.

      We deserve the same rights as you do and no, it’s not “all about us” Michelle…

      IT’S ABOUT ALL OF US!

  4. Karen St. John March 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Um, trans people get married, too. There have been several court cases where our marriages were invalidated because of Same Sex Marriage Issues. Plus, we were being supportive, as well as visible. But that’s the problem now, isn’t it? Despite the enormous courage it takes to transition, we are such an embarrassment, now. At least if people’s opinions go whichever way the wind blows…

    1. The most notable of those cases (including the two prime examples in Texas that were often cited in the various articles over the past few years) involved people who either failed to have surgery prior to changing documents (thus bringing it back to the legal fiction referenced in my earlier comments) or who did not take steps to correct relevant documents post-operatively and prior to the marriage despite living in (or having been born in) States where they could have easily done so.

      Those that got documents in order and then had surgery and then got married are generally going to be viewed as having entered into a marriage in the guise contemplated by the very statutes gay and lesbian people are seeking to overturn. A straight couple has little in common with the gay and lesbian community. For those few that may be outliers, they don’t need to have a separate flag on a stage to demonstrate their ‘otherness’- for trans* to claim otherwise is to once again show their narcissistic tendencies to make everything all about trans* (which is not what the instant case before the SCotUS is about).

      1. Still coming from a place of ignorance huh? This “Michelle” seems to only respond to comments she can actually argue with, she does not seem to reply to the logical arguments that fact check her statements and with this comment it seems she is only willing to do “surface” research and nothing more, all her comments show how little she knows about gender in general and how she supports outdated, false gender binaries even if she will not admit it the hypocrisy is there to see and brought forward by previous commenters.

        1. its michelle malkin

  5. “It was agreed….”

    Love the passive voice, eh?

    Yes, “It was agreed….”

    Much like it was agreed by the Spaniards that all who they encountered in the New World were going to become christian – or else.

    “It was agreed….”

    That’s HRC-speak for “HRC has made a decision for you, now obey!”

  6. “Whether it happened as claimed or not, the reality is that the issue before the SCotUS is NOT a trans* issue.”

    I’ve actually made this same point, but here’s the key point: Its HRC that has been destroying all non-marriage issues (not just for trans people but for working-class LGBs whose employment and housing concerns are of far more immediacy than multi-million-dollar estate claims, however legitimate they may be.) For it to now to step in and attempt to erase the visibility of those trans people who either have drank the HRC kool-aid or simply have a marital issue that they see as one of primacy is….

    well, classic HRC.

    And HRC cannot be allowed to lie their way out of it.

    Countdown to the next attempt to shut down this discussion via a token HRC hire of a trans woman with no experience relevant to moving a trans rights agenda forward in any political forum in 3…2…1….

    P.S. To Q-Notes: Why didn’t you ask HRC why it didn’t send a trans employee out to address the flag controversy?

    1. Re: the p.s.
      That’s simple, they’re as hard to find at HRC as people of colour.

      1. Harder – albeit not by much.

  7. Janice Covington March 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Hi everyone,I just now heard about this. I have no words for now but you can rest assure I will. My ass is on fire.

  8. I pulled all my support down when I heard of the incident and many hundreds more followed suit, HRC is always pulling out of helping the trans community which really doesn’t make any sense since it is about HUMAN RIGHTS.

    ** Various posts on Facebook and Tumblr asserted that an HRC staffer asked transgender community members to remove a transgender flag from the podium area and said, according to one post, that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue.**

  9. As a married trans woman from the UK who is living and working here in the US, I find myself at the intersection of more than one issue here. Who are you HRC to say that marriage is not a trans issue! My marriage and my fight to have it recognized is no less valid than that of my gay and lesbian friends.

    Handsome is as handsome does, so goes the saying and from where I am standing HRC you are looking pretty ugly at the moment.

  10. Pauline Overby March 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    HRC is a dino that has thrown Tranies under the bus since they came into existence. they are a Gay organization and anyone trying to make believe they care for others is probably a Boyscout that Thinks Gays will infect a troop to homosexuality.

    Gay men don’t get it, and they don’t want to.

    1. please don’t lump all “Gay men” together. some of us do, indeed, “get it”

  11. Some people just need something to complain about. HRC is not evil or the enemy, they are far more supportive of trans people than most people out there and to try and attack them is ridicules. HRC is a big organization doing good work and I dont think a world without them would be all that great.

    1. Sure, I’ll concede that HRC is probably more supportive of trans people than, say, the Westboro Baptist Church, but not by much. Given HRC’s track record, it’s a real stretch to say that they’re more supportive of us than “most people out there.” This incident is just the latest of a long-established pattern of contempt and disregard toward trans people, and after literally decades of this sort of treatment, we’re right not to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    2. “HRC is not evil or the enemy, they are far more supportive of trans people than most people ”

      Really?

      In 33 years of existence it has employed two openly trans people (the only one of which who came to HRC with any relevant experience was there for less than two years over a decade ago) and one phantom trans person.

      So, lets analyze the tally: one trans man attorney over a deacde ago who briefly served HRC as a double token (T and African-American), a trans woman token who, as a post-2007 bone-throw to get a still-too-gullible trans community to shut up, was hired over dozens if not hundreds of other trans women with years of relevant policy, law and advocacy experince, and a phantom trans person who worked there between the two and whose history of presence at HRC is difficult to detect even with extensive forensic internet analysis.

      Bizarrely, that actually makes HRC less transphobic in its hiring practices than NGLTF but still moreso than any average employer outside of Gay, Inc.

      I again ask Q Notes: Why aren’t you asking HRC (and the rest of Gay, Inc. for that matter) about its near-genocidal discriminatory hiring practices against trans people (trans women in particular)?

  12. Janice Covington March 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    It is apparent that the Human Rights Campaign [The Queens Club] got caught again with their pants down specifically at the Supreme Court Hearing in DC this past Wednesday. One of the many witness such as Jerame Davis director of the National Stonewall Demarcates saw HRC staff members harass a transgender group who displayed the Transgender Flag during the demonstrations in DC in support of marriage equality to make them remove it, not once but several times and then made the statement that marriage equality was not a transgender issue.

    HRC has consistently made moves to exclude transgender inclusion in its history, like during the 2007 negotiations of the Employment Non Discrimination Act, [ENDA] and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell [DADT]. The staff member of HRC also stated during this Strong Arm Tactic during the demonstration in DC, that Transgenders are not included in Marriage equality. Read the article posted below for more detailed information.

    I am calling on all transgender board members, steering committee member and volunteers to resign from HRC and cease all of its activity’s. I am calling for all LGBT allies to stop giving money to this bigoted organization and to stop supporting any fund raising activity’s for HRC. Also I am calling on all of my brothers and sisters of the Transgender community and LGB allies to start organizing demonstrations against HRC at all future Gala’s Like in 2007-2008. Also as the old saying goes, the buck stops at the top. I am calling for the resignation of Chad Griffin the HRC director.

  13. Total BS about marriage equality not being a trans issue. Depending on the state you are dealing with and the organization(s) that are involved trans people can either not be able to marry a woman, a man, or (most likely) both. Not to mention a host of other issues beyond marriage.

    Even departments within the same organization do not agree on what to do with trans people. I got married before transition. If my insurance company covers me as a male I have to pay gynecologist visits out of my own pocket. If they cover me as a female suddenly my spouse is not a dependent. I contacted a trans legal group to find out my status wrt marriage and even THEY did not know.

    So yes, marriage equality is very much a trans issue. Still though, I will put my energies into hate crime laws, equal employment, and so on … it is a matter of priorities. Having the marriage bit settled is ‘nice’ when compared to those other priorities that are literally life or death issues. I really could give two figs if gays get marriage, our community has bigger problems … oh, I forgot, straight-acting gay males have those now so they are not problems anymore.

    1. “So yes, marriage equality is very much a trans issue. Still though, I will put my energies into hate crime laws, equal employment, and so on … it is a matter of priorities. Having the marriage bit settled is ‘nice’ when compared to those other priorities that are literally life or death issues. I really could give two figs if gays get marriage, our community has bigger problems … oh, I forgot, straight-acting gay males have those now so they are not problems anymore.”

      Which illustrates once again why, as far as I am concerned, trans* is NOT something that should be permitted to coattail with gay and lesbian organizations. You so eloquently make the point that trans* is all about trans* and that the primary emphasis and original missions of groups like HRC must kowtow to those that chose to make changes in their life that have collateral consequences and cause collateral damage to those around them. The moment I see any gay/lesbian oriented group doing so is the moment my contributions will stop…

      I really do feel sorry for those who were transsexual and had surgery and just wanted to get on with their life without forever being ‘othered’ and having their condition co-opted by the transgender brigade. Rare is the instance that the ones that just wanted to get on with life have had problems. Rather it was the gender-ists born male who continue to display a ‘poor me’ victim mentality that always seem to be at the forefront. Not coincidentally, they also tend to be the ones that waited until they had the trappings of male privilege to fall back upon before deciding that they needed to change and try to force those around them to accommodate their whims.

      1. Toni Browning-Early March 29, 2013 at 11:13 am

        Michelle, I’m sorry, but you display the same ignorant bigotry and hate that the so-called ‘white-priveleged males” you denigrate display.

        Hate is hate, bigotry is bigotry – and no matter who is spewing it, it amounts to the same thing.

      2. Andrea Shettle, Kara's Wife March 29, 2013 at 11:34 am

        Er. You realize that hate crime laws and equal employment are not exclusively trans issues? These affect GLB people as well as T people.

        Or are you saying that any issue a trans person cares about is automoatically a “trans issue” that has nothing to do with GLB people?

        I’m a bi woman who cares about many of the same things that Kara cares about. I mean, hate crime is a literal life and death issue: although I care about marriage equality, I also care about keeping all GLBTIQA people ALIVE and not dead due to hatred. And employment equality matters for the many people living in poverty because they are at such high risk for unemployment, so that’s an issue of survival also albeit more indirectly so. And this, too, is not exclusive to trans people, so how is this separate from GLB rights?

        I am Kara’s wife. I want for our marriage to be recognized. I also want for BOTH her rights AND my rights to be fully recognized. Because I don’t see how I, as a bi cis woman married to a trans woman, can have my rights fully recognized if Kara’s rights are not. A so-called GLBT rights organization that keeps throwing the T community under the bus (while pretending they aren’t doing it) doesn’t speak for me any more than it speaks for Kara. I cannot achieve my rights by fighting for bi rights (or even for GLB rights) in isolation from T rights. A GLB organization that keeps pushing out the T community isn’t only pushing out my wife, it’s pushing me out, also.

        1. 1) I am fervently opposed to ‘hate crime’ enhancements. They create unreasonable hurdles for prosecutors and leave very large holes for defense attorneys to drive through, if not at trial then on appeal. Prosecute the crime of violence itself. Thought-based prosecutions don’t work with sex offenders and they don’t work with bias-motivated offenses. When hate-crime enhancements are codified into law, people get upset if the State does not seek to prosecute under those provisions even when the crime itself is far more proveable than the claimed underlying motivation for having committed the offense. As an aside, this opinion comes from someone who has extensive experience with criminal prosecutions and post-conviction issues.

          2) sexual orientation is as different from gender identity as night is from day. They are not the same thing, pure and simple. The gender identity crowd (ie. trans*, especially now that they shoved all of trans* under an overly broad classification umbrella that includes those that just want to cross-dress on the weekends or who do drag) should not have a reasonable expectation of coat-tailing with those seeking legislative relief associated with sexual orientation (ie. gay/lesbian).

          1. Would you just get off your high horse?

            Even if you have something against people who are not stuck in the closet what about people who do not pass? What about people who are not trans but are do not have the same gender conformance as on sitcoms in the 1950s (like a woman who *gasp* does not wear frilly dresses 24/7)?

          2. You’ve done quite the job of contributing to a derail from the original issue.

            “What about people who are not trans but are do not have the same gender conformance as on sitcoms in the 1950s (like a woman who *gasp* does not wear frilly dresses 24/7)?”

            That sort of situation has NOTHING to do with trans* and legislation that tries to make that sort of scenario covered under law is nothing more than a codified legislation of stereotypes. It also has nothing to do with marriage equality (you remember, the original concept underlying the article).

            Gender is a social construct. It is NOT an innate physical characteristic. Butch women are NOT trans* despite the efforts of trans* to shove them under the umbrella concept against their will. A great number of them do just fine in the work place as do any other number of lesbians who also don’t worship at the altar of mass-marketed femininity. Quite frankly, I would be hard-pressed to tell you the last time I even wore a dress…might have been the mid-90’s. Despite that, society seems to have no problems with figuring out that I am female. And despite living in a State perceived as extremely conservative (and a County that is perhaps even moreso), I also have had no issues either socially or professionally as an ‘out’ lesbian- and, yeah, I am one of those lesbians that strangers can generally take one look at and know right away that I’m gay.

          3. So Michelle, mind telling us why you are SO against other people having rights? I mean I thought that was the crux of the marriage equality argument. That it was about granting rights to others rather than taking them away from someone else.

            Oh, and if you are so against people fighting for human rights you better not take advantage of those gains for yourself unless you are a hypocrite. Get fired by getting a new boss who does not like gender non-conformant people? Do not cry to us over it.

          4. Kara, at no point in this thread do I propose taking any rights away from people. Trans* is not and should not be a protected class that codifies stereotypes into law. Trans* wants to create special rights whether they admit it or not- if one works in an at-will State, then the employer should be free to hire and fire who they want. And what trans* forgets or conveniently overlooks is that when they get terminated, it won’t be BECAUSE they were trans* but rather it will be some OTHER reason that the employer can maintain in administrative proceedings or other litigation that may follow the termination. Personally, I don’t worry about the termination issue given that my name is on the letterhead.

            Marriage equality is NOT a trans* issue. It *IS* an issue that affects one of two distinct demographics: heterosexual or homosexual. Trans* will generally fit into one of those two areas depending on their relationship, and as such, the issue of marital equality and the State or federally-conferred protections and/or benefits that follow a marriage are NOT a trans*-specific issue and as such, trans* wanting to make the whole alleged conversation from the podium an issue is a red-herring that detracts from the real issues being contemplated by the SCotUS.

  14. Toni Browning-Early March 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Several people have asked me why I have not changed my profile picture to the red equality sign. Although I fully and thoroughly support marriage equality in the US, I cannot fully support the source of the red equality sign – the HRC.

    Marriage equality is a good and noble thing, but it sounds a very hollow victory to myself and most of my transgender sisters and brothers when it is still legal to fire us in 35 states simply for being transgender. We have been thrown under the bus by the HRC and the greater LGBT organizations so many times that I have lost count.

    We have been thrown to the side in our fight for equality in favor of something that most of us cannot even imagine, much less achieve. How in the world could I offer a potential spouse anything more than a lifetime of poverty when most companies will not even consider offering me a job due to the rampant and persistent discrimination that transgender people still face in this country?

    What would I say to propose? Welcome to my nightmarish hell, will you marry me?

    ENDA, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act would be a much more appropriate issue to support. It would give transgender people a fighting chance at survival and equality – something that is currently beyond most of our reach.

    Support and push for Congress to pass ENDA now!

  15. Rodger J. Roberts March 29, 2013 at 11:04 am

    My finance is transgender MtF pre-op. She is very hurt over this and has repeatedly commented on how transgenders are discriminated within the gay community! HR just wants are money and from what happened in DC just once again shows what gays really feel about transgenders. I for one will no longer renew my HR membership and have removed their stickers from my vehicle. We are finally starting to obtain equality, but at the price of yet another minority.

  16. ‘ve ALWAYS supported marriage equality and have testified in the Maryland House and Senate AND lobbied in Washington for it. When we ask for help from the HRC in regards to Trans* protections they’re no where to be found.

    Here’s my latest testimony:

    “One problem with defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman is that there is NO LEGAL DEFINITION of male or female. Go ahead – try to find one.

    Testimony to Maryland Legislature Ref. Marriage Equality

    The Transexual/Intersex Perspective.

    As a Transexual/Intersex person and a registered voter I urge you to consider another perspective in the debate over Same Sex Marriage. If Marriage is to remain being defined as a legal union between a man and a woman it would then require legislation on the legal definition of a man and woman.

    As someone that has been affected by and studied sex/gender issues, it became evident that not all women are chromosomally xx nor all men xy. There are also xo, xxy, xyy and mosaic chromosomal karyotypes. Kleinfelters, Turners and Androgen Insensitivity Syndromes as well as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and 5-Alpha–reductase deficiency are but a few naturally occurring phenomena that result in female bodied males and male bodied females. Toxicologists are also recognizing the fact that prenatal exposure to certain environmental chemicals with hormonal properties as well as many commonly used medications for male pattern baldness, prostate and heart diseases can result in incongruent sex/genital development as well as ambiguent genitalia, intersex conditions (hermaphroditism) and transsexuality. For over 50 years many babies born with ambiguous genitals are surgically corrected (?) to female during infancy no matter what their sex karyotype.

    Scientists agree that 1.73% (1 in 58) of all babies born in the United States have some degree of intersex condition. The number of subclinical cases could at minimum double that percentage. Many of those conditions are not realized until patients present to their doctors in puberty or later with fertility issues. The medical community is reluctant to tell patients due to the potential of destroying that persons relationships and resulting in depression, anxiety and possible suicide. Instead they pursue fertility treatments, invitro fertilization, egg and sperm donors, or surrogate motherhood. If marriages were to be challenged in a court of law and DNA used as evidence many now legal marriages would need to be annulled.

    Everyone is born with the innate ability to recognize their own gender no matter what genetic, medical or environmental factors they have been exposed to. None of these conditions are a choice for those affected. To exclude these people from protections granted all other citizens is in direct opposition to everything this country stands for. All citizens are entitled to the pursuit of the “American Dream”. .

    The original concept of the marriage license was to ensure that the union was voluntary and as societies blessing to those who choose to commit their lives to each other. The real threat to our society is the rate at which babies are being born outside of a committed, loving relationship. There are many same sex couples that are totally capable of raising happy, healthy, well adjusted children that will ultimately become productive members of our society.

    Marriage licenses are given to convicted murderers, child molesters and rapists. Are they more worthy of having their relationships honored while denying the commitment and responsible actions of same sex couples? If marriage is about procreation, why are marriage licenses granted to infertile couples or those having no intentions of having children?

    Let us not forget the dream of the Pilgrims – those that originally risked all to travel to and settle this country. They left their native lands due to religious rule and intolerance. They had a vision of freedom for each individual to express their religious beliefs and worship their GOD without interfering in or being interfered by the beliefs of others – Freedom OF and Freedom FROM religion.

    Let us not forget the basic principles shared by all religions. PEACE, LOVE, GRACE and RESPECT for all that share this planet we call home.

    If “marriage” has its roots in religion, I believe, it is up to each individual church to decide who they will and will not marry. It is NOT the governments business to legislate religious policy. It IS the right of every human being to have their love and commitment recognized by civil law as equal in all respect to that of a religious marriage.

    Thank you for your attention,”

  17. It most likely did happen.. But the bottom line is Love is Love. and to get over it at let ALL people LOVE the one they want! And Even MARRY that person.. And if you don’t know what a person is… look it up!! Oh and by the way…. Transwomen are a “person” also!!!

  18. Michelle, I only read your first two comments, but it’s already clear you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m so tired of my fellow gays and lesbians just passing the freak buck onto trans people saying they don’t belong in our struggles. I highly doubt you have any clue about the day to day struggle our trans brothers and sisters go through and to say marriage equality isn’t a trans issue is so iignorant. I am biologically a female, but let’s say that I know I’m a man. I’m going through a transition, but i want to get married before i’m done. I want to marry a woman. Now… how is marriage equality not an issue for me right now? I am not trans, but i’m very passionate about trans rights because while there has been much progress for gays and lesbians trans people have been left behind in the dust, it’s not right, they’re people too, and they’re not freaks. They have every right to be treated fairly. If our marriages become federally recognized that’s HUGE step towards equality for us, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg for the trans community.

  19. Lots of good debate here. I’ve started a petition to make sure HRC can’t just ignore the issue. I’m asking for them to talk to the affected people, apologize, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Please consider signing and sharing. You can find it here: http://www.change.org/petitions/human-rights-campaign-don-t-silence-transgendered-and-immigrant-people#

  20. Kertha Huntinghawk April 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

    There would be no Trans* issues whatsoever if we lived in a world where gender and sex are separate, but because we have created a world in which gender and sex are socially viewed as equivalents, we have this issue. If gender and sex were not seen as the same, then it would not matter if a female was masculine or feminine, or if a male was masculine or feminine. Grant it, more times than not, those two do line up, yet maybe it wouldn’t be that way if they were seen as separate and kids wouldn’t be socialized to be one gender over another just because of their sex, because we form these identities as children.

  21. I am so sick of people in the LGBTQIA community trying to debate these types of issues. The fact is, we all have to deal with the fact that we are discriminated against in some way. When one person is affected by discrimination, we are all affected. Therefore, let’s stop debating this and support ALL members of our community. Otherwise, we are guilty of discrimination ourselves. As a lesbian, I am appalled by this type of behavior. I know transgender individuals whose marriages have been affected by current laws, I know lesbians and gays and bisexuals whose marriages have been affected by current laws. Whether the incident spoken of in the article is true or false, we should still take it as a reminder that we must love and respect one another, whatever our gender or sexual orientation. Again, if we don’t we are guilty of the same discrimination that we have been fighting against.

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