Transgender Activists Launch ENDA Lobbying Effort
Supporters of gay and transgender rights will be doing some heavy lobbying this week in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The National Center for Transgender Equality is organizing an event on Tuesday - and is expecting hundreds of transgender activists and supporters to come to Washington to meet with lawmakers from their home states. Law Professor and transgender activist Jillian Weiss says it’s possible many people on Capitol Hill have never spoken face-to-face with a transgender person in their lives.
Weiss: “It’s very important, particularly for transgender constituents to show their legislators that they are constituents of theirs, that they live in the district, that they are voters, that they have lives that are negatively impacted by not having job protection.”
Weiss said advocates need to convince lawmakers to focus on what the bill will REALLY do — provide protection from discrimination — and not on what opponents CLAIM it will do, which is ‘let men into women’s bathrooms.’
Weiss: “If the legislator raises the issue of how do we deal with the bathrooms, then the answer is it gets worked out. Everybody goes to the bathroom when they need to, it’s not something that really interferes with people’s ability to work, and the more important issue is do I have the right to have a job and have a secure economic life.”
While hundreds of ENDA supporters are in DC on Tuesday, organizers hope thousands more will be calling in from home on Thursday. A number of prominent gay and progressive bloggers will be running what’s called a “blog swarm,” where they will all write about ENDA, and urge their readers to get involved.