Echelon has just returned from an incredible trip to our nation’s capital as we attended the 2007 Out and Equal Workplace Summit. This year’s event turned out an unbelievable 2,300 attendees, was organized to a tee and we left creating new friends and a deeper connection to the GLBT business community.
During the course of the 3-day event we were hearing rumors about the split in ENDA’s current legislation whereby one bill included the transgender community and one did not.
From my own experience, I have not had the dignity of getting to know and speak to a trans-person.
At the Summit, I met a Trans Woman from a very well known aerospace company that turned out to be an occurrence that has deeply enhanced my perception of humanity. Her challenges associated with her transition. Most of what she revealed were things that I somewhat expected, however, her question to her mother of why she wasn’t growing breasts and her girlfriends caused an explosion and an opening in my mind to which I will never forget.
It wasn’t so much the particular anecdote about her childhood question that made the full impact, but the fact that it never occurred to me how the transition process really begins in the mind of a child. Which brings me to my point; how well do we know our transgender brothers and sisters?
These days, most Americans have had the wonderful experience of knowing a Gay or Lesbian person in their lives and have realized how their religiously conditioned fear-based beliefs did not hold water. We are now enjoying a greater acceptance by mainstream America and most of those surveyed in recent studies show that they agree with our objective in attaining federal legislation to ensure workplace equality.
UNDER THE BUS
Just as our heterosexual counterparts have grown to know us better, I believe that our community at large has also been remiss in knowing the Trans community. We have included the T in GLBT or LGBT for years. So why now would we be willing to support a split bill on ENDA that will only include Gays and Lesbian while we throw the Trans people under the bus? It is a complete and utter aberration and a sign of weakness to amputate this soulful community that so richly deserves the same workplace equality as we do. Speaker Pelosi’s choice to support a split bill is merely a desperate attempt to get something passed and provide us with a false perception that they are actually doing something in Congress. Why not then create 4 bills instead of 2 and see which one falls under Bush’s veto pen? United we stand and divided we fall.