Subject: Please Support The Rights Of Transgender And Intersex People
Lambda Letters Alert
Please Support The Rights Of Transgender And Intersex People
Today we ask that you write to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) urging
them to assure that transgender and intersex people are added to the
federal Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) now pending in
Congress. We ask you to take the additional step of telling the HRC
that you will not support ENDA until transgender and intersex people
are added to the bill.
The HRC may make a decision on this at their August meeting. So
please write to the HRC as soon as possible and please forward this
message to all your friends so as to maximize the flow of mail to the
I know that what we are asking of you seems controversial. However, I
hope you will read the following information and that it will
persuade you of the importance of what we ask.
The Human Rights Campaign is the most powerful lobby group for the
LGBTI community in Washington DC. For years it has been the sponsor
of ENDA. If anyone can persuade the authors of ENDA to include
transgender and intersex people it is the HRC. We believe they can do
it if they are motivated enough.
The Board of Directors of the Lambda Letters Project feels strongly
enough on the subject that it voted without dissent to tell the HRC
that Lambda Letters will not support ENDA until transgender and
intersex people are added to it.
ENDA is a bill currently before Congress that would ban sexual
orientation based employment discrimination. The bill has been
introduced as HR 3285 in the House of Representatives and as S 1705
in the US Senate.
The original version of the bill was introduced by Bella Abzug, D-New
York in the 1970s. Some version of the bill has been introduced in
almost every session of Congress since then. At first the bills
prohibited discrimination in employment and housing. In the early
1990s it was decided to limit the bill to employment discrimination
in hopes that would improve its chance of passage. However, right
from the start, the only form of discrimination prohibited by the
bill was sexual orientation based discrimination. That would protect
lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. It might even protect straight men who
are perceived as too effeminate and straight women who are perceived
as too masculine. However, it would provide no protection to
transgender or intersex people who are discriminated against because
of their status as transgender or intersex people. The rationale for
excluding these groups from the bill has apparently been that it
would be more likely to pass without them. Clearly, that strategy has
The time has come when our community must push for the inclusion of
these two groups. Things have improved a lot for lesbians, gays, and
bisexuals over the last few years. But progress has been much slower
for transgender and intersex people.
Currently 14 states, and the District of Columbia, have laws that ban
sexual orientation based employment discrimination. Only four states,
and the District of Columbia, have laws prohibiting discrimination
against transgender people. We are not aware of any states with laws
banning employment discrimination against intersex people.
Eleven additional states have executive orders or personnel
regulations that protect their lesbian and gay state government
employees from employment discrimination. Only two states have such
executive orders or regulations to protect transgender state
employees and we are unaware of any that protect intersex state
However, in seven states the courts or government commissions or
agencies have interpreted laws as protecting transgender people from
By the way, all these statistics come from the HRC web site. So they
know full well that much more progress has been made in protecting
the rights of lesbians and gays than has occurred for transgender and
The public’s attitude towards lesbians and gays varies, but in
general, people are much more accepting of them than they are of
transgender or intersex people.
We at Lambda Letters feel it is now time to go to bat for the least
protected part of our community. So we ask you to write to the Human
Rights Campaign. Please tell them that you will not support ENDA
until transgender and intersex people are added to the bill.
You may use the following sample message or compose your own. The
addresses of the legislators who need to hear from you follow the
Ms. Cheryl Jacques, E.D.
Human Rights Campaign
1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20036-3278
Dear Ms. Jacques:
It is with regret that I inform you that I will be unable to support
the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) in its present form. I
will not support the bill until it is amended to provide protection
against discrimination for transgender and intersex people.
It has often been said that adding transgender people to the bill
would kill its chances of being approved by Congress. However, ENDA,
in its current form, has been pending in Congress for at least 10
years without being approved. In fact the original version of ENDA
was introduced by Bella Abzug, D-New York, during the 1970s. Clearly,
the tactic of leaving transgender people out of the bill, to ensure
its passage, has failed.
According to your own web page four states,. And the District of
Columbia, have enacted laws banning discrimination against
transgender people. Your site also lists seven other states in which
discrimination against transgender people is banned as the result of
a decision by a court or commission. As I understand it, roughly 25%
of the population of the United States is covered by these laws and
decisions. And yet there has been no great outcry against them. I
believe you will find that not one single legislator, judge, or
commissioner has been ousted from his or her position as the result
of supporting a ban on discrimination against transgender people.
I believe that, if HRC pushed hard enough, it could get a bill
introduced in Congress that bans discrimination against all segments
of the LGBTI community. Passing such a bill would still be hard, but
its comprehensive nature would widen support for it to all portions
of our community. Clearly, for such a bill to pass, it needs as wide
a base of support as possible.
Therefore, I respectfully request that you see that such a
comprehensive bill is introduced. I would gladly support such a bill.
However, I will be unable to support any version of ENDA that does
not prohibit discrimination against transgender and intersex people
along with lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons.
To send your message to THE HRC, use the address link found below.
Cut and paste the sample message, found above, into the body of the
message. Or you can compose your own message. Finally, click on go
and your message will be sent to the HRC. I will also get a copy of
Here is the address to use:
Please Add Transgender and Intersex People To ENDA
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Californians direct access to the legislative process in order to
affect public policy in four areas of concern: LGBTI issues; HIV/AIDS
issues; people of color issues, and women’s issues. We provide you
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letters as is, or use them to create your own message. Lambda Letters
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the community. Last year Lambda Letters Project delivered over a
quarter-million letters and e-mails on your behalf. For more
information, please visit http://www.lambdaletters.org/