The Ghost of Chris Crain: Gayjacking the Hate Crimes Bill

in Opinion

When Chris Crain left his position at Window Media, I thought the voice of “transjack” was dead. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Today the Washington Blade published an op-ed by a long time Democratic gay activist and Washington D.C. mayoral adviser, Peter Rosenstein. He writes:

“On the eve of the House taking up the Hate Crimes Prevention Act it appeared that passage was not assured in this form. Republicans thought they figured out a way to strip the bill of the term “gender identity” and just the possibility of this appeared to leave our national gay organizations in a tizzy.”

In a tizzy? If the Human Rights Campaign was in a “tizzy,” it would seem that there is some question of whether or not they would support a bill without transgender protections. Peter rightfully asks:

“Could all of our national organizations — HRC, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (although they seem to have disappeared from the national scene in the last few years) — that have been fighting for this bill for nearly 10 years actually say no to hate crimes protections for 30 million gays and lesbians in the nation, if we use the 10 percent figure, because transgender individuals were not in the bill? Will we see ENDA defeated for the same reason?”

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Unlike the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which HRC has already publicly stated it would only support a transinclusive version of), HRC hasn’t ever publicly stated whether or not they would support a hate crimes bill that is not trans-inclusive. I think it’s a very good question to ask… are we one community or not?

“I can’t imagine telling staunch supporters like Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and others to vote against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill, as the Senate has named it, or potentially ENDA, if they only have protections for 30 million gays and lesbians. Again, what have we been fighting for these last 10 years? Why have we been giving money to these organizations if not to make headway in gaining us rights and protections?”

Can YOU imagine any GLBT organization supporting a bill that doesn’t support the ENTIRE community?

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.

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