Last week I received an email from the Human Rights Campaign informing me that Joe Biden will be speaking at the the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on October 4th, 2008. Since that time I’ve expected to hear about an organized protest of this event from the transgender activist community in Washington D.C. Protests have already happened from coast to coast (and everywhere in between). Last Feburary the New York City protest caused many prominent local politicians to boycott the New York City HRC Dinner. In July the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, Pride at Work, And Castro For All, the Lou Sullian Society (FTM SF), and the Trans March came together to boycott the Human Rights Campaign Dinner. Such a strong presence of organized labor was especially important. The key note speaker for the San Francisco dinner, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, dropped out of the event because of labor’s involvement.

I recently recieved an email alert from NCTE about a fully inclusive ENDA. Mara Keisling said:

Dear Friends,

I have no doubt we can pass a transgender-inclusive ENDA next year if we all do the work now to educate Congress and the public. In a recent interview Rep Barney Frank (D-MA) agreed saying:

“The more Democrats we have, and obviously, not every Democrat votes with us, the better we’ll do. If we can pick up 15 Democratic seats, then I think we are in good position to pass a transgender-inclusive ENDA.” (http://www.365gay.com/features/interview-with-barney-frank)

Of course he’s right, not every Democrat votes with us and not every Republican votes against us. That’s why the best work we can be doing now to get us in position for winning our rights in 2009 is the work of building relationships and educating all of our lawmakers – whoever they are, where ever they are.

When I’m visiting lawmakers on Capitol Hill one thing I hear far too often is that lawmakers don’t think they have transgender people in their districts. You and I know that is impossible – we are every where. I can visit your representatives everyday up on the Hill, but they really need to hear from you and to meet you face to face.

On June 25, 2008 I was asked to sign on to the National Stonewall Democrat’s Transgender ActBlue page. While I disagreed with the effort (there was no concerted effort behind the scenes to make the fundraising campaign a success), I donated $150 to try and help in the effort. As I predicted, it was a flop (collecting a measly $4,951. I know gay donors that have given as much).