Chris Crain’s editorial lamenting that HRC apparently has finally decided to put their money where their mouth was and decide to become a GLBT rights organization and not just a rich gay white male rights organization, actually brought a smile to my face. His nit-picking over Mara Keisling’s numbers in the Hate Crimes Bill and his complaint of “trans-jacking”, would almost be funny if it weren’t for the damage that such naïve divisiveness brings to the LGBT community. He just doesn’t get … or perhaps there is another agenda!

Crain states: “It’s one thing to make the case to crime-control conservatives that violent crimes against transgendered people require stiffer sentences, and quite another to ask them to expand worker lawsuits against businesses to cover those in the midst of gender transition. The latter is a much harder case to make and saddles gay-inclusive ENDA with an unreasonable and unfair burden.”

Crain seems to be saying that perhaps it is not acceptable to kill and maim transgenders, but if they need a job to survive, forget it! But he says it in a very obtuse manner, rather than speak about employment, which is what ENDA is all about, he instead focuses solely on lawsuits against businesses implying an unreasonable and unfair burden. Do I detect some “Karl Rovian” logic here? Discrimination is discrimination, and I believe the ENDA law deals with “reasonable accommodation”. In fact, 35% of America’s population is covered by explicit legislation or judicial opinions protecting transgender people in employment. Are we now deluged with lawsuits in those areas? Mr. Crain apparently subscribes to the old saw, “When you don’t have a good argument, change the subject.”

Recently, I had an extended one on one conversation with a leading “liberal” Congressman, an attorney by trade who expressed some reluctance to sponsor a trans-inclusive ENDA. I realized that he was talking about some hypothetical academic situations and I was talking from the point of view of a businessperson who has faced a lot more challenging situations in real life. It was ironic that the legislator had taken a position regarding business and employment, but could not see the practical solution from the viewpoint of the business person!

As a former consultant for a major accounting firm and principal of a business employing over 300, I can speak about the art of reason in business and dealing with employees. Good, loyal employees are hard to find and one makes reasonable accommodations to retain them. If they are not good … well, that’s another story, then we double check with attorneys.

Mr. Crain seems to be jealous of the fact that some transgenders can marry in more parts of this country than he. What was his reaction when the marriages of Christie Littleton in Texas and J’Noel Gardner in Kansas were effectively nullified by the activist right wing supreme courts of their respective states? What was his comment about that transwoman in Kansas who was actually arrested for applying for a marriage license in 2004?

I must admit that I’m quite upset when he calls the policy of demanding transgender rights right alongside of gay rights, “immoral”! Immoral?! This type of statement puts him in agreement with moral leaders such as Rev. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell! It does make one think!

Barbra Casbar

Vice-Chair – Garden State Equality