Thursday, November 8, 2007

Incrementalism and Progress

There has been much talk in the recent debate on ENDA about the reality of political compromise and the need to accept incremental progress.

Incrementalism is a fact of political life, it’s true. It is not, however, something we need hold up as ideal, or even the best we can do. In the midst of political maneuvering and discussions of the need for compromise, it is critically important that we remain strong in voicing our vision of full equality, lest we cease to aspire to more than a compromised version of it.

GLAD’s work is primarily in the realm of impact litigation, where we have an opportunity to make dramatic progress on civil rights; attempting dramatic change through incremental, compromise-based legislation nearly inevitably results in some level of disappointment.

But the legislative process, imperfect as it may be, is also key to advancing civil rights. And it is therefore critical that those of us who have a vision of what equality truly means not be complacently satisfied with incremental change, but continue to raise our voices and work together to ensure that that uncompromised vision remains a part of the political conversation.

Lee Swislow


Anonymous said...

"[R]ais[ing] our voices and work[ing] together to ensure that that uncompromised vision remains a part of the political conversation" are nice-sounding euphemisms for linking arms with fanatical crusaders like Matt Foreman in an attempt to sabotage a bill because it isn't perfect. GLAD should have stuck to impact-litigation, at which it has excelled, and stayed out of the divisive United ENDA campaign to malign and undermine legislators like Barney Frank who have their own expertise at achieving practical legislative reform. If GLAD prefers to sneer disdainfully at the legislative process, then it should do so from the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

And if GLAD is so concerned about the rights of transgender workers, why is it adamant that a federal bill be enacted when it has apparently done little or nothing to enact a gender identity bill in New Hampshire. I can find no record that any gender identity bill has ever even been introduced in New Hampshire. Nor does that appear to be a priority for GLAD, as I can find nothing about it on your website. If New Hampshire can pass a civil union bill, it ought to be able to pass a gender identity bill, if someone were truly interested in advocating for it.

GLAD said...

Note: GLAD has been active in support of a New Hampshire bill to require insurance coverage for the cost of hormone treatment drugs for transexuals. See GLAD attorney testimony on this bill on our website

Anonymous said...

Groups such as GLAD shouldn't be placed in the same category as HRC. HRC agreed to take the lead on the ENDA legislation. It made consistent promises, publicly, that it would not support a trans-free ENDA, though insiders within HRC would tell you a couple of years ago that HRC would sell out trans people in a heartbeat.

As time passed and HRC repeated its promises, HRC lulled folks into believing the promises were true.

HRC made a calculated gamble, in the face of people such as me who argued that a trans-free ENDA was the way to go from Day One. With that gamble, they undertook a moral duty to work to educate Congressional members about trans people.

When the ENDA hearing was recently held, did HRC put forth a single trans witness? I haven't read a single story mentioning any such witnesses.

I read a press report earlier this week that said that at the 24th hour HRC OPPOSED the Baldwin amendment. That was the final straw for me with HRC.

For groups (other than HRC) that didn't create this mess, supporting a trans-free ENDA when that realistically was the only option left on the table last week was okay with me; indeed, it was the morally-right thing to do. Opposing the Baldwin amendment was morally wrong.

The question I would like answered is why a trans-inclusive ENDA was introduced in the first place when the reality was (as amply shown over the last few weeks) that there simply wasn't adequate support in DC for trans people?

By introducing a trans-inclusive ENDA and then dumping trans people from ENDA, HRC and Mr. Frank put trans people in a far worse position than they were before.

Christine Duffy