Friday, April 23, 2010

Slap in the Face on Transgender Rights (Et Tu, Rep. Story?)

The State House News Service posted a hit piece today on behalf of some real A-holes in the State House who don't want to see an inclusive Democratic State Committee, picked up by the Boston Globe. Why do I call it a hit piece? Because not one viewpoint or quote was printed in support of the measure the article was about: creating two transgender and two bisexual seats to the Democratic State Committee.

With hundreds and hundreds of people on the state committee, many of them party elites who barely lift a finger when it matters most (don't want to get those fingernails dirty by lifting up a phone or knocking on a door), there are some real jerks on the state committee who don't want to see transgender or bisexual people serve in any minority seat -- of which there are over a hundred.

That these forces weren't present to make a big fuss about this at the sub-committee meeting where it was proposed and passed -- almost unanimously -- as a recommendation to the convention for passage shouldn't be shocking, nor that they declined to appear at the previous state committee meeting where this was up for debate. The forces of intolerance prefer to work behind the scenes, like sending out anonymous press releases to whomever will print it.

The most absurd statement was this one, from Senator Baddour.
“"The fact of the matter is, the leadership of the state Democratic Party has lost sight of what matters to working men and women, and as important as transgender rights are, bisexual rights are, what really matters today are jobs, the economy, and putting people back to work,"” Baddour said. "We shouldn’t be putting stories like this out there."”
Really, Senator? If you don't want this to be a story, why are you and your legislative allies in the House and Senate making it one? No one would be paying attention to this story if the people who are opposed to transgender rights weren't making this an issue. No one ever cares what goes on at State Conventions, very few papers even cover them anymore (and I should know, since I normally go to them with a Press Badge). This isn't about opponents not wanting to create a big issue that could cost votes in November, this is about opponents not wanting transgender people to have equal rights in society. Period.


What is particularly frustrating here is that Representative Ellen Story, who lost her spine at some point since Speaker DeLeo made her a part of leadership, has completely lost sight of who she is and what she supposedly believes in. Leadership is what's behind keeping the transgender rights bill in the House from passing -- it has enough co-sponsors in that body this year to actually make a majority all on its lonesome, but leadership doesn't want it passed, so has nixed it.

Certain members of legislative leadership don't want this state committee provision passed, because for whatever absurd reason, they see it as linked to the transgender rights bill buried in the House -- when it's really only about ensuring that the many hard working transgender activists in the Democratic Party are able to have a voice, however small it would be, in the DSC. Now they have their "progressive" puppet out there trying to squash any talk of transgender rights, sending a message to progressives in the party to shut up. Sorry, Ellen Story, you may have forgotten just who you've promised to fight for as an elected leader of this state, but a lot of us haven't.
"“I think this is a good issue. I'’m not sure this is the year for it,”" said Rep. Ellen Story, an Amherst Democrat and social progressive. “"We need to be focusing on jobs and the economy. I’'m not sure this is the year for this push.”"
What utter bullshit -- and what a crappy straw man argument. Who said anything about jobs? What exactly is the state committee supposed to do about jobs in its charter? This is not a state house issue, this is a state party issue -- the state party can do nothing about jobs short of supporting candidates who have ideas on how to create them. And if this year is about jobs, why is the House holding up a bill that would protect transgender people from being fired at their jobs simply for being transgender? Shouldn't the jobs of transgender people count in this economy, too?

Story should be ashamed for continuing to be the Speaker's lap dog, betraying all her principles to do her Master's bidding. It's sickening and repulsive. I really, really hope her constituents are paying attention -- and not blinded by her once-proud history, presently being parodied by herself. For readers from her district, there's still four days to collect signatures in that race...

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