Miscellaneous writing

  • Foolish Thing Desire
    For gay men, the intersection of sex and race brings out the worst in a small number of people, who then make headaches for everyone else.
  • Deserve American
    Reducing citizenship to where you're born diminishes what it means to be an American for everyone.
  • This Land Is Your Land
    Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas came out as undocumented and challenged the nation on what it means to be American.
  • Daniel's Choice
    Faced with a decision between living with integrity or living a lie, West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran Lt. Daniel Choi chose honesty
  • Cross Cultural
    Cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws last year, things were going perfectly up until the point when I sliced off the tip of my finger.
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About Sean Bugg

  • I’m the co-publisher of Metro Weekly, Washington, DC’s biggest and best gay and lesbian publication. Over the course of my 40-something years, I've been a good little golden boy, a sub-Ivy-League college grad, an annoying activist, a very active party boy, a humorist and a journalist -- if those last two have any distinction. In addition to the magazine, I’m a freelance writer, car reviewer, book addict, gamer, amateur tennis player and reasonably successful husband. I have my hands full.
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Why are laws 'symbolic' but policies are not, when it seems as though policies are those without ... force? Or is it all symbolic?

I don't see how you can advocate allowing some people to continue to suffer because you can't stop all people from suffering.

It's not that hard. There *are* limits to divisibility, compromise, and how much you can temporize. To wit:

Would one have accepted to abolish slavery for just those with 20% or more 'white blood'? Is there (or could there be) such a thing as a "20% Abolishonist", in principle?

The list goes on.

Would one accept an ENDA "compromise" that forced LGBT to indicate their sexuality on any application form and keep it updated annually?

We've seen this "better half a loaf than none" bit before. We've heard the "You'll get your turn" too.

SEVENTEEN YEARS ago, Mass. gave employment protection to GLB - but not T. They're still waiting. Protection for them is as far away as ever.

FIVE YEARS ago, NY's inclusive GLBT bill became GLB so they could pass it this session, rather than next. "Better half a loaf than none" "You'll get your turn" etc etc. Well, TG people lost existing rights, as they now were specifically excluded. Existing precedents that previously protected GLBT now were overturned, replaced by more extensive ones that were GLB only. And since then there has been zero, nada, zip progress on the more difficult task of passing a trans-inclusive bill. Most don't see the need now they have theirs. GLB activism has lessened, no need or it, and the T in GLBT has been hung out to dry yet again.

Now TG people are supposed to believe the same tired old lies? To accept that their needs are somehow less than those of the majority? They suffer more discrimination, not less.

Enough already. Either delete the T in GLBT or actually do something about it. No more hypocrisy, they don't believe you any more.

This is a copy of San Diego County Transgender Assessment Report:


The assessment of transgender employment begins on page 13. In 2004, the reported transgender unemployment rate was 37.3% when the unemployment rate for San Diego was 3.2%. The report also indicated 14.2% had experienced workplace discrimination related to being transgender, 8.2% reported that they avoid employment because they experienced workplace discrimination in the past,and 14.2% reported that they recently experienced stigma related to transgender issues while in the workplace.

It was a small sample poulation, to be sure, in a localized area, but the reality is that the report speaks to why keeping transgender protections in ENDA is more than purely symbolic.

As the HRC's former executive director said in 2004:

"Passing ENDA without gender identity and expression is like passing a copyright law that covers books and television shows but doesn't cover digital music or videos. But ENDA is about people's lives, not MP3s or DVDs. That's why it's so important that we have the strongest and most comprehensive bill possible."

> But, if you think that ENDA is a legislative remedy that is needed
> by people who are actually suffering because of job discrimination,
> then I don't see how you can advocate allowing some people to
> continue to suffer because you can't stop all people from suffering.
> It would be laughable for me -- a gay, white professional in the
> D.C. metro area with a good job history, a lot of connections and
> the luxury of a gay-positive professional environment -- to claim
> that I'm willing to live without ENDA protections as long as it
> takes to get an inclusive bill passed. What about, say, a lesbian in
> my home state of Kentucky who finds she can't get a job in her small
> town because word's about her sexual orientation, and she can't move
> because of her kids or financial situation?

And here is where the rubber meets the road......your hypothetical lesbian would NOT be covered under the non-inclusive ENDA along with every other gay and lesbian who fails to totally conform to gender stereotypes. This has been well known to the leadership of HRC for over a decade. Frank knows this. A study was even done ten years ago among gay and lesbians...........75% of those who had experienced job discrimination felt it was on the basis of gender nonconformity, not orientation. Gays and lesbians, not trans-people, not gender queers, not transsexuals. A non-inclusive ENDA means that ONLY those who do not need the protections get them and that's the rub, it's a feel good bill only because by jettisoning the gender identity language it actually becomes meaningless to the entire community other than those with passing privilege.

How does that work you ask? Jane, a butch lesbian, is fired for looking too butch. When she tries to sue based on ENDA protections for orientation her employer points to the femme Mary and states she is an out lesbian therefore the issue is not orientation. Further, there is a legal consideration called legislative intent. Pass a non-inclusive ENDA and all future court decisions regardless of past ones can now be based there being no legislative intent to protect any gender nonconformity effectively erasing past favourable decisions. Think it cannot happen?......it already did in New York after SONDA became law and in exactly that manner.

Wake up people. Barney is a well known transphobe who has been actively working against any trans inclusion all along changing only enough to keep his record muddy. Pelosi is about to get a HRC award and both she and HRC need a big "win" to keep the gay bucks rolling in. ENDA doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell in the Senate and they know it. By cutting out gender protections now, the fix is in for the future and it will not be included then......again, just as happened in New York year after year after year until finally the time arrived and it was off the table.

It's not symbolic for transpeople. That's a big one right there. I know of at least half a dozen friends who have been fired in the last few years. Outright straight up discrimination fired--we don't want any trannies here. Nothing sideways about it. Nothing hidden.

The other issue is Mr. Frank's transphobia and opposition to transinclusion is very well known.

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