October 13, 2009

What Did Obama Say About Transgender Rights?

Not much directly, but transgender writer and activist Rebecca Juno was still encouraged. Here is an excerpt from her essay at The Bilerico Project:

Was there any real news to gleaned here? Well, maybe if you squint and look at it kinda sideways. Obama did use the word "transgender" once, the first time a sitting President has done so with major media coverage as far as I know. It may seem like a little thing to some, but Obama's use of the word may signal to Congressional Democrats that he wants a fully inclusive ENDA.

Obama's repeated use of the word "inclusive" was a signal to us, the LGBT community, and to transpeople in particular. He and his people know what LGB and especially T people understand the word "inclusive" to mean when it's used in the context of LGBT civil rights. Using "inclusive" was Obama's way of communicating his support for transgender inclusion in LGBT civil rights legislation to the community without actually saying it out loud. He even threw in a "gender identity" just for seasoning. It's a hell of a lot more than we ever got from Bill Clinton or any other President, but still a hell of a lot less than we deserve.

Why does it matter? It shows we're on his radar. Obama understands that as President and as an advocate of ENDA's passage, he must take a position on transgender inclusion pro or con and he knows he must communicate that position to us and to Congress. He did both artfully with this speech, but he also demonstrated that he's not quite ready to come out of closet with full-throated support for transgender rights yet.

Click here to read the rest of the essay.

No comments:

Post a Comment