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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

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Letters
CALL CONGRESS ABOUT INCLUSIVE ENDA

Friends,

[Editor's Note: The following is an open letter to the community. The author asks it be reprinted here in the pages of the SGN.]

I must assume that readers of the SGN are aware of the controversy surrounding the stripping down of the proposed Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) in the US House of Representatives. We want the original ENDA, H.2015, to be voted on in its original form, that is, the Trans-inclusive version. We oppose H.3685, which strips from the bill protections for our Transgender brothers and sisters.

For those who attended the pro-2015 rally at the Seattle LGBT Community Center on Sunday, Oct 14, you heard Rebecca Saldana from Congressman Jim McDermott's office read a letter from the congressman stating that he supports an ENDA that is fully inclusive (i.e. protections for gender identity and protection). What his letter did NOT say, which I pointed out when I spoke, is that he OPPOSES any strip down of protections. Congressman McDermott has been and continues to be a champion of the LGBT community, but from my personal interpretation of the situation now, he is coming up a bit short of what we need.

I have made several calls to Mr. McDermott's Seattle office to discuss this issue. His staffers have been very attentive, cooperative, and polite. Today, Wednesday, October 17, I called that office to see if there has yet been a response to my request of whether he opposes H.3685 or any other proposal that would remove Trans protections. The answer was, "not yet." I then asked if there have been many calls about this issue. The answer was, "Some."

"Some"? C'mon folks, that isn't good enough. I do not fault the congressman or his staff for that. That is OUR fault. There have been many calls to action on this issue, both in the printed media (such as the SGN) and from a gazillion sources. It looks like everyone is waiting for someone else to take action. That is not acceptable. If we want something, it is up to us to demand it.

The call to the local office is toll free. Most of us have cell phones, which makes calls within the U.S. free too. Call locally or use some of your cell phone minutes to call Congressman Jim McDermott's office in D.C. But call we must! One or two voices is not enough. The call doesn't have to be long, fancy, or elaborate. Simply call and leave a message that you want him to SUPPORT H. 2015 in its original form, and just as importantly, you want him to OPPOSE H. 3685 or any proposal that would take away coverage based on gender identity or gender expression.

Together we can do this. We all have heard Abraham Lincoln's quote, "United we stand, divided we fall." How true that is now. Mr. McDermott is our friend, but he still needs guidance from time to time and we still need to hold our friends accountable. Our own silence is our enemy. Please call today.

Seattle Office: (206) 553-7170
DC Office: (202) 225-3106

Sincerely,
Bill Dubay
Seattle, WA


[Editor's Note: The author of the above letter asked the following information be added to his letter.]

On Thursday, October 18, the version of ENDA that we oppose, H.3865, passed out of the House Education and Labor Committee on a bipartisan vote of 27-21. Every effort will be made by LGBT and allied lobbying groups to amend it so that it returns to the original intent of H. 2015 (the good ENDA). It is now even more important that each of us contacts our Congress(wo)man and ask them to support a fully inclusive ENDA and oppose any version that would leave part of our community behind.
   


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