Scroll To Top

Gay vs. Trans in

Gay vs. Trans in


Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. In the aftermath of ENDA, can't we all just get along? An Advocate round table on the state of the community now.

The LGBT "community" has never seemed less communal than in the last few months. When Barney Frank decided in September to move forward with a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act that covered sexual orientation and not gender identity, it was as if an earthquake had gone off in the queer world, laying bare the differences between us. Within days, 300-plus LGBT organizations around the country had united in opposition to that version of ENDA, saying it wasn't fair for some members of the community to gain rights when others would not, while Frank, the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, and political insiders savvy to the legislative process argued that passing an imperfect measure was better than no measure at all. Caught in between was the Human Rights Campaign, which initially declined to support or oppose ENDA in an effort both to preserve its valuable Capitol Hill relationships and placate its allies in the movement.

But as the debate churned on until the bill finally made it to the House floor for a vote, what was missing amid all the news reports, press conferences, e-mails, and assorted, frequently heated commentary was what the average LGBT person on the street thought. If there were enough votes for a sexual orientation-only bill but not for one that included gender identity, should we go ahead with the former? Or should we wait for enough political support to develop for the latter, even if that took months -- or years? Do we all belong together anyway, or has the acronym LGBT outlived its usefulness, both in name and in practice? How do we all feel -- really feel -- about each other?

The Advocate decided to find out. On Wednesday, November 7, 10 very different New Yorkers -- three transgender women, two transgender men, three gay men, a gender-ambiguous lesbian, and her bisexual girlfriend -- joined moderator Tim Murphy at the West Village restaurant Barbuto for a mini town-hall meeting about this thing we call community. Coincidentally, it was the same night that ENDA passed the House in a tight 235-184 vote. The following are excerpts from the two-hour-long conversation, by turns funny, serious, combative, and poignant, along with portraits of the participants. Consider it the start of a longer discussion among you and yours and -- yes -- the community at large.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Tim Murphy