North Texas activists push for ENDA passage
In an effort to keep the the federal Employee Non-Discrimination Act fresh in the minds of local and national politicians, activists in North Texas continue to make their voices heard.
Lorie Burch, a local attorney who co-chairs the Human Rights Campaign’s Dallas/Fort Worth Steering Committee and is also the chair-elect of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, recently partnered with Equality Texas and other organizations to train volunteers on how to lobby their elected officials.
"We matched them with their local reps on the state and federal level, to make appointments to go in and talk not just on ENDA, but a number of different issues that effect our community in general," she said.
And lobbying isn’t the only way Dallas-area activists are reaching out. Kelli Busey, founder of Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies, and others remain heavily involved in letter writing campaigns. Busey continues to post updates on the DTAA Web site and on her blog, Planettransgender.
"He [Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank] has become more sensitive to transgender issues because we’ve been more vocal and you can’t deny that we are involved in the process now," Busey said.
A strategy session that had been originally scheduled to take place at Texas Instruments on Tuesday, Feb. 23, was postponed. Busey said ENDA-related efforts, however, aren’t without concern.
"I just have a terrible feeling that Frank is going to try to divide us like he did last time," Busey said, referring to a 2007 version of ENDA that excluded gender identity and expression. "He blindsided the transgender community. Well, he blindsided everybody."
That version subsequently died in the U.S. Senate a year later. For the current bill, which includes trans-specific provisions, there are 194 co-sponsors in the House and 44 co-sponsors in the Senate.