For anyone interested in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, commonly referred to as ENDA, here is a link to a new(?) organization doing great work. ENDA is far from perfect, but it would be a major step forward in creating an economy and environment where people are not in fear of losing their job or being refused a job simply because of their sexuality.

We have been hearing for months that ENDA will go up for markup and a vote, but it continues to be delayed. Will this Spring be more of the same, or with your help, can we get this moving? If I were asked to prioritize efforts at the national level, ENDA would be my highest priority. and here is why.

The biggest action that can help change attitudes about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, is visibility. But many people are forced to remain in the closet  and hide (be invisible) out of fear of losing their job or fear they won’t be hired. Without an ability to support oneself, or one’s family, it is impossible to be more active in the struggle for equality. Others remain in the closet as well, even if they do not need to. And these groups- those who are afraid for good reasons, and those who are simply afraid to be out, perpetuate each other, and stymy efforts for greater visibility for the GLBTQ communities. Passing ENDA won’t end all fear or remove all of the closets, but it will go a long way towards creating the opportunity for many to step out of the closet.

There are two areas commonly covered in local and state nondiscrimination ordinances that are not a part of ENDA. Protections in housing and public accommodations are not a part of this legislation. This for me however is not a reason to oppose this legislation. It is a reason why we must keep fighting for protections at other levels of government, but I am all for keeping ENDA about the right to work and earn a living. When people can do that, they can be productive members of the society. for me it is a matter of first things first, as well as a matter of leaving to the states areas that are not best handled at the federal government.

Two great payoffs will come from this. The individuals who currently live in fear about employment, will live in much less stress and anxiety. This alone is a most valuable outcome. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. But the second payoff is that when they have the ability to be more out and visible, more and more straight people become educated and the real lives of members of the LGBT communities. More people will see we are their neighbors and coworkers. The more real we are, the less easy it is to use hate mongering against us.


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