Sunday, June 24, 2007

After all this time, GA finally starts getting interesting

I didn't have much to say on Moral Values for a Pluralistic Society, because, well, it's all about talking rather than doing.

And there was no new Statement of Conscience to vote on, not that I'm complaining.

All of the candidates elected were running unopposed.

So GA has been quite short of actual administrative business.

But finally, with the responsive resolutions, we're getting some action. Ok, it's pretty-lame-unless-you-did-a-lot-of-Model-UN-in-college action, but hell, I did and I'll take it.

Best of all, my source's explanation for it makes the actions I described during my previous post make sense.

To review, and to clarify my last post, a few hours ago, the body voted in a

"Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with Transgender Inclusion and Protection,"

Action of Immediate Witness.

It turns out that that Action of Immediate Witness was originally TWO AIWs:

1. One about Transsexuality, and being welcoming to transsexuals and affirming out support for transexuals, which included our condemning employment discrimination against transsexuals.

2. One reaffirming the body's support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for gays and lesbians, something we had voted in 13 years ago.

According to my source, the Comission on Social Witness in one of those back room meetings UUs claim to be against, decided to COMBINE the two marginally related resolutions into a resolution about adding transsexuals to ENDA, but, you know, not requiring UNITARIANS to be nice to them or anything.

The guy who asked that question of the UUA staff was WANTING the UUA staff to respond as they did. The response they gave underscored the point that the AIW we were voting on was essentially a toothless reiteration of something we'd voted in long ago.

The responsive resolution bringing the question of the CONGREGATIONS not practicing discrimination against transgender persons, and indeed being WELCOMING of transgender persons is coming to the floor.

I will keep you posted.

If you're reading this from Portland, please grab your delegate card and head back to the plenary.

And PLEASE raise your delegate card and vote for welcoming and an AIW that actually has some meaning.



PG said...

Now that the urgent moment has passed, could you clarify what the problem was? From my non-UU standpoint, "Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with Transgender Inclusion and Protection" is more important and meaningful than a vague hand-wavey let's-be-welcoming-to-transfolk resolution, given how contentious including gender identity in the non-discrimination act is. It's quite significant to support having specifically ENDA cover transpeople, as opposed to a generalized condemnation of employment discrimination against transfolk. Does the passage of the motion mean that UUA is not supporting the specific inclusion of gender identity in ENDA?

This is one of those things where my theory and realpolitik collide. Realistically, I agree that ENDA has a better chance of passing without including gender identity. But from my abstract concept of sex, gender and sexual orientation, all of this is sex discrimination anyway and the sooner everyone else gets that, the better. If you treat a man differently based on behavior (whether it's having sex with a man or wearing dresses) that you would find unexceptionable in a woman, that's about as obvious a sex discrimination as we can get.

Chalicechick said...

Because I was thinking Realpolitik.

If anybody in Congress listened to what the UUs thought, then, yes, the more specific resolution would be the better one.

But nobody does.

UUs and UU churches, by contrast, often do take GA resolutions more seriously. I have heard stories of how difficult it is for a transgendered minister to get hired even within our liberal denomination.

So a general affirmation of non-discriminatory behavior sounded good to me.


Anonymous said...

We figured out that passing all these resolutions really isn't for others, it's for UUs to get a chance to talk about these issues. In a focused way.
HRC did a national survey a few years ago to see if adding transgender to things like ENDA really made any difference, and the upshot was it made no real difference. Then, once the old guard of gays and lesbians who were prejudiced against transpeople got off the board of HRC, they decided to include gender identity in ENDA.

by the way, CyberXena says, "CC -- You've come a long way."

Chalicechick said...

I really haven't though, by her standards. Nothing I've written in this post is inconsistent with the argument I made when I had my argument with her.

I always believed all of what was written in the resolution.