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On Monday, I published a preview of Tuesday's Senate HELP Committee hearing on ENDA.

People lose their careers. It’s over when people find out you’re transgender.

--Kylar Broadus

Speaking from personal experience, I'll declare that one's career is not necessarily over, like Professor Broadus said, but a person is damn well going to have to fight to maintain that career and contain the damage done.

I still sit here today with almost tears in my eyes.  It’s devastating, it’s demoralizing and dehumanizing to be put in that position.

--Broadus

I will not disagree with any portion of that statement.

Unfortunately, only Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Al Franken (D-Minn), and Patty Murray, (D-Wash) attended what was supposed to be a full committee meeting.  Michael Bennet (D-Colo) made a brief appearance.

That is a huge indicator of how low the priority is for ending discrimination against us.

While Broadus finds himself lucky to be employed once again, he still hasn’t recovered financially and emotionally from the discrimination he faced.

“It will go with me to my grave,” Broadus said.

Let us not lose sight that each and every day, American citizens are discriminated against in their employment or their potential employment in ways that have a profound impact on their opportunity fully live their lives, to fully contribute, to fully pursue happiness, to be all that they can be, all that they are — which is a benefit to them and a benefit to our nation.  This discrimination is absolutely wrong. It is morally wrong and we must end it.

--Jeff Merkley, lead sponsor of the bill

Freedom to Work president Tico Almeida has sent a letter to Harry Reid calling for the scheduling of a floor vote on ENDA.
[W]e respectfully urge you to bring ENDA to a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate this summer so that LGBT Americans do not have to wait any longer to know which of their Senators support their freedom to work without harassment or discrimination on the job, and which Senators still find it acceptable for Americans to be unjustly fired simply because of whom they love or their gender identity.
The testimony of M. V. Lee Badgett from the Williams Institute is available in its entirety here.

Meanwhile the Traditional Values Coalition is doing their part to display why ENDA is truly necessary by distributing a disgustingly transphobic donation request to fight the bill.

Entitled ENDA hurts kids, the plea does its best to raise the specter of transwomen teachers as pedophiles in the classroom.

Meet Mary.

Mary is a little, shall we say, confused…

…but Mary isn’t confused about whether or not the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is going to allow someone like him to keep teaching your kids while he undergoes his transformation from ugly caterpillar into a beautiful… something or other…

As a teacher for over 36 years, I take the characterization to be blatantly offensive.

Don't you wish that in situations like this people were required to exhibit even one case of what they have conjured up in their small, fearful minds actually happening.

Over 70% of Americans believe we should have employment protections.  Unfortunately over 90% of Americans believe we already do enjoy those protections, so nobody seems to be concerned about ending the discrimination.

What can you do?  You could contact Tom Harkin and demand ENDA markup.  You could contact Harry Reid and demand a floor vote so that we can determine before the next elections who our friends are.

Yes, we know the bill stands little chance of passing the House.  Hell, the Speaker doesn't even know what ENDA is about:

"I haven’t seen the bill.  I haven’t thought much about it."

"No one should face discrimination in the workforce," Boehner said.  "There are ample laws already in place to deal with this.  Having been the chairman of the Education & Workforce Committee, I’m quite familiar with employment law.  But if there are further changes that are necessary, I’m sure the committee will look at it."

--John Boehner

His cluelessness is enough to bring tears to your eyes.

Originally posted to LGBT Kos Community on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Invisible People.

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