In an interview with The Washington Blade, Barney Frank said that it is “politcally stupid” for being outraged that the recently passed transgender rights bill in Maryland did not include protections for public accomodations.
Frank was also instrumental in pushing ENDA in Congress, and he took a lot of heat from transgender activists for the exclusion of transgender protections from that bill. To be honest, I didn’t follow the ENDA debate as closely as I should have, so I don’t really want to write about his involvement there.
As far as the bill in Maryland, I will say that it is progress, but the bathroom issue is a huge one. I have seen some people tire of the bathroom discussion because it is a drum that is continually beat by trans activists, but it is particularly salient one because it is one that can still put transgender people in jail in some parts of the country. It can also cause students to get suspended, and it caused Crissy Lee Polis to get the shit beat out of her so bad that she had a seizure. So yeah, bathrooms matter.
I don’t think that it is necessarily a bad move to accept compromise in a bill, but our political system will likely prevent the public accommodations issue from being addressed anytime soon. It also represents a victory for the bathroom scaremongering, which is probably the most effective way that conservatives have found to gain support for transgender people. It worked in Massachusetts, and it seems to have worked in Maryland, despite whatever claims they use being utter bullshit.
I also feel the need to point out that there is broad support for transgender rights in America, so there is really no reason for politicians to be afraid to stand up for trans rights.
So is it “politically stupid”? Maybe. We shouldn’t demonize politicians that are generally transgender supporters like Barney Frank, but we also shouldn’t stop fighting every single step of the way.
(Image of Frank via Wikipedia)