Wednesday, April 21, 2021
HomeGLBTBarney Frank's not happy with Chad Griffin's apology to Transgender people

Barney Frank’s not happy with Chad Griffin’s apology to Transgender people

Barney Frank 1
Barney Frank

Barney Frank fractured the LGBT community in 2007 dividing ENDA into two separate bills.
One, I got mine sexual orientation bill and the other for transgender people a now you get yours losers.

Nether bills as authored by Frank and endorsed by HRC were expected to pass

The separate ENDA bills were introduced shortly after HRC president Joe Solmonese announced at the 2007 Southern Comfort that HRC would not support a splitting of ENDA.

Dancing around the truth in the best of Solmonese tradition he never explicitly mention ENDA by name.  But to many of us  who desperately wanted to belive in a unified LGBT community he couldn’t have meant anything else.

Chad Griffin took the courageous step of apologizing to the trans community at the 2014 Southern comfort.  Although his words are considered highly suspect by many in the trans community his speech made an impression and has been cathartic to those who stiill hope for a united community.

The GA Voice’s in depth interview with Barney Frank included this about how he feels about Griffin apologizing to trans people:

GA Voice: Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin just apologized at the transgender conference Southern Comfort for not including the transgender community in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007 after former HRC President Joe Solmonese promised to do so. You eventually included them when the bill came back up in both 2011 and 2012 [the bills did not pass either year], but do you feel you have anything to say to the transgender community about that?

Barney Frank:

“Chad Griffin’s one of those people whose political judgment seems to be off. The fact is that HRC and I and everybody else were for an inclusive bill in 2007. The issue was we did not have the votes for an inclusive bill. It wasn’t a failure of will. Then the question was, was something better than nothing? Was it better to pass a bill that was protective of lesbian, gay and bisexual people or pass nothing? We tried very hard.”

“People have this mistaken view of the civil rights movement and say, ‘Well the black people never compromised, they got the whole thing.’ That is just silly nonsense. The first civil rights bill that was passed in ’57 was fairly moderate but it had some good things, and then one passed in ’60, and then one passed in ’64. People are now saying, ‘Well we don’t want ENDA to be just about employment, we want it cover housing, etc.” Well that national federal civil rights bill that Lyndon Johnson signed in 1964 that we’re all celebrating today didn’t include housing! Housing didn’t come until a separate bill was passed after Martin Luther King was murdered in 1968. The notion that you can win your entire victory at once is historically and politically flawed.”

“The transgender community had this mistaken view that if Nancy Pelosi waved a magic wand, transgender would be included. And we were insisting to them that, look we don’t have the votes, help us lobby. Instead of trying to put pressure on the people who were against them, they thought they could just insist that we do it. We said, ‘We’re trying, but we need your help.”

( *editors note: Frank is an expert at victim blaming)

It’s also the case that in 2007, transgender made people a lot of people nervous, they didn’t know about it. Since then there’s been a lot of success in educating the public in general, politicians in particular. I don’t know what Griffin said, but he was not a factor when we were doing it. And by the way, when we were trying to get the votes to pass a bill including transgender, transgender people were not included in the anti-discrimination bills in New York, Massachusetts and Maryland. And I asked people, ‘If we haven’t got the votes in those states, why do you think it will be easier when we throw in South Carolina, Texas and Nebraska?’

And Chad Griffin was one of the people in California who were arguing that the way to get marriage was, ‘Well we shouldn’t have to go state-by-state, we should just get one big national decision.’ Well they were wrong! The Supreme Court did not decide in favor of same-sex marriage in Prop 8. Neither did the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOMA case was the big case. Now because so many states have had it, I think we will win a Supreme Court decision, but the Supreme Court wasn’t going to do that out front. They’re building on the state-by-state experience. Read the rest at the GA Voice.

CTW Trailer 2 mins from Pack Creek Productions on Vimeo.

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


  1. “Then the question was, was something better than nothing?” The answer Mr. Frank is that this is not a valid question. The right question is and always has been – is it morally acceptable to exclude any group of people in any civil rights law? The answer to that question should be obvious.

  2. Intertesting Barney Frank didn’t talk about his rentboy

    or his objection to “people with penises in [women’s] showers” and how that affected ENDA..

    ..or how much Peter LaBarbera appreciated his transphobia.

    I think Baney Frank should have considered how LGB AND Transgender laws have progressed in Callifornia during his tenure before he started bashing Griffin for his contributions to the LGBT movement in that state. Alternatively, he could have reflected on how much further we would have been if instead of throwing us, which includes the entire LGBT community, under the bus. As Chad Griffin said we ether sink or swim as a community.

    Perhaps Frank is “one of those people whose political judgment seems to be off.”

  3. Sorry Barney. This ain’t the 1960’s anymore. Information travels fast and is readily available. There are MULTIPLE news stations in EVERY town. Everyone has twitter and Facebook.

    In a society where we as American can watch revolution in Egypt happen LIVE, antiquated modes of operation no longer apply.

    Ray Rice’s assult of his wife changed the entire NFL and culture around domestic abuse (policy wise) in a matter of WEEKS.

    Meanwhile, videos of transgender women being FUCKING ASSUALTED for being who they are, get comments of blatant transphobia and hate speech.

    It’s not the fault of transgender people who simply want to live their lives in peace, for wanting that.

    Let’s not forget the swiftness of the public outcry and vigilanteism that saw the speedy identification of the group who just assaulted two gay men.

    Don’t sit there and spew 1960’s politics to a god damn 2014 trans woman who is scared of walking alone in BROAD daylight in public.

    I really don’t give 1/100000th of a fuck.

    We can have Senate judicial hearings about steroids in baseball all over the news, but only blips about formerly working as a sex worker on the local news when a trans woman of color is MURDERED.

    Get the fuck out of here.


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