Thoughts on Joe Sellout
By Tina Seitz
Originally posted on Joe Sellout
Nov. 15, 2008
Over the last year, I have struggled. I have tried to think positively about the HRC and Joe Solmonese in regard to their representation, or lack thereof, as it pertains to transgender people. I have looked for a change in direction or at least some remorse over the lies (my opinion) told to the transgender community but that has never happened. Joe did apologize for “misspeaking” at the Southern Comfort Convention in 2007, but he has never apologized for lying to the transgender community, he has never apologized for a policy where he sold us out. In fact, to this day, he is adamant that he, along with the HRC took the correct course of action by ignoring the needs of the transgender community despite the tremendous backlash from all the other LGBT organizations that continued to stand with the transgender community after the announcement from HRC.
What really brought this to light once again, was the article that Joe Solmonese wrote last week about the passage of prop 8 in California. I know that this has been written about and commented on before, but I feel the need to expand upon what I have already read. In his article; Proposition 8 broke our hearts, but it did not end our fight Joe wrote “We have to say to the man with the Yes on 8 sign — you disrespected my humanity, and I am not giving you a pass. I am not giving you a pass for explaining that you tolerate me, while at the same time denying that my family has a right to exist. I do not give you permission to say you have me as a “gay friend” when you cast a vote against my family, and my rights.”
I fully support same sex marriage and I feel that this is an issue that transgender people need to pay more attention to. It is difficult to concentrate on marriage however when so many transgender people are more concerned about having a roof over their heads, about having something to eat, about being able to get a job that will keep them out of the sex trades. So many in our community are placed in life and death situations every day in the streets. This is because they can’t find work; they are denied jobs due to discriminatory practices that a fully inclusive ENDA would begin to solve. To Joe I have to say; you disrespected my humanity, along with that of the entire transgender community. I do not give you permission to represent me as a transgender person when you decided that our rights don’t matter now, when you decided that transgender lives are not as important. You cast a vote against me, my family, and my very life. You did this for political expediency at the expense of more transgender lives and you don’t even have any remorse over those lives. You went on to donate money to the Log Cabin Republicans so that money, money that is supposed to be used to obtain equality for the LGBT community, was used to promote the candidacy of someone who has continually shown his highly bigoted point of view. How many of the transgender dead whose names will be read off at this year’s Day of Remembrance wouldn’t be on that list if they had a job. You ask the transgender community to stand with you to demonstrate we are in this together for same sex marriage and you have shown that you don’t think that my very life is worth standing up for.
Joe, I cannot accept your views on ENDA, your views which demonstrate once again to society that transgender people’s lives don’t matter. Your views tell society that transgender peoples very LIVES aren’t important enough for even the gay, lesbian, bisexual community to pay attention to. Your version of ENDA is so bad that it fails even at protecting those same gay, lesbian and bisexual communities. Your version of ENDA still allows for anyone to be fired if they don’t adequately fulfill their birth gender roles. The slightly effeminate male and the butch female will have no protection what-so-ever with your version of ENDA. All this for the sake of saying you got a bill passed, you have sold out the entire LGBT community. Still there is no apology, no remorse. How can I or the rest of the transgender community forgive, forget and move forward with your hypocritical views. Your placement of the needs of same sex marriage well above those of my very life demonstrates what you truly feel about transgender people. Joe speaks of denying the right for his family to exist. What Joe did to the transgender community is to deny them the very right to exist. Joe, I will not forgive you. I will not give you a pass on this issue, I can’t. My life is more important than that.