Wednesday, October 3, 2007


In wrestling, a reversal is a difficult move where, while under one's opponent, a grappler switched positions and shifts to the top position. you get a point for that.

Last summer in Chicago at Gay Games VI, and earlier in 2006 at Golden Gate Wrestling Club's annual tournament held each Memorial Day Weekend in San Francisco, I got a chance to not only talk with and interview transgender activist Donna Rose; I also sparred with her.

She is one tough woman.

When she was a man, Donna wrestled competitively in college. Unfortunately, she's had few opportunities to wrestle, what with there being so few women in her weight and age class. Even at the Gay Games, she had to spar only in exhibition matches. Nevertheless, her conviction inspired me.

So, it came as no surprise to hear that Rose, the only transgender board member of the Human Rights Campaign, quit her position after HRC balked in the fight over transgender inclusion in the much-debated Employment non-discrimination Act, or ENDA.

Even some liberal gay bloggers like John Aravosis questioned the nature of the T inclusion in the acronym GLBT. Are transgenders really a part of our community, he asked?

For HRC, they weren't. Rose quit, wrote a response, but then, after we'd posted late-breaking articles in the Bay Area Reporter's web site, HRC pulled a reversal, and decided to announce a "call to action" demanding that transgender people be included in the legislation.

This was not the original stance HRC and its Republican Executive director took. But they changed.

And so should the legislation. Even if transgenders make up a very small yet vocal part of our community -or population, as Larry Kramer prefers- as my coverage of the sports community show (less than .01 percent of participants in the last three Gay Games were transgender), we've still got to fight for the rights to prevent discrimination based on gender identity, perceived gender, or perceptions related to gender and sexual orientation.

See, I may not be able to fight for the rights of thousands of people, I might be able to fight for the rights of dozens of people, and I will definitely fight for the rights of one person.

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