Drunk (On Kool-Aid) History

From “HRC Blog”:

Remembering Lily McBeth: Symbol of Transgender Workplace Rights

Post submitted by Beck Bailey, HRC Workplace Equality Program Deputy Director of Employee Engagement

Lily McBeth, a school teacher from Tuckerton, New Jersey, passed away on September 24th, 2014 at the age of 80. Lily, a transgender woman, became a household name when she transitioned from male-to-female in 2005 at the age of 70 and returned to work as a substitute elementary school teacher in early 2006. When the Eagleswood Township school board reinstated Lily’s teaching credentials, a controversy ensued and spurred debate over the rights of transgender people in the workplace with Lily at its center.

I remember this story so clearly – it was a seminal moment in the national conversation around transgender workplace rights.

I have no cause to question the technical accuracy of anything in that blog post regarding Lily McBeth’s story.

But as to the years 2005 & 2006 in general, I remember a lot of things “so clearly” other than what happened to Lily McBeth.

For instance, I remember how few people such as Lily McBeth that HRC was allowing to earn a living by bringing home HRC-logo-festooned paychecks.  Other than the phantom trans man (whose first stint on Rhode Island Avenue may have already ended by that point; its so hard to tell given the near absence of any mention at the time of HRC having him on staff) who, every time I dared to bring up in polite company the subject of HRC’s (lack of) hiring practices re: trans people  sent me e-mails toting the HRC corporate line that I just didn’t understand how good of a friend to trans people HRC really was, I think the number was zero.

We found out in 2007, eh?

Today, only 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting transgender people from employment discrimination and the federal government continues to drag its feet on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as a federal level solution. That’s why HRC is calling for a federal omnibus bill to protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.


What are you calling on?  That contraption that Lily Tomlin – as Ernestine the Operator – used on Laugh-In?  Or maybe Frank Cannon’s car phone?

You might as well be.

It’s likely to have the same effect.

Thank you, Lily, for standing up for workplace protection.

Well, that’s more than HRC was doing for trans people nine years ago.

Rest in peace.

If anyone was still wondering how Chad Griffin’s HRC would differ from Joe Solmonese’s (other than a higher degree of tokenism), there’s your answer: Not a damn bit.

HRC isn’t interested in changing the future for trans people…

It damn sure isn’t interested in making up for the past to the degree that it can – by paying reparations to its blacklisting victims…

But it is still interested in muddying perceptions of the past.

As a trans woman (not to mention as a person over 40), Lily McBeth was a member of a class of individuals who, in 2005-06 (not to mention so many other years), need not have applied for employment at HRC.

Maybe Beck Bailey’s personal sentiments are genuine.  If so, then perhaps the RIP should have gone on a personal blog.  On an HRC blog, however, the sentiments are rank obscenity with a hypocrisy chaser.

On the other hand, I expect nothing less from HRC.


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