PHOTO: Rod McCullom
Building on the success of the path to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, finding more effective strategies to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and including transgender individuals in ENDA and immigration reform were among the strategies discussed at the 2011 Netroots Nation Strategy Session.
The LGBT caucus and strategy session had over 80 attendees, says Mike Rogers, the director of the Netroots Nation LGBT Netroots Connect program. Rogers has brought more than 50 attendees to Netroots Nation 2011 as part of a LGBT pre-conference and scholarship program.
Dr. Jillian T. Weiss facilitated the 90-minute conference. Weiss is a professor of law at Ramapo College of New Jersey, and a management consultant on transgender diversity. Weiss is also well known across the LGBT movement and virtual community as a contributor at Bilerico.com and for her work pushing ENDA.
The goal of the strategy session was to "capitalize upon what worked and didn't work" in pushing for DADT and DOMA repeal, as well as "synthesizing momentum" around the introduction of ENDA and the United American Families Act, said Dr. Weiss.
The session was divided into two groups: Those who worked with policy and on the "inside" track and those who worked in media, blogging and the "outside" track. Chief among the frustrations: Finding an "optimum" narrative to win passage of ENDA.
"I can say what worked best on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'," said Freedom to Marry's New Media Director Michael Crawford, who co-facilitated one of the breakout sessions. "That was the personal narrative. I can say how we will win marriage, state by state, or a court strategy or even a DOMA repeal in Congress." But the movement "has yet to develop" a winning "narrative" on ENDA.
"And that's a shame because ENDA would effect 150 million people," added Weiss.
It's also important to keep ensure that our "media representatives are diverse" when buillding a narrative, added Pam's House Blend Editor Pam Spaulding.
Another chief concern: Transgender inclusion. "We obviously didn't have that in DADT because it was an 'LGB' issue but some of the organizations" were fearful around using trans case studies and spokespersons to push for ENDA, said Jos Truitt, the transgender activist and blogger at Feministing. Truitt and others said the need for trans inclusion was more imperative around ENDA, the United American Families Act and immigration reform.
Some images from the LGBT Strategy Session are HERE: