87

The office of Nancy Pelosi responds to my email criticizing the Democrats' move to replace gender-specific language with gender-neutral language only in the text of the rules of the House of Representatives: the response includes this horrifying paragraph below...especially the extremely alarming last sentence.

"In the Democratic Majority, I am incredibly proud to have voted to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act in the House of Representatives. This historic legislation says, unequivocally, that LGBTQ Americans deserve the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights laws. The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. It does so by adding sex in some places where it had not previously been protected, and clarifying that sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity."

The office of Nancy Pelosi responds to my email criticizing the Democrats' move to replace gender-specific language with gender-neutral language only in the text of the rules of the House of Representatives: the response includes this horrifying paragraph below...especially the extremely alarming last sentence. "In the Democratic Majority, I am incredibly proud to have voted to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act in the House of Representatives. This historic legislation says, unequivocally, that LGBTQ Americans deserve the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights laws. The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. *It does so by adding sex in some places where it had not previously been protected, and clarifying that sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity*."

62 comments

[–] Avadavat [OP] 69 points (+69|-0)

And, this is my reponse to Pelosi's email reply:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Your office responded to my email criticizing the Democrats' move to replace gender-specific language with gender-neutral language only in the text of the rules of the House of Representatives, and you included this horrifying paragraph below...especially the extremely alarming last sentence.

"In the Democratic Majority, I am incredibly proud to have voted to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act in the House of Representatives. This historic legislation says, unequivocally, that LGBTQ Americans deserve the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights laws. The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. It does so by adding sex in some places where it had not previously been protected, and clarifying that sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity."

I am in favor of gender non-conforming people, whether or not they self-identify as trans, having ALL human rights afforded to other Americans. This is not under discussion...at least by me. BUT the last sentence in this paragraph of your reply SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME. That you would affirm that the word "sex" should include the term "gender identity" is, frankly, ludricrous. The human species is sexually dimorphic: there are two sexes, one being female, the other male. And, one sex, the female sex, has a phenotype arranged around the production of large female gametes called ova; and the other sex, the male sex, has a phenotype arranged around the production of small male gametes called sperm. That you would assert that "gender identity," the SUBJECTIVE feelings and perceptions that people have...inside...about how well their sense of self matches their MATERIAL sexed bodies should now somehow be included in the understanding of dimorphic sex is beyond belief.

I know you're going through a lot, what with the disgusting, treasonous insurrection against the capitol, which was urged on and made possible by a deranged President Trump. And I have admired greatly how well you have handled the situation; however, please be aware, that no matter how much social and political capital you have gained through your courage and political insight during this crisis, if Congress passes the Equality Act as is...with the understanding that sex includes gender identity, I, a lifelong Democrat and supporter of the rights of lesbians (adult human females) and gay males (adult human males) and all gender (as in sexual stereotypes) nonconforming people, will leave the Democratic Party and look elsewhere for representation that understands that the dignity, flourishing, safety, and public success of girls, women, and homosexuals requires prioritizing material reality and binary sex over subjective and unscientific "gender identiy."

[–] CleanSlate 54 points (+54|-0)

Odds are there's a 20 year old zealot intern reading your letter who throws it in the trash while shouting "TERF!" and Pelosi never hears of it.

[–] crlody 14 points (+14|-0)

Technically that's illegal, if you contact your representative's office, their staff has to tell them, this is most often done in collated reports, e.g. this many messages received about this topic. Whether this is enforced or how it actually happens in practice I can't speak to.

[–] pennygadget 15 points (+15|-0)

Your response was well written; but WAY too long! Aides to government officials receive THOUSANDS of emails & letters a day. If you want them to actually read it, you need to keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

Signed, Former Government Employee

[–] hesco 8 points (+8|-0)

Respectfully, I disagree.

As a former Congressional staffer (109th Congress) who worked on the Hill in DC, I found the letter by the Avadavat (the OP) on point and not at all too long.

This morning I sent a letter three times this length to the City Council members AND THEIR STAFF in Richmond Virginia related to a resolution slated for consideration at this evening's Council Meeting. A letter should be exactly long enough to touch on all the necessary points, and to anticipate all the likely objections. The personal replies I received within two hours from two of the staffers among the nine council offices I sent my letter to indicated to me that my message had made it that far and they each promised to bring my correspondence to the attention of their bosses.

As a staffer I would build files of the form letters we'd receive about a particular bill. If the Congresswoman ever asked, or if the bill addressed ever made it to the floor, I'd pull out the file and show her its width, provide her with an estimate of the number of letters it contained, a count of any from back home in our district and whether they were form letters electronically signed by someone checking a box and providing an email on a web site, or represented a correspondent's thoughts and composition.

One particular campaign was quite effective, though annoying to file. It was a veterans bill. I do not remember what the specific bill or its subject matter was. But a few times each week I would get a letter about this bill written in crayon on a brown paper grocery bag cut up for the purpose. Honestly, they were mostly form letters as well, very little in the way of personalization. But the fact that they were hand written made them stand out in the morning's mail.

I was always particularly inclined to advise the boss of any letters from folks with knowledge on the issue, an appreciation for the complexity and nuance of the policy being discussed, any anecdotal stories they shared which would strengthen her advocacy for a position in committee markup or floor debate and any relevant research which would inform her position.

I would seek to get these folks on the phone before talking to my boss. Those folks would make it to my rolodex (no, we had long since given up the use of rolodexes by 2005). I would pick up the phone to consult with them on further research on that or a related issue.

Its important that we 'be counted' as to our position on a bill. But that is usually not enough to move a vote, unless our numbers are overwhelming, or align with the wishes of monied contributors. Building respectful and ongoing relationships with the staff members can. And we are going to need as many of these relationships as we can muster if we are going to amend or defeat the Equality Act.

Feminist in Struggle, the LGB Alliance, XXAmazons and the Georgia Green Party collaborated on a November 14th 2020 launch for a Coalition for the Feminist Amendment. We welcome others to join this effort.

The arc of justice has been bending in our direction this past year. It is empowered every time someone new steps up and speaks out publicly in our communities; or even privately (if we must) with our elected officials. The monied interests have circled the globe with their lies on this issue as we have been lacing up our running shoes, while clutching the truth close to our chest.

In the 116th, we were protected from HR-5 only by the Republican Senate majority, backed up by a Presidential veto .

In the 117th Congress we have only the Senate fillibuster and ourselves to protect us now.

-- Hugh Esco

https://feministstruggle.org/faea/ https://feministstruggle.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FactSheet.CoFA_.SexBasedRights.01.10.21.pdf

[–] Avadavat [OP] 1 points (+1|-0)

Thanks for this response. Many of the comments above yours were causing me to despair. Contacting elected officials on behalf of the sex-based rights of girls, women and homosexuals is not easy, and a few commentators above seemed more interested in providing quick, "clever" retorts than in providing support or compassionate guidance.

Your breakdown of how you, as a former Congressional staffer (109th Congress), analyzed communications from constiuents was very helpful!

That’s a great letter!

I would keep at it.

Send more letters, send more evidence, call her office and leave messages on the subject too.

[–] tervacious 61 points (+61|-0) Edited

Warning: this is rambling but DAMN.

Reading that response made me realize this: gay men put themselves first and narrowly define their aims. Trans put themselves first and will hide behind any oppressed group to further themselves. They don't write letters being like "I super care about other groups, please listen to me." Yet women are supposed to tell everyone how much we care about every other group before we get to ourselves. Oh please listen to me, this is how nice I am, see? And BAM we get nothing, our own sex defined right out of existence.

Sex does not include gender identity and it doesn't include sexual orientation either. Sex is first. That's the first principle and that is what we're worried about not existing anymore in a legal sense. Because in reality that shit exists, it's why we're paid less, battered, forced into all the sex-based entertainments and free labor, from porn & prostitution to surrogacy, and why everyone knows who to turn their misogyny on, and it's never the TIM in the room.

[–] salty-tomorrow 22 points (+22|-0) Edited

I understand sexual orientation to be considered a “sex-based right” in the sense that if it’s acceptable and lawful for a man to do it—i.e., love women—it must be acceptable and lawful for women to do the same.

But yeah. I’m also enraged that women must put everyone else’s needs first in order for their own to even be considered.

[–] Boudicaea 4 points (+4|-0) Edited

Yeah, I think it's actually better if trans people and gay people are protected as a subcategory of sex-based human rights. I think this legislation is just broadening what SCOTUS has already done in the area of employment law. That was a good ruling for GC.

[–] TerfSedai 55 points (+55|-0)

SEX =/= GENDER IDENTITY

Literally two different things. Why is this so hard for people to grasp?

[–] Felis_margarita 31 points (+31|-0)

I know we've talked a lot about well-funded lobbying, and I definitely think that makes a big difference. But do you think that older politicians are also being "educated" by young, indoctrinated aides? Like, the people who sort their mail, do they editorialize what we're writing to them, or omit the evidence we're providing?

[–] TerfSedai 23 points (+23|-0)

Yes, definitely -- but I think that works on both sides of the issue too. Many members of Gen-Z seem to think a lot of this gender identity stuff is nonsense, and they're the ones starting to take up these junior positions now.

More concerned about my millennial cohort starting to run for office.

[–] Verdandi 17 points (+17|-0) Edited

Gender identity is almost 100% the fault of Millennials and I'm truly embarrassed that this is our legacy.

[–] pennygadget 8 points (+8|-0)

I know we've talked a lot about well-funded lobbying, and I definitely think that makes a big difference. But do you think that older politicians are also being "educated" by young, indoctrinated aides? Like, the people who sort their mail, do they editorialize what we're writing to them, or omit the evidence we're providing?

I absolutely believe that's the problem. Older folks like Nancy Pelosi & Elizabeth Warren can't possibly believe this gender shit. But they're so disconnected with normal humans that they assume the young idiots on Twitter who swoon over AOC and Chuckie Clymer represent the modern hip, young liberal voters. And their equally disconnected young aides likely encourage this delusion

[–] Boudicaea 7 points (+7|-0)

The supreme court has already ruled this, and it actually was a gender critical ruling, focused on gender non-conformance. I am OK with protecting trans people and homosexual people under the umbrella of protecting gender non conformity. I would be a lot more worried about creating gender identity as a separate protected class.

[–] pennygadget 5 points (+5|-0)

It also has nothing to do with sexual orientation. The fact that the democrats are lumping the struggles of women with gay men, trans people, "queers", etc is ridiculous and offensive!!

[–] Felis_margarita 32 points (+32|-0)

Wow, talk about missing the point. Sex is not the same as gender identity. Sex is a biological fact, objective, and immutable; gender identity is subjective and based on sex-stereotypes. Sexual orientation depends on sex. None of these things are the same things, and the definition of (biological) sex includes neither sex-stereotypes (gender identity) nor sexual orientation. How are these three things being lumped together??!

[–] hmimperialtortie 16 points (+16|-0)

Gender identity is basically in opposition to sex, because it tries to deny it exists, or to claim wishful thinking can override whether the body is male or female.

[–] vulvapeople 22 points (+23|-1)

Save us, Joe Manchin, you're our only hope.

Although, if he's the lone Dem dissenter on this, we are screwed. We need to think strategically about which Democrats to contact to oppose this bill. I know my Congresswoman is completely in the bag for trans, and I fear any appeals to my Senators will also be ignored. Joe Manchin is a conservative Democrat who has expressed skepticism of trans. We need to figure out who else is relatively conservative in the Democratic caucus and have any users here from those states start writing letters.

[–] vulvapeople 11 points (+12|-1)

Looking at the list, I'm thinking Jon Tester would be good to contact.

So, currently, we have West Virginia and Montana. Anyone here live in either of those states?

[–] DraDra 10 points (+10|-0)

I would also try to contact the house Republicans who voted to pass the equality act last time

[–] vulvapeople 8 points (+8|-0)

That's a good idea at least to reduce the appearance of bipartisan support. It's likely to pass the House anyway, but anyone living in a district represented by a liberal Republican or conservative Democrat should contact them.

[–] DraDra 2 points (+2|-0)

List of House Republicans who either voted Yes to pass the Equality Act or were not present for the vote, and also House Democrats who were not present for vote.

Should I maybe do a separate post with this information?

HOUSE REPUBLICANS: VOTED YES TO PASS THE EQUALITY ACT

MEMBER Brooks (IN) PARTY Republican STATE IN VOTE AYE

MEMBER Diaz-Balart PARTY Republican STATE FL VOTE AYE

MEMBER Fitzpatrick PARTY Republican STATE PA VOTE AYE

MEMBER Hurd (TX) PARTY Republican STATE TX VOTE AYE

MEMBER Katko PARTY Republican STATE NY VOTE AYE

MEMBER Reed PARTY Republican STATE NY VOTE AYE

MEMBER Stefanik PARTY Republican STATE NY VOTE AYE

MEMBER Walden PARTY Republican STATE OR VOTE AYE

HOUSE REPUBLICANS: NOT PRESENT FOR VOTE

MEMBER Brady PARTY Republican STATE TX VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Bucshon PARTY Republican STATE IN VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Burchett PARTY Republican STATE TN VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Duffy PARTY Republican STATE Wl VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Johnson (LA) PARTY Republican STATE LA VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Johnson (OH) PARTY Republican STATE OH VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER LaHood PARTY Republican STATE IL VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Ratcliffe PARTY Republican STATE TX VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Smucker PARTY Republican STATE PA VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Steube PARTY Republican STATE FL VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Turner PARTY Republican STATE OH VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Walker PARTY Republican STATE NC VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Weber (TX) PARTY Republican STATE TX VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Westerman PARTY Republican STATE AR VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Wilson (SC) PARTY Republican STATE SC VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Young PARTY Republican STATE AK VOTE NOT VOTING

HOUSE DEMOCRATS: NOT PRESENT FOR VOTE

MEMBER Clyburn PARTY Democratic STATE SC VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Dingell PARTY Democratic STATE Ml VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER MOultOn PARTY Democratic STATE MA VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Peterson PARTY Democratic STATE MN VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Rose (NY) PARTY Democratic STATE NY VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Ryan PARTY Democratic STATE OH VOTE NOT VOTING

MEMBER Swalwell (CA) PARTY Democratic STATE CA VOTE NOT VOTING

[–] Perseph265 18 points (+18|-0) Edited

This smacks of a form letter. Anyone else think so? I'm betting they didn't even read it. Hopefully someone will at least look at your response.

[–] Verdandi 18 points (+18|-0)

It's 100% a form letter and I honestly am not understanding why everyone is expecting something different? Emailing is completely useless, they get thousands of emails a day.

If you really want to be heard print off the letter on paper and send it in.

If you REALLY want to be heard, include some crushed up white powder in your letter. (just kidding, please don't do this, we don't want you officially Dissappeared™)

[–] SilkySquid 5 points (+5|-0)

What we're really probably going to have to do is march, eventually. We need to organize for better numbers first (and obviously, COVID takes it off the table for a while). For now, I think gathering in numbers online, growing networks to get out news to people, and emailing/mailing/calling is all we can do.

[–] stern-as-steel 9 points (+9|-0)

Yeah, it’s definitely a form. I’ve gotten several from different people and they’re all very similar.

[–] Hermione 16 points (+16|-0)

God we are without political protection, and I feel the target of both parties. Republicans will limit my freedom over my body and screw my financially, and democrats will limit my freedom in public by taking away my right to scream if some dude is in the bathroom or changing room creeping on me!!!

Seriously, this will kill brick and mortar stores, especially ones that sell clothing or are family oriented.

[–] Verdandi 15 points (+15|-0)

I'd like to take this time to remind everyone what happened with Target bathrooms!

I don't have a source off-hand right now, but IIRC they reversed their bathroom policy after attacks skyrocketed.

[–] Hermione 3 points (+3|-0)

I wasted a ton of time trying to get numbers on the average foot traffic per Target each day, then average estimated number of predators in any given place, etc., to show how few predators are necessary to have huge effects in a place.

If you take an average super Walmart, the estimated daily foot traffic (number of visitors to a store) is 10,000 people.

Let’s assume an average Target gets 5,000 visitors a day. Target is actually cagey about this info, so I’m extrapolating a lot here.

For shits and giggles, let’s say 10% of those visitors go into the restroom or fitting rooms each day. That’s 500 people each day.

Annddd... fuck it, I keep getting interrupted looking up numbers, so let me just get to the point.

Even a few incidents each year, at multiple stores means investigations, legal costs regarding law enforcement and law suits. That is a LOT of money, and that’s not counting how much business they’d lose as women and families would avoid spending too much time in the store, or even flat out avoiding the store, which is where the real pain is. Their options for prevention are limited if they can’t stop men going into the women’s rooms in the first place. And for decades, that has allowed enough women, the primary shoppers, to feel comfortable enough to create a consumption economy. So it has to work in preventing sexual offenses big and small to some extent.

Just one Chipotle restaurant was able to sicken 650 people in Ohio in 2018, but that’s out of about 2,500 locations. The stock still fell 7.2%. I’m not going to look up the lost revenue or estimate the cost of new PR and retraining and quality control.

These companies need to know that even if they get woke points and might see a bump in online high-fives, (I doubt they’d see a bunch of trans people going in spending money that they didn’t before), ignoring women’s safety and comfort will hurt their bottom lines drastically, even for just a few incidents.

[–] pennygadget 6 points (+6|-0)

American Women are politically homeless. We have a "choice" between being branded as public property or private property by our elected officials. That's why I honestly didn't care who won the election. We lost either way

[–] hesco 0 points (+0|-0) Edited
[–] MelMarieCurebee 13 points (+13|-0)

It's so similar to the response I got from one of my senators about HR 5 coming to the Senate. I was like, I'm a Democrat and a supporter of equal rights for trans people, but please don't support the Equality Act because gender identity doesn't exist and women and girls will be hurt. And his response was "rah rah we agree! That's why I'm supporting the Equality Act".

🤦‍♀️

[–] hesco 2 points (+2|-0)

that is when you have to get a staffer on the phone, preferably the policy director, or whomever provides staff support to the member for their Judiciary Committee assignment, if they are a member of the committee with jurisdiction over this bill.

[–] MelMarieCurebee 1 points (+1|-0)

I will look into this more. I haven't been in touch with my representatives via phone call during the whole pandemic.

[–] post_men_syndrome 12 points (+12|-0)

remember these letters get skimmed at best. If you're opposed to the Equality Act you have to have the words "opposed to the Equality Act" in the first sentence and the last sentence.

Give it to a not particularly bright high schooler to read and see if they get it - that's the level of comprehension you can count on. Not that whoever's reading these letters are dumb, but they have a lot of fairly repetitive material to get through - they're pattern matching like crazy, so you have to be really, really clear.

[–] Verdandi 9 points (+9|-0) Edited

They get thousands of emails a day. If you want a real response print your letter off and send it in the actual mail. Emailing accomplishes literally nothing most of the time. :(

[–] hesco 0 points (+0|-0)

emails followed up with a phone call, and then redirected to the email address for the staffer you spoke with can be quite effective, particularly if you can develop a relationship with that staffer over time.

[–] hellamomzilla 9 points (+9|-0)

That last line sure sounds EXACTLY like the takeaway many people argued would be drawn from Bostock, huh? You know, that super-nuanced dumbassery that the Supremes just couldn't turn down, even though two gay men being fired FOR BEING GAY had absolutely nothing to do with some fetishist wanting to wear a dress to work in a business where the last thing any funeral home owner wants to do is weird out the clientele during mourning.

Load more (5 comments)