Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SF Pride Rally: After Pelosi,

Crowd Says Pass ENDA Now

The president of SF Pride's board of director, Mikayla Connell, who is transgender, today shared with me her report on what transpired related to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and efforts to motivate the crowd to pressure the Congresswoman to do us right on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Many thanks to Mikayla and SF Pride for using the rally on Sunday to send a message to Pelosi and her Democratic Party colleagues.

Here's Mikayla's report:

My speech was not written, I just had an outline in my head. I had planned to give the speech before the Pelosi video ran, but because of a screw-up behind the scenes, the Pelosi DVD ran without any introduction. When I realized it was playing, I ran up to the stage and threw a tizzy-fit. Such is life. Anyway, I then got the emcees to introduce me after the Pelosi video aired. At that point I made my speech, which went something like this:

I noted that no political official of that rank had ever directly addressed an LGBT Pride crowd. I noted how far we had come in 40 years (from being illegal, to being addressed by the Speaker of the House).

Then I gave the crowd an ENDA history lesson, starting with its introduction in 1994. I told them about the debacle two years ago when Pelosi and Frank dropped transgender people from the bill (the crowd boo'd appropriately), I pointed out that throwing trans people in front of the bus did not even work, I told them about Pelosi's phone call in May, and then I told them about her turn-about in June. I then reiterated the reasons for trying pass ENDA now (Democratic President, House and Senate).

I called on Pelosi to fulfill her promise, then I challenged the crowd to contact Pelosi and demand that she fulfill her promise (ENDA now). Finally, I got the crowd yelling as I would say something like "When do we want ENDA?" and the crowd would roar back "NOW!"

All in all I found the crowd to be incredibly responsive. As I have given speeches many times before on our stage, I attribute this increased responsiveness to the Jumbotrons. People can see and hear a speech-maker on the stage now, and I think that helped tremendously.

Regardless, the speech was well taken by the crowd from my perspective - they cheered and applauded frequently and at the appropriate times, and they booed and catcalled at the appropriate times. After the speech, I had numerous people compliment me on the speech and on the message, including Geoff Kors of EQCA and Mason Davis of the Transgender Law Center, not to mention numerous folks I don't know. All in all, it seemed to go over very well.

As for Pelosi and her office, I don't know - I have not heard from them yet.

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