Barney Frank Gets Heat from LGBT Advocates


Gay rights supporters are confronting an unlikely foe—Rep. Barney Frank. Frank, who is gay himself and has been a longtime champion of gay rights, is getting heat from civil rights advocates for supporting a job discrimination bill even though it omits transgender people.

The legislation, which would be the first to protect gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the workplace, is a compromise that was reached to move the bill forward. A poll done by a popular gay news site shows that its readers are divided on the issue, with one-third supporting Frank’s position, one-third opposing it, and one-third saying gay and transgender people shouldn’t be lumped together in the first place. At a press conference yesterday, Frank blamed the tension on the “ideological purity that plagues American politics, that holds liberalism back in a number of areas.”

As much as I think transgender people should be protected, Frank has a point. The Bush administration’s failure to give an inch on everything from Iraq to civil liberties over the last seven years has left our country deeply divided and the population completely disillusioned with government. It’s time to let our Democratic leaders lead us in the right direction, even if it takes a while to get to our final destination.

—Celia Perry