One Door Closes . . .

| Nov 6, 2017

As many of my friends and readers already know that as of October 21, 2017 I am no longer a member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and one of the 64 members of the DNC’s governing Executive Committee. I must admit that as an adult who stepped into the political waters with eyes fully open and prepared for reality and the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” I am not without hurt and personal disappointment. Writing in general is not natural for me and this experience has been difficult. I do however remind myself that I have been inspired and blessed by my late spouse who had a positive attitude in life for making lemonade when a lemon appeared. [More on Blue Jersey; The Huffington Post; and NBC.]

Regrets that I did not support Tom Perez or try to suck up to him? Nope! I supported the person I felt had the best vision and was able to articulate the best program to turn the DNC around and make it a leaner and meaner machine to help make America move toward the promise of equality in the goal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for me, my family, and especially my grandchildren.

I do note, not without a touch of irony, that Donna Brazile was appointed to be an At-Large Member by Chairman Perez. [List of all appointments. (PDF)]

Babs at Pride Day 2010.

Officially the notice came in an email on Friday the 13th of October barely a day before the statutory minimum notice according to DNC By-laws. And, yes it did come as a complete surprise as there was no hint of a problem with Perez (Yes, I had asked to be reappointed and made several quiet inquiries . . .  no leaks) and I had already made travel plans to Las Vegas for what was to be my last meeting as a DNC member.

Although it’s nice to feel wanted. I was immediately approached by the Green party and people representing progressive Democrats who wanted to start an independent party identified with Bernie. The Greens, who gave us W. Bush in 2000 and helped elect Trump in 2016 (You do recall the photo in Moscow with Putin and Gen. Mike Flynn, but seated in the next table was Jill Stein!) Hell No! To the Bernie folks, no thank you! There is so very much that has been done for transgender people especially on a federal level, because we’ve engaged the DNC and they have changed their platform, Charter and By-laws over the last 10 years!

DNC timekeeper Marisa Richmond.

Before I go over how much has changed, I want to congratulate Marisa Richmond of Tennessee who was confirmed as an At-Large DNC member on October 21 and is now the first African American transgender DNC member and the 3rd trans person to be a DNC member. Marisa has had a state and national footprint in the fight for transgender equality for a long time and has well earned her appointment by her activism and work within the Democratic party. A delegate to the 2008 and 2012 DNC Conventions, she was the Official timekeeper of the 2016 Convention in 2016 and as such the first trans Convention official!

It is important to acknowledge Laura Calvo of Oregon who was the first trans person to be elected from a state in 2014 and served till the end of 2016. She was recognized for her leadership qualities and had also been elected Vice-Chair of the DNC LGBT Caucus!

To think about leaving the Democratic party for a third party is just nuts! I’m not going away, as America experiences not only the most anti-LGBT Administration in modern history, the most misogynistic, the most racist but also perhaps the most corrupt of all time! Putin, our “friend”? WTF!?

As Deputy Vice-Chair of the N.J. Democratic State Committee, I have a most compelling interest in helping turn around the destructive policies and outcomes of the last 8 years of the Chris Christie Administration. Yes. destructive especially to the trans community by Christies vetoes as well as the LGBT community as a whole, destructive to women and to all citizens by outright misogyny and fiscal games and corruption that led to 11 financial downgrades. I could go on, but looking forward we have a commitment for inclusion both legislatively and administratively under a new Murphy/Oliver Administration. Promises? Yes, promises backed up by promises kept . . . Speaker Emeritus Oliver who has consistently supported transgender equality from her time as a freshman assemblywoman! Ambassador Murphy has been explicit in his support and as a former officer of the DNC was there in the years 2006-2009 when the first and most dramatic rules of transgender inclusion were made to the Democratic Party’s Convention rules and platform as well as the DNC Charter and By-Laws.

So, how far have we come in the last 10 years since I’ve directly engaged with the DNC?

  • 2007- Full LGBT inclusive policy added to DNC Convention delegate rules
  • 2008- Explicit Transgender employment non discrimination statement in Convention platform
  • 2009- Explicit Transgender non-discrimination and statement for full inclusion in Charter and By-Laws
  • 2012- Stronger Transgender inclusion in Convention platform
  • 2015- Stronger Transgender inclusion in DNC Convention rules
  • 2016- First TG Convention speaker, first TG convention official, 28 TG delegates, double the number from 2012

We have more to do and are stronger and just perhaps working from the outside (not far outside) we can now exert some more leverage for positive change. We’ve have made a lot of friends during the last 8 plus years, and I am encouraged by the support of so many people such that this door closing will result in a bigger door opening. I have great confidence in Marisa and hope that people who helped me navigate and grow, support her!

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About Babs: “Babs” is a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, Deputy Vice Chair of the NJ Democratic State Committee and Political Director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of NJ. For the current campaign she serves on the Executive Committee of Trans United 4 Obama. She has served as Vice Chair of the DNC Eastern Caucus, President of NJ Stonewall Democrats, Co-Chair of National Stonewall Democrats Federal PAC Board, Vice-Chair of Garden State Equality, Executive Board member of National Stonewall Democrats as Chair of the DNC Relations Committee and a member of the NJ Civil Unions Review Commission.

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