So being a Communication Studies major, a number of speeches/presentations are in my near future. Maybe a few more than I can handle, but that’s another topic for another day… and possibly another blog. But anyway… currently I am doing research for a persuasive speech about why ENDA should be passed. ENDA, or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, was first introduced to Congress in 1994 with the purpose of eliminating job discrimination based on sexual orientation. This piece of legislation has undergone lots of changes, but according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights it will now be put forth including sexual orientation or gender identity, which is defined to include gender expression. With all hopes that the interpretations will support an all-inclusive stance, the outlook is bright right? But what if I told you that in 1975 a bill was introduced that not only pushed for non-discrimination in employment, but that proposed that sexual orientation be added to Federal Civil Rights Law? You would most likely be surprised yes?
Well here is the deal. Bella Abzug was the amazing woman that introduced the bill in 1975. She was a lawyer, Congresswomen, social activist, and major leader of the Women’s Movement. She was an advocate for LGBT equality and her bill would come to help lay the groundwork for ENDA. And I don’t know if you caught it, but she introduced her bill in 1975! 1975! Here it is 2011 and we are struggling just to try to get legislation passed for protection against discrimination in the work place. With that it is easy to see why Bella Abzug was a visionary and why her passion and determination should continue on in those of us that wish to see the LGBTQ communities have equal rights.
I will leave you with a quote from Bella:
"WOMEN HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO SPEAK SOFTLY AND CARRY A LIPSTICK. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER!"