The Dallas Principles

May 20, 2009

Via The Dallas Principles website:

Dallas Principles logoPresident Obama and Congress pledged to lead America in a new direction that included civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.


On May 15-17, 2009 in Dallas, Texas twenty-four thinkers, activists, and donors gathered to discuss the immediate need for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender people in the United States. Collectively we prepared The Dallas Principles.


The following eight guiding principles underlie our call to action.

In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow:

  1. Full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals must be enacted now. Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.
  2. We will not leave any part of our community behind.
  3. Separate is never equal.
  4. Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights.
  5. The establishment and guardianship of full civil rights is a non-partisan issue.
  6. Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.
  7. Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.
  8. Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.

The ENDA fiasco should have been proof enough of the willingness of the gay community to throw us under the bus as they try to push their way to a seat in first class. And it’s hard to think of any coalition or alliance with the GLB communities that hasn’t resulted in the drowning out of trans voices.

Of the twenty-four “thinkers, activists, and donors”, only one is specifically stated to be trans. (The full list is here)

And – stating the obvious, I know, but – by its own definition, the entire project’s remit is US-centric.

I wish them luck – I believe that civil rights and equality are two (of many) hugely important issues to trans people – but I have to say: skeptical girl is skeptical.


Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia


4 Responses to “The Dallas Principles”

  1. […] Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox […]

  2. TheDeviantE Says:

    I think: “We will not leave any part of our community behind” is meant to be a nod to that history with ENDA. I know (for instance) that Pam Spaulding’s blog includes numerous references to trans rights, and has Autmn Sandeen (a trans woman) as a writer/contributor/moderator on equal standing with Pam

    That said, it sucks that they only bothered/could get one out trans person to be part of the crafting of the principles. And I’m sure that even though some (such as Pam) may be allies, that that will indicate a lack of awareness on issues.

  3. John Bare Says:

    I am one of the 24 co-authors of the Dallas Principles. I appreciate the sentiments in this post, and I think discussion and debate about the merits and demerits of the Principles and the approach we take is exactly what we need to have. Thank you for contributing to that discussion!

    In truth, there were 3 trans identified persons among the 24. Many many more have endorsed since they were published. However, I can tell you that the call to leave no one behind is fully supported by all of us who met in Dallas. It was a “given” in our discussions.

    Personally, I treasure the friendship of many trans men and trans women and I can’t imagine leaving these friends behind. I am enriched beyond measure by their presence in my life. We Dallas 24 clearly understand the importance of this, especially as they — along with our queer and questioning youth — are the most vulnerable among us.

    I look forward to further feedback…

  4. Helen G Says:

    John – Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I’m afraid the cynic and pessimist in me says that, no matter how many good words are spoken, and how many endorsements are made, if the political will isn’t there to push hard for the implementation, then this too will simply be another failed initiative.

    And in the meantime, my trans siblings continue to be discriminated against in every aspect of our lives.

    What’s really needed, in my view, along with the positive discrimination posited by this document, is a full-scale push to start changing attitudes of cis people in mainstream society. It seems to me that trans rights and liberties are in the same place that gay rights were 30 years ago and all the legislation in the world won’t, on its own, change people’s minds.

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