Two Consonants Walk Into a Bar …

    At this  point the consonants are so tightly fused it’s as if they were always and inevitably so: LGBT.

    But just a decade ago, the T teetered. It wobbled.

    It was eliminated from a federal bill to protect lesbians, gays and bisexuals from discrimination in employment. The 2007 legislation’s principal backers — including Barney Frank, an openly gay congressman — decided that pressing fellow lawmakers to cover transgender people as well was a bridge too far.

    That bill failed anyway. But the tinkering reflected broader apprehensions. If not publicly then privately, many gays and lesbians wondered not only about the political costs of an alliance with transgender people but also whether the alliance made any real sense.

    A few still wonder.

    Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told me that at a recent banquet for an LGBT health organization, a wealthy gay donor said to her: “Can you walk me through why we’re all one big community? I just don’t get it.”

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