Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am away today with my brother's family, but for many people Thanksgiving and the Holidays are an especially lonely time, they might not have  estranged from their family since they came out to them. Their families and children have disowned them and for them Thanksgiving is a time when they feel their loss the greatest. Thanksgiving is a time where we reflect on all that we have been thankful for the year but for those of us it could also be a time a great sadness while they see others around them celebrating during the holiday seasons. So let us open our hearts and doors to them and invite them to the table.

On the lighter side... what would Thanksgiving be without "Alice's Restaurant"

One of my favorite sitcom skits was from WKRP in Cincinnati, "Turkey Drop"

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I See A Trip To The Supreme Court

I think this is going to go all the way up to the Supreme Court when it will boil down to Justice Kennedy.
McCrory to join transgender bathroom lawsuit without Cooper’s help
The Charlotte Observer
By Colin Campbell
November 25, 2015

Despite opposition from Attorney General Roy Cooper, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Tuesday that he’ll join a legal battle over whether a transgender Virginia high school student can use the men’s restroom at the teenager’s school.

McCrory called on Cooper to join a friend-of-the-court brief that the South Carolina attorney general plans to file, but Cooper declined. His office did not respond to a request to explain his reasons for the decision, but his gubernatorial campaign issued a statement criticizing McCrory for “politicizing” the issue.

McCrory argues that if Obama and the transgender student prevail, North Carolina schools would be affected by the ruling. He said he’ll join the lawsuit “in his capacity as governor.”
“This is political correctness run amok, and it’s a shame Roy Cooper is pandering to the political extremes of his base instead of putting student safety and common sense first,” Berger said. “If the attorney general thinks forcing middle school-aged boys and girls to use the same locker room is going to create jobs for anyone other than his trial lawyer friends, he should explain how.”
Yup, the governor got that right it is pandering to the political extremes of his base but he is the one that is pandering to the far right wing conservatives. Pandering to the fear mongers who spread lies and fear.

I see this case going all the way to the Supreme Court with the Virginia’s once again backing segregation. I see no other path, the Republicans have been doing everything they can to dehumanize us, to make their followers hate and fear us. They have backed dozens of bills that have instilled fear and hatred of us.

It Is A Major Move Forward

We fought a war there and now Vietnam has passed a law to protect trans people.
Vietnam passes historic transgender protection law
Prothom Alo
AFP . Hanoi
November 25, 2015

Vietnam on Tuesday passed a landmark law enshrining rights for transgender people in a move advocacy groups say paves the way for gender reassignment surgery in the authoritarian communist nation.

Such operations are currently illegal, forcing people to travel to nearby Thailand for the surgery.

The legislation will allow those who have undergone gender reassignment to register under their new sex. The law will come into effect early in 2017 after 282 of 366 lawmakers voted in favour.

“Individuals who undergo transgender change will have the right to register” under their new gender with “personal rights in accordance with their new sex”, reported the state-controlled VNExpress website, citing a National Assembly report.
But here in the U.S. the Republican controlled Congress would never pass H.R.3185 – Equality Act that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.a

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Memories Of Nuns Are Getting Wacked…

With a ruler on my knuckles for smudging the ink with my left hand.Because I was left handed, my hand would smug the fountain pen ink as I wrote which was a big no, no with the nuns. These trans people have a different experience with nuns.
Cloistered Argentine Carmelite Nun Reaches Out to Trans Women
Bondings 2.0

Regular long-time readers of Bondings 2.0  may remember our posts about Sister “Monica,” a U.S. nun who pioneered ministry to transgender people.  We’ve covered her involvement in this groundbreaking work a few times (here and here, for example), and you can read about her ministry and why she chooses to remain anonymous, using only the pseudonym Sister “Monica” when she appears in the media.

In another part of the world, another Sister Mónica has emerged who is doing similar outreach work with the transgender community.  This Sister Mónica (which is her real name) lives in the Neuquén province of Argentina and is a member of the Discaled Carmelite Order, a contemplative community.  Her ministry has even attracted the attention and support of Pope Francis.
The story recounts how Sister Mónica’s pastoral life has always been with those on the margins of society, and that an encounter with a young transgender woman focused her attention on the needs of this community.  The nun described the story:
” ‘I feel that God wants me to accompany the wounded and that’s why I take responsibility. They often tell me I stand with them; it’s that I feel that from that place I can understand them. Because when we look at them from the other side, it’s impossible. I get in deep,’ the sister adds.

“And because of this kind of attitude, it’s not surprising that in December 2005, when Romina, a trans woman, approached Lourdes parish, the bishop decided this was a job for her.

“Romina went at that time to the church because she wanted to donate a tenth of her wages. ‘When the priest asked her where it came from, she told him from prostitution, and she explained that that was the only work she could get. At that point, the priest called me and told me about the case.’ “
The witness of Sister Mónica should challenge all of us to take one more step along the journey of advocating and standing in solidarity with trans people.  It is people like her who are building God’s reign of justice and peace in the world and in our Church.
It is great that Sister Mónica is working with the trans community, hopefully her work will bring about a better understanding between the Catholic Church and the trans community.

# # # # #

Tonight I am a guest lecturer at a Catholic University for a multicultural education course and I understand that the director of education programs will be attending my talk. A friend teaches the course at a number of colleges and universities in the state and I do the part on gender identity each time.

These are some of the comments that I received from the students from other classes.
I was so inspired by Diana this week. She knew who she was and wanted to show the world. Even at an older age, she wasn't content to live out the rest of her life as someone else, so she did something about it. It must have taken so much courage to even just tell her brother. It's even better that her family was so accepting of who she truly is. She also was really informative about her community as a whole. Some of the points she raised, about bathrooms and such, were very interesting. I really knew nothing about any of the stuff she talked about so it was very informative.


I found Diana ______ to be an interesting speaker. Her powerpoint lecture was cleared up a lot of definitions that society usually clumps together as all being the same thing, but in reality, they’re different. For example, cross-dressing is not the same as transgender, which is also different from transsexual. Also there is a difference between gender expression and gender identity. These distinctions are important and society tends to ignore these differences and associate all transgender things under one category. I thought Diana was going to spend more time discussing her own personal experiences, but besides a few anecdotal remarks here and there, the lecture was directed toward definitions and understanding the transgender coming out process as well as the obstacles and challenges that come along with that regarding self-esteem and the health risks involved. One statistic she mentioned the stood out was that 41% of transgender people have suicidal inclinations as a result of not being accepted by their family, which is very sad and upsetting. I also found it interesting when she discussed how transgender people struggle to find employment as well as finding homes/places to rent; these are issues that I never really thought of before in regards to the transgender community. Interestingly enough, a day later I saw an article on Forbes that said Kroeger's is now going to offer its transgender workers full benefits including surgery and drug therapy for gender reassignment as part of the employee health plan. It was also interesting how Diana's information and anecdotes aligned to a lot of what the mother in the article "Learnign to see" [Transgender Tapestry Issue 112]. For example, the mother discusses how all those years of concern for her son and his introverted ways all throughout life and the variety of interests he had(classes in school, internet etc) and didnt have (dating,girls, prom etc) was him trying to figure out who he was/is. Diana explained that it took her 50 years to figure it out and come out to her brother that she was a transgender. The mother in the story played a similar role to that of DIana's brother in her life.

Staying Together

They are the minority couples that stay together after one spouse transitioned, but how about when both spouses transition?
Meet the transgender couple who stayed together after they both had sex change operations
Metro UK
By Jen Mills
22 Nov 2015

You would never guess there was anything unusual about this young couple from their picture – but their relationship was rather special.

Arin Andrews and Katie Hill were the first openly transgender teen couple in the U.S. and their unconventional love story gave hope to other trans young people all over.

The couple met in 2012 while going through gender transition, and fell in love.

Arin, now 19, and Katie, 21, posted videos documenting the highs and lows of their courtship and their transition, discussing the physical and emotional changes.
I know of one couple that transitioned and they are happily in love. It has to quite rare for couple to stay together when one transitions let alone both. Last September there was an article about trans love.
My Husband Is Now My Wife
The spouses of transgender people face their own dramatic transformations—only no one celebrates them.New Yorker Magazine
By Alex Morris
September 22, 2015

Elizabeth Miller sat in her living room with her wedding album in her lap. It had been a long while since she’d brought it up from the basement, and the brown leather cover was worn, the pages slightly yellowed. From under their plastic covering, the pictures show pink linen tablecloths and taffeta gowns and Elizabeth in a dainty white Laura Ashley dress and a flower crown, peering up at the camera with that expectant newlywed’s look — heaps of bliss, a dash of terror. Next to her in the pictures, wearing a gray morning coat, owlish glasses, and a thick beard, is her groom, Dan, who is now her wife, Diana.
It’s not that there’s no continuity between that bookish man and the boho-chic woman Diana is now, sitting on a sun-dappled burgundy sofa, thigh to thigh with her wife of almost 33 years; it’s that the continuity is uncomfortable, painful even: She’s glad beyond measure that she married Elizabeth that day, but she wishes Dan never did. In many ways, she wishes Dan had never existed at all.
There are some signs that the new awareness of the trans experience is helping families avoid estrangement. A 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 43 percent of respondents “maintained most of their family bonds, while 57 percent experienced significant family rejection,” numbers the surveyors say indicate that “families were more likely to remain together … than stereotypes suggest.”

But even if a spouse doesn’t reject a partner’s transition, most are, according to therapists and trans experts, unlikely to remain in the marriage. Anecdotally, this seems especially true when the transgender person’s partner is male. “In my experience providing support for partners of people in transition, the majority are women,” says Helen Boyd, a gender-studies professor at Lawrence University whose writing about her own husband’s transition has become required reading for those dealing with this issue. “Men either don’t stay or don’t seek support.”
I remember talking to Helen and Betty over breakfast one time and Helen said one of the things that she missed was falling asleep on her husband’s shoulder on a train or walking down the street holding her husband’s hand and not hearing whispers.
The experience can be especially challenging for straight women. For lesbians with transitioning partners, their place in the LGBT community can be somewhat preserved. But a woman whose relationship was ostensibly heterosexual must face questions related to her own identity. Milena Wood, who met her trans wife, Shannon, when they were both in the military, says she doesn’t necessarily mind being mistaken for half of a lesbian couple now that Shannon’s transition is under way, but she still doesn’t think of herself as gay, which makes it hard to know where to fit in. “I don’t know how comfortable I would feel in a group of lesbians,” she tells me. “Because here I am doing the very thing that they’re trying to prove is not possible” — change the gender to which she is attracted. “Shannon doesn’t have to change anything about how she feels about me, because I haven’t changed,” Wood says. “But I have to change everything about how I feel about her: how I see relationships, how I see sex, how I see a whole bunch of things.”
The Florida Times-Union also had an article about a couple that stayed together,
Katie and Tricia still have navigating to do within their marriage. Together they will map out whether they will continue to live as spouses.

“When you love someone, you give your life for them. The soul that is there needs to be taken care of and I’m not going to try to do anything that’s going to cause him distress,” Katie said, perhaps unaware of another slip of the tongue.
Jenny Boylan and her wife stayed together after Jenny transitioned. About ten - fifteen years ago when I went to hear a speech that Ms. Boylan gave at Smith College in Northampton MA we had pizza with them afterwards at a small pizza place behind the college. It seemed to me that her wife was still struggling with her transition.

I know another couple that broke up when the husband transitioned but after a number of years they are back together again.

They are the exceptions, most do not stay together. I remember once during a support group meeting one spouse sat there crying during the whole meeting saying “I just want me husband back!” There is no easy solution sometimes the love is still there but the obstacles are too great to overcome.