Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday 9: One Night in Bangkok

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: One Night in Bangkok (1984)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun...
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is from the play Chess. It's been said that the most successful players are fluid in their thinking. Do you consider yourself flexible or set in your ways?
Yes, I think I have a touch of OCD. If I made plans I don’t like to change them at the last minute.

2) Nigel Short, a real-life chess grandmaster, used to wear a t-shirt that said, "He who cares, wins." Do you always play to win? Or do you play board/card games or sports for the fun of it?
I play for fun, my game is Backgammon and if I play cards I lie Hearts

3) The singer is in Bangkok for an important tournament. He maintains that he doesn't mind missing the sights and dismisses Bangkok is just another "crowded, polluted stinking town." Do you find big cities exciting? Or do you think of them as noisy and dirty?
Noisy, dirty, and claustrophobic and next weekend I am going to see the play Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. I have a good sense of direction but in “The City” I’m lost, wherever you look are just walls of buildings and I can’t see the sun to get my bearings.

4) Air pollution has reached serious levels Bangkok. Do you suffer from allergies, asthma or another condition that could be aggravated by pollution?
No, I am slightly allergic to pollen. But I'm old enough that I can remember smog, driving into Hartford on Route 15 when you see the Hartford skyline seeing it encompassed in a blue hazy.

5) To reduce traffic, commuters travel through Bangkok on ferries that make regularly scheduled trips up and down the Chao Phraya River. When was your last boat ride?
I have a cottage on a lake you would think that I’m always in a boat but I not, so the last time on was on a boat was the ferry trip to Long Island and back.

6) Round trip airfare between ATL and BKK is $1750. If we gave you a travel voucher for that dollar amount, how would you spend it? 
On a tour of the western National Parks

7) The Holiday Inn Express in Bangkok has a McDonald's onsite. When you go somewhere new, do you find it comforting to be surrounded by what's familiar? Or would you prefer to try new things?
I am not really into ethnic foods; my stomach can’t stomach it.

8) One of Bangkok's most popular restaurants is DID, which stands for Dine in Dark. The dining room at DID is 100% light free -- cell phones must be stored in the lobby to avoid distracting from the experience -- so customers eat their four course meal without seeing it. This heightens the diner's sense of taste and smell. When you prepare a meal, do you put a great deal of care into its presentation?
Nope. My presentation is I just place the plate in front them and say “eat.”

9) Random question: Think about your last professionally prepared meal. Did you dine in, carry out, or have it delivered?
Well it all depends on if you consider pizza a “professionally prepared meal” otherwise I dined in the restaurant.

Today I will be up at the Moveable Senior Center in Manchester and I will be sneaking out after lunch.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stressed Out

There have been a number of research studies done on the effect of stress on the human body, such as living next to an airport or a busy highway. Now there is a study of the effect of stress on trans people in Transgender Health, “Expecting Rejection: Understanding the Minority Stress Experiences of Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Individuals

The introduction begins,
Transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals have a current gender identity or expression that differs from their assigned sex at birth. Although research investigations that focus specifically on the health and well-being of TGNC individuals remain limited, peer-reviewed published articles have documented the pervasiveness with which TGNC people face enacted experiences of stigma, discrimination, and victimization. Prevalence estimates of discrimination among TGNC individuals are shown to be extraordinarily high, exceeding 60% in several published studies. Similarly, estimates for victimization are commonly greater than 40% for TGNC people. Emerging research also has highlighted an association between enacted stressors and indicators of negative mental and physical health. For example, TGNC individuals who reported having experienced physical or sexual abuse, compared to those who did not, are significantly more likely to report a history of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Likewise, experiences of gender-related discrimination are shown to be significantly associated with elevated levels of psychological distress for TGNC individuals. Thus, enacted stressors appear to be detrimental to the health of TGNC individuals and continued and ongoing research, particularly longitudinal studies examining the relationship of such stressors to health over time, is needed.

Enacted stressors, however, represent only the external processes and experiences faced by TGNC individuals. TGNC individuals likely experience internal stressors and processes in response to these and other external stressors. Consistent with the theory and empirical research underlying Meyer's Minority Stress Model, internal or proximal stressors are considered more subjective and related to self-identity. According to the model, the three specific proximal stressors recognized are as follows: (1) identity concealment, (2) internalized stigma, and (3) expectations of rejection.

Expecting rejection—the focus of the present article—is described in the literature as a form of felt stigma, which is understood as an individual's knowledge of society's stance toward nonmajority individuals, and expectations regarding the likelihood of stigma being enacted in a given situation as a result of having a minority status, for example, for sexual and gender minority individuals. Notably, research has demonstrated that having a dual minority status (e.g., being a person of color who is also a sexual minority) can further complicate and heighten experiences of enacted stigma, which has implications for expecting rejection, especially among individuals who represent more than one marginalized identity.
And their conclusion…
This research represents one of the few studies designed to qualitatively investigate proximal stressors in TGNC individuals. These data demonstrate the extent to which expecting rejection might operate as a pervasive daily experience in the lives of TGNC individuals. Furthermore, this study provides evidence regarding the adverse impact of expecting rejection, as shown by the stressful cognitive and emotional responses reported by participants. Although emerging research has shown the deleterious impact of distal stressors (i.e., violence, discrimination, and stigma) on the health of TGNC individuals, the current finding demonstrate that proximal stressors likely have a similar devastating impact.

Given the frequency with which proximal stressors were reported by TGNC participants—and the reported experiences of fear, hypervigilance, sadness, and anger, in particular—there is a clear need and urgency to further evaluate the cumulative impact of the stress over time and identify future targets to intervene upon to mitigate potential harms. This is especially relevant given the current cultural climate in which TGNC individuals continue to remain targets for violence and discrimination—which has resulted in the murder of countless TGNC individuals worldwide, and the suicide of individuals who can no longer withstand the experience. Future research, including clinical intervention development and testing, should begin to prioritize the needs of this vulnerable population.
One of my questions is does the stress lessen over time? Is the stress more when a person first comes out and over time does the person become more relax as their transition becomes familiar to them? Or does each new situation generate new stressors?

I would think it is a blend, that each new situation generates new stresses such as having a repair man come into your house or if you are in a car accident and wondering how the police and the people in the other car going to treat you. But the familiar would reduce the stress, such as going to work every day or going grocery shopping at the same store would cause the stress to abate.

The Far Right Is At It Again

The right wing conservatives now want us to get permission before we go the bathroom and this is their craziest idea yet.
Ask Me First Campaign Wants Trans People to First Get Permission to Use Public Restrooms
The New Civil Rights Movement
By Carlyle Addy
September 21, 2016

Campaign Backed by Faith-Based Anti-LGBT Groups“We are moms, daughters, students, athletes, survivors and businesswomen who believe our voices matter.”

This is how the Ask Me First campaign introduces itself.

Ask Me First is an anti-transgender campaign asking politicians to ask women for permission before protecting trans people – whom they call "gender-confused" – who are attempting to use public facilities or participate in public events. The campaign features a few stories on their website from women upset about trans inclusive policies at various levels. They call equal rights "special accommodation."

"As we all consider the policy changes we're seeing concerning privacy and safety in restrooms and locker rooms, we think there are certain voices that are being ignored -- perhaps on purpose," Ask Me First accuses, ignoring the fact that transgender people's voices have always been ignored.
And who is behind this latest campaign, why it is none other than our favorite nemeses,
 The campaign is backed by faith-based anti-LGBT groups, including the Family Policy Alliance, formerly Citizen Link, which is the public policy arm of James Dobson's Focus on the Family. The FPA is also associated with Tony Perkins' Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Some of them have been labeled “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Why can't they just let us pee in peace.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

One Of Our Worst Fears

Is being put into a male prison and being rapped; well it happened down in New Orleans.
Transgender woman raped inside Orleans Parish jail with guard absent for over an hour, lawsuit says
The New Orleans Advocate
By Jim Mustian
September 20, 2016

A transgender woman booked on municipal warrants last year was assaulted and raped at the city's new jail by a male cellmate who was awaiting trial on armed robbery charges, according to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, raises questions about the treatment of transgender inmates at the Orleans Justice Center, an understaffed lockup plagued by violence since shortly after it opened a year ago.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued national guidelines months ago calling for inmates' gender identity to be considered in their housing assignments, but that approach has not been implemented at the local jail. Federal and local officials are now discussing a new housing policy for transgender inmates in New Orleans.
He got 12 years but the trans woman will never get over being sexually assaulted.
The 20-year-old victim, described in the lawsuit as a "male to female transgendered individual" from St. Bernard Parish, had been booked three weeks before the attack for failing to appear in New Orleans Municipal Court on charges of disturbing the peace and theft of goods under $500.
She was in there for minor offenses and she didn’t deserve a sentence of rape.

The prison system in Louisiana is not known for its country club atmosphere,
"The lack of management at (the Sheriff's Office) and lack of adherence to classification systems has a disproportionate impact on women and especially transgendered women inside (the jail), who find it difficult to find safety and advocacy outside the jail and even more difficult to find it inside the jail," said Nia Weeks, of Women with a Vision, a member of the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition. "The sheriff’s responsibility has been to ensure the safety and well-being of those that are arrested and put in his care, and he failed to do so once again."

The lawsuit draws upon the well-documented history of violence at the New Orleans jail, which has been the subject of a federal consent decree for three years.

Conditions at the lockup became so dire earlier this year that hundreds of inmates were sent to other jails around the state, and a federal judge recently approved the appointment of an outside administrator to take over day-to-day operations at the facility.
Hopefully better conditions for all inmates will be the outcome of this lawsuit.

Been There Done That

Once a month I do training for homeless shelters around the state for integrating shelters for trans people, in general it has been well received. So this is nothing new for Connecticut.
Homeless shelters facing new transgender rules
The Hill
By Tim Devaney
September 20, 2016

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said Tuesday that homeless transgender women, who were assigned the male gender on their birth certificates but identify as female, should be housed with other women at shelters.

The transgender protections will apply to certain federally funded shelters.

"This new rule will ensure equal access to the very programs that help to prevent homelessness for persons who are routinely forced to choose between being placed in facilities against their gender identity or living on our streets,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said.
But in reality we were protected this new rule. Back in February 2012 HUD published “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity final rule (Equal Access Rule) (77 FR 5662)

From our presentation,

  • The Equal Access Rule requires that HUD’s housing programs be made available to individuals and families without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status
  • It prohibits owners and administrators of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing, approved lenders in an FHA mortgage insurance program, and any other recipients or subrecipients of HUD funds from inquiring about sexual orientation or gender identity to determine eligibility for HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing
  • It provides a limited exception for inquiries about the sex of an individual to determine eligibility for temporary, emergency, shelters with shared sleeping areas or bathrooms, or to determine the number of bedrooms to which a household may be entitled
  • HUD stated in the Final Rule preamble that is was not mandating a national policy on placement of transgender persons in single-sex shelters but would instead monitor its programs to see if additional guidance or setting a national policy might be appropriate;
  • HUD has subsequently determined it is necessary to provide additional guidance on how best to provide shelter to transgender persons in a single-sex facility. HUD is continuing to evaluate whether setting a national policy through rulemaking is necessary.

And that is what the new guidelines do, provide guidance.

We have done over a dozen trainings so far around the state to shelter staff and 211 operators. As I said we have had some pushback from shelter staff, one even wrote a letter to Connecticut’s senators complaining about us and the policy, and at another training we got into a heavy discussion with another shelter staff person, but those were the only two people who objected to the federal policy.