Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Am At A Meeting This Afternoon

It is for a project that I’m working on with a few friends, we want to start a residency house for trans-people. Our dream is to get a multifamily house in the Hartford CT area and convert it into a place where homeless trans-people can live together; we call our dream Celebration Home. Not Celebration House, but a home where they can live and not just stay.

We are meeting right now with an organizer who helps out with projects like ours, we don’t know if this will end with our dream but we feel that it is worth the effort to try.


How many of you have heard the word? How many of you have been the target of microagressions?

Microaressions are all those little digs that are thrown at us like misgendering us on purpose or using the wrong pronouns or using derogatory words or the numerous other terms that are used to demean us. They are not outright assaults bit are more like a slow torture designed to wear us away or as Dr. Derald W. Sue, a psychology professor at Columbia University described it; microassaults, microinsults and microinvalidations.

One of the blogs that I follow is the Connecticut Law Blog and earlier in the month he had a blog on microagression in the workplace, a topic we know all too well. In the blog he mentioned an article in New York Times,
Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions’
MARCH 21, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin. Cringe-inducing praise for how articulate a black student is. An unwanted conversation about a Latino’s ability to speak English without an accent.

This is not exactly the language of traditional racism, but in an avalanche of blogs, student discourse, campus theater and academic papers, they all reflect the murky terrain of the social justice word du jour — microaggressions — used to describe the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture.
Or for us, “I almost thought you are a woman” or “You pass pretty well” they are the digs that are not worth the effort to fight back against and we never know if they are a disguised insult or a poorly thought out compliment.

At work does microagressions create a hostile environment? In a restaurant when the waitress misgendered you does that constitute discrimination?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Non-Discrimination Laws Have Teeth

A bar out in Oregon found out the hard way that discrimination is wrong…
Twilight Room Annex will close after Bureau of Labor and Industries begins collecting $400,000 penalty
The Oregonian
By Casey Parks
April 19, 2014

The Twilight Room Annex will close for good tonight, owner Chris Penner said, after his bank accounts were seized in connection with a Bureau of Labor and Industries judgment.

The bureau ordered Penner last August to pay $400,000 to a group of transgender and crossdressing people whom Penner asked not to return to his bar. Penner appealed the bureau’s judgment, but the Oregon Court of Appeals has not yet reviewed his case.

“We have an enforceable judgment against Penner and the Twilight Room from when he discriminated against his patrons by denying them service based on gender identity,” said BOLI spokesman Charlie Burr. “To our knowledge, Chris Penner has not asked the court of appeals for a stay of enforcement to halt the payments that he owes. To date, we have not received any payment from Chris Penner. We are going to try to collect the money.”
He didn’t pay the fine and fluffed it off until the Bureau of Labor and Industries sized his bank account and now he is crying crocodile tears.
“I know I misspoke. I said a couple of stupid things without thinking,” Penner said. “Now I’m put out of business. Employees are out of work. I can’t have a checking account, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.”
He could have done a lot of things that he never did, the Daily Kos wrote,
The girls asked for a mediated settlement with Penner, saying it wasn't about the money, they just wanted a public appolgy [sic]. Penner declined and filed an appeal, but he did not appeal the monetary penalty.
I do feel sorry for him, he was losing business but he went about it the wrong way and for that he got what he deserved.

Justice For Jane J4J

Join the Justice for Jane Rally.

Justice for Jane! Rally Outside DCF Headquarters in Hartford
Friday at 1:00pm
505 Hudson Street - Hartford, CT 06106

Jane Doe, a 16 year old trans-girl is being held in solitary confinement in an adult prison and has not been charged with any crimes.
Since being sent to an adult prison eight days ago, 16-year-old Jane Doe has spent 22 to 23 hours a day in a prison cell.

Jane – a transgender, self-identifying girl whose name has not been released because she is a minor – has had no contact with anyone her age or been given any educational instruction, according to court documents she filed Monday about her living conditions.

An officer watches her in her cell 24 hours a day.

Jane is not incarcerated for a crime serious enough for her to be charged as an adult. She was sent to live at York Correctional Institution from the state’s juvenile justice system because the Department of Children and Families says it has no appropriate place to treat this “uniquely dangerous” youth. A spokesman said the placement is necessary to avoid endangering other committed youths and DCF staff.
CT Mirror By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1960s Trans Get Away

There is a new play out on Broadway from the Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein it is the latest in a series of plays called ‘Casa Valentina,’ Harvey Fierstein wrote plays like Kinky Boots, La Cage aux Folles, and Torch Song Trilogy, and he also acted in Hairspray. In his latest play he writes about a 1960s Catskills resort that had a getaway weekend for trans-people, kind of like a precursor to trans-conferences.
Clothes Make the Man
‘Casa Valentina,’ Fierstein’s Play About ’60s Cross-Dressers
New York Times
APRIL 10, 2014

Before rehearsals began for the new Broadway play “Casa Valentina,” the seven men in the cast were asked to come to work a few days early. They arrived to find a huge table covered with ladies’ wigs in ’60s-era hairdos — flips, bobs, French twists. Nearby was a long rack of colorful house dresses and white slips and brassieres. Yet no one made a move. The actors shared small talk, sipped coffee, checked their smartphones and looked around as if the room were empty.

If this was just another Broadway romp starring men in drag — another “Kinky Boots,” another “Hedwig and the Angry Inch*,” another “Twelfth Night” — the mood might have been lighter: Boas, corsets and high heels are fun, familiar staples of theater. But “Casa Valentina” is about a subculture rarely seen onstage — cross-dressers — and mixes masculinity and femininity in ways that daunted the actors at first, and may do the same to audiences. The play, now in previews, is based on a real Catskills resort where husbands and fathers went in the 1960s to dress and act as women. These were white-collar professionals hobbling in heels, not drag queens sashaying in stilettos; men expressing their femininity without compromising their maleness.
Back when I first came out, before I realized that I could truly transition and it wouldn’t be the end of the world I went to conferences like First Event in the Boston area; where I could be myself for four days without a worry. The New York post said,
The real-life inspiration for the show burst into public life in the mid-’00s when furniture dealer Robert Swope and his partner, Michel Hurst, published a book of photographs they’d found at the 26th Street flea market. They were of transvestites hanging out at a resort nicknamed Casa Susanna, after the female alter ego of Tito Valenti, a New York City court stenographer/interpreter who owned it with his wife, Marie.
“It was this Garden of Eden, this perfect place where they could be themselves and live,” Fierstein says.

As it turns out, some of the pics were taken at Casa Susanna while others dated from its neighboring predecessor, the Chevalier d’Eon — named for an infamous 18th century transvestite spy and owned by the same people.
Time has the photos from Mr. Hurst book, Casa Susanna: Photographs From a 1950s Transvestite Hideaway and photos from the play are on If you are interested in attend the play you can get tickets here.

*I’m seeing “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” June 8 on Broadway staring Neil Patrick Harris.

Easter Walk

Over Easter I went up to my brother and sister-in-law’s condo in Maine and my niece was still there with her son. For lunch we had lobster rolls and my niece headed back to New Jersey and for dinner it was the three of us had ham and scalloped potatoes with a salad. Beside my niece and her son on Saturday my nephew and his family were there for "Easter Dinner" So they had a fill condo for most of the weekend and I came up just for Sunday and I returned home yesterday.

Later Sunday afternoon I went walking with my brother along an old trolley bed along the Mousam River and of course I took my camera with me. In the old days they grew salt hay in the tidal marshes and the trolley brought the tourists down to the beach, now it is part of the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge. As we were walking towards Kennebunk beach I spied a row of old fence posts that framed the marsh, I liked the way they drew your eyes along to the focal point off in the distances.

I like they way this  framed  but there are all the branches in the foreground. The pine tree as it curves around frames the scene nicely adn everything brings you to a apex in the distance... if only those darn branches were not there or I had a pair of boots.

Notice the difference in this picture, the composition is not as good but it is a better picture because the foreground is not cluttered and the next picture is from the other end of the fence posts looking back,
 you can see that it doesn't have the same visual impact as the other pictures because this one draws your eye back and it just ends in a wall of trees.

This picture I like because of the foreground fence posts and the pine tree on the right, it breaks up the open space into layers.

The last picture is of the same marsh but from a different perspective.

I like this perspective is better than the other one because of all the lines drawing your eye into the photograph, your eyes are drawn into the picture and you wonder where the stream goes, you can picture it as it rounds the far bend.

It was a hard day to photograph because it was around 3 in the afternoon, the sun is still high in the sky making the colors flat and overexposed; I tried taking picture on the other side of the trail but the glare off the water was too much. Also being early spring (there was still ice in some spots that were in the shade) the colors were mostly grey, green and blue and the marsh hay was still matted down.