Wednesday, August 24, 2016

American Academy of Pediatrics

Not the evil American College of Pediatricians but rather the good guys AAP, who president posted this on their website.
Letter from the President: Pediatricians should not be transgender children’s first bully
Benard P. Dreyer, M.D., FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
August 3, 2016

As I sat at the AAP Districts II and VIII joint meeting in late June listening to two families talk about their experiences with their young transgender children, I felt privileged to witness such love and acceptance — and such normal, happy children who just happened not to fit their “assigned” or birth gender. I was proud to be an AAP member and a pediatrician, just as I was proud in April, when the North Carolina Chapter and national AAP called for repeal of North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill,” a law that denies transgender students access to gender-segregated spaces such as restrooms and locker rooms in schools.

I’ve learned so much from these children and their families. First, gender dysphoria can start very early. Both children experienced strong opinions about their gender at the age of 4 or 5. Second, there is a continuum in gender dysphoria. Both children had natal male genders. Yet one child changed her name to reflect a female gender and insisted she was a girl, while the other child wanted to be addressed with male pronouns in spite of a preference to dress like a girl and choose play and roles traditionally engaged in by girls.

Both families stressed how important it is for home to be a safe and accepting space for the transgender child. When those children walk through the door of their homes at the end of a school day, they should be able to be themselves without any judgment. As one of the fathers passionately said, “I won’t be my child’s first bully!”
He goes on to say what we all know all to well,
The pediatrician’s office, and the entire health care setting, should be a safe, accepting place as well. I was sad to receive an email from one of the parents telling of another family’s encounters with the health care system when they bring their 5-year-old transgender daughter in for care for her serious chronic disease. The doctors refuse to treat her as a girl until she is older, and some have even called child protective services claiming the mother is harming her child for allowing her to live as a girl.
I know of so many trans people who have been denied medical services just because they are trans. Some times when the doctor's office finds out they are trans they refuse to treat us because it will make the other patients uncomfortable or we hear that the doctor doesn't know how to treat a trans patient. Whatever the excuse it boils down to the same thing, we do not get the proper health care.

He ends with,
I will end this column by speaking directly to transgender children and youth with a quote from the book [“Free to Be …You and Me” by Marlo Thomas and Friends.]: I would like “to remind you that you’re the hero of your own life adventure and that you can write your story any way that you dream it can be.” You are free to be whomever you want to be!
It is so nice to hear something positive instead of all the hate that the Republicans are raining down on us.

Texas Is At It Again

Once again the state of Texas is going after trans people this time it is over health insurance.
Texas Leading Suit Over Federal Transgender Health Policy
Texas Tribune
By Alexa Ura
August 23, 2016

Ramping up its fight over the rights of transgender people, Texas filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government over a regulation prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in some health programs.

Texas, on behalf of religious hospital network Franciscan Alliance, and four other states are claiming the new federal regulation would force doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children and requested the court to block the federal government from enforcing the regulation. The federal rule on nondiscrimination in health care prohibits denying or limiting coverage for transgender individuals, including health services related to gender transition.

The lawsuit was announced by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Franciscan Alliance. It was filed Tuesday morning in the Wichita Falls-based District Court for the Western District of Texas.
It is funny how these organizations want government funding but they think it is okay to discriminate against people but just saying magic words… “It is against my religion.” I wonder what they would do if someone denied them service by saying “It is against my religion to serve bigots.”

This is nothing more than to grant special rights to people so that they do not have to obey the law.

This morning I am heading up to the University of Connecticut's main campus in Storrs to giving diversity training to student employees.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Research Is Proving Transitioning Improves the Quality Of Life

More and more studies are proving transitioning proves beneficial to trans children.
Study examines families' journeys to accepting transgender children
August 23, 2016

Jessica was one of 36 parents (29 mothers and seven fathers) who participated in a University of California-Davis, study, which will be presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), on how they came to make room in their families for notions of gender that go beyond conventional concepts of male and female.

Through in-depth interviews, Krysti Ryan, a PhD candidate in sociology, found many similarities in the journeys of parents who are supportively raising children who are "gender diverse," identifying as transgender, agender (no gender), bigender (both genders), gender-fluid (boy on some days and girl on others), or gender-nonconforming (expressing preferences that persistently diverge from the expectations of their gender).
Most of the parents in the study, the majority of whom self-identified as liberals or progressives, said they initially presumed their transgender daughters were sons who were going through a phase. "Nearly all parents I spoke with initially interpreted their child's gender expression as an indicator of future sexuality, not gender difference," Ryan said.

Over time, however, mothers like Jessica who warned her transgender daughter not to dress as a girl in school, realize their children are unhappy with these restrictions. As their children showed signs of depression or other emotional distress, the mothers in the study reached a tipping point in accepting their children's gender diversity.
Once the parents got over their initial doubts they became strong advocates for their children.
Many of the mothers in the study became lay experts on gender diversity—throwing themselves into reading everything they could find on the topic and identifying resources for their children—as a way of responding to social perceptions that they failed to raise a "normal" child.
The article did say that most of the parents identified as liberals or progressives and I hate to think about trans children growing up in families that deny them their gender identity.

Losing Skirmishes

We lost a second battle to the courts; both judges were appointed by President George W. Bush and both judges ignored the Supreme Court, Appeal Courts, previous federal court rulings and ruled based on pre 1989 interpretations of “sex.”
Obama’s Transgender Student Bathroom Policy Blocked by Judge
By Tom Korosec
August 22, 2016

The Obama administration was barred by a judge from enforcing a directive that U.S. public schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity.
A federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sunday sided with Texas and 12 other states that argued the administration’s policy usurps local control and threatens students’ safety and privacy.
In the Texas case, the judge said his ruling was based on the administration failing to follow rule-making procedures and not underlying issues of students’ rights. With the preliminary injunction in place, the judge will now consider whether to make the order permanent.
The Department of Education just didn’t pull the policy out of a hat, but it was based on case law all they was to implement court decisions including the Supreme Court ruling on the Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins case in 1989.

The article says this about the judge,
O’Connor, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush and confirmed for the bench in 2007, last year put on hold a federal rule granting Family and Medical Leave Act benefits to same-sex couples after Texas filed a lawsuit. Three months after his order, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
This coming November elections is a lot more than Clinton and Trump, it is also about more than two dozen federal lower courts openings and up to three Supreme Court justices lie in the balance. The judges will shape the future for a generation. President George W. Bush also appointed U.S. District Judge Sean Cox who just ruled that a funeral home did not break any laws when they fired a trans employee and U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar who ruled against a trans student in Virginia was appointed President Reagan.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Identity v. Expression

A lot of people do not get what is the difference between gender identity and gender expression. For most people they are aligned and they see only “gender” but I like to think of it as looking down a line of telephone poles. When you are aligned with the poles you see only the first telephone pole. However, is you step aside you see that there are actually two telephone poles. The same is true for gender identity and expression, they are two poles.

I came across this article posted on Facebook…
Separating Out Gender Identity from Gender Expression
Everyday Feminism
By Wiley Reading
May 15, 2014

I’ve let my hair grow out so long that I have to put it in pigtails when I ride my bike so it doesn’t get caught in my helmet straps. I’m wearing my girlfriend’s tiny turquoise athletic shorts. My legs are closely shaved, and I’m sitting curled up on the couch with a game of Candy Crush on my phone to my right and a sleeping cat to my left.

I sound like a girl, right?

I’m not.

Why? Because I don’t identify as one.

And although it really is as simple as that, I understand where some people have trouble: “If you express yourself in this way,” they wonder, “then doesn’t that imply that that is how you identify?”

When I was taking part in group discussions between LGBT people and their allies at the invitation of a friend at a retreat for Quakers, in one of the discussions there were on one side of the room three gender non-conforming teens and twenty somethings and on the other side were older lesbians and gays. The lesbians and gays didn’t understand why the “kids” wanted to include in their introduces your preferred pronoun, the reason why they didn’t understand why to also include gender pronouns was not everyone’s gender identity and expression line up.

The article goes on to say,
Although gender identity and gender expression can be related, the point is that they don’t have to be.

So what’s the difference?
And the article goes on,
Gender identity is internal, deeply-rooted, and a central part of many people’s senses of self.

For example, I identify as masculine-of-center. If I were to say “I am a woman,” it would feel as ridiculous as if I were saying “I am a dinosaur.”

Gender expression, on the other hand, is what everyone around us can see.

Gender expression is the way in which you express your gender.

Sometimes these expressions go along with socially sanctioned ideas of what is appropriate. For example, we live in a society that deems dresses appropriate for women, but not for men. But sometimes they don’t.

You may identify as a woman and dress in a traditionally feminine way. You may identify as a woman and dress in a traditionally masculine way. The point is that the two aren’t necessarily related.
Just as sex is a continuum so is gender as is identity and expression not linked and is a continuum. And just to throw a monkey wrench into the whole mixture, sexual orientation is also not linked and is a continuum.

The author goes on to talk about being misgender and the gender spectrums.
It’s pretty normal to be shocked, or surprised, or even uncomfortable when you come across someone breaking gender barriers.

We’re all socialized to think of gender as a fixed, unchanging, biologically imparted quality.

But a little critical thinking reveals that this is a falsehood, and a little open mindedness gives you access to a world of freedom with regards to gender.

Gender “creativity” is getting less and less stigmatized, so there’s more art and fashion and media than ever that showcases people with non-traditional gender presentations. Check it out!

And if it feels right to you, experiment with your own gender presentation.
Attacks on LGBT people is not because they are lesbians, or gay, or bi, or trans but because their gender expression does not fit the society’s norms. Think about that.

One of my slides in my workshop presentations is…
Visual non-conformity is a risk factor in causing anti-transgender bias and its attendant social and economic burdens
If you blend into society you do not get discriminated against but if you don’t…

I’m Leaving On A Jet Plane

No not really, but rather on a bus and I am going to West Point and the Culinary Institute of America on a senior LGBT tour.

It will be the first time I’ve taken a tour like this and I am looking forward to the trip on August 31st. The trip is sponsored by CT Prime Timers which is a senior gay men’s group but they opened the trip up to all LGBT seniors. Of course I will have my camera so expect to see photos of the trip.

On Friday I went to see a new play “The Sign of the Times” at the Terris Theater in Chester.
1965. The pulse of a changing era lures Cindy from Middle America to the swirl of Manhattan. Unexpected friends, lovers, careers and conflicts are all a subway ride away in a pop-fueled new musical featuring songs made famous by Petula Clark and other hit-makers of the day. "I Know a Place," "The Shoop Shoop Song" and "If I Can Dream" are among the fabulous favorites on an eye-opening ride from innocence to experience. Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares—go "Downtown" and find out who you are!
It was a good play, I wouldn’t say great but it was very enjoyable and after the close when the actors came on stage for a bow they sang Downtown against and the audience joined in.

The Terris Theater is a small theater that holds around 200 people and Norma Terris established a fund to develop the careers of new actors and to promote musical theatre, so many new musicals and careers started at the theater. The theater is part of the Goodspeed Opera House.

Speaking of theaters, in the beginning of October I am going to New York City to see the Broadway play Beautiful: The Carole King Musical with my cousins. And then later in October I am going up to Provincetown for Fantasia Fair.

Also in October I am going to two banquets one for the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) where I interned for my MSW and then the day before I head off for FF I am going to One Big Event the fund raiser for the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective where I volunteer two days a week.

In between I am doing a lot a training workshops including one at UConn in Storrs this week.