Thursday, October 27, 2016

Controlling The Purse Strings

Who controls the purse string controls you and you have to dance to their tunes.

We are a small cash strapped community, we face high unemployment and underemployment and it takes money to bring about change so we are at the mercy of those who “support” and sometimes their wishes do not correlate to our needs.
Top LGBT Leaders Are Divided Over Compromising On The Bathroom Fight
Conservatives have blocked LGBT nondiscrimination bills by claiming transgender people pose a threat in women’s restrooms. How to break the logjam? Some LGBT leaders say it’s time to support bills that cover housing and employment, but not public accommodations — and largely avoid the bathroom issue. The second article in a BuzzFeed News series on transgender rights in America.
By Dominic Holden
October 25, 2016

On Aug. 1, two dozen of the country’s top LGBT activists held an invitation-only phone call to hash out a disagreement that had pitted them into two camps.

After winning marriage equality in 2015, many of them envisioned passing LGBT nondiscrimination laws nationwide — but they hit roadblocks. Conservatives have argued those policies would let transgender people prey on girls in bathrooms and force Christians to sell wedding cakes to gay couples. The bills foundered in state legislatures and Congress. By August, the leaders were fractured over how to break the logjam.

On the 90-minute call, one faction argued they could make gains with Republicans by accepting a compromise. In particular, several supported a bill in Pennsylvania that would ban LGBT discrimination in workplaces and housing — but not in public places, like restaurants and stores. Many on the call believe this could emerge as a model for other swing states where they’ve hit barricades — namely in Ohio, Florida, and Arizona.

By dropping public accommodations from the bills, they would mostly avoid the bathroom issue and religious objections. Transgender people, like LGB people, would be covered in housing and employment. But such a deal would allow, for example, business owners to reject gay customers and require transgender women to use male facilities.

That sort of concession breaks from years of consensus among LGBT leaders, who have tacitly agreed that civil rights bills in state legislatures or Congress should be all-inclusive. Anything less, the orthodoxy has gone, could betray transgender people who bear the brunt of discrimination in public.

This is, in a sense, a fight for the future of the LGBT movement and even a battle over whether organizations can remain fully funded.

One key player is the Gill Foundation, which gave more than $6.5 million to LGBT causes in 2014, the most recent year for which it has disclosed financial records. Gill and several groups that receive its grants, including Freedom for All Americans and the National Center for Transgender Equality, contend this sort of compromise may be their only shot of winning civil rights for millions of LGBT people at the state level in the next decade, even if those gains are incomplete. Leaders of those organizations say they can return to these legislatures in the future to finish the job of passing public accommodations when the issue becomes more palatable.
The Gill Foundation helped pay for Connecticut’s effort to pass the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill; ctEQUALITY received a grant from the foundation to pay for hiring staff, they were one of two organizations that gave grants ctEQUALITY.

But now the Gill Foundation wants to ram legislation down our throats that does not include public accommodation in the non-discrimination laws and to my great disappointment NCTE is willing to go along with this. I am friends with Mara but I think this is wrong and sometimes we have to stand up to bullying. And that is what it is, bullying. Some of the largest LGBT organizations are rolling over to the Gill Foundation and it is surprising the organizations that are not dancing to the foundation’s tune.
But groups across the field, including the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign, have argued the short-term gain approach could amount to entering a box canyon. It may take years to pass laws that provide public protections in the future — if ever. And leaving them out may even send a message that discrimination in public is acceptable.
The ACLU took the Gill Foundation head on by pushing a public accommodation bill and the foundation said,
The group added that passing the bill could show “public accommodations for LGBT people is politically toxic,” and “perhaps most troubling, that LGBT advocates are willing to compromise away public accommodations protections that are perhaps most acutely needed by the transgender community.”

The fallout from this letter led the Gill Foundation, which supports the compromise, to tell the ACLU not to apply for another grant. And in more than a dozen interviews with BuzzFeed News, several normally outspoken activists talked about the divide in hushed tones — or they refused to speak at all. The ACLU declined to provide comment for this article in any capacity.
When your major funder say jump they jump.

I don’t know the extent of the funding that the Foundation gives NCTE but I hope that they will realize that the Foundation is wrong and try to raise their funding from other sources.

The strategy of passing public accommodation latter does not work!
Gill and the other groups cited Massachusetts as a case study in effective incrementalism. Lawmakers enacted nondiscrimination laws in 1989 and 2011, but only passed a bill protecting transgender people in public accommodations this year. The memo called this a “capstone.”
Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, told BuzzFeed News that as a general matter, “I am very concerned that it would take an extraordinary period of time to come back and pass a law concerning public accommodations alone.”
I would like to point out that New York state passed SONA in 2002 and we were promised they would come back for us and pass Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), well that has never happened. Instead Governor Andrew M. Cuomo introduced regulations banning discrimination against us and the Empire State Pride Agenda declared victory and wiped their hands of us.

I would also like to point out that 32 states have sexual orientation protection and only 18 have laws protecting us. So what makes them think anyone will come back for us? The gays and lesbian will stop their donations and never comeback for us.

Take a stand against bullying by Gay Inc.!

Update 5:10 PM

Can you imagine if the Supreme Court said lesbians can marry but not gays what the up roar would have been?

Or if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title III--Desegregation of Public Facilities didn't get included in the act and the Civil Rights Act only banned housing and employment discrimination based on race and allowed discrimination of public accommodation based on race. It would have made the whole Civil Rights Act unacceptable, well why is it alright for us to be left out?

Will the Gill Foundation leave out public accommodation for all LGBT people or just for us?


You probably all have seen the headline about the double digit increase in ACA polices and how they say that Obamacare is a disaster, CNN reported
The HHS report documents what has already been widely reported -- that after two years of moderate premium increases (2% for 2015 and 7.5% for 2016) premiums are going up sharply for 2017. Across the 39 states using the platform, the median second-lowest cost silver plan, which sets the benchmark for premium tax credits, will increase 16%, while the average increase looking only at states on the federal exchange is 25%.

Opinion columnists and politicians will undoubtedly seize on the report as further evidence that the Affordable Care Act is a failure. But a deeper dig reveals a different story.
But lets a closer look… ABC 10, KXTV in California says,
Most Americans won't be affected by Obamacare premium increase

Health care may pinch a little more out of your wallet in 2017- but it likely won't be a problem for the majority of Americans.

Obamacare health plan premiums are expected to increase by 22 percent on average, according a U.S. Department of Human Health and Services (HHS) report released Monday.
But for many, the price hikes will be relieved by federal subsidies, since 84 percent of Obamacare purchases receive financial aid, according to the report.

The marketplace also offers tax credits for majority of people who enroll in Obamacare, which also helps cover premium costs so many under the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) will see minimal rate increases.
Hmm…. So most of the increase offset by tax credits.

What about non-ACA health plans?

The Connecticut News Junkie reported that here in Connecticut the non-Obamacare insurance companies requested these rate increases: Aetna Life 25.8% to 31.5%, Cigna -10.4% to 17.1%, CT Care 26.1%, and Golden Rule 23.8% to 36.2% So it is not just Obamacare but all health insurance policies premiums have risen!

It is the cost of meds that I think is driving the cost increases, insulin which was first used in 1921 and the price has steadily been dropping until 5 - 7 years ago and now it has increased over 300%!
Exclusive: Makers took big price increases on widely used U.S. drugs
By Caroline Humer
August 5, 2016
Major drug companies took hefty price increases in the U.S., in some cases more than doubling listed charges, for widely used medications over the past five years, a Reuters analysis of proprietary data found.

Prices for four of the nation's top 10 drugs increased more than 100 percent since 2011, Reuters found. Six others went up more than 50 percent. Together, the price increases on drugs for arthritis, high cholesterol, asthma and other common problems added billions in costs for consumers, employers and government health programs.

Extraordinary price hikes by two small companies, Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO), drew new attention to drug costs. Turing expected to book $200 million by raising the price of Daraprim, an antiparasitic used for a rare infection, by 5,000 percent, according to company documents released by Congressional investigators.

Routine price increases by bigger players may draw less attention, but they add up. Sales for the top 10 drugs went up 44 percent to $54 billion in 2014, from 2011, even though prescriptions for the medications dropped 22 percent, according to IMS Health data.

At the top of the list was AbbVie Inc (ABBV.N), which raised the price of arthritis drug Humira more than 126 percent, Reuters found. Next were Amgen Inc (AMGN.O) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA), which raised prices for arthritis treatment Enbrel and multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone by 118 percent.
The New York Times compares health care around the world and guess where we stand?
 First and foremost, Obamacare was about improving access to health care. While it did improve access to insurance, in many, many other ways the United States is falling short. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Even with Obamacare, the United States still ranks poorly among comparable countries in insurance coverage. Even in 2016, when the rate of insured is the best it has ever been in the United States, Americans still have a greater percent of the population uninsured than pretty much any other industrialized nation in the world.
The biggest access problem in the United States is the expense of obtaining care. More than one third of Americans said they did not fill a prescription they were given, did not visit the doctor they should have or did not get the tests that were ordered because of the cost.
Perhaps most telling, when adults were asked about their views of the health care system in 2013, 75 percent of Americans said that it needed fundamental change, or that it needed to be completely rebuilt. This percentage was higher than for any other country surveyed, Canada included. Primary care physicians feel similarly. Yet years after the Affordable Care Act was passed, Americans are still litigating whether to return to the previous system.

Access was a problem before. Access is a problem now. Americans can’t seem to have a discussion on how to make that better. Without that, it’s hard to see how things will improve.
Also consider this…
Who Bears the Cost of the Uninsured? Nonprofit Hospitals.When governments do not provide health insurance, hospitals must provide it instead.Kellogg Insight
Based on the research of Craig Garthwaite, Tal Gross and Matthew J. Notowidigdo
June 22, 2015

But in new research—based on decades of previously confidential data—Kellogg School assistant professor of strategy Craig Garthwaite and his coauthors find that when the population of uninsured Americans increases, hospitals end up bearing the cost by providing uncompensated care. In fact, their results suggest that each additional uninsured person costs local hospitals $900 per year.

That means hospitals are effectively serving as “insurers of last resort” within the American healthcare sector by providing care to uninsured patients who cannot afford to pay their medical bills. “People are still going to the emergency room,” Garthwaite says, “and they are still receiving treatment—so the cost is still there. When governments do not provide health insurance, hospitals must effectively provide it instead.”
We need a single payer health insurance now!

The Binary Does Not Exist

Most people think of gender as a binary but it is not, it is a continuum.
We Are Non-Binary Trans People And Yes, We Exist
Huffington Post Living Canada
By Joshua M. Ferguson
Posted: 10/11/2016

At my birth, my mother asked "What is it?" immediately after I left her body, as if I was not human until I was sexed, gendered and categorized into the sex and gender binary (assigned both a sex and a gender identity in line with this sex). The doctor curiously responded, "It's a girl. No... it's a boy!" And so my life as non-binary began. I am neither a girl/woman nor a boy/man, regardless of the sex category assigned to my body.

The transgender metanarrative in our society is often focused on the lives of binary trans people -- trans men and trans women. So, even when we think about the possibility of someone being trans, we assume that they are either a trans man or a trans woman. This elevates the lives of binary trans people while excluding non-binary trans people from social and legal recognition.

Trans people are diverse, but we are not all the same. Non-binary trans people have been largely excluded from the discussion about trans people, and this erasure delegitimizes our identity. This erasure is increasingly important for non-binary trans people of colour who are already at an increased risk of discrimination, violence, police surveillance and incarceration.
That is something many of us trans people forget that nature loves diversity while us humans hate diversity. We like to put things into nice little labeled boxes but Mother Nature likes to blur the lines.

We entirely dismiss intersex people, so much so that doctors want to fit the baby into a nice pink or blue box.

At Fantasia Fair this year there was a sub-current of breaking the binary culture in the trans community. I know when I first came out I wanted to “pass” to be “stealth” and I used makeup, I went to all the workshops that I could on how to be a “woman.” But over time I realized that wasn’t who I am, I lived all my life a lie and I didn’t want to go back and live another lie, I wanted to be me.

I also learned that there are more to being a woman than a dress, heels, and make-up.

Yesterday I went to a LGBT senior center function and do you know what… none of the women in the room wore any makeup, none of the women wore a dress or a skirt, and none of the women wore heels. I remember when the marriage equality law was passed in Connecticut and I was at the Love Makes a Family office the day when there was going to be a big party to celebrate the passage and I asked what the dress was going to be for the party. Should I wear a dress? One of the women in the office gave me a blank stare and said she was going to the party that was celebrating the victory with what she was wearing, a flannel shirt, jeans, and sneakers.

What is so strange about non-binary gender? We dress in unisex clothes; we wear our hair with gender neutral styles; we are trying to break down the gender barrier in the workplace, but as trans people we are reinforcing the gender binary.

It seems like the younger generation gets it, but those my age don’t. I was in a discussion group about lesbians and trans people, and in workshop we never got that far, when we went around the room telling something about ourselves the twenty something lesbians included their pronouns and wanted to know why the older lesbians didn’t. It got to be a heated discussion, the older lesbian said that their gender was obvious while the younger generation said you cannot go by looks.

But you know what, the young people are right, the older generation fought to break down the gender barriers but are reinforcing the gender binaries.

Most languages have gender neutral pronouns but English doesn’t, I am not a big fan of using they/them, why can’t we steal some gender neutral pronouns from other languages?

When you stop and think about it makes sense to question the gender binary.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

He Doesn’t Know What She Is Talking About

The first thing that clued me in was using the word “transgendered” and then the rest of the article proved it.
Transgender debates require distinction between theory and people
By Austen Ivereigh
October 23, 2016

How should the Church respond to the twin challenges of gender ideology and the suffering of those with gender dysphoria? So far popes and bishops have been better at the first, suggesting Catholics are more concerned with teaching than people -- but that is now changing.

The cocktail of controversy that includes gender theory and transgendered people is fast becoming the new culture-frontier challenge. The Church’s position has been, to put it mildly, ‘developing’.

The transgender issue is in reality two discrete phenomena, requiring very different responses, yet the two have been too often, tragically, folded into one.

On the one hand, it involves the growing awareness of a suffering group that often has been marginalized and brutalized. On the other, it is an academic theory that has grown out of feminism and gay rights that challenges the notion that gender is rooted in biological sex.

A person’s gender, in this thinking, is an arbitrary social construct, the result of social conditioning that can (and should be) thrown off in the quest for self-realization. Expressed in political action, it demands not just ‘rights’ for transgender people - their own bathrooms, and so on - but the abolition from public documents and passports of the very notions of masculinity and femininity.
Whoa! Hold it right there… “arbitrary social construct” what decade is he living in?

He goes on to write…
The first is that genuine gender dysphoria is a very rare (0.005 to 0.014 percent of males and 0.002 to 0.003 percent of females) but highly distressing condition triggered by a chromosomal variance that appears difficult to reconcile with the text of Genesis that God made human beings both male and female.
Those numbers were used by the APA back in the 90’s, current number by the Williams Institute estimate our population to be around 0.5% and the number of trans women and trans men are about the same.
Benedict XVI put it best in 2012 when he critiqued the way “people dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”
Sorry but I can’t go along with that; I cannot grin and bear it. I cannot ignore who I am. I hide all my life and as a result I developed medical problems because of the stress, the stress caused my heart condition, it caused my panic attacks. I will not go back to living a lie to satisfy your religious beliefs.

It’s All About Jobs

And there is a restaurant out in California that is doing something about it.
California Restaurants Launch Nation's First Transgender Jobs Program
By Leo Duran
October 19, 2016

The unemployment rate for transgender people is double that of the general population. Now, California has set up the nation's first ever large-scale program to help transgender people find jobs.

And it's all because of Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman who's employed trans people at her restaurants for years.
In 1988, before she transitioned, Mendelsohn bought her first El Pollo Loco franchise. She just happened to like their menu. "I didn't go to college to figure out which restaurant!" she says, laughing.

She acquired several more stores by the time she transitioned in 2004. Now she owns a total of six El Pollo Locos in Southern California.

But it wasn't until 2012 that she hired her first trans employee. That person told her how hard it was to get a job.

Mendelsohn was moved, and she started to reach out to other trans people looking for work.
"Currently, we have 8 to 10 percent of our total workforce is transgender, out of about 150 employees," she says.
Then she had a thought: Is there a way to get other restaurants to follow her lead?

Earlier this year, at a conference of the California Restaurant Association, Mendelsohn was chatting with other association members at a hotel bar — including her longtime friend Jot Condie, who heads the group.
Condie says he was convinced to have the Restaurant Association back Mendelsohn's big idea. "To me it wasn't like, 'Whoa are you serious?' To me it made sense," he says.

The idea was this: Mendelsohn would start a program connecting trans people looking for jobs with restaurants looking for workers.

The association has 22,000 members, large enough that it could make a real difference.
And thus was started the California Transgender Workplace Project.

For many trans people they already have the skills needed for jobs, what they do need is a foot in the door. Many trans people find that when they submit their resumes they are invited in for an interview and once HR sees them they job is mysteriously filled already, or they are over qualified, or under qualified and that type of discrimination is hard to prove. Or if they answered a job ad their employment applicate ends up in the circular file after they walk out the door.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I Don’t Think That They Can Avoid It Any Longer

The time has come for the Supreme Court to hear our cases. I know they are hoping for a full court but the road block with the Senate not doing their Constitutional job is creating chaos.
U.S. Judges Issue New, Conflicting Opinions on School Transgender Rights
Education Week
By Mark Walsh
October 20, 2016

The national debate over the rights of transgender students to use school restrooms and locker rooms of their gender identity, and the authority of the federal government's guidance on the topic, grew a bit more uncertain this week.

The federal district judge in Texas who in August issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Obama administration's guidance meant to expand transgender students' access to restrooms and locker rooms in schools on Tuesday sought to clarify the scope of his order.

Judge Reed O'Connor of the U.S. District Court in Wichita Falls, Texas, issued an order to clarify that "the preliminary injunction applies nationwide," and could not be limited just to the 13 states that have challenged the transgender guidance.

Meanwhile, a federal magistrate judge has recommended against a preliminary injunction sought by a group of parents and students to block a school district in that state from permitting transgender students to use the restrooms or locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert of Chicago issued an 82-page opinion, also on Oct. 18, that explores many angles of the transgender debate in the nation's schools, including the U.S. Department of Education's policy guidance from earlier this year. And it offers more discussion of the use of locker rooms (as opposed to restrooms alone) by transgender students than in some other high-profile cases.
[UPDATE Friday 11:15 a.m.: The Obama administration on Oct. 20 filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, indicating that it will appeal Judge O'Connor's Aug. 21 and Oct. 18 orders in the case by Texas and other states.]

The opinions come as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to take up the appeal of a Virginia school district that is seeking to avoid the federal guidance on transgender student rights.
If the Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester High School case is heard by the Supreme Court there are three possible outcomes. First we win, all of the schools in the country must respect our gender identity; second possible outcome, is a tie. In that case then only schools in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit district would have to respect our gender identity. And the worst possible is we lose and we end up with only protections in the in the eighteen states and the District of Columbia that have laws that protect us.

Right now we have a hodgepodge of courts issuing decrees and a Texas federal district court judge who is overstepping his bounds and is trying to enforce his decree on other federal district courts.

My guess is that if the Democrats win big and take control of the Senate you will see a rash of lame duck judicial confirmation hearings by the Republicans of moderate Obama judicial appointments including Supreme Court nominee Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

It Is Happening At Last!

The first soldiers has come forward to declare that they are trans! And she is followed by other trans soldiers.
First Transgender Soldiers Seek Formal Army Recognition
By Lolita C. Baldor AP
October 24, 2016

PARIS — Within weeks of the Pentagon allowing transgender service members to serve openly, Army officials said 10 soldiers have formally asked to be recognized as their new, preferred gender.

The small number represents only those who have publicly said they are transgender, and doesn't include soldiers who may be considering or beginning gender transition or those who don't yet want to make an official paperwork change.

Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army, said the key now is to educate the force, particularly commanders who will have to make decisions about soldiers in their units who request a gender change.
According to Carter, a RAND study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active duty military, and another 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.

Milley said the Army numbers so far are low, but the service doesn't track the number of soldiers who may be starting the gender transition process.

"We may not know the full scope yet," said Milley. "Others that may consider themselves as transgender but haven't self-identified publicly may be holding back because they want to see how things progress."
Let’s hope for the best, that their transitions are smooth with not too many bumps in the road.

But the Army wasn't the first, back in September the Navy promoted Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann.