Thursday, October 31, 2013

Who's Missing?

The headline reads “'Top 50 OUTstanding in Business List' Looks At LGBT Corporate Industry Leaders” but when you read down the list of names there is a glaring omission. There is no transgender business executives listed.

Well you might reply that there are none.

Do you think the person who was CEO GeoStar a satellite navigation company and started-up Sirius Satellite Radio and then founded United Therapeutics, a bio-tech company might be a good candidate for the list? Martine Rothblatt did all that, she graduated from UCLA, graduating summa cum laude in communication studies and her MBA and J.D. is also from UCLA. When her daughter came down with a rare and fatal disease she went and got her PhD in medical ethics and started United Therapeutics to help find a cure for her daughter.

My next candidate for the list is Col. Jennifer Natalya Pritzker the billionaire heirs to the Hyatt Hotels fortune. She is founded Pritzker Group Venture Capital with her brother and it is estimated that her net worth is $1.5 billion.

My third candidate has a Bachelor of Science in Physics, a Master of Science in Engineering and a MBA, she is Amanda Simpson. She is currently the Special Assistant to the United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, but before she was appointed to her current job by President Obama she was the Deputy Director and Senior Program Manager for Raytheon.

So why is there no trans-people on the top 50 LGBT corporate leaders?

I think that because trans-people make up such a small percentage of the LGBT population it is hard for us to have our voices heard. We get drowned out by the gays and lesbians.

We are also oppressed more than gays or lesbians. It is easier to be closeted when you are gay or lesbian, they do not have a paper trial like we have when we change our name, driver license or our credit cards. They can easier assimilate into society unless their gender presentation does not conform societal norms for their gender and if you look at all the lesbians and gays that are on the list and the ones that I nominated you will see that they all conforms to the visual norms of their gender presentation.

So we get hit with a double whammy when we try to climb the latter to success, first we have a paper trial and second it is harder for use to blend into society.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Got A Flat?

Ever have a flat tire? Ever have a flat tire while crossdressed? Do you know the difference between the two? One is a hassle and the other could get you killed or arrested.
Being Transgender in Kuwait: “My Biggest Fear Is a Flat Tire”
Human Rights Watch
July 15, 2013
By Belkis Wille
On a warm evening in late April 2013, I was sitting at a Starbucks in Kuwait City across the table from a thirty-one year old woman. Even though “Reem” had undergone male-to-female surgery almost a decade earlier, legal barriers prevented her complete transition to womanhood.  Reem still wore a bulky suit and tie every day to her office to conceal the fact that she was now a woman. When she would go out as herself, she would have to borrow her sister’s ID; luckily, they have similar features.
[…]
While she [a friend of Reem] was driving home one night, Dalia had car trouble and had to pull over. A policeman pulled up and asked for her papers. On official documents, Dalia, like Reem, is a man—in Kuwait, transgendered people have no legal recourse to change the gender on their ID cards.  The policeman arrested Dalia for dressing as a woman. Ultimately, she spent eight days in prison, for the crime of imitating the opposite sex. Upon release, Dalia was ordered to pay a fine and banned from traveling abroad for seven months. “Now,” she told me, “my biggest fear is a flat tire.”
[…]
Thirty-nine of the forty transgender women who HRW interviewed for its report said they were arrested, some individuals as many as nine times. In the majority of cases, the criminal court either acquitted the individual or failed to reach a verdict.  Many of these transgender women claimed, however, that police forced them—by threat or physical violence—to sign declarations stating they would “never again imitate the opposite sex” before releasing them from prison. 
Here in the U.S., many trans-people also fear having a flat, but it depends mainly where you live. Last year I had a flat tire in Massachusetts and a nice man stopped and changed the tire for me. But in the back of my mind I was worried about what would happen if he found out I was trans.

Once, before I transitioned I was going up to First Event in Boston, a transgender conference with two other trans-women, and we had a flat tire on the Mass Pike and I feared that a trucker or someone would stop and help us.

I know of someone who was crossdressed and their car caught fire one night. “He” was a volunteer fire fighter in that town and she was petrified that they would recognize her (which they didn’t); afterward we all have a good laugh over it, but at the time she was frighten that she would be the laughing stock of the town.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ENDA

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is supposed to come for a vote in the Senate.
Harry Reid Will Bring ENDA Up For Senate Vote
Huffington Post
By Amanda Terkel
Posted: 10/28/2013

WASHINGTON -- The Employment Non-Discrimination Act could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as next week, according to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

ENDA would ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. When the Senate convened Monday afternoon, Reid formally announced his plans to bring up the legislation during the current work period, which ends the week before Thanksgiving. Reid has long been a supporter of ENDA, cosponsoring it as early as 1997.
There are fifty-three senators who have signed up for the bill and the bill supporters are hoping that seven Republican senators will also support the bill to give them a veto proof majority.

Here is my prediction, in the Senate the Republicans will try to strip-out protection for us, and if that fails they will try to keep us out of the bathroom. If the bill does pass the Senate, it is dead in the House unless protection for us is not in the bill. Already Sen Cruz has read in to the Congressional Record the lies that the Pacific Justice Institute said about the Florence Colorado trans-student.

It will be a test of how our gay and lesbians brother and sisters stand by us or if they throw us under the bus again as they did in 2007.

Right now under an EEOC ruling we are protected because of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They ruled in May of last year that discrimination  based on gender identity and expression is a form of sex discrimination. I think the  EEOC ruling will not help or hurt the chances of us being included in the bill. However, if we are left out of the bill I think it will hurt us, I think there could be an argument made that if we are dropped from the bill that Congress did not mean for us to have protection.

All the laws in the world will not end discrimination. There still is age discrimination, sex discrimination and race discrimination. We are still being discriminated against here in Connecticut even through it is against the law, so what good is it to pass anti-discrimination laws?

Well for one thing it shows that our state does not condone discrimination against its citizens. As Martin Luther King Jr. said,
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
It makes companies and landlords and store owners think twice before they discriminate.

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Backward

As we start to get equality, the opposition pushes hard in desperation to attempt to force us back in the closet. They can’t get any traction with the truth so they take to lying and fear.

They lied about the Florence Colorado student to the point where she is now on suicide watch from all the hate that they threw at her.

One Christian minister who is running for Colorado elective office accused her of rape according to Think Progress,
Now the public school children are being told by a demonic spirit, “You must open up your daughter’s privacy to our perversion.” And this demonic spirit inside of this boy is now violating, and for all intents and purposes, he’s raping — at least visually — these teenage girls.
They will say anything to advance their cause. The religious right is leading their crusade in California, an article in the Huffington Post said,
"This is the most aggressive, the most dangerous bit of legislation against the child and against family than any other in the history of the United States," Hibbs of the Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, Calif. noted. "We've never seen a government pass such an insane bill as this."

Unfortunately, Gibbs is not alone in his dissent. "This radical bill warps the gender expectations of children by forcing all California public schools to permit biological boys in girls restrooms, showers, clubs and on girls sports teams and biological girls in boys restrooms, showers, clubs and sports teams," Randy Thomasson of savecalifornia.com told Fox News earlier this year. "This is insanity."

Meanwhile, conservative evangelist Pat Robertson condemned the legislation as "insane" and absurd" on a recent installment of "The 700 Club," even comparing members of the transgender community to his castrated horse, Right Wing Watch also originally reported. 
The Pacific Justice Institute again made false allegations against trans-girl but this time it is about a trans-girl in high school instead of an elementary school student. This time they claimed that a girl in a Los Angeles school was being harassed by a trans-girl who harassed her and peeked into a stall. Once again the school system said that the claim was false. The TransAdvocate published the transcript of an interview with a school official,
Los Angeles Unified School District: Office of communications

Cristan: I’m calling to verify some information that I saw on the channel 10 news.

LAUSD: I’m sorry, what information are you trying to verify?

Cristan: Sure, sure, on channel 10 news it says that, at least on their website, that a LA high school student complained because a transgender kid was in the restroom peeking over stalls. And so that’s on the news and I just wanted to fact check that claim. Have you actually received complaints of transgender children climbing over stalls to look at other people as they’re in the stalls?

LAUSD: I will have to check that for you. I believe that was fabricated, but give me one second. I need to verify. Hold on for a second.

Cristan: Okay.

LAUSD: Because it’s been a few days since we got that report. So hold on for me.

Cristan: Sure.

[On Hold]

LAUSD: I apologize for the wait. They did get the complaint and it turned out that it was fabricated by one of the parents who opposes transgender students in schools. So it was an unfortunate situation, to have to put the students through, but it was fabricated.
The story of the harassment was reported by California news outlet with no verification of its truth.

And it is not just limited to Colorado and California; in Iowa they are also spreading their fear. USA Today had an article about the opposition to the gender equality law,
Hurley says he is concerned that new policies will allow voyeurs and sex offenders to simply claim a different gender identity to gain access to areas where women and children are vulnerable.

"If a pervert or a stalker or a person who's wanting to be a voyeur or worse were to decide one day, 'Hey, I feel I'm a different sex,' they could use a women's bathroom — and that's very problematic," said Hurley, a former Republican lawmaker who is president of the Iowa Family Policy Center. "That opens a can of worms for perverts to throw their weight around and make trouble for people."
When they are making these wild accusations they know that there has never been a case in the years since the first anti-discrimination law was passed in 1975.of a person using the law to commit a crime. But that doesn’t stop these so called Christians from spreading fear,  hatred and bearing false witness; they don’t the little things like facts get in their way. They are just using religion to hide behind their bigotry.

They hide been the Bible to justify segregation, they hide behind the Bible to keep gay and lesbian in the closet and now they are doing it to us. It didn’t work then and let us keep it from working now.

Listen to Pastor Hibbs rant (Warning, make sure you have taken your blood pressure medication)...

The law does not give students the right to just walk into the bathroom of the opposite sex, they must first notify the school administration. Somehow I doubt very much that a boy is going to declare his gender as a girl and dress as a girl just to go into the girls' bathroom. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

One Big Event

Last night I went to a fundraiser banquet for the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, it was a little intimate dinner of over 550 people. I attend for a number of reasons, it is a good cause, it is good to see and talk to friends, also since I’m with a non-profit that works with the health collective and they let us use their space, and it is good politics.

The location of the event is the Hartford Convention Center; it is a massive space which even 550 people cannot fill. The food was delicious, hor d'oeuvres were endless and the food was amazingly good. Where they held it before the food was rubbery and they only had 300 people there, but at the convention center the food was at the proper temperature and not over cooked.

As usual I left once the band started playing. I have a hard time with loud music, I’m at an age where conversation is easily drowned out loud background noise, so once the music starts I cannot hear any conversation. What I don’t understand why the music is so loud that I could still here it two floor down n the escalator? It not like you can’t dance to softer music.

The picture on the right is a picture from the Hartford Courant, you can see me (in the black dress) standing with my back to the camera on the right side of the photo. We are out in the lobby where the silent auction was taking place. Later that had a live auction where they had a trip to Ogunquit, a trip to Provincetown, a trip to New York and a cruise up for auction. One year the bidding on an item got up into five digits which was impressive, I wish I could at the drop of a hat put a ten thousand dollar charge on my credit card.

The photo of me is courtesy of Stana

When A Kiss Isn’t Just A Kiss?

When the kiss gets you thrown out of a cab in the rain and it a strange neighborhood. A lesbian couple found that out the hard way. Lambda Legal reported that,
On May 30, White and McCrea were leaving O’Hare International Airport and secured a taxi from the dispatch line outside of the airport terminal. Toward the beginning of their ride home, the couple exchanged a brief kiss, after which the cab driver flashed the interior lights on and off. The driver then pulled over to the shoulder of the John F. Kennedy Expressway and demanded that White and McCrea get out of the cab. It was raining, and the couple refused to exit the cab. Instead, they called 311, the city’s municipal information number.

The driver then abruptly re-entered the expressway and sped towards the nearest exit, prompting the operator to transfer the couple’s call for help to 911. The driver exited the expressway, stopped at a nearby parking lot and again demanded the couple get out of the cab. The couple was told by the 911 operator that a police officer would be sent to meet them. The couple remained in the cab until the officer arrived. The officer then waited with White and McCrea until another taxi came to pick them up.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed Dead At 71

Hearing "Walk on the Wild Side" was one of the first songs about trans-girls from the late 60s and the early 70s...
Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71

New York legend, who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, underwent a liver transplant in May
Rolling Stone
By Jon Dolan
October 27, 2013 1:15 PM ET

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today on Long Island. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.
[...]
"Produced" by Warhol and met with total commercial indifference when it was released in early 1967, VU’s debut The Velvet Underground & Nico stands as a landmark on par with the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde. Reed's matter-of-fact descriptions of New York’s bohemian demimonde, rife with allusions to drugs and S&M, pushed beyond even the Rolling Stones’ darkest moments, while the heavy doses of distortion and noise for its own sake revolutionized rock guitar. The band’s three subsequent albums – 1968’s even more corrosive sounding White Light/White Heat, 1969’s fragile, folk-toned The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded, which despite being recorded while he was leaving the group, contained two Reed standards, “Rock & Roll” and “Sweet Jane,” were similarly ignored. But they’d be embraced by future generations, cementing the Velvet Underground’s status as the most influential American rock band of all time.  

RSS Feedburner Problems

For some unknown reason to me, all of my blog rolls on friends blogs are stuck on Wednesday's post. So please bear with me as I struggle to find out why it is not working.

My feeds seem to be all working, I see my current post when I go to feedburner and my redirects on my blog point in the right direction. I look at the html code for my posts and they all seem normal. There is no extra code buried in it, so I am at my wits end, any help would be appreciated

When I go to ping feedburner and try to ping my blog sometimes I get this error message...
Your Ping resulted in an Error "Ping is throttled. Please try again in a minute or so."
But if I ping a couple of times, I finally get a successful ping.

I also tried to resync my blog with feedburner a couple of times with no luck updating my blog posts on my friends' blogs.

I just noticed something. My friends' blogs all have...
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DianasLittleCornerInTheNutmegState/~3/aAWYHtC1zl8/free-speech-v-hate-speech.html

But when I go to feedburner, Optoimize XML Source it has my feedproxy as...
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DianasLittleCornerInTheNutmegState/~3/rC6gnLqwKYA/rss-feedburner-problems.html

******************

It seems to be working again, I don't know why, but I am glad.

I spoke too soon, it stopped working again, so I dropped feedburner.

Please look over my blog posts for the last couple of days.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Six #498

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #498

1. What’s the most unique feature of the town or city you live in?
That we are a bedroom town for Hartford, we are just your typical suburban town.

2. What specialty food would you say is a signature dish for your community?
Pizza. We don’t have any fancy restaurants but we do have nine pizza places.

3. If you had friends in town who’d never seen your city or town, which restaurant would you take them to for the best sense of local flavor?
Ha! It wouldn’t be in our town unless you want to take them to have pizza or to a 24 hour dinner.

4. How high or low do you think your community would rank on a “friendliness” scale to tourists?
Well we are a very friendly town except there is nothing to do in town. Everything closes up at 9 except for the dinner on the turnpike.

5. What obvious tourist attraction would you expect first-time visitors to your community would want as a backdrop for snapshots?
How about the Kohl or the Home Depot stores out on the turnpike?

6. What’s the best “hidden secret” you’d take first-time visitors to so they could experience your hometown?
Well we do have the first Civil War monument in the U.S., it is a brownstone obelisk about twenty feet tall and this year they rededicated on its 300th anniversary. They didn’t wait until the end of the war to erect it when six local boys got killed.

I am having problems with my RSS feeds to blog list, they are not updating and are stuck on a three day old post. I pinged feedburner and it says everything is OK and it also shows the latest post. However, on friends blogs it shows the 3 day old post. Any help would be appreciated.

Saturday 9: If It Makes You Happy

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: If It Makes You Happy




Sheryl Crow is a breast cancer survivor and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please spread the word about early detection.

1) What's something that always makes you happy?
Being around family

2) In the lyrics, Sheryl refers to a poncho. How do you usually protect yourself from the rain? Poncho? Umbrella? Raincoat? Hat?
An umbrella, I always have one in the car.

3) Early in her career, Sheryl made ends meet by singing commercial jingles, including one for McDonald's. When was the last time you visited The Golden Arches?
I think it was last year around this time. I lost power because of hurricane Sandy and it was once of the few places in town that you could get a hot meal and they have wifi.

4) Sheryl rode a horse into the ring of a Wyoming rodeo and then sang. Have you ever been to a rodeo?
Nope, and I don’t intend to go to one. It is not my cup of tea.

5) Sheryl lives outside of Nashville, which is known as Music City. What type of music do you listen to most often?
Classic rock, channel 26 in Sirius XM

6) Crazy Sam is a massive Sheryl Crow fan, and is sure that the only reason why she and Sheryl aren't best friends is that they haven't met. What famous person do you think could be your BFF?
I haven't the foggiest idea. Maybe Laverne Cox

7) Sheryl and cyclist Lance Armstrong were once engaged. Had they tied the knot, she would have become stepmother to his three children. Are you a step-parent, stepsibling or stepchild?
Nope. My parents were married for almost 66 years before my mother died and I never married.

8) Sheryl has performed carols at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington DC. Have you ever visited our nation's capital?
Yes, many times and once I was even interviewed coming of my representative’s office by a Tampa TV station.

9) Do you consider yourself easy going or do you have a fiery temperament?
Easy going, it takes and awful to get me angry.

I am having problems with my RSS feeds, to blog list, they are not updating and are stuck on a three day old post. I pinged feedburner and it says everything is OK and it also shows the latest post. However, on friends blogs it shows the 3 day old post. Any help would be appreciated.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Oh My Oh My, It’s About Bathrooms Again!

Why are people so hung up over bathrooms?

The latest brew-ha-ha is about Wesleyan students who are putting up gender neutral signs on bathrooms.
Wesleyan students push for gender neutral bathrooms on campus
WFSB
By Joseph Wenzel IV
Posted: Oct 24, 2013

MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -

Gender lines are being blurred at one prestigious university and it's leading to some confusion.

Some Wesleyan University students are wanting to turn their restrooms into a literal free for all. They are asking for men, women and transgenders to be sharing the same stalls. 

It started years ago and was even implemented by the university in some parts of campus. But a few weeks back, it went rogue with these signs as the rallying cry.

Some restrooms at Wesleyan University have one sign with pictures for everyone. It's called the "all gender restroom.”
Of course this is brings out the right wing wackos who are so hung-up with gender and once again it is not the students who have a problem with this but the adults.

I remember back when I went to college in the early 70s we all the time had girls in our bathrooms especially on weekends when the slept over with their boyfriends and when you went to the girls dorms you used their bathroom. Somehow I don’t think that has changed much over the years.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Are Your Thought?

I am on an ad hoc committee on LGBT aging; our mission is to develop guidelines for senior centers and nursing homes. Members of the committee are from senior centers, nursing homes, non-profits (I am representing the Connecticut TransAdvoacy Coalition) and a state agency. Right now I am researching “Best Practices” and I am finding almost no information on best practices for trans-elders. There is some information for L&G but as usual we are just an afterthought.

One website that I found was America Nursing Today,
Health disparities among LGBT elders

The IOM report detailed the following health needs and issues of LGBT elders:
  •     Transgender elders may experience negative health outcomes from long-term hormone use.
  •     HIV/AIDS affects older as well as younger LGBT individuals. However, few HIV prevention programs target older adults—a cohort that has been deeply affected by losses inflicted by AIDS.
  •     LGBT elders exhibit crisis competence (a sense of resilience and perceived hardiness).
  •     They experience stigma, discrimination, and violence across the life span.
  •     They are less likely to have children than heterosexual elders and thus less likely to receive care from adult children.

Lack of culturally competent healthcare providers contributes to ongoing health disparities, making LGBT elders an underserved minority in an aging society. This population has the highest rate of tobacco and alcohol use. With the risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes increasing with age, added damage from nicotine and substance abuse puts LGBT elders at greater risk for morbidity and mortality. Also, although advances in AIDS treatment are helping people live longer and more productive lives, the combined effects of drug side effects and lingering infections place them at higher risk for stroke and other cardiovascular events.

Less support or care from adult children may lead to social isolation. In this era of patient-drive care that values diversity, healthcare providers need to understand the concept of “family of choice” among the LGBT population. Given the lack of Social Security benefits to unmarried partners, one partner’s disability or death may threaten the economic security of the surviving partner, causing added hardship and stress that may have negative health effects.
I think they make some important points facts, that many of us are not married or have been disowned by their families. I know many trans-people and some gays and lesbians whose family have rejected them and in their place they have developed a surrogate family.

Some of the other website that had good information on trans-elders are,
I have my concerns with growing old but I was wondering what your concerns are about being transgender in your old age.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Free Speech v. Hate Speech

Every morning I read the online newspaper from my grad school Alma mater and this morning I saw they are having a lecture at the Rainbow center that I would have liked to attend. The lecture is by Kelly Garrett on “Free Speech and Hate Groups: Where do we draw the line?” she is he Director of LGBTQ Center at Brown University.

There is a blurry line between hate speech and free speech; an article in the Huffington Post lists a couple of factors that define hate speech.
The second purpose of hate speech is to intimidate the targeted minority, leading them to question whether their dignity and social status is secure. In many cases, such intimidation is successful.
I think that is the main factor that defines hate speech is its targets a minority in order to intimidate the group. Not just an individual but the entire minority.

Hate speech is the opposite of free speech, it is meant to shut up the minority, to deny them of a voice. It is meant to cause psychological harm and to create fear. So where and how do we draw the line?

In a society that values open discussion  we allow people to have greater latitude in their speech; the American Bar Association says this about hate speech,
Hate speech is speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits. Should hate speech be discouraged? The answer is easy—of course! However, developing such policies runs the risk of limiting an individual’s ability to exercise free speech. When a conflict arises about which is more important—protecting community interests or safeguarding the rights of the individual—a balance must be found that protects the civil rights of all without limiting the civil liberties of the speaker.

In this country there is no right to speak fighting words—those words without social value, directed to a specific individual, that would provoke a reasonable member of the group about whom the words are spoken. For example, a person cannot utter a racial or ethnic epithet to another if those words are likely to cause the listener to react violently. However, under the First Amendment, individuals do have a right to speech that the listener disagrees with and to speech that is offensive and hateful.

Think about it. It’s always easier to defend someone’s right to say something with which you agree. But in a free society, you also have a duty to defend speech to which you may strongly object.
It is a very difficult line to draw; the Supreme Court has oscillated over where to draw it and I think like Supreme Court Justice Stewart's comment on pornography “I know it when I see it”, hate speech is “I know it when I hear it.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Target On Our Backs

When you are in the news it is like a target is placed on our backs because it brings out all the wackos and bigots. And it seems the younger we are the more hateful are the bigots.

A few days ago the right wing Pacific Justice Institute (Don’t you just love the names these right wing organization think up. Doesn’t the Pacific Justice Institute make you think of Superman standing in front of the America flag?) made false allegations against a trans-girl in elementary school, they claimed that the trans-student was harassing a girl in the bathroom which turned out to be totally false.
In an article by Cristan in the TransAdvocate, “Family of Colorado trans kid targeted by harassment hoax speaks up,” she writes…
I asked Jane’s mother how she learned about the allegations concerning her daughter. What you are about to learn gives a context to the campaign against Jane that has, until now, been totally missing. As you read the following account, I want you to put yourself in this family’s place. Imagine how this would have affected you and your family:
    “My wife and I were visiting my sister who was in the hospital while my daughter was in school. The principal called to inform me that a newscaster was at the school and wanted to interview me about my daughter’s ‘bathroom rights’ – this was the first I’d heard about any of this. From what I understand, the school didn’t even know. From what I was told, some adults tried to hold a rally protesting my daughter in a town close to ours, but only a couple of people showed up, so the news crew went to the school and the school called me to say that the news crew was showing up to talk about my daughter.
    I didn’t want our daughter to be left there alone, so we headed to the school. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew they were coming for my daughter. I had no idea who started this, but we had we had to be there.

    I know my daughter. She’s a shy and timid person. It was upsetting. As a matter of fact, before we moved to this town, she was afraid that she would be bullied at school. She had a fear that if she went to this new school, something would happen and she wouldn’t be safe.

    I reassured her. I told her that everything was going to be fine and to not worry… We’re going through a lot.”
A media ambush is how the school, Jane and Jane’s family learned about the “harassment” charges. Let’s be clear about what this was: it’s a classic media gotcha moment. Prior to this hostile media encounter, apparently no allegations had been made about Jane.
The mother went to say about the psychological damage that caused her daughter when she read what people were saying about her…
My daughter was the one who learned about the Pacific Justice Institute. She saw it online. She was upset. It made her panic. She saw where their story had become international news and she saw what people were saying. It gave her anxiety attacks. She was upset about the whole thing. She kept asking me how people could do that to her. She saw all this negative stuff about her and she can’t understand how they could say those things when they don’t even know who she is as a person. They don’t know what this does to a kid.
It seems like these right wing wackos like to compete to see who can say the meanest thing to her and inflict emotional pain. They show their ignorance of biology by saying there is only “male” and “female” by quoting the Bible and totally ignoring intersex people.

Another trans-person who was the subject of percussion was a Russian trans-women…
Trans Woman Commits Suicide After Firing Under Russia's 'Propaganda' Ban
Dasha Stern was 22 years old when she took her own life after being fired under Russia's nationwide ban on so-called homosexual propaganda.
The Advocate
BySunnivie Brydum
October 22, 2013

A 22-year-old transgender woman in Russia reportedly took her own life last Wednesday after she was fired from a promising job because her employers feared they were in violation of a nationwide ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships," reports the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights on its blog, RusAdvocat.

LGBT advocates are calling Dasha Stern "the first victim of Putin's antigay law,"  reporting that she lost her job with a central Russian municipality when her supervisors became concerned that they would be in violation of the national ban on so-called homosexual propaganda by employing her. RusAdvocat also reports that Stern had recently been disowned by her parents and kicked out of her home, presumably for being transgender. Stern had recently been approved for a mortgage and auto loan but was unable to make those payments after she lost her job.
When is the hate going to stop?



Some Thoughts On Marriage.

With New Jersey becoming the fourteenth state to have marriage equality and in Tennessee four couples are suing in federal court saying that their constitutional rights to due process, equal protection have been violated; is the handwriting on the wall? Will the Supreme Court eventually rule that every state must grant marriage equality?

I think not.

In 1967 the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Loving v. Virginia that a marriage in one state must be recognized in all of the states. An interracial couple was married in Washington D.C. and lived in Virginia where they were arrested and convicted of violating the anti-miscegenation statute. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction declaring that a legal marriage must be recognized in all states.

I think the Robert’s court is too conservative and too into states’ rights to issue a sweeping ruling that would force marriage equality on all of the states. I think that the court will look for some way to weasel out doing the right thing.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

Monday, October 21, 2013

We Got You Covered… Not! (Part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about how the CDC’s policy on free mammograms to low income women does not cover trans-women, today we look at the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and how it might not cover us.
Health Insurance Exchanges Might Not Be Accessible to Trans* People
Huffington Post
By  Scout, PhD
Posted: 10/09/2013

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was clear that with one in three low-income LGBT Americans living without health insurance, this is a huge opportunity to stabilize the health of our communities. Plus, with expansions in regulations, insurance providers can no longer discriminate against people for being LGBT, charge higher premiums for this status, or deny coverage because of preexisting conditions like HIV or being trans*. This alone could really affect the many trans* folk like me who've spent years hiding their trans* status from health insurers to make sure we don't get denied routine coverage. Those fears are not an exaggeration. A few years ago, when my doctor helpfully changed my sex from female to male on their records, my insurer reacted by denying 100 percent of benefits until we finally caved and pretended it was a mistake.
[…]
Then the news turned grim. In one example of how data collection helps us see problems, the Center for American Progress commissioned research on the messaging about how and why LGBT people should enroll in the new insurance offerings. The findings showed that the existing messaging works for most LGB people, but not for trans* people. The researcher was blunt: The trans* focus groups were some of the saddest she had ever run. The participants had such a profound history of discrimination that they had developed extreme wariness of any representative of the health care system. Plus, trans* people needed to have very specific questions answered: Will the policy cover hormones, have friendly providers, or cover gender confirmation surgeries? But people had no confidence that insurance navigators could answer these questions, and, worse, no confidence that they'd even be treated decently once they disclosed they were trans*. Again, these fears are not without exaggeration either; the evidence from the most recent assessment of trans* needs showed that nearly one fifth of respondents had not just been discriminated against by health providers but outright turned away from care for being trans*. So, while the new protections are wonderful, saying them in Washington doesn't mean my people can trust that they will be in effect all around the country.
I do a lot research for the committees that I am on and one of the most annoying things for me is a study or a research paper that says “LGBT” when it is really only “LG.” There is a tremendous lack of research on trans-healthcare and trans* information on aging. The article goes on to say,
To make matters worse, the feds can't identify one single state or national survey that's added trans* measures as a result of their enhanced data collection efforts. (Meanwhile they have added an LGB measure to their most influential survey.) It's pretty harsh to showcase trans* data that highlights a sincere need, then realize that in most all cases trans* data are not being collected in our national health surveillance system. That's like lighting a candle in the woods, seeing red malevolent eyes, then putting the candle out again!
My theory on it is that the people who are doing the surveys know nothing about trans-people and think we are the same as gays and lesbians. At a committee meeting on LGBT and Aging that I was invited to sit on, at the first meeting that I attended the room was filled with about 10 lesbians and a gay man. When I was asked what I thought was the problems on aging that trans-people and the first thing I said "What ward will we be placed in, the men's ward or the women's ward, because not all trans-people have surgery". They had never realized that, I think that they all assumed that we have surgery.

In my Medicare Advantage policy it says all medically necessary treatment is covered, but way down the bottom they have three or four exceptions (such as dialysis) and one of them “surgery for sex change.”

In addition, how we are treated depends not only on the doctor or hospital but on the individuals within it. I go to a nearby hospital for treatment and when I told another trans-woman that I go there, she said that I should find another hospital because they treated trans-patients there horribly. But my experience was anything but horrible; everyone there treated me with respect.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

We Got You Covered… Not!

The problem lies in the interpretation of a CDC policy and the actual law that was passed; a clinic in Colorado is not giving free mammograms to low income trans-women saying the CDC policy states the funding is for genetic women.
Transgender woman sues after being denied free breast cancer screening
9News
By Will Ripley
Oct 14, 2013

DENVER - The legal definition of "female" is at the center of a new lawsuit.

Jennifer Blair, a transsexual woman, is suing for the right to get free breast cancer screenings.

Blair had surgery to change her gender more than a decade ago.

Women's Wellness Connection, a state-run healthcare program, recently turned her away because she is "not genetically female."
[…]
After noticing unusual breast growth, Blair went to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains on the 6300 block of E. Exposition in Denver for a mammogram, paid for by Women's Wellness Connection.
[…]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pays for the program, and says it only covers clients who are "genetically female."
The law (Public Law 106-354) in question states.
An Act
To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide medical assistance for certain women screened and found to have breast or cervical cancer under a federally funded screening program, to amend the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to surveillance and information concerning the relationship between cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV), and for other purposes.
Do you see anything that says genetic women? If you read the CDC website about program eligibility there is nothing there that says only genetic women. Then how did Planned Parenthood interpret the law to say genetic women?

Well it turns out that a newsletter from the CDC said,
...specifically states coverage for women. Therefore CDC's position has been to only cover clients who are genetically female. So we will cover transgender female to male patients... But we do not cover transgender male to female patients.
So it only an interpretation by the CDC and is not stated anywhere in the law.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday Six #497

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #497

1. Which store is your favorite place to buy the most of your groceries?
There is a national chain supermarket in town

2. Does that store offer some sort of discount card and, if so, do you have one?
Yes and they give discount for gas purchases

3. What’s the number one reason this grocery store happens to be your favorite?
The number one reason is that it is the only supermarket in town. There are small independent grocery stores in town but they have smaller selections.

4. Do you wipe off your shopping cart with one of those sanitizing wipes stores now place next to the carts, or do you secretly snigger at those who do?
Nope and I have survived without getting the plague.

5. Do you prefer paper, plastic or reusable cloth bags?
Cloth bags, I have a trunk fill of bags

6. Which section of the store (i.e., frozen, produce, meat, etc.) do you buy from most often?
Probably the produce section of the store.

Saturday 9: Come to My Window

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: Come to My Window



Melissa Etheridge is a breast cancer survivor and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please spread the word about early detection.

Watch the video here.

1) This song is about a woman passionate about love and willing to pursue it, no matter what "they say." Are you fearless when it comes to public opinion? Or do you worry about what "they" think of you?
I think so, if I did worry I would never make it out the door

2) Melissa's father was a high school teacher. Tell us about a teacher who had an impact on you.
Mr. Downer, he was my high school science teacher and the advisor for the science club.

3) Melissa won a Grammy for this song. If you won a major award, where would you display it?
Probably down in the basement on the bar with my other awards.

4) Which TV game show do you think you'd do better on -- The Price Is Right or Wheel of Fortune?
I would be lousy for both of them, I would rather be on Jeopardy

5) Are you neat and organized?
Ha! I’m single so I don’t have to worry about picking up after myself.
 
6) When was the last time you went more than a day without washing your hair?
Well I shower every day so therefore I wash my hair every day.

7) When you eat Chinese food, do you use chopsticks or a fork?
I hate Chinese food but the last time I did eat Asian food I used a fork. If I want to go on a diet I would use chopsticks.

8) Are you a good cook?
Yes, it is probably do to the fact that I had to take three years of chemistry classes. After all cooking is just like chemistry, a little of this and a little of that.

9) We're having a party in your honor! Would you prefer a costume party, a bowling party or a pool party?
I hate costume parties, therefore, the choice is between bowling or a pool party. So I would have to say it depends upon the seasons, pool parties in the summer and bowling parties in the winter.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Damage Has Been Done.

You cannot unring a bell.

All over the newspapers and in headline on website there was a story of how a trans-student was harassing a girl in the bathroom at a school in Florence Colorado… well the story was false.

Cristan Williams at The TransAdvocate spoke directly with Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti, who said that no harassment took place. Here is the interview the Ms. Williams had with the superintendent.



The allegations were brought by the Pacific Justice Institute, which is a California conservative organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom. The Pacific Justice Institute played a major part in the Proposition 8 law suit and they are supporting the ballot effort to repeal the transgender school law (AB1266) which requires equal access to public school facilities and other school activities based on the student’s gender identity.

According to the Pacific Justice Institute the mire fact that a trans-student can use the bathroom of their gender identity is harassment.
We’ve seen similar claims. It is our position that the intrusion of a biological male into a restroom for teenage girls is inherently intimidating and harassing. We have received additional reports of particular incidents of harassment, and we are working to corroborate those reports. In our letter, we specifically asked the school to notify us immediately if they disputed any of the factual allegations. To date, they have not done so. The core of this story — that the school is elevating the rights of one self-proclaimed transgender student while minimizing the privacy rights of all the biologically female students, has not been seriously controverted. We encourage journalists to continue their important work of investigating the details of this story independently and not simply accepting the statements of either side, and certainly not pulling their stories simply because activists demand this story be silenced.
Does anyone find the timing of this is conveniently timed with the start of the effort to recall AB1266? I know I do. They made all these allegation right at the same time they are collecting signatures for the recall petition.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Is A stay At The Gulag In Your Future?

Well Todd Kincannon, the former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party thinks so…
Todd Kincannon, Former Executive Director of South Carolina GOP, Believes Transgender People Should Be 'Put in a Camp'
Huffington Post
By Parker Marie Molloy
10/16/2013

Todd Kincannon, former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party, took to his Twitter account on Monday to express his opinion on transgender rights. After transgender activist Kat Haché replied to one of Kincannon's tweets on an entirely different topic, Kincannon launched into an anti-transgender tirade, making use of slurs, name calling, and his belief that transgender individuals should be locked away in concentration camps.
In his tweets he said,
“There are people who respect transgender rights. And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That's me.”
“I have plenty of compassion for trannies. They should all be locked up in mental institutions and their care paid for by the state.”
“I have no problem with gays but I hate trannies. I think they are disgusting freaks, and they are. Am I evil?”
“I'm totally ok with gays and I celebrate female bisexuality as if it were the Mona Lisa of genital sports. But transsexuals are sick freaks.”
He is not alone, the plank in the 2012 South Carolina Republican platform said,
We affirm the wonderful differences with which each gender is created and oppose efforts to blur or disregard the uniqueness of male and female genders. Furthermore, we affirm that one's gender is fixed at birth and that no citizen should be entitled to special treatment or accorded any special benefits not accorded to others of the same birth gender regardless of how they have altered their anatomy or appearance. We oppose federal, state, county, or municipal laws, regulations or ordinances that require a person to be granted special rights or protections based on his or her "perceived" gender identity.
And don’t think that it is just the South who are anti-transgender, in 2011 here in Connecticut an amendment to the gender identity and expression bill proposed by a Republican senator wanted trans-people to register with the Department of Motor Vehicles,
"Sec. 501. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Any person holding a motor vehicle operator's license whose gender-related identity is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of such identity and the commissioner shall indicate such identity in the electronic record maintained by the commissioner pertaining to such person's operator's license."
Can you imagine what it would be like if that amendment passed? If you got stopped driving while dressed you could be charged with a crime if you didn’t register with the DMV. The Republicans also proposed an amendment to increase the penalty if you got arrested while dress, something that was a misdemeanor would become a felony.

Think before you vote! Think about all the ramifications. Think about who gets to choose a Supreme Court Justice. Think about all the attempts to cut healthcare for pregnant women and children. Think about all the draconian laws that have been proposed to force us back in the closet.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thoughts On the Conference

Well the conference was more orientated towards teachers but that was kind of expected but I still got something out of it.

What caught my attention in the first keynote address was an experiment she talked about with babies. The nurses in a hospital nursery were asked to dress all the babies the same and college students were asked to guess the gender of the babies as the nurses brought the babies up to the nursery window. The college guessed the babies gender correctly 90 percent of the time.

So how did they guess the gender correctly?

By the way the nurses held the babies. The nurses did it subconsciously, cradling the girls and holding the boys.

The next keynote speaker talked about how history has to be looked at individual identity, we have to look at impact individuals choices have on society.

He had us watch this video until 2:15 into the video and then discuss what we thought he would do, help her or just walk away?



The decision that the person made that night on the subway impacted him all through his life and shaped him.

The last keynote speaker talked about how history is told from various biases, usually from a white perspective and how the telling of history creates a learning gap between different socioeconomic groups. How history is presented can make a difference. The history in the history books have been white washed and over simplified. For example we learn the Vasco da Gama was the first to sail around Africa but what we don’t learn is that he committed atrocities in Goa India where he set fire to a ship with 200-400 people on board including women and children, killing them all.

He then asked us what was the cause of the Civil War. Was it Slavery? State’s Rights? The election of Lincoln? Taxes and tariffs?

Wrong. It was that the northern states were ignoring federal laws and not following the Constitution. He said in the South Carolina Declaration of Secession they cite the fact that the northern states were disregarding the Constitution.
The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them.
While he was talking about how history is constantly being rewritten I was think about the Stonewall Uprising and how the gays have written us out of history. On Monday, I was at an outreach at a local community college and one of the speakers said the Stonewall Uprising was the first time the LGBT community rose up against the oppression… WRONG! There were at least two possible three times before that we rose up against the oppression. I was also thinking about when Rep Barney Frank (D-MA) said,
We’d make even more progress if the transgender community was willing to do the hard political work. And not, frankly, think they can just talk a few leaders into handing this to them.
He totally rewrote history and wrote us out of the last fifty years.

Some other thoughts about the conference… even through the conference was on diversity it seems to me that it only focused on sex and race. There were a couple of comments about sexual orientation but I don’t remember any comments about gender identity or expression. At the conference out of over 1100 attendees there was only one trans-person… me. And that got me to thinking, I don’t know of any teachers (K-12) who are trans. I know of some professors who are trans but I don’t know any elementary or secondary school trans-teachers. I know a number of former teachers who were fired when they transitioned but none who are still teaching.

Ironically at lunch I was harassed, I stopped by the local Burger King to grab a sandwich (We had to buy our own lunch, it is a free conference after all) and a coffee for lunch on my way home because I forgot to do something at home before I left for the conference. As I was coming out of Burger King two New Britain high school students were talking next to where I parked and when I walked by them one of them asked me if my car was a plug-in Prius and how many miles per gallon was I getting. I told him yes and I get over 60 miles to the gallon. As I was getting in my car I heard one of them say… “That’s a dude!” and as I was driving off I saw them laughing.

We have come a long ways but there is a longs ways to go.

I'm Away At A Conference Today

I am away at a local conference all day today. Last year I only attended the afternoon session because of a previous engagement but this year I'm attending the whole conference.  

18th Annual
New England Conference on Multicultural Education (NECME)

Welte Auditorium
Central Connecticut State University,
New Britain, CT,
Wed. Oct. 16, 2013
8:30-3:30 pm
Admission is free. Watch for details at www.necme.org
Subscribe on the web to get on the mailing list.

Students, teachers, parents, high education faculty, social workers, counselors, community activists, administrators, legislators and others interested in educational equity and social justice are welcome to attend.

The New England Conference on Multicultural Education (NECME) is sponsored to date by
Connecticut State Department of Education
Central Connecticut State University
New England Equity Assistance Center at Brown University
Goodwin College
University of Connecticut Neag School of Education
University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Fairfield University
Eastern Connecticut State University
Quinnipiac University

The three keynote speakers are:
Sonia Nieto: Professor Emerita, Language, Literacy & Culture University of Massachusetts,
Amherst School of Education
“Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms”

Anselme Anselme: Director of Program Staff Development at Facing History & Ourselves
"Facing History and Ourselves: Teaching Identity And Civic Participation”

James Loewen: Sociologist, historian, and author. Visiting Professor of African American
Studies, University of Illinois
“Lies My Teacher Told Me: History Textbook Got Wrong”

The flier for the conference is here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

With All The Problems…

...that we have here, it is a lot worst for LGBT people around the world and especially in Arab countries.
Iran arrests 'network of homosexuals and satanists' at birthday party
Revolutionary guards raid hall in city of Kermanshah where group was dancing, taking away at least 17 people
The Guardian
By Saeed Kamali Dehghan   
October 10, 2013

Iran's revolutionary guards have announced the arrest of "a network of homosexuals and satanists" in the western city of Kermanshah, close to the country's border with Iraq, prompting fresh alarm over the treatment of gay people in the Islamic republic.

The news website of the revolutionary guards in Kermanshah province, home to the country's Kurd ethnic minority, reported on Thursday that their elite forces had dismantled what it claimed to be a network of homosexuals and devil-worshippers.
Remember that in the past Iran have been forcing gender reassignment surgery on gays to “correct” them. They had a choice be hanged for being gay or have surgery, what would you choose, the noose or the knife?

In other Arab states instead of “Your paper please” it is strip…
Gulf countries consider medical checks to bar transgender expats
Kuwait proposal aimed at preventing transgender migrant workers from entering six-member Gulf Co-operation Council countries criticised as 'immoral'
The Guardian
By Saeed Kamali Dehghan   
October 11, 2013

The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) will next month consider a proposal from Kuwait to introduce medical checks to prevent transgender people from entering the six-member Arab countries as migrant workers.

The Saudi-based Arab News reported this week that authorities in Kuwait's ministry of health have proposed "genetic tests" aimed at detecting transsexuals who wish to enter and work in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, where the 2022 football World Cup is scheduled to be held.
[…]
"Undergoing the test will become mandatory for an estimated 289 health centres across the GCC if the health council approves the proposal of tighter controls on gender tests for migrant workers," Tawfiq Khojah, a GCC health official, told the English-language newspaper. In 2012, Khojah said, more than 2 million expatriates underwent the gender tests.
If you think that the zealots are only in the Middle East, well guess again, in an Opinion in the Washington Times, Matt Philbin wrote,
This charge of privilege amounts to a simple statement: You had your time, white guy. You built this civilization. You’re going to sit quietly while we dismantle it. So “check your privilege” and shut up.
He goes on to complain how the “left’ is forcing him lose his white male privilege by having to recognize our gender identity. He ends his opinion by saying,
So take it from someone who found out the hard way. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll check your privilege, mind your pronouns and brush up on the ever-expanding alphabet soup of sexual identity.
From my reading of the article he is defending his right to be a bigot and is questioning our right to call him out on it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ender’s Game

Those of you who have followed my blog know that I am a big fan of science fiction, one of the books that I have read is the “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card and now it is being made into a movie. But there is now controversy over the movie.
'Ender's Game' to receive potential boycott for author's comments
KSL
By Carole Mikita
September 6th, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY — "Ender's Game" has been one of the most anticipated movie releases of the year, but some public comments made by the author could potentially have people boycotting the movie.

Orson Scott Card wrote the "Ender's Game" trilogy, and the movie is set to release in November. The movie will star several big Hollywood names including Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin.

However, Card has made several comments about same-sex marriage in the past that some consider controversial and there is talk of boycotting the film. Card said that the comments were made a few years ago, but that now people are using his film as a platform to fight his stance on marriage.
[…]
From 2009 until 2013, Card served on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. Before that, he backed California's Prop 8. From a recent L.A. Times article which questions the possible boycott, Card is quoted from his 1990 article for Sunstone Magazine: "Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books. . .to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society."
So many in the LGBT community are torn between watching the movie or boycotting it because of the author’s views and financial support  against lesbians, gays and trans-people.

However, at the same time people are shouting for a boycott, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) has given an award to the company behind the movie…
GLSEN Honoring Company Behind 'Ender's Game' Film
Bilerico Project
Filed By Guest Blogger: Will Kohler
October 04, 2013

In a controversial move, GLSEN -- the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network -- will be honoring Lionsgate Films with the Chairman's Award at its Ninth Annual GLSEN Respect Awards ceremony on October 19th. The move comes despite major backlash from the LGBT community and a boycott of its upcoming film "Enders Game," which was written and produced by outspoken homophobe and former National Organization for Marriage board member Orson Scott Card.

I reached out to Andy Mara, GLSEN's press representative, about the choice of Lionsgate as a reward recipient and how rewarding such a company runs counter to the concept of "respect" for LGBT people that the Respect Awards are supposed to promote. Below is the response that I received not from Mara himself, but from Julia Marella of Slate PR, a public relations firm based in Hollywood:
    Lionsgate has a long and rich history of creating LGBT-inclusive and affirming films. The studio has also been an industry leader in ensuring workplace protections and benefits for LGBT people. When Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment last year, the company inherited its library of current projects, including Ender's Game. Though GLSEN flatly rejects book author Orson Scott Card's support for the discrimination of LGBT people, we stand behind Lionsgate's similar rejection of Card's personal beliefs and its long-standing commitment to support the LGBT community.
So what will you do?




Sunday, October 13, 2013

Your Papers Please.

Last week in the news was about Argentina issuing an ID card to a six year old trans-girl; however, this was just one occurrence of relaxing the rules on changing ID requirements.
Argentina Grants Lulu, 6-Year-Old Transgender Child, Female ID Card
The Huffington Post
By James Nichols
Posted: 10/10/2013

Argentina's government has granted a six-year-old transgender girl an ID that corresponds with her gender identity.

Late last month, government officials granted Lulu, who was born biologically male but reportedly dressed and identified as a female since she could talk, a female identification card under the country's Gender Identity Law, according to the International Business Times.
But also last week California passed a new law about changing your name on a birth certificate,
Transgender name changes made easier by new law
SF Gate
By Melody Gutierrez
Updated October 8, 2013

Sacramento --
The public and costly process for transgender people to legally change the name and gender on their California birth certificate will be streamlined under a law Gov. Jerry Brown signed Tuesday.
[…]
The process for changing a gender marker on a birth certificate will be an administrative process requiring a doctor's note indicating the person has undergone a gender transition.
But California was not the first to change the requirement for changing the gender marker…
Making it easier for transgender people to get new birth certificates
The District of Columbia Council passes the country's most liberal policy for updating birth certificates, one that transgender activists hope will become a nationwide model.
Los Angeles Time
August 05, 2013
By Alexei Koseff

Those obstacles are about to become history: Last month, the District of Columbia Council passed the country's most liberal policy for updating birth certificates, one that transgender activists hope will become a nationwide model. The mayor is expected to sign it Tuesday.
[…]
Those obstacles are about to become history: Last month, the District of Columbia Council passed the country's most liberal policy for updating birth certificates, one that transgender activists hope will become a nationwide model. The mayor is expected to sign it Tuesday.
And in June of this year, Oregon changed their law regarding birth certificates, according to the ACLU
With Gov. Kitzhaber's approval of HB 2093 yesterday, transgender people in Oregon will no longer have to show proof of surgery in order to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender. Previously, Oregon law required surgery in order to update a birth certificate gender marker, even for those transgender people who did not need or want it, or were unable to access surgery for financial, medical, or other reasons.
Before that in 2012, Illinois reached a court agreement
IDPH [Illinois Department of Public Health] issued new certificates to plaintiffs Lauren Grey, Victor Williams and Nicholas Guarino and released new rules that removed the genital surgery requirement.
When you think about the purpose of birth certificates there is no need to not change them and it places a burden on the person by not being able to change it. All the birth certificate does is prove that you are born here and gender is not important. Passports can now be changed without surgery and when you are starting a new job a passport is just as good as a birth certificate to prove US citizenship and since you can change your gender on your passport with just a letter from your doctor why can’t you do the same on your birth certificate?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Six #496

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #496

1. What is the first thing you notice about a person’s appearance?
Their eyes and smile.

2. When shopping for clothes, how often do you try something on in the store before buying?
Always. That is one of the reason I don’t shop for clothes online anymore, it is hard to get the size right online.
.
3. What size of spare battery do you have the most of in your home right now?
C-size

4. What size of spare battery do you most need at the moment?
9-volt my smoke detectors (all seven of them) need new batteries.

5. When you watch television, how much of that time are you also looking at a computer, a tablet or your phone?
I play cards on my Kindle when I watch television.

6. How often and which type of materials do you recycle?
All the time and I recycle all of the stuff that my town accepts on trash pick-up day for the recycle bins.

Saturday 9: Hopelessly Devoted to You

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Hopelessly Devoted to You


Olivia Newton-John is a breast cancer survivor and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please spread the word about early detection.

You can listen to the song here.

1) This is a sad song about unrequited love. What's your favorite love song, and is it happy or sad?
Lulu "To Sir With Love" I just heard it on Sirus and I loved the song back in school.



2) This song is from the Grease soundtrack. When that movie came out in 1978, the price of a postage stamp was just 15¢. When's the last time you visited the post office?
Friday, I collect the mail for our non-profit.

3) Not many people know that Olivia's maternal grandfather, Max Born, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954. Share something about yourself that we might not have known before this morning.
I am tone deaf and I can’t keep a beat.

4) Olivia's father was an officer in MI5, the UK's secret service. Sam's most recent run-in with the authorities had less intrigue or glamor, as it included a policeman pointing out the stop sign she'd somehow missed. Tell us about your most recent encounter with law enforcement.
Last December when a hit-and-run driver hit my brand new car with only 200 miles on it.

5) Olivia is part owner of an exclusive, luxury retreat called Gaia. If you had a day of free access to a heated pool, golf course, tennis court, gym, and day spa, but could only use one, which one would you choose?
A heated pool; back in my 20s I went skiing at Mt. Snow but the weather was horrible so we spent the day in their outdoor heated pool.

6) Are you flirtatious?
Nope.

7) Do you more often wear silver, gold, or platinum?
I wear more gold jewelry.

8) When you're on the phone, do you usually make the first move toward ending the call? Or do you find it hard to say goodbye?
About even. It all depends on who’s talking.

9) Would you rather be smarter, richer, or more attractive than you are right now?
Smarter. Runner up: more attracted.

Friday, October 11, 2013

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day and I am republishing a blog from 2009

Next week is the “National Coming Out Week,” you might expect that I am in favor of it, but I am not. Coming out involves great risks and you should assess the risk before you come out. Know if you have a support network just in case things go bad. Do your parents support LGBT issues or are they opposed to them. Assess the risk if you are coming out in school; know how much support the school administration will give you. These are some of the factors that you should consider before coming out.

In the New York Times article on school bullying entitled, Bullied for Being ‘Gay’ Dr. Jeffrey Fishberger of The Trevor Project writes,
Bullying and being teased for being what others perceive as “different” happens to many children. Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered young people — or those perceived to be L.G.B.T. — have a much higher incidence of harassment at school. In fact, it’s estimated that more than a quarter of L.G.B.T. young people drop out of school because of this very harassment.
It is important that you have a safe environment before coming out. The article goes on to state…
Fortunately, there are organizations that can work with your son’s school to help all the children understand the impact of their language and behavior.

GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), for example, works to ensure safe schools for all students through a variety of programs. The Day of Silence, for example, continues to grow each year, and hundreds of thousands of students now come together each year to participate. Another program, the No Name-Calling Week, provides schools with tools and inspiration to foster a dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying and name-calling in their communities.

Another resource that can be of help is The Trevor Project’s workshop program. …to open up discussions with all students about how language and behavior can affect the way an individual feels about him- or herself. A supportive teacher, school counselor or school administrator can assist in implementing these programs in your son’s school.
Here in Connecticut True Colors is a valuable resource for children coming out in school.

Remember, that once you come out, there is no going back. You can't say I was only kidding.
Be safe.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

When Connecticut was passing the gender identity and expression laws one of the things that I liked to point out was that the law covered everyone not just trans-people.
Lesbian sues casino after workers threaten to make her strip to prove she’s a woman
RAW Story
By David Ferguson
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A lesbian woman from Hawaii is suing the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas, NV after a hostile confrontation in a women’s restroom in which casino personnel nearly made the woman strip to prove that she was female. According to the Courthouse News Service, Susan Ho filed suit in Clark County Court against Coast Casinos and Boyd Gaming alleging false imprisonment.

Ho was visiting Las Vegas as part of the Advanced Travel Bowling Tournament in October of 2011 when she took a break from bowling to use the women’s restroom at the Gold Coast Casino. Shortly after entering the restroom, she was accosted by another bowler. Ho explained that she was in the correct restroom.

She heard the woman discussing her with other patrons and knew then that she was about to be confronted. Upon exiting the restroom, Ho found a wall of five or six Gold Coast employees blocking people from entering the door. They accused her of being a man attempting to spy on women in the restroom.
Nevada has a gender identity and expression non-discrimination law, not only did they detain her unlawfully they also violated the discrimination law.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Maine Photo Trip

I went up to Maine to visit my brother and sister-in-law after we finished our work at the cottage in New Hampshire and I went out for a photo shoot with my brother. First stop was Wood Island Lighthouse in Biddeford Pool…

When we got there a lobster boat was coming in from fishing

and then a sailboat was coming out of the harbor

We then drove over to Cape Porpoise and this is the harbor.

Goat Island Lighthouse at the entrance of Cape Porpoise…
The two lighthouse pictures I took with my new 150-500mm f/5-6.3 Telephoto Zoom Len that I just bought. The lens is amazing! The Goat Island lighthouse is just about 2 miles from shore and the Wood Island lighthouse is about three quarters of a mile away.

For dinner we had steamers (long neck clams) and lobster.

And here is a video of the lighthouse and the waves rolling on to the rocky shore...
video



Wednesday, October 09, 2013

An Interesting Research Study

I read my Alma maters newspaper every day and today there was an article about a student’s research project that caught my eye…
Undergraduate presenting at Frontiers
The Daily Campus
By Dominica Ghanem
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A UConn undergraduate researching the effects of estrogen on male sex determination will present at Frontiers later this month.

Frontiers is a program that represents students from areas including, STEM, social sciences, humanities and the arts.

Robert Stickels, a 7th-semester molecular cell biology major, has been researching the effects of estrogen on certain proteins for two and a half years. He started his research as a 3rd-semester student and will see the project through until his graduation.

Previous research found that in a tammar wallaby, estrogen can be administered to cause a sex reversal. Since marsupials are mammals, scientists wanted to see if it would have the same effect on humans.
Even though he is researching the effects is of BPA plastics in the environment I think that this has interest for the trans-community, because there are many things that occur naturally during pregnancy that mimic estrogens. One thing that is very close to estrogen is the hormone adrenaline it is slightly different than estrogen and in studies researchers have found that prenatal stress has an effect on sexual orientation.

I also have to wonder how DES (diethylstilbestrol) exposure affected male fetuses. Back in the 40s, 50s 60s and the early 70s it was common to give expecting mother DES to prevent miscarriages, how did that affect sexual development.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Sports Teams

As a person I am not interested in sports that much but as a trans-person I am interested on what teams we can play on. Here in Connecticut the guidelines for trans-youth says in part that,
Transgender students should be permitted to participate in sex-segregated athletic activities based on their gender identity. Denying students such an opportunity is likely to result in their inability to participate in sports and gym programs altogether and risks exposing the school to liability under the law.
In other states with gender inclusive non-discrimination laws also have similar policies and Nevada is joining their ranks…
NIAA to Pave Road for Transgender High School Athletes
KOLO8
By: Catherine Van
Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2013

RENO, Nev. -- Should transgender high school athletes be able to decide for themselves whether to play on the boys team or girls team? Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association is considering granting transgender students the ability to choose.

High school sports can be gender exclusive but for those athletes who identify with the opposite sex, those eligibility lines can be blurry. More than half a dozen states including Washington and California have adopted the policies to allow transgender students to compete on teams of their choosing and Nevada could be next.
The article goes on to say that,
The policy has already been adopted at the college level, but now high schools across the nation are looking to do the same. Students will have to provide medical documentation and a statement from both the student and the parents on their gender identity.
In Connecticut, the question of what medical documentation that is needed is open to debate. The Connecticut does not require medical intervention to establish transgender status, the law only offers suggestions to establish transgender status.
"There are some concerns that some student athletes may abuse the policy from the standpoint of participation rules or for other reasons," Anderson said. "The policy will be written in a way that will weed through those situations and the only cases that might be considered under the policy would be true situations of transgender student athletes."
Now tell me what male student athlete would want on his school recorded that he played on the girls’ basketball team. I can just see him applying for a college basketball scholarship claiming he scored 200 points a season but on a girls’ team. Or transitioning just so he can play on a girls’ team because the law says “that the gender-related identity is sincerely held” so a person cannot just claim his is a girl to play on a girls’ team.