Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It Is Always “The Bathroom”

When conservatives are losing their fall back strategy is to lie and create fear. Even through there has never been a case where someone used an anti-discrimination law to attacking a women or a girl in a bathroom that does stop the conservative from lying about it. For them the ends justify the means. It doesn’t matter what side of the boarder you are on.
Transgender rights bill opposed by Harper may be sidelined in Senate
Josh Wingrove
Ottawa — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Sep. 29 2014

A Conservative senator is considering proposing changes to a transgender rights bill that narrowly passed the House of Commons last year, raising the prospect it will meet further delays and perhaps stall before the next election.

Senator Don Plett, a former Conservative Party president, told The Globe and Mail he “absolutely [does] not” support the current version of Bill C-279, which is aimed at adding new legal protections based on gender. He said he believes it is open to abuse and could allow biological males, for instance, into women's change rooms – which Mr. Plett believes would violate the rights of women and girls – or for predators to claim transgender status, access a facility, then commit an assault.
And then on this side of the boarder in response to a proposed change in school athletic policy to include trans-people in sport a conservative based ran an ad locker rooms…
Proposed transgender high school athlete policy stirs controversy
By Sasha Aslanian
Sep 29, 2014

To raise an alarm about the proposed change, the Minnesota Child Protection League bought a full-page ad in the Star Tribune sports section on Sunday.

The ad, which showed a photograph of a locker room shower wall, included the words, "A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are YOU ok with that?"

Michele Lentz, state coordinator of the Child Protection League, said its members wanted to alert parents to the discussion of transgender athletes because the issue seemed to be flying under the radar.

"The parents that we're talking to are up in arms. They didn't know that this was going on. They didn't know that this policy was being considered and they're appalled."

According to its website, the Child Protection League aims to protect all children from "exploitation, indoctrination and violence." Lentz said the group's members believe gender is determined by biology and genetics, not choice.
Fear and lies. According to TheColu.mn the Child Protection League is a,
A group of veteran religious right and tea party activists have come together to oppose the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, also called the anti-bullying bill. The Minnesota Child Protection League is touring state tea parties and religious groups with presentations that contain factual inaccuracies and promote false stereotypes about the LGBT community.
They say they are protecting family and religious values but they seem to have forgotten the Ten Commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”

Monday, September 29, 2014

When No Gender Fits

There are a large number of people who identify as genderqueer or genderfluid, they do not want to be pinned down to a gender but want to either be able to flow between genders or by androgynous.
When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person
Washington Post
By Monica Hesse
September 20

Kelsey’s gender identity is “non-binary.” Or, “agender.” It’s what Kelsey feels comfortable with, even though the world keeps insisting, in a million little ways, that Kelsey has to choose. Like the OkCupid profile some friends are always suggesting Kelsey create online. When Kelsey looked at the matchmaking site’s opening screen, it presented an immediate problem: “I am a [male/female].”

Which box do you check when you don’t belong in any box? How do you navigate the world when the world is built on identifying with one group or another group, male or female, and the place that feels most right to you is neither?
For Kelsey, identifying as agender wasn’t an immediate realization but a gradual awakening, a recognition that what applied to other girls didn’t seem to apply to Kelsey. People would say Kelsey was pretty, and it made Kelsey squirm — not because Kelsey felt unattractive but because other people’s definitions of pretty, or handsome for that matter, didn’t work. Dresses and makeup only made Kelsey feel uglier, but boy clothes weren’t right either. It wasn’t about being a tomboy. It wasn’t a personality trait. It wasn’t even about the clothes, although those were an immediate shorthand for Kelsey’s discomfort. It was something different and deeper.
The first thing that is asked when a baby is born is whether it is a boy or girl. From that day forward that label puts them in a box with certain expectations and some people don’t want to be put in a box, they don’t want to be tied down to life goals that is tied to what is between their legs.

What is wrong with wanting to live in a non-gendered world where people see you as a person and not as a male or female?

Gender Is In The Mind And Not The Body

For many people they can’t get their heads around that. You don’t have to have hormones, surgery, or transition to be transsexual.

Some butch lesbians dress like a man but do not identify and that is the key, how you identify. So why can’t you be transsexual and not transition. if you are comfortable not transition that is Okay.

This is the video rebutting the comments on BuzzFeed…
(The video has strong language)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Day Start Off Innocent Enough

Friday night the sunset was beautiful with a waxing moon there was not a cloud in the sky, just the red glow on the horizon. I thought that it would make a beautiful photograph up at the lake cottage, so Saturday morning I headed off to the cottage.

I got on I-91 and came to a huge traffic jam in Rocky Hill, cars were stopped for as far as the eye can see so I took a side road and but so did everyone else. I get back on 91 in Hartford and traffic was moving 70 – 75 until got just south of Springfield when traffic came to screeching halt… the Big E! I forgot about the Eastern States Exposition. The Big E is a three week long fair for all of New England, each state has an exposition building including the regular exhibit halls and all they stuff that fairs have; agriculture buildings, rides, rodeos, car thrill shows, concerts, you name it they have it. Anyway traffic was backed up for about a mile before the exit to the fair.

The normal 3 hour drive was almost 5 hours.

When I go into the cottage I notice that none of the lights on the DSL modem were blinking, a bad sign, and when I unplugging it and then plugged it back in it still didn't work. I pick up the phone… no dial tone! Damn! It is going to be a long night without Netflix or Amazon but it is only one night.

After I unpack I went down to the dock to check out the lake, I go to pull up the thermometer at the end of the floating dock to see the water temperature and I lose my balance. I do a number of quick moves to kept from going into the lake and I pull a muscle on my hip.

I limp back to the cottage lay down on the couch and start reading about twenty minutes later I hear what sounded like a faucet opened full blast. I start looking to see where the water is running and it sound like it is downstairs, I open the utility closet and there is water gushing out of the pressure tank for the well. AGH!! I hobble up the stairs as fast as I can and turnoff the breaker for the pump.

I go outside to find a hot spot for the phone where I might get at least one bar on my cell phone (we are in the middle of a wireless dead zone) but couldn’t find any so I was going to get in my car to drive to the dump (the dump is the highest point in the town and it is probably the only spot in town where you can get phone coverage). My neighbor sees me and says “Hi.” I tell him my woes and he lets me call my brother from his cell phone (he had only one bar but the call did go through).

After I talk to my brother I go and get a couple of pails of lake water, one to heat and do the dishes and the other to flush the toilet.

So this morning I made breakfast and headed for home. But I did get my pictures… do you think they were worth it?

Update 9/29 6:30
My back, hip and arms are sore from when I almost fell on the dock. I think I strained the muscles when I shifted my weigh quickly around to keep from fall head first into the lake. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday 9: A Day in the Life

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: A Day in the Life (1967)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) According to Rolling Stone, this is the greatest Beatle song of all. What's your favorite Beatle song?
Norwegian Wood

2) "A Day in the Life" took 5 days to record. Looking back on the last five days, what did you accomplish?
Monday I goofed off and didn’t do anything.
Tuesday I volunteered for 3 hours at a free health clinic and at night I helped set up a website
Wednesday I volunteered again for 3 hours at the health clinic and then in the evening I was on a panel for a college class to talk about diversity
Thursday I goofed off again
Friday I went to a committee meeting on aging and at night I went to a board meeting for a non-profit.

3) This song is the highlight of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, the first album released after the Beatles gave up touring. Critics predicted that, when they abandoned live concerts, their creativity would wane. Obviously this wasn't the case. When has someone underestimated you?
All the time but once they know me they see that they were wrong

4) The song says our hero "woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head." How is your hair right now? Are you prepared to go out and face the world? 
My hair in on my bedpost.

5) The lyrics tell us he had to hurry to catch the bus to work. When is the last time you rode public transportation?
This spring when I took the train with a friend to see the Broadway play that won three Tony awards.

6) "A Day in the Life" was a true Lennon-McCartney collaboration. Conventional wisdom is that Paul is easy going while John was edgy. Is your temperament more Lennon or McCartney?
Paul, I am easy going, it takes an awful lot to get me going.

7) "A Day in the Life" came out five years after the Beatles replaced their drummer. Taking over for Pete Best was undoubtedly the biggest break of Ringo Starr's career. Tell us about a time when fortune smiled on you. 
When I decided to go into social work after I retired, it was the best decision I ever made.

8) It would be hard to overestimate the Beatles' impact on popular culture. Their story and music have inspired a Broadway musical, a Las Vegas show, two movies and, according to Amazon, 900+ books. What's the most recent biography you read?
Annie Leibovitz. I don’t usually read biographies but I was given hers as a present by the agency that I intern at for my masters. I love photography and it is her story about her life as a photographer.

9) The Beatles are an ongoing boon to England's tourism industry. Fans from all over the world visit Liverpool each year to see where the Beatles grew up and got their start. If you won a trip to England, tell us what you'd like to see.
Stonehenge and the Roman Baths,

Friday, September 26, 2014

Just Because There Are Laws

Doesn’t mean discrimination will go away, it also will take vigorous enforcement.
Federal Government Sues Companies Over Anti-Transgender Discrimination Claims
An historic first from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

By Chris Geidner
Sept. 25, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed lawsuits Thursday against two companies accused of discriminating against transgender employees, the first time the federal government has brought suit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect transgender workers.

The two complaints, filed in federal courts in Florida and Michigan, are the latest — and most ambitious — steps in a series of aggressive moves taken by the commission in the past several years to advance LGBT rights under existing laws.
In Thursday’s cases, the EEOC argues that Amiee Stephens and Brandi Branson deserve restitution for back pay, reinstatement or front pay, and punitive damages for the discrimination they faced. EEOC is also seeking additional remedies to protect against future discrimination against other people.

Stephens had worked at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home Inc. in Michigan as a funeral director and embalmer for nearly six years when she informed her employer and co-workers in 2013 that she was transitioning from male to female and would begin “dress[ing] in appropriate business attire at work as a woman from then on.” Within two weeks of her announcement, according to the complaint, the funeral home owner “fired Stephens, telling her that what she was ‘proposing to do’ was unacceptable.”

Branson’s case, a senior EEOC staffer acknowledged, is a less direct claim. In 2010, Branson, who then presented as male, was recommended for and hired as the director of hearing services at Lakeland Eye Clinic in Florida — a position in which she exclusively relied about referrals from the company’s eye doctors. When Branson began “wearing feminine attire to work, including make-up and women’s tailored clothing” about six months later, the complaint claims that other employees snickered. She was soon thereafter confronted about the changes by her employer, at which point she acknowledged that she was transitioning from male to female.
And it is not just the federal government that are filing complaints…
Texas Trans Man Won't Back Down From AT&T Discrimination Claim
Despite AT&T's denial that Matthew Hileman faced discrimination, he says the company tried to keep him from releasing a recording of coworkers discussing an 'ass-whooping.'
The Advocate
By Mitch Kellaway
September 24 2014

After working as an IT contractor for AT&T in San Antonio, and enduring his coworkers' derogatory comments about LGBT people, transgender man Matthew Hileman finally had enough after he found a sign with an antigay slur placed on his chair.

In January, he sought to be reassigned in his position at San Antonio's Resources Global Professionals, and filed a formal complaint against AT&T, which had contracted RGP's services, according to San Antonio's KSAT.

The next week, Hileman was fired.

In response, Hileman filed the first claim of antitransgender discrimination under San Antonio's new nondiscrimination ordinance, which took effect last September.
Here in Connecticut there have been a number of claims that have filed against businesses for discrimination and are making their way through the system.In many of them we don’t know the outcome in many of the cases because once the businesses are confronted with their discrimination they settle the case privately.

Sometimes We Forget How Good We Have It Here

No matter how bad you have it here in the States other areas of the world have it a lot worst.
Malaysia urged to stop transgender arrests
Rights group says Malaysian government should repeal laws that discriminate against transgender people.
Al Jazeera
25 Sep 2014

Malaysia's transgender population faces systematic repression, harassment and mistreatment, and the government must immediately repeal laws that criminalise their lifestyles, Human Rights Watch has said.

On Thursday, the US-based group released a report it says details worsening abuses that transgender people face in the Southeast Asian nation.

They include arrest, assault and extortion by authorities, public shaming of transgender people by forcing them to strip off their women's clothing in public, and barriers to healthcare, employment and education.
Malaysia has civil courts based on British law, but also sharia courts regulating adherence to Islamic practices, and which apply only to Muslims.

Islamic law outlaws men dressing as women, which is punishable by up to three years in jail. Some Malaysian states also outlaw cross-dressing by women.
I also have read that in Malaysia and other Southeast Asia countries there are also gangs of men who go around enforcing sharia law on women.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Freedom To Discriminate

That is what some religious organizations want; they want to be able to discriminate in employment for non-religious positions like janitors and teachers. The current federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) expanded the religious exemption from those who are directly involved with religious teachings to all employees.
Jobs lost over LGBT issues on the rise
National Catholic Reporter
By Bob Shine
Sep. 25, 2014

At least 17 U.S. church employees have been fired, resigned, refused to renew restrictive contracts, or had job offers rescinded over LGBT-related employment disputes this year.

This means that of the 40-some employees who have lost jobs at Catholic institutions since 2008 because of their sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancies or personal views on homosexuality, nearly half have lost their jobs this year.

Three developments are exacerbating problems for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender church workers and their co-workers in 2014, but there are signs of hope as well.
In most cases, Catholic employers are considered legally justified in their actions because of religious exemptions and the patchwork nature of LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.

That said, Catholic laypeople are finding the actions of church leaders to be morally unjustified and are increasingly standing beside fired church workers. Sustained protest efforts by parish and school communities experiencing employment disputes have occurred in the states of Washington, Michigan, Georgia, Missouri and Ohio.
In over half of the states it is still legal to fire gay and lesbian couple when they marry so when a couple tries to have their spouse’s insurance coverage they get fired.

Churches are trying to push the envelope to say that employees are also covered by the religious exemption; however, in all the non-discrimination laws the exemption just covers those employees who are directly teaching religious dogma.

If they get their way and expand the exemption by either legislation or court decree it will be far reaching, way beyond parochial schools. It can affect hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and even apartment houses. Did you know that the Catholic Church is one of the biggest landlords in the nation?

In a landmark case in New Jersey Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist organization owned a pavilion that they rented out and when they denied renting it to a lesbian couple the couple filed a discrimination complaint. The camp association had signed an agreement when they asked for a tax exemption for the property that said the pavilion was open to all of the public. The courts ruled that by denying the lesbian couple rental of the pavilion it was not open to all of the public.

It the religious exemption is expanded the camp association would be allowed to discriminate, also churches could refuse to rent an apartment to any LGBT persons. That is why we should oppose the current ENDA legislation or any legislation that expands the exemption.

We Get Shot Down North Of The Border

In Canada the House of Commons the Speaker of the House of Commons quashed a hate crime bill to protect us, in a commentary in the Halifax Chronicle Herald they wrote…
On Monday, Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons, killed a vote to extend hate crime protection to transgender people, citing an obscure parliamentary rule.
He has taken a strictly minimalist interpretation of his job. On Monday, the Speaker wouldn’t even allow a vote on hate crimes protection for transgender people because, technically, the House would be repeating itself. The House had already approved this policy, but it is stalled in the Senate. So Randall Garrison, the NDP MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, tried another route: adding it to the government’s omnibus cyberbullying bill.
It seems that the conservatives behave the same on both sides of the border.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Oh When Will They Ever Learn?

It is just unbelievable that school systems have their head in the sand; don’t they read the bulletins from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice? Don’t they read the news and see all the schools systems that have received fines and legal action for discrimination or maybe they just watch Fox News?
Transgender student at Columbus High School says school is not making reasonable accommodations
KAOM Channel 7
Updated: Sep 19, 2014
By Cailey Dougherty

A transgender student at Columbus High School says the school is not making reasonable accommodations for his needs.

Now the student is speaking out, but the school is not.

"The students don't see me as a person," said Damien Greenlee, junior.

Greenlee is a transgender student, who was born a female, but has taken on a male identity since the beginning of freshman year.

Greenlee says after student complaints, school officials told him not to use either the men's or women's bathrooms at school.

"I had no bathroom that I could go to," Greenlee said. "The bathroom that I'm going to now is a storage unit."
This is so totally against the law and dehumanizing! To be forced the use a bathroom in a storage closet like he has some horrible contagious disease.

And don’t get me started on what the reporter wrote, “…has taken on a male identity…” Grrr.

The Haters

They are the ones who denied that the earth revolves around the sun; they are the ones who deny that the Earth is round, they are the ones who believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.

Two days ago I wrote about a speech that Emma Watson gave at the UN and today the haters are out there denouncing her.
Emma Watson faces backlash after gender equality speech
By Lisa Respers France
September 23, 2014

(CNN) -- Emma Watson is experiencing the ugly side of advocacy.

According to reports, Watson's recent impassioned speech for gender equality at the United Nations has drawn backlash, including a threat to leak alleged nude photos of the star.
Writing for the Washington Post, Soraya Nadia McDonald tied the threat, as well as false Internet reports that Watson had died, to "a long history of this sort of bullying aimed at women on the Internet, especially feminists."

"It's just the latest in a long history of online efforts to intimidate, belittle, threaten and cow women into hiding and shutting up — the message, of course, being, if you dare to do or say something we don't like, we'll expose you in return," McDonald wrote.
They are the ones who fight against any change in the status quo; they are the ones who want to live in the past. Whether it is marriage equality or human rights they feel threaten by change, it confronts all their beliefs and they live in a world where “Father Knows Best” would feel right at home.

When their worldview changes they lash out with hatred and violence to protect their fantasy world, they are the ostriches of the world.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Are We Going To Be Thrown Under The Bus Again

This time in Michigan,
LGB not T? Bolger questions need to add transgender protections to Michigan anti-discrimination lawMLive
By Jonathan Oosting
September 22, 2014

LANSING, MI — House Speaker Jase Bolger is considering calls to add sexual orientation protections for gay residents to Michigan’s anti-discrimination law but questioning the need to include gender identity and expression language.

That means the transgender community may not be part of a potential Republican proposal to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights act, but Bolger says they already have some protection.
LGBT advocates disagree, arguing that updating Elliott-Larsen without adding sexual identity and expression language would force transgender individuals to continue jumping through legal “loopholes” to prove discrimination and run contrary to national trends.
The Speaker says that the courts are ruling in favor of us under existing laws which is true; however, those laws only cover us in employment and education and as the advocates point out we will be at the mercy of the court and could be overturned at any time.

The article also points that out,
Michigan’s anti-discrimination law also applies to housing markets, places of public accommodation and smaller employers. The EEOC does not have authority in those spheres, meaning transgender individuals can currently be denied housing, service or jobs at small businesses under the letter of the law in Michigan.
Let’s see if we will end up under the bus again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Emma Watson On Feminism

Emma Watson who played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter who is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and Vanity Fair reported on her speech at the UN on Feminism,
The actress gave an impassioned speech on feminism and gender at the U.N. Headquarters in New York this weekend to launch the “HeForShe” campaign which aims to galvanize one billion men and boys as advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally.

Watson’s speech, which was met with a thunderous standing ovation, not only called for action from male allies, but clarified a persistent misconception about feminism in general. She said:
I decided that I was a feminist. This seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, [women’s expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, anti-men, unattractive.

Why has the word become such an unpopular one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.

Watson is pushing back against recent campaigns like Women Against Feminism. As Watson puts it elsewhere in her speech, these campaigns portray the feminist cause as “man-hating.” By involving both genders in the “HeForShe” campaign, Watson hopes to abolish the “us vs. them” mentality.
Conservatives have given a bad name to feminist, they have tried to demonize them and called them derogatory names like fem-nazis. Rush Limbaugh and Fox News have twisted the meaning of feminism and made it mean men-haters because feminist challenge their conservative male dominated ideology.

Have You Ever…

Had a store clerk harass you in a check-out line?
Australia: Trans teenager says supermarket cashier ‘laughed in face’ over old ID
Pink News UK
By Nick Duffy
21st September 2014

A transgender teenager in Australia has filed a complaint, after a supermarket cashier laughed in his face when looking at his ID.

The 19-year-old man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Sydney Morning Herald he was refused cigarettes by an employee at Woolworths supermarket (not affiliated with the defunct UK chain) in Wollongong, because he had not been able to update his ID since transitioning.
Has this happened to you?

For me when I was first transitioning I has the most troubles, over time I think I became more relaxed and less “deer in the headlights” looking. But once in awhile I run into a jerk, it is usually a teenage boy that gives me a hard time. The last time was at Kohl’s and it was probably in the early spring, a teenage boy was at the register and I thought he was going to chock trying not to laugh out loud.

Then on the other side of the spectrum a clerk at the local Stop & Shop is very friendly she always talks to me if she is at the clerk checkout aisle  and if her line isn’t too long I will pick her aisle.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I Am Somebody!

Internalized trans-phobia, I think it is something that we have all going through at one time or other in our lives.

Someone posted this old blog post from Transgender Mental Health on Facebook and I want to write about it because I think it is an important topic to talk about. She writes,
Internalized trans-phobia refers to feelings some people have inside about their being trans that they might not even be aware of.  It refers to how some people hate that part of themselves and are ashamed of it.  The phrase comes from the similar experiences of gay folk who sometimes have “internalized homo-phobia”.

How does this happen?  This happens because of discrimination, ignorance and stigma in society against people who display gender non-conforming behavior.  In other words against men and boys who appear feminine or girls and woman who appear masculine or “butch” or people who are more gender-queer and don’t appear to be completely male or female.
I think she makes a very good point; “internalized trans-phobia” happens because of the stigma attached to being trans. When we are fighting with ourselves and trying to deny that we are trans that is where the angsts comes from, we think that being trans is the worst thing in life, we see it as a curse. That is also where our high suicide rate, our high drug and alcohol dependency comes from, our own internalized self-loathing.

Internalized trans-phobia also is what causes “lateral hostiles” when other trans-people try to distance themselves from other trans-people in order to make themselves feel superior or disassociate themselves from other trans-people. They hold themselves aloof from the trans-community. They might call other trans-people who they feel beneath them “men in a dress” or use other derogatory phrases to separate themselves from.

She goes on to write,
…Some people take a long time to come out as trans because they have so much internalized trans-phobia.  It can hold you back in life, not only in terms of finding a way to be the gender you are, but in many areas of your life such as forming deep and satisfying connections to others.
For me that is so true, it did keep me from developing deep romantic connections because I could never give my whole self to a relationship. I never developed my true potential and it is still hard to overcome the feelings of inadequacies, I tend to over compensate and try too hard to please.

As she says, “It takes time to “undo” deep down beliefs about gender-variant people…” it takes time to develop self-acceptance to realize that the world will not end with coming out.

When I wrote my “Personal Statement” for my MSW Application to grad school, I wrote…
In coming out, I leaned self-acceptance and in gaining this acceptance came empowerment. This has become a valuable tool in which to help others.  Self-acceptance allows one to not only believe in themselves but that all things are possible – even social change and social justice.  I think the Reverend Jesse Jackson said it best in his poem “I am Somebody”-- we are all somebody and we can never forget that.

Why To Come Out

That is something that is so very personal that only you can decide to come out or not.

Model Geena Rocero made that decision in a very public forum, at a TED Talk…

She made her decision because a desire to help others and we all make our decisions for many other reasons including to make the world a better place.

In an interview on TED Talks on PBS she said,
ROCERO: The world makes you something that you're not. But you know inside what you are. And that question burns in your heart. How will you become that? So when I became a fashion model, I felt that I'd finally achieved a dream that I've always wanted since I was a young child. My outside self finally matched my inner truth. At that time, I felt like Geena, you've done it. You've made it. You have arrived. But this past October, I realized that I'm only just beginning. In my case, for the last nine years, some of my neighbors, some of my friends, colleagues, even my agent did not know about my history. I think in mystery, this is called a reveal. Here is mine. I was assigned boy at birth based on the appearance of my genitalia.

RAZ: At this moment, when you spoke on the TED stage, and you revealed this for the first time publicly, it was just, like, silent. You could hear a pin drop. And you had revealed this thing that you had kept secret from so many people for so long.

But it was not always her desire to come out, when she first came here she kept her history secret.
ROCERO: So when I moved to New York, I made a conscious decision to not fully share about my journey into womanhood. And first, I wasn't ready to talk about it. Second, I just - I knew just people have this misconception about what it means to be trans. And I just don't want to have that conversation first and foremost. And it wasn't until December, last year, 2013 when they told my model agent that I'm a transgender woman.

RAZ: What did your agent say?
ROCERO: (Laughter) I remember, OK, that's right, I need to talk to my agent and share with him. I picked up that phone call. I said, Ron, this is what I'm about to do, and this is the story I want to share. And I remember having that pause. And then he said, well, congratulations. I'm proud of you. I am - you know, I'm here. I support you, which is a big sigh of relief. I mean, I remember being, you know, so nervous, so nervous. (Laughter).

RAZ: I mean, in that time - because you were a model in New York for more than a decade - were you ever afraid that somebody would - I don't know - find out and it would hurt your career?

ROCERO: It's a big yes. I was always in a constant state of paranoia. There's nothing worse than being outed. There's nothing worse than people taking control of your narrative. So I guess subconsciously I did let that fear paralyze me.
And that is my feeling also, that when you go back into the closet after you transition you once again start worrying about be found out. When you are our living your life as an out trans-woman or trans-man you now face discrimination. That is way I believe that no one can second guess your decision to come out or to keep your history private, because coming out means going against the social norms and facing all that social throws at you and only you can make that decision.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Six #545

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #545

1. When you walk to a light switch, do you “turn off” the lights or do you “cut off” the lights?

2. When nature calls, do you sit on a “toilet” or a “commode”?

3. Do you call those little bugs that seem to light up “fireflies” or “lightning bugs”?
Sometimes I call them “fireflies” and other times I call them “lightning bugs”

4. Do you “mash” buttons or “press” them?
Press, mash is something you do with potatoes.

5. When referring to denim pants, do you call them “jeans” or “dungarees”?

6. Do you stand in a “line” or “queue” when waiting for something?
I stand in a “line” as in the lines were long at the supermarket.

Saturday 9: Margaritaville

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Margaritaville (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song Jimmy sings of "booze in the blender." What do you prepare in your blender?
Not much… I use it for stuff like making ham and pickle, and potato pancakes.

2) As the song opens, Jimmy is sitting on his front porch swing. Describe the front porch of the building you're in right now.
It is just the entryway for the front door.

3) Jimmy sings of being able to smell boiling shrimp. Do you prefer your shrimp boiled, glazed or breaded?
Stuffed with crab meat.

4) During the song, he mentions his flip flops. Have you put your flip flops and sandals away till spring? Or is it still warm enough to wear them?
I’m still hoping for some more warm days

5) Jimmy Buffett had hoped this song would be recorded by Elvis Presley, but The King died before he could perform it. What's the first Elvis song that comes to mind? 
Hound dog

6) Buffett fans are known as Parrotheads. Concert attire for a well-dressed Parrothead often includes a Hawaiian shirt and a foam fin hat. What will you be wearing tonight?
A nightgown and trying to stay up past nine (I have been up since 1:30AM; I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep).

7) Loyal Parrotheads paid between $500 and $5000 to see Mr. Buffet at a fundraiser for Barack Obama's 2012 Presidential campaign. What's the most you would pay for a concert ticket?
I think might have been $25 dollars back in 1975 for a Grateful Dead concert at Dillon Field.

8) Jimmy is an outspoken environmentalist and supports causes like ocean conservation, saving the manatees and expanding the Dallas Zoo. What steps do you take to help save the planet? 
I drive a Plug-in Prius and right now I’m getting 79mpg.

9) Uh-oh. When Jimmy and the Coral Reefers played in Wisconsin this past August, more than two dozen concertgoers got tickets for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Do you believe pot should be legalized?
YES! Just look at Colorado, yes they do have some problems but overall it has been successful. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Last Couple Of Days…

…I have been at an outreach at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine for the second year med students, this have been annual event for me for around ten years. The School of Medicine has two classes on taking sexual history for LGBT patients and how to make your office LGBT friendly, the second class begins with a lecture on what doctors can do to make their office more of an open and affirming space. That it is not just the doctors but also their staff and forms that should be LGBT friendly, from the moment we walk through their doors or call on the phone the patients should feel safe to discuss all their health concerns.

The doctor that gives the lecture tells a story about when he was still a student and the doctor he was assigned to track would ask girls if they had a boyfriend yet. He said he used to cringe whenever the doctor said that, he said by asking that question a girl who is lesbian might withhold vital medical information. Another story that he told was when he was doing a sexual history and asked if she used condoms. When she started to giggle he looked at her and she said that she was a lesbian. He said he wanted to hit himself on the head thinking… “I teach the class!”

Then the panel that I was on got to tell our medical history and after we told out stories there was a Q&A session after which we broke up into same workgroups. What I mentioned was about when I got into an argument with a nurse on the phone and also the trouble I had getting my PSA test paid by Medicare.

Incident with the nurse happened when she called me to tell me lab results and she asked for Diana, she didn’t believe that I was Diana and refused to give me my test results and it went back and forth several times. Finally after I told her that I was Diana and she told me I wasn’t; she then told me to have Diana call. I called back immediately and got a different nurse who gave me my results. I also told her about the other nurse and she said she would have a talk with her.

The other incident happened this past winter when I went for my annual physical and the doctor ordered (rightly so) a PSA test for me. However, since Medicare has me as female they rejected to bill and it bounced back and forth between me, the insurance company, and the doctor’s office until it was resolved last month.

Since I have been doing these outreach I have bumped into some of the doctors who have had the class and remember me from it. It is nice that more and more schools are training future doctors about LGBT patients.

We Are Not Immune

When we transition at work we have to be careful of what we say and where, and also how we behave. As with any employer they are rightly concerned about what their employees say and where they say it. You might claim that you have a First Amendment right to free speech, but if you read the amendment closely it says prohibits the making of any law respecting an freedom of speech, notice it applies only to the government and it says nothing banning employers from limiting what can do.

So when a trans-woman transitioned at an auto dealership as a mechanic, according to Lexology
Plaintiff Jennifer Chavez was hired as a mechanic by Credit Nation Auto Sales in Austell, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta), when she was Luis Chavez, a man. After a little more than a year on the job, then-Mr. Chavez told management that he intended to undergo gender reassignment. (At this point, we will refer to the Plaintiff as “Ms. Chavez.”) According to Ms. Chavez, management and her co-workers were extremely supportive . . . for about two weeks. During that two-week period, Ms. Chavez even sent an email to a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, going on and on about how supportive her co-workers had been, “even the crotchety old southern guys who I thought were set in their ways.” Ms. Chavez also said that, after the co-workers were informed, the owner sent an email reminding them of Credit Nation’s policy against harassment.
And the article goes on to say that she was warned about talking about the Gender Confirming Surgery (GCS) in detail to her co-workers and that she was changing out over her coveralls before the end of her shift. In addition she wanted to use the office bathroom as opposed to the mechanic’s bathroom but the company said that she had to use the mechanic’s restroom. After she fell asleep on the job she was fired.

She then sued for sex discrimination based on Title VII,
Even though the charge was treated as timely, and even though gender identity discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII, the court adopted a magistrate’s recommendation and granted summary judgment to Credit Nation based on Ms. Chavez’s “time theft” related to her sleeping on the job. The counselings she had been given were not evidence of prejudice because of her transgender status, the court said, and she had no evidence that sleeping on the job – especially while on the clock – was was not a legitimate ground for discharge. The evidence of the other employee’s termination for the same reason appeared to be critical to this part of the court’s ruling.
I think she got off on the wrong track when she called the reporter because some companies take a dim view of their employees saying anything about the company either good or bad.

The next thing she did wrong was about the bathroom, the bathrooms were basically unisex. There was a bathroom for the office and customers up front and one for the mechanics, since she was a mechanic it was not discrimination based on sex. Since discrimination is defined as doing something different because of her sex, but since the bathrooms were divided by office and shop workers it wasn’t sex discrimination.

But I think that the straw that broke the camel’s back was sleeping on the job and because the company treated other people who slept on the job the same way as other employees it was not discriminatory.

The thing is we have to be on our toes and on good behavior when we transition, and just because we are trans does not mean that we cannot be fired for just cause.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Two Worlds

Not the “haves and have nots” world but rather those who can integrate in society and those who cannot, they live in two different worlds. For some transitioning is easy while those who cannot fit into a gender binary world are marginalized.

I came across an article in Colorlines that contrasted the world of Laverne Cox and Islan Nettles,
Cox was lifted up as a reflection of mainstream progress; finally, queer and transgender people had been accepted in American culture. But if Cox is a reflection of mainstream progress in LGBT communities, she’s also a reflection of those left stranded in America’s economic and cultural margins. When she served as Grand Marshall at this year’s New York City Pride Parade, she rode in a car alongside Dolores Nettles, mother of Islan, a 21-year-old transgender woman who was beaten to death in Harlem last year. The investigation into Nettles’ death has stalled and her killer remain at large, a frighteningly common scenerio [sic] for many transgender women of color who find themselves victims of hate crimes. The odds are still stacked markedly against queer and trans people of color: sky-high unemployment rates, harassment, disease and murder are still stubborn facts of life. So while there are many examples of LGBT visibility in America — think sports stars like Brittney Griner and Michael Sam, musicians like Angel Haze and Frank Ocean — visibility alone has not often led to the chance to live safe, equitable lives.
Life is much easier for those who fit into the binary, they are more likely to find work, they are more likely to find a partner, and they are less likely to be victims of violence. However, those who do fit into the gender binary are also more likely to victims of violence if their past is discovered.

On Tuesday when I was at the UConn Health Center doing outreach one of the 2nd year med students asked the question “Do you think it has gotten better for transgender people?” My answer was “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” that for those who can integrate into society it is the best of times but for those who are marginalized by society it is the worst of times.

Just look at what happened the other day to the two gay men in Philadelphia who were set upon by a mob. They were holding hands when they were questioned if they were gay by some of the people in the group; it was because they didn’t fit into the normative. Even with all the progress the LGBT community has made; there are still those in society who want to push back and force us back into the closet.

It is the best of times until you step out of bounds.

# # # # #

I will once again be doing an outreach this afternoon at a local medical college so there will be no afternoon post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Longitudinal Survey

You probably have seen news articles about a longitudinal survey of trans-children where they followed 22 trans-girls and 33 trans-boys from their teenage years to when they were in their early twenties. According to the abstract for the survey the results were,
After gender reassignment, in young adulthood, the GD was alleviated and psychological functioning had steadily improved. Well-being was similar to or better than same-age young adults from the general population. Improvements in psychological functioning were positively correlated with postsurgical subjective well-being.
But what the research did not cover was the sparkle in their eyes or their smile when they started on the hormone blockers. Over lunch yesterday I was listening to a pediatric doctor from Colorado talk about the changes he sees in his young patients as they are starting on hormone blockers or hormones.

The conclusion of the abstract said,
A clinical protocol of a multidisciplinary team with mental health professionals, physicians, and surgeons, including puberty suppression, followed by cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery, provides gender dysphoric youth who seek gender reassignment from early puberty on, the opportunity to develop into well-functioning young adults.
If you have ever seen the change when a child or an adult begins hormones it is amazing, it is like a hundred pound weight was taking from their shoulders.

I will hope that the study is continuing and that they follow these 55 young adults throughout their lives, ten years is not long enough to see how their health is affected by the hormone blockers or a lifelong exposure to hormone. We also need to see if this is the proper intervention for gender dysphoria, we to look at how they are not only in their twenties but in their thirties, forties and beyond.

A Corrupt System Corrupts Absolutely.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has mishandled the Jane Doe case from the very beginning. Jane Doe father is in prison, her mother is a drug addict, and the DCF took her away from her mother (the only right thing that DCF did) and put her in the care of her grandmother.  Mother Jones reported,
The state became involved in Jane Doe's life when she was five, according to her affidavit, because her father was incarcerated and her mom was using crack and heroin. She was born a boy; after she was placed in the care of her extended family, she said, one relative caught her playing with dolls and bashed her head into the wall. She said another relative raped her at age eight, as did others as she grew older. Doe would only allow herself to look like a girl in secret. Around age 11, a relative caught her in the bathroom wearing her dress and lipstick and slapped her, shouting, "You are a boy! What the fuck is wrong with you?"

The state became involved in Jane Doe's life when she was five, according to her affidavit, because her father was incarcerated and her mom was using crack and heroin. She was born a boy; after she was placed in the care of her extended family, she said, one relative caught her playing with dolls and bashed her head into the wall. She said another relative raped her at age eight, as did others as she grew older. Doe would only allow herself to look like a girl in secret. Around age 11, a relative caught her in the bathroom wearing her dress and lipstick and slapped her, shouting, "You are a boy! What the fuck is wrong with you?"
She was sent to a juvenile facility in Massachusetts for an assault that she committed and while she was there her lawyer said that,
…the most recent incident was sparked when a male staffer at the Massachusetts facility put Doe in a bear hug restraint from behind. "This is a girl who has been sexually abused," Romano says. "She is inclined to interpret actions with that view."
DCF mishandled the case since the beginning they have no policies for transgender children in their custody and they do not have a way to treat children who are trauma victims of sexual assaults. They woefully understaffed, their budget has increased over the years as their case load dropped but those children who are still in the system are the more complex cases. They need more personal care with staff that is trained in dealing with children with trauma and PTSD.

The other day Jane Doe walked away from a treatment facility, her first taste of freedom in years. The Hartford Courant reported that,
The transgender teenager whose transfer to an adult prison made national news slipped away Tuesday from a therapy program at Hartford's Institute of Living after being transported there from a secure youth facility by the Department of Children and Families.

She was found in good health several hours later, by a Hartford patrol officer, near 517 Park St. She was taken into custody, and detectives with the Special Investigation Division were speaking with her, said Deputy Police Chief Brian J. Foley. She will be turned back over to DCF.

"She was just walking down the street and she was very compliant with officers," Foley said.
The Courant goes on to say,
"It's unfortunate but not surprising,'' said Child Advocate Sarah Eagan, who is reviewing assaults and the use of restraints and seclusion at Pueblo and CJTS. "This is what kids who are traumatized do."

Now that she has been found, the hope is to "continue to engage her in the treatment programs that can help her heal from the many traumas she has experienced," Kleeblatt said.
So what is DCF going to do now? Are they going to punish her some more? Will they make a bad situation worse?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gay Friendly v. Trans Friendly

There is a big difference. Many times you see about a tour being LGBT friendly but really what they mean is gay and lesbian friendly especially if you are able to assimilate into sociality as a heterosexual. It is those who fall outside of the gender norms that feel the greatest discrimination.

There was a cruise line that offered a Drag cruise but said that,
These functions will be private and only the performers are permitted to dress in drag while in the theater. Guests are not allowed to dress in drag for the performances or in public areas at any time during the cruise.
Fort Lauderdale bills itself as “Gay Friendly” but according to an article in Sun Sentinel it is not trans-friendly,
In August, some 700 members of the transgender community across 48 states participated in the online survey conducted by Community Marketing & Insights, a San Francisco-based specialty marketing and research firm.

Only 10 percent of participants perceived Fort Lauderdale to be very trans-friendly, the study revealed.

Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents polled perceived Fort Lauderdale as not being transgender-friendly, while 43 percent said it was somewhat trans-friendly, according to the study commissioned by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"We know a lot about gay and lesbian travelers, but little if anything has been known about the transgender traveler, until now," said Richard Gray, the bureau's managing director of the LGBT market. "Now is the time for the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB to emphasize the importance of the T in LGBT. The forgotten T, I'm saddened to say."
I know someone who was down there with her girlfriend when they were harassed by some straight teens, guest who the police focused on, my trans-friend and her girlfriend. The police advised to go back to their hotel and stay out the area.

The Southern Comfort conference is moving to Fort Lauderdale next year, it should be interesting to see just how trans-friendly the city will be. The conference will be held at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa and I wonder just how those who venture outside of hotel will be treated at restaurants, bars and other public accommodations.

# # # # #

I will be doing an outreach this afternoon at a local medical college so there will be no afternoon post.

Monday, September 15, 2014

When There Is Money To Be Made…

...Nothing else matters.

How many times have you seen it, a radio personality makes derogatory comments against a minority and is fired and then hired back by either another station or the same station.

The DJs who made comments about trans-people are back on the air.
Rochester radio hosts, fired for calling transgender people 'nut jobs,' back on the air
By Ben Axelson
September 11, 2014

Rochester radio personalities Kimberly and Beck are back on the airwaves after the pair were fired by 98.9 The Buzz (WBZA) in May.

Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck lost their jobs hosting "The Breakfast Buzz" earlier in the year after making "hateful comments" about transgender people during their live show, The Post-Standard reported at the time.
"It was nice to have the summer off. We took some time to reflect and kind of figure out what went sideways," Kimberly said in an interview with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
Did they learn any lessons from their firing? Will they change their format or will it be business as normal, putting down everyone?
Despite the backlash, not much has changed.

"We're doing the same kind of show that we did for the last 30 years," Kimberly told the D & C.
Nope, I guess not.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Let The Battle Begin

Facebook has declared war on crossdressers, drag queens, and drag kings and wants to force them to use their real names.
Why Is Facebook Cracking Down on Drag Names?
By J. Bryan Lowder

On Wednesday, drag queens and similar performers began complaining of problems with their Facebook profiles. Artists from across the country reported being forcibly logged out of their accounts and informed that they would need to update their profiles with their legal names in order to lift the suspension.

According to New York City-based drag performer and Outward contributor Miz Cracker, at least 20 of her drag colleagues have had their profiles challenged over the last three days, with notices continuing to be issued at the time of writing.

Cracker described her experience in an email:
I found out that my account had been suspended on Wednesday night, right in the middle of a show, when a fellow queen texted to ask “Why is your Facebook profile gone?” Facebook was letting me know that I had a choice: I could either select a name they liked, or lose touch with the contacts, creative content, and memories that my name has earned me over the years.
It is also crossdressers who are facing the wrath of Facebook, I imaging that Facebook is using an app to find names that do not fit into the “normal” names, names like Miz Cracker probably fits the filter Facebook is using to highlight drag names.

Facebook claims that,
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the step was taken to bring users in line with the company’s “real name” policy, which stipulates that “people use their real identities” and “provide their real names, so you always know who you're connecting with.” The rule is designed to “keep the community safe.”
There is a grain of truth behind their policy about keeping the community safe, but on the other for some people using their real name could help a stalker or an ex find them. Also for many trans-people if their identity is know it could subject them to discrimination and harassment.

The article goes on to say the probable motive behind the drive,
Speculation about the motivations behind the purge ranges from homophobia to money—some queens point out that Facebook stands to gain financially if artists switch from personal profiles to Fan Pages, which often require paying for post promotion to make them worthwhile…
While Facebook is technically justified in putting drag queens through the “real name” ringer, one hopes they might be willing to consider how “realness” could be a relative term. After all, as Miz Cracker points out, “Cracker is real enough to earn more cash than some New York City households, publish articles, bruise someone’s face during a sloppy cartwheel, take lovers—[and yet] she isn’t real enough for Facebook.”
That is the thing for many trans-people that is for all real purpose that is their real name.

There is a petition drive on Change.org is you want to protest Facebook policy.

They Should Have Recused Themselves

Up until the current Supreme Court the justices were beyond reproach but the current Supreme Court crossed that line?

Justices Thomas and Scalia have attended a Republican strategy meeting that was organized by Koch Industries and they also attended a dinner that was sponsored by the by the law firm that would be arguing the case Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) the next day. Also justice Thomas wife raised money to contest Affordable Care Act.

The Huffington Post wrote,
"This is certainly worth more reporting," said Stephen Gillers, a professor of law at New York University. "It is intriguing because the Koch brothers are so politically active and identify with a point of view. I know I would be curious to know exactly what forums the Justices went to. Obviously they could not go to a strategy session about how to elect more Republicans. On the other hand if it was a forum on the meaning of the First Amendment and it didn't involve strategy or fundraising a Justice could appear... It's fascinating and it merits more reporting."

What complicates the report, as Gillers notes, is that the Supreme Court, very recently, handed down a major decision on campaign finance law that Koch Industries quickly utilized. Citizens United overturned existing law by ruling that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of money on federal elections. Koch has always been an active political and philanthropic giver. And its checks have been sent to Democrats as well as Republicans (though weighted more heavily to the latter). This cycle, however, the company has become one of the premier bankrollers of conservative causes, and earned the enmity of Democrats for doing so.
There is a bill (HR2902: Supreme Court Ethics Act of 2013) before Congress on the ethics of the Supreme Court,
(2) The Code of Conduct for United States Judges (referred to in this subsection as the Code) applies to all Federal judges except Justices of the Supreme Court. Justices of the Supreme Court are not formally bound by any code of conduct. Chief Justice John Roberts noted in the 2011 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary that while the Judicial Conference, which promulgates the Code, does not have authority to bind the Supreme Court, the Code is nonetheless the starting point and a key source of guidance for the Justices as well as their lower court colleagues.
(3) Congress has the authority to regulate the administration of the Supreme Court of the United States. For example, Congress sets the number of justices who sit on the Supreme Court and how many constitute a quorum, the term of the court, meaning the dates the court will be in session, and the salaries of the Justices. Additionally, the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.) requires most high-level Federal officials in all 3 branches, including the President, Vice President, cabinet members, Justices of the Supreme Court, and Members of Congress, to file annual financial disclosure statements.
It is time to hold the Supreme Court Justices to the same standards as the other federal judges. The Huffington Post goes on to say,
"I think it is very important for judges to be part of the real world and to appear in public for educative purposes to help explain the arcane mysteries of the court to the general public," said William G. Ross, a judicial ethics professor at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law. "That is very healthy and I don't think that judges should isolate themselves in a marble palace... However I am very troubled by the tendency of judges to make broader comments on public issues and to appear in public or private gatherings in which there are political overtones."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Six #544

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #544

1. You go to the grocery store and know you have a lot of items to purchase: do you use a “buggy” or a “cart”?
A shopping cart.

2. Have you ever said you were “fixing to” do something instead of saying something like, “I’m about to” do it?
Nope, I don’t use “I’m about to” either.

3. What about that little utility storage area in your car: do you call it a “glove compartment” or a “glove box”?
It is a glove box.

4. What percentage of the time do you ever keep gloves in it?

5. When you go to the coastline, are you at the “beach” or the “shore”?

6. When you reach for your shoes, are you grabbing “sneakers” or “tennis shoes”?
Sneakers, I think of tennis shoes being a type of sneakers.

Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister
(because John suggested Train)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) The video was shot on a street corner in Echo Park in central Los Angeles. If you saw a film crew making a video in your neighborhood, would you stop to watch? Or would you just keep walking?
I have and I did, they were making a horror movie in town one year filming at a diner and an old cemetery. And I have been interviewed on the news three times and it always been a blast and filmed in a commercial (which should come out in November… and no I can’t tell you about it until it comes out).

2) The singer says he remembers his girl in every dream he dreams. Do you remember if you dreamed last night?
Yes, and don’t ask me what about it is just fragments now.

3) The band Train is from San Francisco. Have you ever visited The City by the Bay?
Yes, one back in 1999 and I would love to do it again.

4) Lead singer Pat Monahan got his start in a Led Zeppelin cover band. Can you name a Led Zeppelin song?
Oh come on… everyone knows “Stairway to Heaven.”

5) In doing research for this week's Saturday 9, Crazy Sam discovered a publication called Trains, The Magazine of Railroading. What's the last magazine you flipped through? 
It was the free magazine that is in the local newspaper, Hartford.

6) Do you consider yourself a leader or a follower?
Both, it depends upon the circumstance.

7) Scholars tell us that "To be or not to be" is Shakespeare's most quoted line. Give us another one.
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

8) How do you listen to music on the go? Car radio? CD changer? iPod/mp3 player? Your phone?

9) Are you a convincing liar?
Nope and I am very gullible.

I'm sorry I didn't reply to many of your comments, but I have company for the last couple of weeks and I've been busy.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Best From The Past – My Story Part 32 – The Squirrel, the Cop and Me

I am going to be busy this morning so I dug through my blog and picked an old post from from 2010...
My Story Part 32 – The Squirrel, the Cop and Me
My first encounter with a law officer happened before I transitioned. I only crossdressed at home and I never answered the door when I was crossdresses, I hid from everyone. So, one nice spring day I washing the dishes in the kitchen with my back to door (I have glass sliding door and it was open) when there was a knock at the door. Startled, I jumped and turned around, there was a cop with a 12 gauge shotgun over his shoulder and he was also startled when he read me as a male.

He told me that there was a report of a rabid squirrel in my woodpile and he was here to shoot it. He walks down to the woodpile and I hear two shots, BAM! BAM! And he walks back up to me and said “I got him!” and I said “Good.” He walks away. That was my first encounter with the police and I imagine that I was the talk of the police station that night. Later, I walked down to the woodpile and there pieces of squirrel everywhere. I went back into the house put on a pair of rubber boots and gloves. I went back and picked up the pieces and sprayed the area in a mixture of water and bleach. There wasn’t much left of the squirrel after getting hit twice by a 12 gauge shotgun shooting double-ought buckshot.

My next encounter with the police was also when I was home, but it was after I transitioned. I was sitting reading when the doorbell rang. I got up and wondered who would be at the door ten o’clock at night. I peeked out the window and saw a state trooper standing there! I answered the door and he was the state trooper who lives down the street. I had met him before when I bought my first Prius back in 2003 before I transitioned and we still living as a male. He had stopped by, we had talked about the car, and now he recognized me as the person he talked to 3 years ago. He was very courteous and called me ma’am, he said that he stopped by to tell me that my garage door was open and the light was flashing. I thanked him and closed the garage door.
My third encounter with the police was with the Maine state police when I was in an accident a couple of years ago. Once again, he was courteous, called me ma’am and was very professional.

I tell these stories because there is a big difference in where you are stopped and who stopped you. I have heard stories of how the police have mistreated trans-people, arresting them when they did nothing wrong. I hope that my interface with the police is the norm and not the exception.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

When Harassment Clashes With The First Amendment

It is a real fine line between a person’s First Amendment right to political speech and bullying. When the Safe School Coalition reviewed the anti-bullying statutes it becomes a tightrope walk between free speech and bullying. Whether we like it or not people have a right to make derogatory comments, the hard part is defining when it becomes harassment.

Connecticut Public Act No. 11-232 states that,
1) "Bullying" means (A) the repeated use by one or more students of a written, oral or electronic communication, such as cyberbullying, directed at or referring to another student attending school in the same school district, or (B) a physical act or gesture by one or more students repeatedly directed at another student attending school in the same school district, that: (i) Causes physical or emotional harm to such student or damage to such student's property, (ii) places such student in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself, or of damage to his or her property, (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for such student, (iv) infringes on the rights of such student at school, or (v) substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Bullying shall include, but not be limited to, a written, oral or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics;
Whew! That’s a long definition of what is bullying and that is because it is a complex subject. Notice what it says, “…the repeated use by one or more students…“ But the First Amendment gives a person a right to call people names. So if a person another person a derogatory name once it is not bullying. Twice? Three times? Four times? When exactly does it become bullying or harassment?

Consider what it is happening in a Minnesota, according to a 2012 article in the Rolling Stones the school is strongly anti-gay,
Like many 13-year-olds, Brittany knew seventh grade was a living hell. But what she didn't know was that she was caught in the crossfire of a culture war being waged by local evangelicals inspired by their high-profile congressional representative Michele Bachmann, who graduated from Anoka High School and, until recently, was a member of one of the most conservative churches in the area. When Christian activists who considered gays an abomination forced a measure through the school board forbidding the discussion of homosexuality in the district's public schools, kids like Brittany were unknowingly thrust into the heart of a clash that was about to become intertwined with tragedy.
When they started a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) they were harassed.
…although the club's progress was stalled by the school district that, among other things, was queasy about the club's flagrant use of the word "gay." Religious conservatives have called GSAs "sex clubs," and sure enough, the local religious right loudly objected to them. "This is an assault on moral standards," read one recent letter to the community paper. "Let's stop this dangerous nonsense before it's too late and more young boys and girls are encouraged to 'come out' and practice their 'gayness' right in their own school's homosexual club."
The harassment was so severe that there were a number of suicides at the school and as a result,
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a lawsuit on behalf of five students, alleging the school district's policies on gays are not only discriminatory, but also foster an environment of unchecked anti-gay bullying. The Department of Justice has begun a civil rights investigation as well. 
Under federal law schools must create a safe space for learning and a school where student are harassed because of who they are to the point of committing suicide it is not a safe space for learning.

Marriage & The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is believed to decide today if they will hear a marriage equality case today and which cases they will hear if they do accept a case.

A couple of days ago the Advocate had an interesting article about what would happen if the court refuses to hear a case and let the low court rulings stand.
What If the Supreme Court Doesn't Take a Marriage Case?
Even if the Supreme Court justices don't take up any of the same-sex marriage case before them, marriage equality could be on its way to 65 million Americans.
By Matt Baume
September 9 2014

But what if the unthinkable actually happened, and the Supreme Court decided not to hear any of the marriage cases before it?

It's hard to imagine, but the court could choose to deny a writ of certiorari for the petitions currently pending and anticipated over the next few months. If it did so, the impact would be immediate and huge.
Of course, it's very unlikely that the Supreme Court would simply deny the marriage petitions out of hand. It's more likely that the justices would hold on to the petitions for a while before deciding which one — or ones — to take.

The first opportunity for them to make that decision is rapidly approaching: September 29 marks the court's first conference of the new session.
I wouldn't put it pass the conservative court to try to weasel out of having to rule on a topic that many of the Supreme Court Justices find repugnant.

Update 3:00 PM:

The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog just reported that,
The court on Wednesday listed gay marriage petitions from five states –  Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin – for consideration at its Sept. 29 private conference.  Officials in those states are asking the court to decide whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional.

The justices use the September meeting to wade through stacks of appeals that pile up during the court’s three-month recess.  The court at some point after the conference is expected to add several of those cases to its docket for the term that begins Oct. 6.  Court watchers are eagerly awaiting word on whether one or more gay marriages cases will be among them.

The court is under no obligation to act right away.  It’s possible the court could take additional time to mull its options, particularly because of fast-moving developments in other gay-marriage litigation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Growing Problem…

…Elder care for LGBT people and especially for us. Many trans-people are starting to get to an age where they will need home care or cannot live on their own anymore and need to move to a senior center. For those who can integrate into the senior population it is not that much of a problem but for the rest of us it could be a major hurdle. Many of us also do not have family support which can lead to even more problems as we age.

I attend a photo club at the local senior center; I wondered if they picked up on the fact that I’m trans even though I never mentioned it. It seems like they did because at the last meeting one of them stumbled over pronouns.

There is an article in Colorlines by Aura Bogado titled “Taking Care of Transgender Elders” in the article she says,
Being transgender means one is more likely to suffer poverty, homelessness and criminalization. The violence carried out upon trans and gender non-conforming people lowers their life expectancy. But for those who do make it to middle age, there’s little in the way of resources for housing, employment and healthcare. As an active part of New York’s trans community, however, Tanya Walker says she got the support she needed. And a lot of it came through ALP [Audre Lorde Project].
ALP demonstrates what it means to actively support its elders. For some in the trans community that kind of action doesn’t always match up with what some call the mainstream gay rights narrative.
She is right in that we are more likely to be homeless, living in poverty and have a criminal record and also we need different care that cis-gender and LGB elders.

There is a good movie about LGBT elder care, “Gen Silent”

If you want to watch the movie and take part in a discussion about LGBT elder care, the movie will be shown at the Unitarian Universalist church in West Hartford on October 17 at 6:30. Also we have submitted a workshop proposal for the Connecticut’s Alzheimer's Association conference in April.

Medicare & GCS

As most of you know Medicare is now covering trans* related surgeries and healthcare, but everyone is still muddling through the process. It has not filtered down to what is covered and how to get that coverage. Doctors don’t know, insurance companies don’t know, and we don’t know what exactly is covered and what is covered and how to code it to get it covered. So the insurance companies fallback on their standard answer… no.

Someone put out a map of surgeons who take Medicare…

But be advised that the map might not have up to date information or erroneous data. They list Dr. Bowers as not taking Medicare at this time but according to an email on WPATH elist she is but has to work clients into her schedule.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

What’s Not Talked About…

Domestic violence is something that is never talked about, you only hear about it in whispered over a coffee or at the hair dressers… “Did you hear about what happened to Jane?” “Oh how horrible!”

We are a gasped when we see Ray Rice hit his then girlfriend in the elevator. We blame the victim and we don’t understand why they don’t leave. Take a look at what the NFL did at first; they just gave him a two game suspension, it wasn’t until the public outcry that the league took stronger action.

We have stereotypes of the victim, low income, a minority, and female, but all this are wrong. DV is not limited to anyone race or income, men are also victims of DV. DV happens in same-sex couples and it happens to trans-people as well. When I first got involved with the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition it was after they were contacted around 2000 by a DV shelter in Massachusetts where they were looking for a shelter for a trans-woman who was a battered by her partner. They couldn’t find anywhere that would accept her and CTAC could find a shelter anywhere here in Connecticut that would take her. She finally found a shelter in New York City that would take her in.

In the blog xojane there is a post about domestic violence…
I’ve never publicly talked about the abuse I suffered in my first relationship.

It was being transgender and being a sex worker that has stopped me. I am afraid that because I am trans, my story will be trivialized. A trans woman getting beat up by a man is a practically a pop culture trope at this point. I don’t want to give anyone the opportunity to validate a negative assumption about my mental health, either as a trans woman or porn performer. Transitioning and doing porn are two of the healthiest things I have ever done.

I’m not a caricature, I’m not a morality tale, I’m not a two-minute back-story at the opening of a crime show. I was a little girl from Richmond, VA, who fell in love with her first boyfriend.
Without missing a beat, he cracked me across the face with his open hand. I sat there stunned. The backseat was stunned as well. They slowly slunk out of the car and went into the house. Jack theatrically sped out of the gravel driveway, driving like Cruella De Vil, barreling down the road in hysterics with my hands clenched to the passenger's seat, bracing for disaster. This sort of tantrum would become routine over the next few years. To this day I cannot argue with my current husband when we are in a car.

I didn’t even realize I was becoming an “abused woman,” in part because I had too much self-loathing to consider myself a “real woman.”
She is typical of many battered spouses, they live in fear for their or their kids’ lives if they leave and that fear is justified.

Dr. Who, Francine Jones

Did you know that Adjoa Andoh has a transgender son?
Actor Adjoa Andoh's son sensed from a very young age that although he inhabits the body of a girl, he was born a boy. "In the imperfect language we have to describe people," she says, "we call him transgender."

Adjoa talks movingly about raising a transgender child, and about what really defines who we are or who we might become. "In too many places today," she says, "and in too many ways, we suffocate our true potential selves at birth."
Listen to her talk about her son on BBC Radio 4 (Unfortunately they do not have an Embed link)

Monday, September 08, 2014

A Trans-Woman You Probably Haven’t Heard About

There are many trans-women in the news now a days, movie actresses, fighters, ex-military, and writers, but you probably have not heard of this billionaire trans-woman… until now.
America's highest-paid businesswoman is a transgender married father-of-four who earns $38million-a-year
By Mia De Graaf
September 8, 2014

The highest paid female business executive in the United States was born a man.
Martine Rothblatt, who earns $38 million-a-year as head of United Therapeutics, was a married father-of-four before undergoing a sex change in 1994.

Born into a Jewish family in San Diego, Martin trained as a lawyer at UCLA, married, had children, and went into business.

Twenty years later, she has been named top in New York Magazine's list of the 200 most successful entrepreneurs - one of just 11 women in the list.
She has a MBA, a JD, and a PhD in Philosophy. She founded the first global satellite radio networks WorldSpace and Sirius Satellite Radio. When her daughter contracted a rare disease she foundered the medical biotechnology company United Therapeutics.

An article in the New Yorker said,
In 1995, just after her transition, Martine published The Apartheid of Sex, a slim manifesto that insisted on an overhaul of “dimorphic” (her word) gender categories. “There are five billion people in the world and five billion unique sexual identities,” she wrote. “Genitals are as irrelevant to one’s role in society as skin tone. Hence, the legal division of people into males and females is as wrong as the legal division of people into black and white races.” Instead, she suggested people might better express their gender and sexual identities on a spectrum, perhaps in terms of color: Green might be “an equally aggressive/nurturing person who does not try to appear sexy” (lime green would be someone a little less aggressive), and purple might be someone gentle, nourishing, and erotic in equal measure.
Me, I’m a lavender.


Here in Connecticut if you want to change your name you have to pay $150 to the court, fill out a form, and come back in a week to see the judge. And if you can’t afford the $150 you can fill out another form to ask for a fee waiver. We are lucky; some states require your name change to be published in the newspapers.

However in someplace it is a lot harder.
Transgender Costa Ricans fight discrimination over name-change rights
By Fabiola Pomareda
The Tico Times
September 6, 2014

What’s in a name? For many transgender Costa Ricans, a lot. Starting with the fact that in many cases, the names on their government-issued IDs have nothing to do with self-image or identity.

Karolina Malone Esquivel, 24, told The Tico Times that she began her transformation from boy to girl at the age of 14. But since graduating high school, she said it’s been impossible to find work. And that discrimination starts with the name on her cédula.
Anyone can change his or her name in Costa Rica free of charge, in a simple bureaucratic process at the registry, as long as the new name is of the same gender as the birth name. And herein lies the problem for transgender Ticas and Ticos.
Typically an attorney charges transgender clients about $560 for a name change, and that doesn’t include extra fees for the time spent before judges. Transvida argues that this is discrimination.
They have petitioned the courts to require the Civil Registry to waive its gender rule, but the case is stalled in the courts.

We sometimes forget that no matter how hard it is here in the states to change our name some countries make it a lot harder.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

What’s Missing

I was looking over Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin speech at the Southern Comfort Conference today in Atlanta. He apologizes many times for the snub that they gave the trans-community and he talks about the future including passing ENDA.
First things first: an inclusive ENDA. It’s an absolutely essential piece of legislation. It will change millions of lives for the better. And as an organization, HRC will continue to invest in and fight for an inclusive ENDA.

But even a broad, inclusive ENDA isn’t enough.

If you’re trans, a fully inclusive ENDA doesn’t do much good if you’re living on the street because you’ve been kicked out of your apartment…if you haven’t been able to finish school…if even getting a job interview in the first place seems light-years away. 
I agree with the last part, having a job doesn't do you much good if you do not have a roof over your head. He goes on to say we need a LGBT civil right law and I agree with that also, We need protection federally in housing, public accommodation, credit as well as employment.

 But one thing I noticed he didn't say was that ENDA or any of the proposed legislation cannot have an expanded religious exemption. If my memory serves me correctly the HRC backed the expanded religious exemption ENDA bill while all the other LGBT organizations called for the same religious exemption as in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.