Saturday, August 30, 2014

All Night Long (All Night)

Saturday 9: All Night Long (All Night)
(because Lia asked for an 80s song)

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

1) This music video was produced by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Can you name a Monkees song?
Last Train to Clarksville

2) The song includes the foreign sounding phrases, "Oh jambali Tom bo li d, say de moi ya," and "Oh, Jambo Jumbo!" Mr. Richie meant to include language indigenous to the Caribbean, but was writing the song under deadline and simply made those phrases up instead. Tell about the most recent time you cheated or "cut corners."
I can't remember the last time that I "cut corners" it is not something that I consciously do

3) Richie was a frat boy at college. Kappa Kappa Psi, to be exact. Were you a member of a fraternity or sorority? 
Yes, and I try to hide that fact now. It was an engineering fraternity.

4) When this song topped the charts (September 1983), Vanessa Williams became the first African American to be crowned as Miss America. Do you watch beauty pageants?
Nope, never

5) Since it's Labor Day weekend, that holiday established to celebrate the American worker, let's talk about the workplace. Tellers work in a bank, actors work on a stage or a set, auto workers work on an assembly line. How would you describe your workplace?
What’s a workplace? I’m retired, I’ll be watching all you working stiffs go back to work on Tuesday from the deck of the cottage.

6) An estimated 40% of us have dated a coworker. Have you ever had an office romance?
No, but I tried.

7) Labor Day is a big weekend for travel. How did you book your last vacation? (Online, through a travel agent, over the phone ...)
I called them up on the phone. I looked up all the places in the area online and when I decided where I wanted to stay, I picked up the phone and called.

8) Mother Winters won't wear white again now until next Memorial Day. Sam thinks that's just crazy. Where do you fall in this heated mother/daughter debate? 
Wear white whenever you want. If I’m down in Florida in February I’ll wear white if I want to, so there Mrs. Winters.

9) When you look at back on Summer 2014, what will you remember?
Having friends up to the cottage, the trip to Fire Island and going to Falcon Ridge.

Speaking of Labor Day weekend, I'm up at the cottage with my brother's family so I don't know if I will have time to comment on everyone's blog.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Business As Usual

Once again the conservatives are crying over bathrooms, this time in Houston.
Bathroom Battles: Scaremongering Abounds about Transgender Public Restroom Usage
Huston Press
By Jef Rouner
Aug. 27 2014

In March 2013, Alexis Hollada, better known by her stage name, Doomstress Alexis, is on her way back from Austin with her drummer, Raymond Matthews, in tow. The pair have just rocked a gig during SXSW with their doom metal act, Project Armageddon, and now just want to get back to Houston after picking up a bite to eat at a diner on U.S. 290. There isn't much on the bass player and vocalist's mind aside from food and a chance to use the bathroom before the long drive home, and she's still high on the adrenaline from performing.

She and Matthews seat themselves and order coffee, which arrives a minute later while they look at their menus and wait for the server to take their order. And wait. And wait.

Time crawls along in the diner, which doesn't look particularly busy. Repeated attempts by the pair to make eye contact with or flag down a server are ignored. Even polite calls for help and service elicit either a dead stare or no response at all. Hollada finally realizes what's happening.
Since them Houston passed a non-discrimination ordinance, Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) and three guesses what the conservative and religious leaders objected to… and the first two answers don’t count. Bathrooms! I bet you never would have guest.
Opposition to the bill, which includes a gender identity provision, comes mostly from the conservative and religious right, including former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Earlier drafts contained a paragraph mentioning specifically that businesses would not be allowed to refuse entry to any public restroom that was consistent with a person's gender identity.

Most of the opposition has been based on the notion that the ordinance made all bathrooms gender-neutral and that transsexual and transvestite men would now be able to easily and legally stalk women and female children in the stalls. Opponents call it the Sexual Predator Protection Act.
Wow, where have you heard that before?

And they used the same old lies like the one involving 2012 incident at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington which was a total lie. Who said that if you tell a lie often enough and long enough it becomes true?

Good Luck

There are twenty one states and the District of Columbia that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and there are eighteen states and the District of Columbia that ban discrimination based on gender identity. The EEOC has ruled that gender identity is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. However, there is no such protection federally for sexual orientation.

In California a gay man is suing Little Caesars pizza company and their franchise for discrimination because they would not give health insurance coverage to his spouse.
Pizza chain sued over healthcare for gay couples…
BY DAINA BETH SOLOMON
Wed Aug 27, 2014

(Reuters) - A former trainee manager at Little Caesars pizza in California sued the company for discrimination on Wednesday, accusing the Detroit-based chain of denying employees health insurance benefits for their legally wed same-sex spouses.

The lawsuit was brought in state Superior Court in Orange County, regional headquarters for the nation's third-largest pizza chain, by Frank Bernard, 47, who said he quit his job after Little Caesars refused to extend coverage to his husband of six years.
[…]
The Supreme Court ruled separately last year that same-sex married couples were entitled to spousal benefits available under federal law, striking down provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. But that decision did not extend to benefits private companies provide to their employees.
Those twenty one states that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, well Michigan is not one of them. And Little Caesars is self-insured under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) so therefore they are under federal law not state.

So I say to Mr. Bernard, good luck. I really do hope that you will win, but the deck is stacked against you.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dignity In Death

One of the last places that we are mis-gendered is in death where we have no say on what they put on the document.
Death certificates would reflect gender identity under California bill
Reuters
Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Sandra Maler

Aug 27 (Reuters) - Death certificates in California would be changed to reflect the gender identity of people at the time of their death rather than their sex at birth under a bill passed by lawmakers on Wednesday, the latest effort by the state to further the rights of transgender residents.

The bill, which passed the state senate on Wednesday and has already passed the state assembly, must now go back to the assembly for final approval of amendments before it is sent to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown to be signed and become law.
[…]
"Once we are deceased, we are often at the mercy of others to treat us with dignity," said California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego. "The very least we can do is ensure individuals are given basic human dignity by honoring their authentic selves when they pass so that more pain is not inflicted upon grieving loved ones or the community."
And that is so true, in death treat us with dignity.

Update 9:00PM: Transgender Law Center reports that,
(Sacramento) Today, California’s Respect After Death Act (AB 1577) was sent to Governor Brown for his signature, having now passed in both the Assembly and Senate. The bill will provide guidance to help ensure that transgender people have their gender identity reflected on their death certificates. It was authored by Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins and sponsored by Equality California and Transgender Law Center.

A National Disgrace…

In a survey of foster youth in the Los Angeles County 11.5% gender non-conformity, 5.6% identify as transgender, and overall 19% of these youth identify as LGBTQ. Keep in mind that LGBTQ people make up only 5% of the population at large and trans-people are only about 0.5%.

The survey also found that,
Disparities in Experience.
LGBTQ youth have a higher average number of foster care placements and are more likely to be living in a group home. They also reported being treated less well by the child welfare system, were more likely to have been hospitalized for emotional reasons at some point in their lifetime, and were more likely to have been homeless at some point in their life. The significance of these findings is supported by previous scholarship that has linked multiple placements, mental health concerns, homelessness, and placements in group homes are barriers to permanency faced by all youth, and LGBTQ youth in particular.
We see this in Connecticut with Jane Doe; she is being bounced from one therapist to another and from facility to facility. She is currently in solitary confinement in a boy’s facility.

We see many children in DCF custody who “age out” of the system without a high school education. An article in the Hartford Courant about how the DCF does not track their children, the Courant said that,
The risks posed by losing track of children formerly cared for by DCF are significant. One of the concerns for child advocates, as well as DCF, is that children may become homeless if they age out at 18 without an education and family connections. With homelessness comes a raft of other issues: depression, drug and alcohol addiction, suicide.
We do not know what will happen to Jane Doe in two years when she ages out, but the odds are against her.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All It Will Take Is A Stroke Of A Pen

That is all it will take to allow trans-servicemembers to serve in the military. There are no laws banning us like there was for lesbians and gays, there is no Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
The Pentagon can easily drop its ban on transgender troops, study finds
Washington Post
By Dan Lamothe
August 25, 2014

The results of a forthcoming study, which was provided to Checkpoint, found that a repeal on transgender service could be lifted in a way that would not be burdensome or exceedingly complex for the military. The Palm Center, a think tank in San Francisco that promotes the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the military, says that there already are 15,500 transgender personnel in the U.S. military, but they are not allowed to serve openly.
[…]
The report says that any change must promote military readiness, comprehensively cover all of the Defense Department and minimize rules that treat transgender service members differently. A policy change also should provide medical care to transgender personnel, apply lessons from the estimated 18 other countries that already allow it, and provide flexibility so that individual service members and their commanding officers can develop a transition plan as they shift genders, the study recommended.

The commission advocates treating gender transition surgery undertaken before military service “no differently from any other surgery that potential recruits may undergo.” Active-duty service members who determine they need transition surgery should be treated the same as service members who need to recover from other more common surgeries. Gender-specific uniform items, like skirts, should be issued all at once, in order to prevent embarrassment, the commission found.
The study points out that an estimated 18 other countries allow transgender servicemembers without problems.

The article also said that the study also recommended that trans-men should be required to register for register with the Selective Service Administration if they are between 18 and 25 just as cisgender males have to do.

In an article in MassLive,
Retired US generals come out in support of allowing transgender soldiers to serve openly in military
By Robert Rizzuto
August 26, 2014

Has the time come to stop throwing transgender service members out of the United States military when they are discovered?

At least three retired U.S. generals think so, and their battle cry is being backed up by a report concluding that if the United States was to join the 18 other nations which allow transgender troops to serve openly, the result would be a better military.
[…]
"We spent three months serving on a research commission that investigated administrative aspects of transgender military service, with a view toward maintaining readiness and alignment with core military values of dignity and respect. Today, our commission releases a report, which focuses on how to implement inclusive policy in allowing transgender Americans to serve their country," the three retired generals said in a joint statement. "Our conclusion is that allowing transgender personnel to serve openly is administratively feasible and will not be burdensome or complicated. Three months have passed since Defense Secretary Hagel announced a willingness to review the military's ban on transgender service, an effort the White House indicated it supports. Our new report shows that implementation could proceed immediately and will be successful in its execution.”
What is keeping us out of the military is a regulation not a law, so all the President and Defense Sectary Hegal have to do to allow trans-sevicemembers to serve is pick up a pen and repeal the regulation.

This is the full report…



A Real Man

Does a “real man” dream of being a woman? Standing around with “his buddies” talk about cars does a “real man” wish that he could be over with the women? Does a “real man” sit to pee and avoid urinals like the plague?

What is a real man? What makes a man or a woman?

Chromosomes? Hormones? Is it the ability to father a baby or give birth? Are we just a social construct? Or is it something deep inside us?

If you ask any trans-person they will probably tell you that it is something deep inside you and if you ask a cis-person they would probably tell you it is chromosomes or hormones or what is between you legs.

Very few non-trans-people get it. Most people do not question their gender, they don’t sit for hours at a time trying to figure out why they feel male or female, or trying to deny the gender they feel deep inside. I like to say that it is like a row of telephone poles; if you stand so that they are all inline you only see the first telephone pole but if you stand aside you can see all the other telephone poles. If your gender and sex are inline you see them as the same. However, if your sex and gender are different you see that there are two poles, not just one.

As one doctor said if you want to find out if a child is a boy or a girl, ask.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ACA Insurance Coverage

Okay, I don’t know why this is all of a sudden in the news, back when the ACA bill was first passed there were article about the fact that we were covered. Back in 2012 I wrote about a news article that said,
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has clarified that sex-based discrimination that is prohibited by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotypes.
There was a lot of talk about whether or not it covered surgery and I think most people thought if it wasn't covered it will be in the future. That it was only a matter of time, well that time has come…
With Coverage Through Obamacare, Transgender Woman Opts For Surgery
By Anna Gorman KHN Staff Writer
AUG 25, 2014

Payne learned in the fall that she might qualify for subsidies through the state’s new insurance marketplace, Covered California, because her income fell under the limit of $46,000 a year. She eagerly signed up in March for a Blue Shield plan for about $230 a month, and began making preparations for the surgery that would change her life.
[…]
Now, federal law prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people, and it bars insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. That makes it possible for more transgender people to purchase private plans. And in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, those with low incomes may get free coverage.

The federal anti-discrimination regulations have yet to be written, but California insurance regulators have said that companies must treat transgender patients the same as other patients. For example, if plans cover hormones for post-menopausal women, they must also cover them for transgender women. Medicare, the program for the elderly and disabled, lifted its ban on covering sex reassignment surgery earlier this year.
With no regulations yet to guide coverage many insurance are falling back on their standard answer… “No” they deny everything to see what sticks and what doesn't. So we may be covered for things like electrolysis and breast augmentation but it will be denied at first and we have to appeal the decisions until we get it covered.

Also the article points out another shortcoming of the coverage…
By the scheduled date, Blue Shield had authorized the operation but hadn’t determined exactly how much it would pay for an out-of-network provider.  Payne got a cashier’s check for nearly all her savings, $27,000, to pay the doctor, hoping her insurance plan would reimburse most of it. She worried about all the other expenses too, including the hospital stay, lab work and anesthesiology services.
[…]
She is still trying to figure out how much she has to pay out-of-pocket for the surgery and hospital stay -- and how much of that her insurance plan will reimburse. Payne said she believes the lab work, pathology, anesthesiology services and follow-up doctor’s visits were all covered. But recently she got a statement saying she was on the hook for $17,000 of the total cost of the surgery.
And that’s the rub, insurance never covers the full about and because most surgeons are “out-of-network” we have a higher co-pay which still puts it out of reach for many trans-people.

######################

If you live in the Hartford area there will be a discussion on how the ACA affects the LGBT community.



I’m A Little Leery…

About the news of the House of Representative being banned from Wikipedia, in case you haven’t seen it in the news this week,
Anonymous House of Representatives User Banned for Transphobic Wikipedia Edits
By Paula Mejia
Newsweek
Filed: 8/23/14

Twitter account congress-edits reported on Thursday that an anonymous Wikipedia user—writing from an IP address linked to the U.S. House of Representatives—is editing articles on the online database to reflect transphobic opinions. Pages about actress Laverne Cox, one of the stars of Netflix’s popular series Orange is the New Black, were edited, as well as pages about Camp Trans and transphobia, among others.

The articles were all edited under the IP address 143.231.249.138, which has since been been [sic] blocked for the third time in the past few months due to a string of controversial Wikipedia edits users have made from it. Users operating from that IP address are banned from editing for the next month. Fran Rogers, administrator at Wikipedia, blocked the address for “disruptive editing.”
The reason why I am leery about reporting this is that IP address can be spoofed, for what I understand it is rather easy to fake the address. I would not put it past a hacker to fake something like this but it could also be true.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dear Amy

A couple of days ago there was a letter from an aunt about her trans-niece and Amy puts her in her place…
DEAR AMY: I'm a wife and mom of five sons under the age of eight.
My nephew is in his 20s. He has always been easily influenced and has gone through the punk stage, the Goth stage, the androgynous stage, the thinking-he-was-gay stage and now he is going through the cross-dressing stage.

When we get together with my sister and her family for weddings, graduations, funerals, school events, etc., "Steve" is now "Stephanie," with wigs, full (overdone) makeup, six-inch high heel shoes, micro-mini dresses, fur coats in the winter, and crop tops and short shorts in the summer.

He is a man. My boys know he is a man. They never let him forget it.
The last sentence tells it all, the aunt sets the tone for her family, and the kids learned their behavior from her. If the aunt is disrespectful and so will her kids.

Amy replies…
DEAR AUNT: I'm going to suggest a way for you to frame this so you will stop being so angry with someone who no doubt has no desire to hurt you or your kids.
[…]
The lesson for your kids is that they should treat everyone kindly and with respect. At this juncture, it would be easiest for you to explain to the kids, "Stephanie used to call herself 'Steve,' but now she feels like she is a woman, and so we're going to call her Stephanie. She's still the same person on the inside and still loves you like always."
[…]
Please work harder to patiently accept this person as he/she is. Nothing that is happening here is about you.
I believe in family values, it is the way we teach our children, if we respect other people’s differences our children learn respect. If we mock and are disrespectful of other our children will learn our behavior. We don’t know if her niece is going through a “phase” but what we do know is that she is going through process of learning about herself and is discarding those identities that do not fit her. Only time will tell if she is transgender and to what degree that she is trans.

I Did It…

I’m going to Fantasia Fair this year; I booked a $99 room at the Boatslip and I will register for the fair in September after I pay my credit card bill for the room deposit and then pay off the room balance on the October bill. That way it is not one big hit, it is spread out over three months because the fair is not cheap but considering that it is for seven days it is reasonable.

I decided on going because of a number of reasons, first was that this is their Fortieth anniversary, they have I number of workshops that sound interesting and they have some interesting speakers for the daily luncheon keynote lectures. Also the Provincetown area is very photogenic with scenic old buildings, lighthouses, vineyards, landscapes and one of the pictures that I have envisioned is Commercial Street at night with a wet street reflecting the neon lights.

I first went to Fantasia Fair back when I first came out and I was still in awe of coming out. Back then I had a “blog” on Geocities and I wrote about the fair…
2000, October 22nd
It has been just a year since I joined COS ( Connecticut Outreach Society ), in that years’ time I went to the dinners and banquet that they have hosted and have enjoyed them all. But, the Fantasia Fair can’t come anywhere near any of those events. It’s a seven day filled with all types of presentations and evening entertainment. I went up on Tuesday with another COS member and we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast on a side street just off of Commercial Street, the main thoroughfare through town. It’s a nice little place that is very Transgender friendly.
[…]
That night’s [Thursday] entertainment was a concert by Sara Buechner on the piano and Elanie Kreston on the cello. Sara Buechner is member of the faculties of New York University and the Manhattan School of Music and she is world renown for her work. She is also a transsexual who transitioned in 1996. The four of us went to the concert. I had never been to a classical concert before and I enjoyed it. The concert was a nice change from the night before. Also at the concert we meet some other members of COS there.

2001, Sunday, Oct 14th
After we had dinner at restaurant whose name I won't mention (Which was a rip-off $35 for lobster tails, at least it was good.) we went to the reception wine and cheese party. There they introduced all of the new fair goers; there were people from all over the U.S. and Canada as well as England, Spain, Italy and Brazil. Some of us went to a restaurant and they had dinner (I just had a salad, the other restaurant for $35 at didn't include a salad.) Then I went back to the B&B around eleven.

Saturday October 27th
The gale warnings were out at the Coast Guard station, we had a full-blown Nor'easter. The rain was coming down all day and the wind turned many umbrellas inside out. I decided to forgo the morning and went to lunch at the Crown and Anchor then head back to my room for some dry clothes…

Friday, Oct. 19th
The evening's entertainment was Fantasia Follies it was a big hit. Afterwards, I went out partying with a COS member who is staying at the B&B and ended up at Roomers ( Another B&B). I got in at two in the morning and I'm paying for it today ( Saturday morning ).

2002, October 30th
Another whole year has passed once again I am writing about Fantasia Fair. I fell in love with Fantasia Fair the very first time that I went. The town of Provincetown makes the fair, from its people to its location at the tip of Cape Cod. To walk the streets and visit the shops, to be out and about not cooped up in some hotel. To feel the wind, smell the ocean and yes even to dodge the rain drops makes you feel so much more alive.

2003, Thursday October 23rd
In the evening they had a cocktail party at another B & B. Afterwards I went to get some pizza with a friend and then to another B & B where I stayed until 11:30 when I walked back to the Carpe Diem. The streets were wet from the light rain we had all day and the cold wind was whipping up the alleyways and side streets. Heels echoing on the deserted pavement. Laughter heard come from the bars and me, Diana, just walking down the street, it was so peaceful.

2004, Friday October 15th
Yesterday I went and had my back and chest waxed, ouch! ! ! Today it is still a little sore ( well more like a lot sore. ) and there is a little redness, however I think that it was worth it. I wanted to have my chest smooth for the Prom at Fantasia Fair on Tuesday night and hopefully it will be hair free for the entire event.
Right now I am taking a little time off from packing, I got my list and I am checking it twice, I don't want to forget anything. In the morning I have an appointment to have my nails done at 8:15 so that I can get an early start. But that means I have to pack the car tonight and leave around 7:45 in order to get to my appointment on time.

2005, October 16th
On the way back from registration, I overheard a couple of tourists;
Husband: "There’s another tall woman.” ( Meaning me )
Wife: "Maybe there’s a bus tour for tall women in town.”
Me: Giggling
I also went up in 2006 and 2011 and now I am going back this year. Since I transitioned I have found the fun has gone out of the trans-convention circuit, many of the workshops are on make-up or coming out and I’m not interested in them anymore. I go more to meet old friends than the workshops. Also the party ‘til 2AM is way past my bedtime now.

One thing that I don’t miss is telling little white lies about where I’m going. Back before I came out I wrote in my diary,
October 12th
It’s getting closer to the Fantasia Fair, but as it does I have to lie to Mom and Dad and I hate it! I don’t really like it and I might not go to another event, this makes me feel so bad lying to them. This is really downer. It’s not like when I use to smoke pot, because I didn’t have to come up with complicated lies, only just smoke it. This on the other hand evolves two lies, one at work - I’m going up to my brothers to help on his house and the other for family - I’m going to a computer show in Boston. Well, where in Boston , who’s going, what are you going to see, how do we get in touch with you, etc. etc…. “Oh, what a tangle web we weave when at first we do deceive… “ or however Shakespeare said it.

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

October 17th
Another white lie last night, R [my brother] called and asked about my trip to Boston. I’m torn between wanting to go to Provincetown, but I hate all these lies. I have to think of a way to at least come out of the closet to R and D [my sister-in-law], but I worry about the consequence. I’m off to P’town, I made the commitment, so now I have to live with the outcome. Hopefully no more lies and that I will have a good time there and not worrying about Mom and Dad finding out.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What A Support Group Is Like

A lot of times I am asked what do you do in the support group, well this video clip for the TV Soap All My Children from back in 2007 gets it right…



And they should since all of the people in the video except the actor “Zoe” are trans.

Back in 2007 the TV show added a transgendered character, Zoe (Played by an actor), who is going through transition on the show and the scene is from a support group that they did for the show, they used actual transgender people, not actors for the segment. Two of the people that were part of the support group I have met; Betty Crow and Jennifer F. Boylan. Betty’s wife is Helen Boyd the author of “My Husband Betty” and “She is not the Man I Married.” Jennifer F. Boylan is a writer, college professor and the author of many books including “She is not There: a Life in Two Genders” and she has been on the Oprah Show twice and the book was one of Oprah’s picks.

The TV film clip is a fairly good presentation of what goes on in a support group, it was unscripted and I think the clip is worth watching. Zoe’s comment at the end of the clip was how I felt after my first support group meeting, that I was not alone.

Have You Heard Of The Caliente Cab Company?

We are going to set the Wayback Machine to the year 2008 and the place New York City…

To set the stage… after the New York City Pride Parade.
The place… Caliente Cab Company Restaurant.
The incident… a lesbian goes the ladies bathroom and is denied access, then sues the restaurant.

The Village Voice reported,
Lesbian Settles Discrimination Lawsuit Against Caliente Cab Co.
By Julie Bolcer Tue., May 13 2008

Khadijah Farmer, the lesbian patron who alleged that Caliente Cab Company ejected her from the restaurant because she appeared too masculine to use the women’s restroom, has settled her lawsuit against the West Village establishment.

As part of the settlement to Farmer v. Caliente Cab Restaurant Company, Inc., the lawsuit she and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed in State Supreme Court in October, Caliente has agreed to add gender, including gender identity and expression, to its corporate non-discrimination policy; amend its employee handbook to state "persons patronizing or employed at Caliente have the right to use the bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity and expression”; adopt a gender-neutral dress code for its employees; institute personnel training programs regarding its new policies; and pay $35,000 in damages to plaintiff Farmer.
The first thing that we can learn from this is that the gender identity non-discrimination laws apply to everyone not just trans-people. Also those people who want to police the bathroom to be used only for a person’s birth gender are going to exclude many whose looks do not conform to their birth gender.

This isn't an isolated incident, it happens many time to women. They are challenged when they go and use a public bathroom by the bathroom police. In one incident that I read about security guards cleared out the bathroom telling everyone that there was a man inside the bathroom. When the guards saw she was a woman when she came out to a crowd of people watching the security guards didn’t apologize, they just walked away.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Six #541

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #541

1. What was your strongest subject in high school?
Science

2. Which subject gave you the most trouble in high school?
English

3. Which sports, clubs or school activities did you participate in during your high school years?
Science Club

4. Which song was the theme for your senior prom?
To Dream the Impossible Dream


5. Were you nominated as a “Senior Most Likely to…” do something, and if so, what was it?
Nope, but for our Fiftieth I’m going for “The Most Changed.” I figured I’m a shoe-in.

6. What percentage of the people you graduated with have you had contact with in the last year?
Zero. 

Saturday 9: I Got You, Babe

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: I Got You, Babe
(recommended by Thank You Great Spirit)


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

1) Popular music has produced almost countless groups, but not that many duos. Besides Sonny & Cher, can you name another?
Do you mean married duos like Ike & Tina Turner? There are a number of duos that I can think of, Simon and Garfunkel, The Carpenters, Hall and Oates, and The Righteous Brothers (they were just on Sirius Ch6)

2)  Hearing this recording from his clock radio is how Bill Murray woke up every morning in Groundhog Day. What woke you up this morning?
The sun and I'll probably try to go back to bed after I finish writing this.

3) When she was growing up, Cher practiced her autograph for when she became a star. Is your signature legible? Or is it more of a scrawl?
It is more like chicken scratches.

4) In addition to show biz, Sonny & Cher had many careers: Sonny was a restaurateur and politician, Cher is an interior designer. Would you like to try your hand at any of those professions?
Nope, especially not a politician.

5) In 1965, when this song topped the charts, Sonny and Cher were as famous for their wardrobe as for their music. Sonny was fond of tall, heavy-heeled boots while Cher often paired granny dresses with bare feet. What's on your feet right now?
Slippers with socks.

6) By 1968, their career crashed. Cher's early attempts as a movie actress failed, their records stopped selling and the IRS came after them for back taxes. Have you ever been audited?
Nope, fingers crossed,

7) In 1971 they were on top again with their TV show. But their marriage was coming apart. Sonny said, "For the last 5 years I worried about our career, not about us." Have you ever been guilty of putting career before relationship? 
I can honestly say no I have never done that.

8) By 1972 they were living separate lives -- in the same house. For the sake of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, they pretended to be happily married another year and a half. Tell us about a time when you pretended to be happy, but weren't.
Oh it happens many times, too many to pick just one. Most of the time it is something that I have to do but I would really want to be someplace else.

9) While their separation and divorce were bitter, they resumed their friendship when Cher showed up at the opening of his restaurant in 1976. Have you ever made the first move in repairing a relationship?
No, I think I realized that it was over or that it was just a not made to be.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cheers verses Ghetto

We had an interesting discussion at one of our meeting on LGBT elder care; it started out with a comment by one of the gay members of the committee. He said that he didn’t like when he was at a straight bar and getting hit by women. The conversation morphed how there is a limited number of gay bars in the Hartford area to would you go to a LGBT retirement community.

The discussion then switched how we are now getting marriage equality and ending discrimination in the work place but at the same time we want to hang out with our friends and most of the time our friends are gay or lesbian or trans.

I said it is the “Cheers” affect,
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.
Or in our case where everyone is trans, where you can go and not have a label… “And this is Dave my trans* friend” we don’t want to be the trans* friend we just want to be a friend. We want to be in a place where we can be ourselves and let our guard down. Is this a ghetto? Or is it just “Cheers”

I always said that this effect was more pronounced the less you integrate into society, that is why there are Chinatowns and Little Italy where you are among people who share the same characteristics and culture as you. You don’t have to worry about people calling you names or painting your door with racial epitaphs. For us if you happen to be a six foot five trans-woman you sometimes want to go where you can let your hair down and just be yourself. But on the other hand if you are a five foot four trans-woman who can easily integrate into society you might not want to go there.

Though out history there have been “gay districts,” the Castro district in San Francisco, Greenwich Village in New York City, Soho in London, and for the rich gays, Palm Springs.

Is it wrong to want to be with your own kind?

The Stranger in the 1999 article “Seattle Next Gay Ghetto” said,
The closest most gays and lesbians ever come to finding a promised land is moving to the Gay Ghetto -- an urban neighborhood that is populated by, and reasonably tolerates, a large number of queers.
As the LGBT people integrates into the straight society the concept of a community is disappearing and it is being replaced by a picket fence and a flower garden in suburbia.

Also at the LGBT Elder’s meeting we talked about “gay senior housing” complexes with the group evenly divided if they would want to retire to a LGBT complex, some saw it as a way to meet friends who are like us while other saw it as a “ghetto.” One gay man in the group complained that as gays and lesbians become more accepted in the general population gay bars closing making it harder to find a partner, that when he goes to a straight bar he keeps getting hit on by women.

In the article “The growth of gay retirement homes” Aidan Lewis points out the growth of LGBT retirement communities,
As gay rights advance across the US, there is one group that feels it has long been neglected and isolated - the elderly. But that may now be changing, with a series of retirement housing projects opening to serve the gay community.

Before she moved house, Lucretia Kirby suffered homophobic verbal harassment and menacing notes pushed under her door. On one occasion, she and her partner Sandra were physically beaten and had to seek treatment in hospital.

That all changed in October, when she got a place in Spirit on Lake, an apartment block in Minneapolis marketed to elderly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT/GLBT) people.

"It's more than what I expected it to be. I thought it was just going to be another apartment complex and I was surprised that we've become a community - we know just about everybody by first name," says Kirby, a 58-year-old former teacher and nun who left her convent after falling in love with one of the other sisters. "I just feel blessed."
I know a lesbian couple who are living in a 55+ community and they have no problems with their neighbors. And that leads to the question what if it was a single gay male or a single lesbian woman, would they want to live in a straight community? Would they rather live in a LGBT 55 and over community where they socialize with other gays and lesbians?

And for us no matter where we live we will probably be a minority of one or two. So this week’s question…


Needs To Do More Than Talk

Does this mean that the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) has a chance to pass next year or is it just election year politicking?

New York’s CBS Ch 2 reports that,
ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on the state to outlaw discrimination against transgender people, saying gender identity and expression should be included in the state’s civil rights law alongside race, religion and disability.

In a letter to the Empire State Pride Agenda [see below] dated Tuesday, Cuomo said transgender people face significant discrimination, citing surveys that show three-fourths of transgender New Yorkers experience workplace harassment or mistreatment.

“It is not who we are as New Yorkers to permit this type of pervasive discrimination to continue,” he said. “New York is a place where our differences are celebrated.”
If he felt that way why didn’t he push it through this year? To get the bill through the Senate it is going to take some political arm twisting and not just standing on the sidelines cheering them on.




Thursday, August 21, 2014

School Caves In…

The Middletown Schools Superintendent had a change of heart,
Transgender student may go to other schools
Courier Post
Carol Gorga Williams, Asbury Park Press
August 21, 2014

The superintendent met with Rachel and her mother Angela Peters, 32, Monday.

"Although the student is welcome to return to Thorne Middle School for the 2014-2015 school year, we are now in the process of investigating alternative placements at the parent's request," George said in a statement posted on the Middletown Schools home page. "As is our regular practice, we will work with this student and her parent to agree upon the placement that best meets her educational, social and emotional needs in the least restrictive environment."
It might be best that they are allowing her the option to go to another school to have a fresh start and they also agreed to conduct sensitivity workshops throughout the district.

Autostraddle said it best,
Of course, things aren’t entirely resolved. Rachel faces a difficult year of either adjusting to a new school environment or returning to a school where students and administrators have previously been unwelcoming to her. And no matter what she chooses, she will likely face hostility from people who don’t respect her gender. However, with the support of her family and LGBTQ organizations, she can hopefully have a great year — and pave the way for other trans students to have more inclusive experiences of coming out in public school environments.
I think that the media storm over the district’s position to require her to attend school in her birth gender also contributed to the district’s change in their position. They, realized that they had no legal stance to for her to attend school in her birth gender.

Over In The Fiftieth State…

A judge slams a state agency over the way they treated a trans-women…
State reprimanded by judge over transgender settlement issues
KHON
By Gina Mangieri
Published: August 20, 2014

The state got another rebuke Wednesday — this time from a judge — in a case about how a transgender employee was treated at work.
[…]
Banned from the women’s restroom and banished to an unmarked one just for her, Kelli Keawe filed a lawsuit, state civil rights complaint and a case with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC.
She and the state agreed verbally in court in April to settle, but she says the written agreement that followed was a mismatch — wanting Keawe also to waive claims about more alleged retaliation and harassment from coworkers, including a second EEOC complaint she recently made.
She and the state agreed verbally in court in April to settle, but she says the written agreement that followed was a mismatch — wanting Keawe also to waive claims about more alleged retaliation and harassment from coworkers, including a second EEOC complaint she recently made.
But the judge was having none of that…
“What I hear the state saying and what I read is they want to sweep in that new EEOC charge into the terms of the settlement agreement, and that was not contemplated, that wasn't entered into,” said judge Jeannette Castagnetti.
So they state tried to hide the fact that they wanted include to the second complaint that wasn’t in the agreement.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LGBT Housing

I am at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Hartford attending a symposium on housing for LGBT people and I have been asked to give a speech...

LGBT Housing Symposium
CHRO – HUD – NCLR
August 20, 2014
Legislative Office Building
Diana ________, MSW
Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition (CTAC)

I want to thank the CHRO, HUD and the National Center for Lesbian Rights for inviting me to speak here today.

We are all here today to learn about our housing rights, and to understand the law.

However, it is not just about laws; it’s about people’s lives and it’s about our families.

It is about fear and intimidation more than outright discrimination; we fear violence in homeless shelters, we fear being evicted from our apartment just because who we are.

We are afraid that if we complain we will be evicted.

When Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition receives phone calls they are usually from trans-people worrying about going to a shelter, because for many of them this will be their first time at a shelter, and they wonder if they will be forced into a shelter of their birth gender.

They also wonder if they will be harassed or attacked by the staff or the residents of the shelter.

If they are discriminated against or if they are attacked by other residents they may not file a report for fear of being blackballed as a trouble maker.

And their fears are not groundless; in a 2011 national survey of trans-people, “In Justice at Every Turn” they surveyed over 6,000 trans-people and the results were alarming,

19% reported being denied a home or apartment and 11% said they were evicted because they were transgender or gender non-conforming.

They reported that for homeless shelters…
29% were turned away altogether,
42% were forced to stay in facilities designated for the wrong gender,
55% reported being harassed,
25% said they were physically assaulted and
22% said they were sexually assaulted.
Think about that, over a quarter were turned away and of those found shelter almost half were forced into shelters of their birth gender.

And about a quarter of those who were in shelters said they were attacked or sexually assaulted.

Unfortunately we do not have any data about those who are in Connecticut but I hope and pray that it is less than the national figures.

As result of this anxiety many choose not to go to shelters and look for alternatives.

For those who do have apartments they worry about the other tenants.

When a trans-woman who was living in an apartment complex transitioned she was being constantly harassed by the tenants. When she left her apartment the neighbors shunned her and the kids called her names.

She complained to the landlord and he did nothing, we ending up helping her file a complaint with the CHRO.

The same uncertainly is there even if we own our homes; we never are certain how our neighbors will react when we come out. Will they be hostile or will they be accepting?

When we do look for an apartment or to buy a house our past follows us…

Our credit records have an AKA on them.

Our former employer may still have us listed under our old name and the same is true for our past landlords. Will they use our new names and gender or will they still have us under our old names and gender?

We might be limited with references since we may lose many friends when we transition.

All of this adds a burden to our apartment hunting and makes it hard to get an apartment or mortgage.

For many people when they fall on hard times they have family to take them in. However, for many trans-people our families have dis-owned us and we are alone.

Our parents will not take us in…
We are divorced…
Our children have dis-owned us…

And we must rely on friends who are willing to take us in.

Because of high unemployment or underemployment many of us share apartments or homes in order to have a roof over our heads. Sometimes it is only a couch to flop on, but at least it is warm and dry.

Our problems do not get any easier as we grow older; we begin to face new problems as we age. We now have to worry about nursing homes and senior housing.

How will the staff treat us? Will they know how to work with transgender patients?

Our status falls under HIPA A & the Nursing Home Reform Act. Will the staff keep our surgical status, or our hormones, and medications a secret?

Not every trans-person is full time, some only crossdress occasional, how will a nursing home deal with those that crossdress on weekends or special occasions?

There are so many unanswered questions… where will house us? Will we be in a ward or stuck off and isolated in a single room?

Also, how will the other residents treat us? Will we be shunned?

We have the same questions for senior housing centers and 55+ communities.

I even question if we will fit in to a LGBT 55+ community? We might be the only trans-person in the complex.

Our problems do not go away if we are living in our own home; we now have a new set of problems.

We may be living alone, with no one to check on our wellbeing. What happens if we have a slip and fall, will anyone know?

What will happen if we need visiting nurses or healthcare workers come in our home? Will they be trained, will they be respectful?

We do not want much; all we want is a roof over our heads, a safe place to raise our families. We just want someplace to hang our hat and be ourselves.

Thank you.

Interesting…

All I can say is interesting…
How Transgender People Are Changing Their Voices
WBUR
By Martha Bebinger
August 19, 2014

“What I often hear is, ‘I pass as a woman until I open my mouth,’ ” says Kathe Perez, a speech language pathologist who designed the Eva app.
[…]
“Many of the people I work with will not go out in public because they have to talk,” Perez adds. “Or they’ll go with people so that their wife or their friend will order for them at a restaurant. They’re afraid to open their mouths because the sound that comes out doesn’t match the person that’s sitting at that table.”
It’s true that for many of us our voices do not match our gender, I joke that if you can’t tell that I am trans you need new glasses and a hearing aide.

But I don’t know if a phone app is the answers and I know a number of trans-women who had speech lessons and for some it does work and for other they sound worse than before.



#########

A busy day today, I will be up at the Legislative Office Building all day and the to dinner with some friends before the PFLAG meeting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whatcha Doing Saturday?

This Saturday OutCT is having their Pride Day at the Beach at Ocean Beach park in New London,
OutCT hosts second Pride at the Beach Festival on Saturday
The Day
By Amy J. Barry, Special to The Day
August 19, 2014

On Saturday, Ocean Beach Park in New London will be transformed into a fun-filled, super-charged festival with activities and performances as diverse as the people who are expected to attend when OutCT hosts the New London Pride Festival for the second summer running.
[…]
And, because the event is being held at Ocean Beach Park, although the festival is free, the fee to park or walk-in will give attendees access to the half-mile boardwalk, Olympic-size swimming pool, playground and splash park, waterslides, children's rides, mini-golf snack bar/cafe, bar/lounge and more.
For more details got to their website’s event page…
OutCT presents Pride at the Beach!Saturday, August 23, 2014
11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Ocean Beach Park, New London
Live entertainment, vendors on the boardwalk, GLBTQ resources, activities for all ages, bar and patio overlooking the Long Island Sound, and more….your typical pride festival but it is on the beach!
Note: Admission: $22 per car or $6 for a walk-in with no car.

Job Hunting

I am retired so my job hunting days are behind me but I get a number of phone calls from trans-people who are looking for jobs but have not had any luck. One of the thing that worry them is a background check, even though they have no criminal record and a good job record they worry about the fact that they are trans coming out in the background check.

I’m not a lawyer, but from researching the topic on the internet I found that you have to sign a consent form for them to do a background check, that a criminal record cannot be used to deny you a job unless it is “business necessity.” The Task Force says,
Employers are allowed to disqualify people from positions based on criminal history, but only if the employer can show that the exclusion is “job related and consistent with business necessity.”
And that you have a right to see your background check if it is done by another company. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website has a FAQ about your rights…
9.   What can I do if I was denied employment because of a background check?

An employment background check conducted by a third-party screening company (not the employer) is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can dispute information with the screening company just like you would with a credit bureau. If an employer turned you down because of something in your report, you should have received a letter along with instructions on how to get your report and how to dispute inaccuracies.

Again, this process only applies to companies that perform screenings for employers. If the employer, for example, checks public records itself and finds something about you on its own, you do not have the same rights under the FCRA. So, the important question is, who did your background check. You may also want to check public records yourself by going to the local court that provided the information to the background check company. See what the official court record says. If it's wrong or incomplete ask the clerk of court how to make corrections.

State laws may offer greater rights when it comes to obtaining public record information used to make an employment evaluation. For example, a California employer that obtains public record information, from any source, must give the employee or job applicant a chance to receive a copy of public records.
So if you are denied a job because of your background check you have the right to see the report and comment on the report only if a third party did the check.

The EEOC said…
A covered employer is liable for violating Title VII when the plaintiff demonstrates that it treated him differently because of his race, national origin, or another protected basis.
So technically if they do not hire you because of being trans they are violating Connecticut and federal law, but proving that is hard. Unless the company is really dumb, they will say that they didn't hire you for another reason. The deck is stacked against us.

One suggestion is to do your own background check and check your references. Dr. Jillian Weiss wrote on her blog
Here's a great idea if you're looking for a new job post-transition. Make sure your old employers aren't slandering you and/or making a mess of your gender history.
[…]
Don’t just assume your former boss will say something good about you. Be sure and have that peace of mind.
If you think that you were discriminated against you can file a complaint with the EEOC or the CHRO or contact a lawyer.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Good And The Bad

And I am talking about the police…

Transgender police officers have a hard time when they join the force. Here in Connecticut a trans-woman police officer transitioned on the job and the department made her life hell.
Transgender Middletown Police Officer Terminated
By Shawn R. Beals
The Hartford Courant
June 27, 2014

Quaranta has claimed that the department created a hostile work environment after she started reporting for duty as a woman, and filed a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities last year.

Quaranta vowed Friday to continue fighting her termination and what she has described as discrimination because of her gender identity.

"We're going to continue this fight until the end," she said. "In 2014 this is completely unacceptable. I will continue until I ensure that no other person in my situation will have to face this again."

Quaranta has been out of work since requesting administrative leave in August 2013 after filing a complaint about her treatment in the department. The city's human relations director conducted an internal review of the complaint and determined that there had been no harassment of Quaranta by city employees.
The city has tried every way they could to force her out of the department. I know of another officers in Connecticut who is also facing a hostile work environment her fellow officers also have given her a hard time.

Meanwhile on the west coast…
San Francisco Police academy graduates first transgender officer
By Noelle Walker
KTVU.com
Aug. 15, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — The class of recruits the San Francisco Police Department graduated Friday night show the diversity of the City by the Bay in many ways, but one of them is a true pioneer for the department: Mikayla Connell is the first transgender person to enter the academy and graduate.

"I wanted a job that I was going to love." Connell said. "A job that was going to be different every day, was going to be interesting, and a job where I got challenge, not just physically, but intellectually and morally."

At 45-years old, Connell is the oldest graduate in her class. She first applied to be a police officer more than 20 years ago.
I wish and hope for the best for her. Maybe because it is San Francisco it will be different.

My Answers…

On ABC News Mara Keisling answered questions and I want to give you my answers to those questions,

2) What do we know about the number of transgender individuals in the United States?
I think her answer was good, but… (you always know that there is a “but”) I think another problem with polling trans-people is that for many trans-people once they transition they consider themselves as male or female so when you asked them they will say they are a man or a woman. Another problem is common to all marginalized communities they do not have a fixed address or access to phones or computers so they are hard to find.

3) In your view, what is the biggest misperception about the transgender community?
She is right on with her answer and I would add that many people that it is all about sexual orientation. People are amazed when I tell them that I’m attracted to women, they can’t understand why I transitioned if I like women.

4) What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the transgender community?
I would say… “Bathrooms” so many cannot get beyond the bathroom issue. They have a fixation on bathrooms and no matter facts you show them that it is not a problem they still believe in the imaginary predator.

5) How has Laverne Cox — who will be on “This Week” Sunday — contributed to the transgender awareness?
My answer would be she shows the world that we are just like them. We have the same things as they do, just to live our lives in peace.

6) You’ve praised the president’s actions on behalf of transgender Americans, but what else would you like to see him do?
I wouldn’t add anything to her answer, immigration reform is one of the top issues facing us.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

There Is Just No Reason For This.

New Jersey and federal laws are very definitive, you cannot discrimination against trans-gender students, you wonder if the school officials have their heads in the sand.
Transgender teen told she can't come to school as girl
By Carol Gorga Williams
Asbury Park (N.J.) Press (In USA Today)
August 16, 2014

Her mother says an official at Thorne Middle School told her Rachel must come back school dressed as Brian and prepared to act like Brian. No accommodations would be made and no out-of-district educational options would be available.

The decision by the Thorne official is a violation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws, experts argue. Now, Middletown's school superintendent says his district will work with Rachel's family to reach a resolution.
I cannot figure out why they have refused to follow the law and expose the school district to law suits. Wherever schools have refused to allow trans-students they lost, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have stepped in an order the school to integrate trans-students into the student body. In states like New Jersey that have gender identity inclusive non-discrimination laws the courts have told the school districts to stop discrimination.
Rachel remained deeply isolated from the rest of the student body but still, her mother said, the children would bully her because she was so quiet.
There are also state and federal laws that require schools to provide a safe space for learning. Connecticut modeled our anti-bullying law after New Jersey school bullying law and the schools are required to be pro-active to stop bullying, which it appears that the Thorne Middle School has not done to stop the bullying.

Maybe the underlining issue is the school’s superintendent who said,
Middletown Schools Superintendent William O. George addressed the case in general terms.

"We as a district want to do everything we can as a district," George said. "Every child is different and their education and social and emotional well being is my priority. We will work with them to find the appropriate placement."

"I support this without interviewing this child. It certainly is reasonable. Children with psycho-sexual issues often benefit from a fresh start at a new school," he said.
So the superintendent is biased with an attitude against trans-students and wants to push her out of his district.

Pushback

As we work to get non-discrimination laws and healthcare the opposition is fighting back. In Oregon the Health Evidence Review Commission added health insurance coverage for low-income trans-people. I have to wonder if insurance coverage for us will be used against the Democrats in the next election.
Can Republicans take control of Oregon Senate?
Republicans hoping high turnout will trump Dems’ registration edge
By Taylor W. Anderson
The Bulletin
Published Aug 17, 2014

SALEM — Oregon Democrats are confident they can hold majorities in both houses of the state Legislature next session, despite the fact that they were a few hundred votes from sharing control of the Senate with Republicans during the election cycle four years ago.

Party leaders say they’ve singled out vulnerable Republican senators ahead of the November election, and they hope to build on their one-seat Senate majority and four-seat lead in the House.

Both parties can look at past elections, voter registration shifts and internal polling to predict what the next Legislature could look like. And while both parties have identified key close races, guessing how a growing number of Independent and unaffiliated voters will vote in November leaves plenty of room for error on both sides.
I can’t help thinking that in these tight races that the Republicans will use us to get out the “hate” vote?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Memes

I have been away for the last couple of weekends; to Long Island, to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, had guests up to the cottage and I’m up at the cottage this weekend so I haven’t had time to play my usual memes.

So here are both Saturday’s memes…

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six #540

1. WHICH MEAL OF THE DAY DO YOU THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT: BREAKFAST, LUNCH OR DINNER, AND WHY?
Breakfast, but dinners are to be enjoyed

2. HOW OFTEN DO YOU EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST?
Every day I have a good breakfast, cold or hot cereal or some type of eggs

3. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR PANCAKES?
I love them but unfortunately I cannot have any syrup on them (way too many carbs, my blood sugars would be off the scale.) so I don’t have pancakes any more.

4. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS?
Every which way.

5. WHAT BREAKFAST MEAT WOULD YOU BE MOST LIKELY TO CHOOSE?
Eggs, sausage, and an English muffin or hash browns.

6. DO YOU PREFER HASH BROWNS, TOAST OR BISCUITS?
Hash browns or toast, biscuits never caught on in the north.

# # # # #

Crazy Sam's Saturday 9: Mine Would Be You
(recommended by Kathy W)


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

1) The lyrics mention his respect for "90 proof and Marlboro Red." What was your most recent drink? When was your last cigarette?
It was a Cape Cod, vodka and cranberry juice with a lime. My last cigarette was when I was about 12 and my father caught me with a pack of cigarettes and shoved them in my mouth.

2)  They also reference "singing like crazy fools." What's the last song you sang?
Bottle of Wine (see Falcon Ridge post)

3) Blake Shelton won a Grammy for his performance of this song. Crazy Sam won the award for "most improved bowler" when she was in third grade, and it's now in a closet somewhere. Do you have any trophies? If so, where are they?
Yes, they are for Backgammon. I was the Backgammon champion at work and they are in my basement collecting dust.

4) Blake is currently on tour. The merchandise sold at concerts brings in big money for the artist. Do you have any tour memorabilia (like a poster or t-shirt)? 
Nope.

5) In addition to The Voice, Shelton is on TV a lot with his Pizza Hut commercials. What chain restaurant is nearest your home? Do you eat there?
They all are out on the turnpike. I don’t know how they all can stay in business with all the chain restaurants within a mile on one another. I go there once in awhile.

6) Shelton has a million-seller CD called Cheers! It's Christmas! What's the first Christmas carol to pop into your head this hot summer Saturday?
I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

7) Shelton and Miranda Lambert were married in front of 550 guests. Do you enjoy weddings?
Not really, I like talking to my relatives but I don't like loud music. Now if the band played soft enough so we could still talk it wouldn't be bad, but usually once the band starts up you can not long talk.

8) The wedding took place on a big Texas ranch. Have you spent much time on a farm or a ranch?
Well in my youth the town was all farms and orchards

9) In 2013 he helped organize a relief benefit concert for victims of the Oklahoma tornados. Tell us about a charity you support.
I support a number of charities by helping out. I volunteer at a health collective two days a week.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Health Insurance Coverage For Us!

At last our healthcare needs are being covered…
Oregon adds transgender procedures to Oregon Health Plan
Oregon Live
By Dana Tims
August 14, 2014

A full range of state medical coverage for low-income transgender people will be offered for the first time starting early next year.
The Health Evidence Review Commission, a 13-member board charged with setting Oregon Health Plan priorities, made that decision Thursday during a meeting in Portland.
The decision was hailed by advocates, who called it an historic step toward equality in medical care.
[…]
Some related services were added to the health plan last year. Those included psychotherapy, medical visits and medications to suppress puberty in gender-questioning youth.
Key new additions to the coverage include cross-sex hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery.
But what does mean?

As more states, Medicare, and Medicaid require insurance coverage for us, no one knows what is actually covered; not the regulators, not the insurance companies, and not us.

Breast augmentation? Electrolysis? Facial feminization surgery? Chondrolaryngoplasty (tracheal shave)? It depends on who answers the phone; you can make ten different phone calls and get ten different answers. You can call the insurance commissioner’s office or the insurance company and get different answers. You could be told by the insurance company that it is covered but when you submit the claim it is denied.

Breast augmentation is usually not covered because it is considered cosmetic but with the proper codes it is medically necessary. So if you call the insurance company and ask if breast augmentation is covered the answer would be no, but is you ask if breast reconstructive surgery or medically necessary breast augmentation is covered the answer would probably be yes.

Then there is the coding by the doctor, many doctors have had no training in how they should code the procedures that they do for us. For example electrolysis maybe covered if the doctor says the procedure is for removing excess facial hair on women. Gender Confirming Surgery (GCS) is not just one procedure but a whole series of procedures, if the doctor codes GCS as one procedure it might not be covered. Most of the letters from the insurance commissioners say that the insurance has to pay for a procedure if it covered for cisgender people and that means that GCS does not have to be covered. However, if the procedure is broken down in to the different operations they are covered so it should also be covered for us.

The problem is that there are no policies on what it covered and what isn’t covered and there have been no guideline for doctors on how to code our medical needs, until that happens it is going to be hit or miss with insurance coverage.

A couple last things, I am not an expert on insurance coverage but I have talk to a number of experts and have followed their discussion online, and many of them are also confused on what should be covered and how to get that coverage. Those doctors who have been successful in getting coverage for their patients are telling other doctors on how to process the paperwork.

And second as most people know, insurance never pays 100% of the medical cost and many of the doctors are an out-of-network provider which means that we still will have a large out-of-pocket expense.

A Tale Of Two Cities

Orlando FL and Billings MT…

In Orlando BuzzFeed LGBT reports that,
For Orlando transgender advocate Gina Duncan, the city council’s unanimous vote Monday to outlaw discrimination against transgender people “tied the loop” in making the city’s non-discrimination protections equal across the LGBT community.
The Orlando City Council, led by Mayor Buddy Dyer, voted 7-0 to approve an amendment to the city’s Human Rights Ordinance that adds “gender identity” as a protected class in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations. Previously, the ordinance included protections on the basis of “sexual orientation” among, race, sex, religion, disability and other protected classes.
Meanwhile up in Billings Montana the Billings Gazette reports that,
The NDO acronym could take on a new form. Call it the “never dies ordinance.”
Fresh off the ordinance’s 6-5 defeat early Tuesday, a pair of Billings City Council members said they’ll let it rest — for now.
But it’s going to come up again, Councilwoman Jani McCall said, although Roberts Rules of Order requires that the reconsideration come from one of the six council members voting against the ordinance — Mayor Tom Hanel or members Shaun Brown, Rich McFadden, Mike Yakawich, Angela Cimmino or Denis Pitman.
And that’s how it goes, we win some and we lose some but we are winning more and more now. There are some conservative bastions that are holding out but more states and municipalities are realizing that discrimination is wrong.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Third Gender

Delhi University has now added a “third sex” category to the admissions application,
Transgenders get space in DU’s PG admission forms
Times of India
By Manash Pratim Gohain
Aug 13, 2014
NEW DELHI: Delhi University has officially opened its doors to transgenders in postgraduate programmes this year and will extend the policy to undergraduate courses in the next academic year (2015-16) by introducing space for the third gender in its application forms.
Applicants from this community will be admitted under a separate category, varsity officials said. In postgraduate admissions, these students have been enrolled under a special category within the OBC quota.
"We had planned to start transgender admissions in undergraduate courses from this year but could not do so due to administrative reasons. From 2015-16 academic session, we will be introducing the third gender option in centralized admission forms and also make necessary policies for their admission," said DU registrar Alka Sharma.
Okay first off the special category OBC means, Other Backward Class which means lower castes that are educationally and socially disadvantaged. I believe that means what we call minorities but it sounds like it is a left handed complement. And the LGBT community in India also thinks so but for a different reason,
LGBT activists, however, expressed some concern about transgenders being enrolled under the OBC category in the applications.
LGBT activist and a PhD scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Gourab Ghosh, said, "It will not be fair for transgenders to transgress into OBC category as they are not OBC. A separate quota can be worked out else it would be injustice to both OBCs and transgenders."
I don’t like it when they ask you for you gender and say “other,” I don’t know about you but I am not an “other” and I don’t know it I like “third gender” either. I can see listing your transgender status on medical records but not on anything else, I feel that it separates and labels us special.

What do you think?
survey tools


Marriage Before Non-Discrimination?

I have written many times before that I think the focus should be on non-discrimination laws before marriage equality. I feel that it is more important to have a job, a roof over your head and to be able to walk in and sit at a lunch counter than to be able to be married.
Refusal to sell wedding gowns to lesbian couple stirs debate in Bloomsburg
August 8, 2014
Associated Press

BLOOMSBURG — A bridal store’s refusal to sell wedding gowns to a same-sex couple is stirring debate in central Pennsylvania.
[…]
W.W. Bridal Boutique owner Victoria Miller told the newspaper that “providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”
The woman’s discrimination is completely legal in Pennsylvania and your landlord can throw you out of your apartment when you announce your marriage. This is why I feel it is important to have non-discrimination laws first.

The town council is now considering a non-discrimination ordinance; however, the state offers no protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity other than an executive order from the governor banning discrimination in employment. I’m not sure if the governor’s order covers businesses that do business with the state or if it covers all businesses.

Marriage was a low hanging fruit but what it really get you is a chance to be fired, thrown out on the street in many of the states that overturned the marriage laws.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Know Your Housing Rights

A week from today I am giving a presentation at the Legislative Office Building on LGBT housing discrimination. There is a symposium there sponsored by the state’s Commission on Human Rights Opportunities (CHRO), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights and I have been asked to give a 15 to 25 minute presentation (Details of the symposium are at the end of this post.). I will post my outline next Wednesday.

I just want to review some of our legal protections. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII covers workplace discrimination based on sex discrimination which the courts and the EEOC have ruled also protect gender identity in the workplace. Title IX covers sex discrimination in education and both the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have ruled that we are covered because discrimination based on gender identity is sex discrimination. Also the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on sex and HUD has also ruled that we are protected in any HUD financed housing. The proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will not cover public accommodation, it only covers workplace discrimination.

There are no federal laws or proposed legislation that would cover us in public accommodation, currently only seventeen states, and the District of Columbia has protection for us in public accommodation. Massachusetts, the seventeen states, and the District of Columbia protect us in employment, and housing.

However, the problem with any protection whether it is for LGBT rights or aging or any of the other protected classes is you have to prove it and that is hard to do unless they are stupid and come out and say we didn’t hire you because you’re transgender. Also you have to be willing to file a claim and have your name out there as part of the public record.

SAVE THE DATE!

August 20, 2014

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The National Center for Lesbian Rights

Symposium on New State and Federal Protections Against LGBT Discrimination in Housing

Join CHRO, HUD, NCLR, and our community partners for a day of education about the rights of LGBTQ individuals to equal opportunity housing.

The program will include presentations on:

  • what constitutes housing discrimination
  • the impact of housing discrimination on LGBTQ persons and communities
  • protections provided by federal programs with a focus on the new protections under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s LGBT Equal Access Rule
  • protections provided by Connecticut State Law
  • the impact of the Equal Access Rule on homeless LGBTQ individuals
  • resources for protecting LGBTQ rights to housing
  • the rights and obligations of housing providers and lenders

We hope to see you there!

When: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Where: Legislative Office Building
300 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Time: 9:00a.m. - 4:00p.m.

Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities 
25 Sigourney Street Hartford, CT 06106
860-541-3423
http://www.ct.gov/chro

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
202-708-1112
http://www.hud.gov

National Center for Lesbian Rights
1100 H Street, NW Suite 540
Washington, DC 20005
202-734-3545
http://www.nclrights.org

Finding A Soul Mate

One of the things that I hear from other trans-people a lot is how hard it is to find a partner, it is like the deck is stacked against us. Sure there are some out there that do find partners but from what I have seen there are not many of us who do. A recent study bears out that fact,
Transgender Relationships May be Undermined By Stigma
By J Baulkman, UniversityHerald Reporter
August 12, 2014

Transgender relationships are undermined by social and economic marginalization, according to a recent study.
While looking at the impact of discrimination, poverty and stigma on the mental health and relationship quality of transgender women and their male romantic partners, researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island found that stigma not only takes a psychological toll on each person individually but also appears to undermine them as a couple.
"To our knowledge this is the first study that looks at both partners experiences of discrimination and how that influences their own individual reports of depression as well as their relationship quality," Kristi Gamarel, lead researcher of the study, said in a statement.
Well for one thing the partner has to get used to the marginalization that we face every day, the microagression and the looks that we constantly have to put with. They also have to face the stigma of being with a trans-person, the ostracism from society.

The article goes on to recommend to clinicians that they treat the couple not just the individual.
"Couples-based interventions and treatment approaches to help transgender women and their male partners cope with minority stressors are warranted to improve the health and well-being of both partners," they concluded.
Their partners have to also adjust to being a member of the trans-community; because many of their partner’s friends will be trans-people. Going out to restaurants, movies and other public places with not only their partner but also their partner’s trans-friends is a hard adjustment to make.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ship Ahoy!

Do you want to take a cruise to some exotic port? But were concerned about being the only trans-person on the ship? Well now there is a cruise for you.
Report: Royal Caribbean and Transgender Vacations to Host Transgender Cruise
Travel Agent Central
August 12, 2014

Transgender Vacations and Royal Caribbean have partnered to host a cruise in December aimed at transgender travelers, Out Traveler reports.

The seven-night cruise onboard Navigator of the Seas, which Transgender Vacations says is the first such cruise tailored to transgender travelers, will sail out of Galveston, Texas, on December 14 and visit Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico.
Hmm, I wonder how the locals will like a boat load of trans-people unloading in their country?

Often we are lumped together with gays and lesbians but we are very different when it comes to traveling. What might be safe for gays and lesbians might not be safe for gender non-conforming persons and I include gays and lesbians who do not pass as straight.
In LGBT scheme, transgender travelers often overlooked
By Kenneth Kiesnoski
Traveler Weekly

NEW YORK -- The "T" in LGBT travel stands for "transgender," though it's generally the part of the acronym that travel and tourism forgot.

Overshadowed by their more numerous gay, lesbian and bisexual counterparts in LGBT circles, Americans who have switched genders are largely left to their own devices and dilemmas when planning travel based on their unique needs, interests and concerns.

Detailed information about the segment is hard to come by. Organizations tracking LGBT travel trends, such as the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association in Fort Lauderdale and the San Francisco-based research firm Community Marketing, focus mainly, by default, on gay male and lesbian travelers.
Back in 2012 Carnival lines sent out this letter for a “drag cruise” saying “Guests are not allowed to dress in drag for the performances or in public areas at any time during the cruise.” And this is from a “LGBT friendly” cruise line; I wonder how they would handle a “trans-cruise?”

There is a trans-cruise on the Elbe River in April of next year by Viking River Cruises, “April 16, 2015 Elegant Elbe Berlin to Prague - 10 Days / 8 Guided Tours / 2 Countries” by Transgender Vacation,
Discover the natural beauty of former East Germany’s dramatic landscape on a 10-day Elbe River cruise. Tour the opulent palaces of Saxon monarchs and stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens; sail between the dramatic sandstone cliffs of Germany’s “Saxon Switzerland.” Marvel at the baroque splendor of Dresden and see how Meissenware porcelain is produced. Walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther in historic Wittenberg and learn about the Protestant Reformation. Your journey is bookended by one night in multicultural Berlin and one night in graceful Prague. An elegant experience indeed.
What are your thoughts? Would you be leery of going to a Central American country on a “Gay” tour? What about Europe on a “Gay” tour? Would you go on a “transgender” tour like the Elbe River tour?