Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Continuing Battle

You know the battle I’m talking about, the fight between conservative who want us back in the closet and the liberals who want us to have the human rights we are entitled to have.
Debate on LGBT anti-discrimination proposal returns to Assembly tonight
KTUU
By Austin Baird Austin Baird, Political, Rural Reporter
POSTED: September 29, 2015

ANCHORAGE - Seventeen proposed amendments stand in the way of an Assembly vote on an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

While public testimony on the issue is closed, Assembly members will consider changing Ordinance 96 at a meeting Tuesday evening at the chambers in Loussac Library. Until the amendments are weighed, it is unclear what exactly the rule will mean.
[…]
Evans, who describes himself as conservative, has pushed for a version of the proposal that would include exemptions for people who object to providing services to bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgender people based on their religious beliefs.

Flynn does not want that exemption built into the rule.

The gamut of amendments that will be weighed Tuesday can be broken down into two groups, Evans said.

"They deal with added religious protections for churches and religious institutions as well as for individuals' religious conscience, and there's also a group that deals with restrooms, locker rooms, that kind of thing," he said in an interview from his Downtown office.
Oh yeah, let’s give all those bigots a loophole to wiggle through by just claiming that it is against their religious belief. Of course there can never be any kind of test to prove it is their religious belief because it is impossible to determine religious belief. Can you imagine if there was an individual religious discrimination based on race?

Then we have “bathrooms” oh my goodness!

Already the “Family” organizations are starting a radio blitz.

Cringe…

That is what I did when I saw the topic of tonight’s Law & Order SVU, USA Today reports that the she is about,
If there's one thing the Law & Order franchise is known for, it's ripping its stories from

the headlines. So considering the current media focus on transgender rights, it seemed safe to assume the surviving series

would work the issue into an episode. Tonight: a transgender teen is bullied, leading to an arrest and a debate over crime versus punishment.
I always worry how they will portray us… freak? Helpless victim?

Where I Am This Morning…

In partnership with HUD Connecticut, CT Fair Housing, CT TransAdvocacy and AIDS-CT,

Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness presents:

 Safe Shelter and Fair Housing for Transgender Individuals

Where/When: 
North and Southeastern CT Area:
September 21st, 2015
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Middletown/Meriden/Wallingford Area:
September 30th, 2015
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Free training | Lunch will NOT be served.

Description:
This training will instruct executive directors, project coordinators, and frontline staff on how to make housing and shelter programs safe and inclusive for transgender individuals. This training will include information about HUD guidelines, gender identity and expression, and best practices for serving LGBTQAI individuals.

Note: This training will be repeated for other regions of the state, location and dates TBA.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The UN Speaks

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) spoke out the other day against discrimination to LGBT people.
Ending violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex peopleUnited Nations entities call on States to act urgently to end violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) adults, adolescents and children.

All people have an equal right to live free from violence, persecution, discrimination and stigma. International human rights law establishes legal obligations on States to ensure that every person, without distinction, can enjoy these rights. While welcoming increasing efforts in many countries to protect the rights of LGBTI people, we remain seriously concerned that around the world, millions of LGBTI individuals, those perceived as LGBTI and their families face widespread human rights violations. This is cause for alarm – and action.

Failure to uphold the human rights of LGBTI people and protect them against abuses such as violence and discriminatory laws and practices, constitute serious violations of international human rights law and have a far-reaching impact on society – contributing to increased vulnerability to ill health including HIV infection, social and economic exclusion, putting strain on families and communities, and impacting negatively on economic growth, decent work and progress towards achievement of the future Sustainable Development Goals. States bear the primary duty under international law to protect everyone from discrimination and violence. These violations therefore require an urgent response by governments, parliaments, judiciaries and national human rights institutions. Community, religious and political leaders, workers’ organizations, the private sector, health providers, civil society organizations and the media also have important roles to play. Human rights are universal – cultural, religious and moral practices and beliefs and social attitudes cannot be invoked to justify human rights violations against any group, including LGBTI persons.
They go on to say,
REPEALING DISCRIMINATORY LAWS
States should respect international human rights standards, including by reviewing, repealing and establishing a moratorium on the application of:
  • Laws that criminalize same-sex conduct between consenting adults;
  • Laws that criminalize transgender people on the basis of their gender expression;
  • Other laws used to arrest, punish or discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
In 76 countries, laws still criminalize consensual same-sex relationships between adults, exposing individuals to the risk of arbitrary arrest, prosecution, imprisonment – even the death penalty, in at least five countries. Laws criminalizing cross-dressing are used to arrest and punish transgender people. Other laws are used to harass, detain, discriminate or place restrictions on the freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. These discriminatory laws contribute to perpetuating stigma and discrimination, as well as hate crime, police abuse, torture and ill-treatment, family and community violence, and negatively affect public health by impeding access to health and HIV services.
But all is not copacetic, they appointed a fox to be in charge of the hen house, according to Forex Report Daily,
Selection of Saudia Arabia to head United Nations human rights panel sparks anger
By Alex Crown
September 22, 2015

The Saudi ambassador to the UN Faisal bin Hassan Trad, has been appointed to the Chair of an independent panel of experts to the Human Rights Council. A petition was also launched Monday demanding that “Saudi Arabia be removed from any positions of influence or decision making in any United Nation panel or forum on human rights”.

Hillel C. Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, said on Sunday that the appointment will undermine the legitimacy of the council, noting that the Riyadh regime has “the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights”.
And to make matters worse,
Truth be told, a country that has not signed the worldwide Bill of Human Rights, the convention relating to the Status of Refugees, global Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing and global Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, does not seem to fit to head such a crucial panel. He was lucky to avoid chemical castration or execution, both of which have previously been meted out to those convicted of offences related to homosexuality.
So it is iffy we will see any more of these press releases condemning discrimination against LGBT people.

By The Numbers

Every year the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) issues a report on the cases they handled for the year, the 2014/2015 report is out and the numbers show a slight increase in case of discrimination against us.

There were a total of 12 complaints bases on Gender Identity; eleven of them were for employment and one for public accommodation. While the year prior there were only a total of 6 complaints of which 3 were for employment and 2 were because of public accommodation and one in the “Other” category (the “Other” might be credit). Even though the number of cases has doubled little can be drawn from the numbers, it cannot be determined if the increase was because more companies are discriminating against us or if it is because more people are aware of the law and are filing claims.

Cases that the CHRO handle crawl through the systems because of budget cuts so many of the cases go unresolved for years.

We got a shout out about the Transgender Lives Conference in April… “CHRO Attorneys provided training on transgender law at UCONN during the Transgender Lives Conference.”

Monday, September 28, 2015

Something We All Know

That when we are most vulnerable is when we are in an emergency room, there are so many horror stories about being mistreated by EMTs and emergency room staff that send shudders down our spines.
New article identifies issues for transgender treatment in emergency departmentsEmergency Nurses Association highlights need for transgender patient care awarenessEureka Alert
Public Release: 28-SEP-2015

DES PLAINES, Ill. (September 28, 2015)?- A new article about a transgender patient's "freak show" experience in a U.S. emergency department, published online in the Journal of Emergency Nursing, is prompting the country's largest professional organization of emergency nurses to encourage transgender patient care awareness.
[…]
The JEN article chronicles the experience of transgender patient Brandon James (a pseudonym) in an American emergency department. According to the case study, the patient's ED visit was filled with situations that a transgender person might experience wit [sic] healthcare providers who are unfamiliar with treating transgender patients. James, a masculine transgender man who transitioned using hormone replacement therapy five years before his ED experience in 2011, presented his driver's license which identified him as a female. His electronic medical records from previous medical visits also included female gender markers.

James said his emergency department check-in process was humiliating, with staff pulling in 2-3 additional people and debating his gender aloud. "It wasn't business-like at all. I was a spectacle. I was a freak show at the circus," said James. "It was definitely to draw attention to the fact that my outward appearance didn't match (my identification).
Unfortunately, this is all too common for trans people. I know of a trans person who fell on ice and the emergency personnel when they found out she was trans called her “it” and refused to treat her, and this happened here in Connecticut. Or as the article said, there is a parade of hospital personnel who make up reason so they can get a glimpses of the trans person in room 4B.

And you wonder why trans people dread going to get healthcare.

Punitive

That is the judge’s decision not to grant a name change.
Transgender woman faces legal dilemmas
Northern Virginia Daily
By Joe Beck
Friday, September 18, 2015

STRASBURG — Her friends and family know her as Kendra, but when her name is called during her many appearances in court, she is William Brill and that’s when the humiliation starts.
[…]
She’s been in and out of the corrections system for the last three years as a result of a string of charges for drunken driving and shoplifting. Her stay in the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake, which began in 2012, marked a turning point in a long struggle with gender identity.

Indian Creek’s website describes it as one of the largest “prison-based” therapeutic communities in the United States specializing in treatment for substance abusers. Toward the end of her sentence, Brill took some tests, one to determine female orientation and another to determine male orientation.

The tests asked numerous questions about different subjects. Did the test taker prefer blue or pink? Did he or she like sports? The results produced two graphs for the man identified as William Brill in the prison records. The graph for male orientation showed peaks and valleys. The one for female was a straight line and came with a diagnosis from two prison doctors: gender dysphoria.
There is no test to determine gender dysphoria, period. No ifs ands or buts.

To me it sounds like a horrible stereotype test, boys love blue and sports and girls love pink and homemaking. It sounds like the prison doctors are all quacks and haven’t a clue about gender dysphoria.

To make matters even worst,
In October, the same month she was released from Indian Creek, she submitted a name change application to Shenandoah County Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp, asking that her name be changed from William Joseph Brill to Kendra Catherine Brill.

Hupp replied on Oct. 30: “I have denied your application for change of name. In view of your felony record, I want to avoid any confusion as to your identity in our computer databases, both the Central Criminal Records Exchange and the Virginia Criminal Information Network. If you undergo a sex change operation . . . you may file a new application.”
Talk about handicapping a person, the judge is going to make her life a living hell and make so much harder for her to find employment to earn an honest living.

The judge’s excuse is very weak because criminal databases usually have fields for aliases and I know of many trans people who have criminal records and have had their name changed. It seems to me that the judge might be baised.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day In Court

Awhile back I wrote about an incident at Planet Fitness (here and here) where a woman complained about a trans women in the locker room and the gym took away her membership. Well the case is starting to be heard in court.
Judge questions sexual harassment claim in Planet Fitness transgender policy case
MLive.com
By Jessica Shepherd
September 25, 2015

MIDLAND, MI — It's still unknown whether a Midland County judge will dismiss a lawsuit brought against Planet Fitness that focuses on the fitness chain's transgender locker room policy.

During a hearing Friday, Sept. 25, Midland County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Beale asked many questions of attorneys for both the plaintiff and defendants before taking a motion to dismiss under advisement.
[…]
Cormier's lawsuit claims invasion of privacy, multiple violations of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, exemplary damages and a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. The hearing Friday sought to decide if those claims are valid, following the recent filing of motions for summary disposition by both defendants, who claim all nine parts of the lawsuit are invalid and should be dismissed.
The judge questioned if the Elliott-Larsen Act applies to this case. The Elliott-Larsen Act is Michigan’s non-discrimination law and the law says,
Discrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature under the following conditions:
(i) Submission to the conduct or communication is made a term or condition either explicitly or implicitly to obtain employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
(ii) Submission to or rejection of the conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting the individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
(iii) The conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, public accommodations, public services, educational, or housing environment.
So he is trying to figure out if Planet Fitness policy causes sexual harassment.
Since the lawsuit does not include a claim that Cormier experienced any behavior of a sexual nature during her time at Planet Fitness, Beale asked Kallman how the Elliott-Larsen Act could apply, as far as counts of sexual harassment are concerned.

"Women and men being naked together in the same locker room, taking showers and doing all this and they're saying that doesn't have any component of a sexual nature to it," Kallman said.

"You don't have those facts in this case," Beale replied.

Kallman said "we don't have to wait for that to occur" and that the transgender-friendly locker room policy itself is "sexual in nature by allowing men in the women's locker room."

Beale came back to the threshold required for sexual harassment claims several times and Kallman continued to respond by saying the policy itself is sexual in nature and that no actual sexual incidents needed to occur for that to meet the threshold.

"It has to be sexual in nature," Beale retorted. "The conduct or communication must be sexual in nature."
Does the case meet the standard of the Elliott-Larsen Act? I see two big questions here. First is does gender identity determine sex? In other words are we women and men? And second does the possibility of sexual harassment constitute sexual harassment, because there never was any type of sexual contact or harassment, it was just the fact that there was a trans woman in the locker room that she is claiming is sexual harassment.

Another thing to remember, the Michigan legislature is hearing a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the Elliott-Larsen Act, coincident?

So like any court case, it is a crap shoot how the judge will rule.

A Flash In The Pan

Have you ever heard those opposed to trans people saying that there were never any trans people and that it is a modern phenomenon? Well if this is true, then we have been around for an awful long time
5,000-year-old ‘transgender’ skeleton discovered
Archaeologists have discovered a 5,000-year-old skeleton which they believe may be the remains of a transgender person.
By Jessica Geen
April 6, 2011

The male skeleton was found in a suburb of Prague and is buried in a manner previously only seen for female burials.

The body is believed to date from between 2900 and 2500BC and is from the Corded Ware culture of the Copper Age.

Men’s bodies from that age and culture are usually found buried with their heads towards the west and with weapons.

But this skeleton was found with its head towards the east and was surrounded by domestic jugs – as women’s bodies from the time are usually found.
[…]
This is not the first time a skeleton has been found buried as a member of the opposite sex. One woman from the Mesolithic period, who was assumed to be a warrior, was found buried with weapons.
Not only are we everywhere, but we have been around for a very long time.

I leave you with this 1967 comedy skit “The 2000 Year Old Man” by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday 9: Take a Letter, Maria

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Take a Letter, Maria (1969) 

Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, R. B. Greaves gets a shock when he gets home from work. When is the last time you were surprised? Was it a happy or sad surprise?
I haven’t been surprised in a long, long time.

2)  Mr. Greaves sings that he didn't get home until "about a half past ten." That's a very long workday. No wonder his wife felt neglected! Have you ever had trouble maintaining balance between homelife and career?
Since I’m single I don’t have to worry about that.

3) According to the song, "Maria" is a secretary. Have you ever worked in an office?
Yes, for 28 years I worked in a factory with my own little cubical in cubicalville.

4)  In today's office, R.B. Greaves wouldn't ask Maria to "take a letter." Instead, he'd keystroke his own email to his wife and cc his lawyer before hitting, "send." Think of another phrase, like "take a letter," that we seldom hear anymore because of technology.
“Dial” as in “I dialed that number but it was busy.”

5) "Maria" is mentioned in many songs ("Maria" from West Side Story, "Maria, Shut Up and Kiss Me" by Willie Nelson, "How Do Solve a Problem like Maria?" ...) but Crazy Sam discovered  few, if any, "Samantha" songs. Does your first name figure prominently in any lyrics?
I had to research it and found Paul Anka’s “Diana”

6) 1969 was the year that Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Do you believe in life on other planets?
Yes, but I don’t think that they visited us.

7) In 1969, the Beatles performed publicly for the last time as a band, on the roof of Abbey Road studios. When did you last climb up onto your roof?
Wow! It was back in ‘91 when I was young and agile and I was looking for a leak on the roof.

8) Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries sold at a brisk pace at Christmastime in 1969. Were you a fan of these books? If not, tell us about a book you remember enjoying when you were young.
I never read when I was young, it wasn’t until college that a dorm mate let me borrow Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” that I started to read books besides the ones assigned for homework.

9) Random question: Do you consider yourself old fashioned?
In many ways yes, I am set in my ways and don’t really like to try new things. But on the other hand I like new gadgets.

I am up again at the cottage this weekend and company is coming up so I don’t know when I will be able to answer comments. I was up here also last weekend with company and I couldn’t be on the computer more than a couple of minutes at a time.

Friday, September 25, 2015

They Can’t Do That

There are law against discrimination against trans people in housing both federally and local ordinances in New York City, but that doesn’t stop them from discriminating.
Doors often closed to transgender tenants searching for housing
Any protection against discrimination is patchwork at best, underscoring need for federal bill
Al Jazeera America
By Yana Paskova
September 25, 2015

So she was understandably nervous this summer when the lease for her studio apartment in Queens went up for renewal under a new owner.
[…]
Her first landlord, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, went out of his way to make her uneasy and to deny her assertions of femininity, she said. Eyeing her longer hair and face made up with cosmetics, he constantly yelled at her from his first-floor apartment, using slurs like “faggot” or “gay boy.” After a few months, she moved.

Now, she said, her current landlord told her she couldn’t renew her lease unless she presented ID — such as a driver’s license or passport — that stated her female name and listed her gender as female.
But according to legal aid it is not legal from them to ask her for ID as a female.
But according to several housing advocates, the requirements placed on Ramirez by her landlord are unlawful.

“This is absolutely illegal,” said Eugene Chen, a staff attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group. “This highlights the sort of discrimination people who are transgender face. These things happen to transgender people every day, on every level.”
It is not only illegal in New York City but also under the Fair Housing Act.

It takes courage to bring a complaint against a landlord because many fear being blackballed because most of the time when you go to rent an apartment they want references from previous landlords.
Even when transgender people are guarded by law, many do not know what their rights are or are afraid to pursue them.
“Sometimes," said Chen, “people just don’t have the energy and resources to litigate a discrimination claim when they’re worried about getting a roof over their heads.”
So what can you do?

On a federal level you can contact HUD to file a complaint. HUD has ruled that gender identity discrimination falls under sex discrimination,
Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your civil rights have been violated, you can file your fair housing complaint online by clicking the Housing Discrimination Complaint  button below.  Your housing discrimination complaint will be reviewed by a fair housing specialist to determine if it alleges acts that might violate the Fair Housing Act. The specialist will contact you for any additional information needed to complete this review. If your complaint involves a possible violation of the Fair Housing Act, the specialist will assist you in filing an official housing discrimination complaint.
Here in Connecticut you can contact the CT Fair Housing Center, they can bring a law suit on your behave so you are not a party to suit and are not named in the legal action. They can also do stings where they can send a trans person and a non-trans person to check the complaint of discrimination. If you live in another state there are most likely housing advocates in your state.

Oh When Will They Ever Learn?

Another Republican lead effort to segregate those horrible transgender students, this time they are trying in Nevada.
Legislators Might Introduce Transgender Bathroom Bill Again Next Session
KNPR
By Rachel Christiansen
September 24, 2015

At an unusually packed Elko County School District board of trustees meeting Monday night, the board unanimously voted against allowing a transgender middle school student to use the bathroom of which they identify.

The student's mother, Michelle Gonzalez, stated that her son is continually bullied because being forced to use the girl's bathroom.

Public input was heard on both sides of the issue, and among the crowd was state legislators Ira Hansen (R-Sparks), Jim Wheeler (R-Gardnerville) and John Ellison (R-Elko). The issue was a familiar one for these legislators, as it was debated during the last session in the form of AB 375, a bill that would require transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex.
So who is going to pay for the fines for violating Title IX?

I don’t know if it is ignorance of the law, or thinking they are above the law, or if they just want to thumb their nose at the law but whatever it is they will spend tax dollars to defend segregation and an immoral stance.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wham!

That is what happened to an Oregon bar, they just got slammed with a $400,000 fine for discrimination.
Oregon Bar Must Pay $400K to Banned Transgender Customers: Court
By NBC News/ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 23, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland bar owner must pay $400,000 in damages to a group of transgender patrons he asked to stay away, the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday. The state Bureau of Labor and Industries ordered the penalty in 2013, saying the bar violated a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 2012, Chris Penner, owner of a bar formerly known as the P Club, left two voice messages for a member of the Rose City T-Girls, an informal group of transgender customers that frequented the bar every Friday night. The messages said to stop visiting because business had declined in the 18 months since the bar became the group's gathering spot.
I feel for the bar owner but what he did was wrong and I am glad that the courts have upheld the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

There are some who feel that the bar owner was in his rights to ban the trans group from meeting there, after all he was losing business because of them. But substitute blacks for trans people; if a group of black people were coming to the bar and the other patrons were staying away would it be okay to the black customers to stay away? So why would it be alright for him to tell trans customers to stay away?

A Pioneer.

There are so many trans people who led the way and one of them was Jan Morris and her son, Mark Morris speaks up in the Edmonton Journal about labels.
By no stretch of the imagination could my father be described as suffering from a “mental disorder,” let alone be compared to people suffering from schizophrenia or dissociative gender disorder, as the Edmonton Catholic School trustee Larry Kowalczyk has characterized transgender people. One could hardly imagine the World Bank asking her to write a book, or our Sovereign and her advisers including her in the Honours list, if she had been.

Kowalczyk, and those who think like him, have every right to hold what they believe are religious views that don’t condone transgender. What they do not have the right to do is to peddle quasi-medical comments that first have nothing to do with the religious teaching of his faith, second are completely discredited by the medial profession, third run contrary to the laws of this province, and fourth disregard the tolerant and prevailing moral acceptance of the society in which they live.
[…]
What is so dangerous is that such comments will simply inflame the prejudices of those who may know little about transgender people, and don’t personally know any. Even worse, imagine being, say, a young teenager well aware that they are a transgender person, and reading online or in the Journal — or, worse, being told by another school pupil — that they suffer from a mental disorder. The potential for psychological damage is obvious.
The thing is that words do hurt. Many trans people say that it doesn’t bother them, that they shrug it off. However, for many more trans people especially who are just coming out words do hurt and it can lead to suicidal idealizations and self-harm. Even for me words hurts sometimes when I am stressed, it is that straw that broke the camel’s back.

When politicians and new media use derogatory words as Mark Morris said, they inflame the prejudices and can lead to violence against the community. It gives people a green light to belittle and harass use. People need to speak up when they hear mean, that is what our allies can do in our defense.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I’m Leaving On A Jet Plane... Nope.

Traveling while trans you never know what to expect, it run the whole gambit from total acceptance to total hate. It makes travel an adventure that many of us try to avoid.
T.S.A. Defends Treatment of Transgender Air Traveler
By Katie Rogers
September 22, 2015

The Transportation Security Administration defended its officers’ treatment of a transgender woman on Tuesday, a day after she says she was harassed and held for 40 minutes while passing through security in Orlando, Fla., causing her to miss a flight.

The transgender woman, Shadi Petosky, said Tuesday in an interview that T.S.A. officers at Orlando International Airport calibrated the full-body scanner for a woman, and the device flagged what officers called an “anomaly” in the groin area. Ms. Petosky, a writer and producer who had been traveling to Minneapolis on American Airlines, said that the officers did not appear to know what to do once the scanner flagged her even though she had explained that she was transgender.

“The T.S.A. agents were kind of arguing with each other about process,” she said.

One officer insisted that she be rescreened, telling her to “get back in the machine as a man or it was going to be a problem,” Ms. Petosky said, but another officer said that she could not be rescanned. Instead, she said she was held in a screening room for 40 minutes and told not to use her phone, while T.S.A. officials discussed what to do. During that time, she said, she was patted down twice and her luggage was searched.
It sounds like the T.S.A. didn’t even know the procedures and they were just winging it as they went along. According to the T.S.A. they did nothing wrong,
“After examining closed-circuit TV video and other available information, T.S.A. has determined that the evidence shows our officers followed T.S.A.’s strict guidelines,” he wrote. “Supervisory personnel and a passenger support specialist participated in the screening to ensure guidelines were met.”
But Ms. Petosky troubles didn’t end there; the airline then gave her a hard time to rebook her flight that she missed.
In Ms. Petosky’s case, she missed her flight. She said that airline employees were delayed in responding to her requests for a boarding pass, sold and refunded her an upgrade, and at one point asked the police to remove her from the airport.

“The police said ‘no,’ ” Ms. Petosky said. “The police said, ‘Give her a boarding pass,’ and then they did.”

An airline spokesman, Ross Feinstein, said in a statement that the “airline immediately rebooked Ms. Petosky on the next available flight — at no charge — to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.”
Thank goodness for the police officer who showed some common sense.

 The Transgender Law Center has some tips for traveling trans, which doesn’t offer much hope.
The new policy presents transgender travelers with a difficult choice between undergoing an invasive touching and or an imaging scan that reveals the intimate contours of the body. Unless and until the Transgender Law Center and our partners can get these unreasonable policies fixed, transgender passengers must submit to the indignity of these searches or not travel by air.
But for the immediate future it doesn’t look good for trans people who have all their documentation changed but do not need surgery.

Nothing New Here, Just Fox Being Fox

Media Matters has an article about how Fox distorts the facts about trans people. It is nothing new but it is interesting to see their distortion in print.
How Fox News Turns Transgender People Into Villains
By Rachel Percelay
September 22, 2015

But over the past few years, Fox News has cast the transgender community as one of its favorite villians, peddling bogus horror stories, touting fake medical "experts," and actively mocking trans people to suggest that they deserve to be mistreated.

The primary way Fox News has demonized the trans community is by depicting the fight for trans equality as dangerous, threatening, and unnecessary. Whether it be local non-discrimination ordinances or trans-inclusive school policies, Fox News uses scare tactics to attack even basic protections for trans people while ignoring or downplaying the reality of anti-trans discrimination.
[…]
But Fox's fearmongering goes beyond lying about legal protections for trans people -- the network has attacked transgender television characters (kids will experiment with homosexuality!), school lessons on gender diversity (we're falling behind in math and science!), and even the decision by Macy's department store to welcome transgender customers (a threat to religious freedom!). All the while, Fox personalities insist that these protections aren't necessary because discrimination and bullying against trans people "is not a big problem."

These scare tactics aren't just silly, they're strategic -- aimed at pulling the public's focus away from the very real discrimination experienced by transgender people. One study found that 70 percent of transgender people had been denied access to, verbally harassed, or physically assaulted in public restrooms. Similarly, another study found that 78 percent of transgender or gender non-conforming kids grades K-12 have experienced harassment at school, with 15 percent experiencing such severe harassment in K-12 or higher education that they dropped out.
What is amazing is that the local Fox affiliate is so trans friendly, they have covered the Transgender Day of Remembrance and they have covered the legislative bills and never once referred to them in a derogatory way. I guess all foxes are not the same.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What Would You Do?

I thought her answer was excellent, but the father wasn’t
Transgender Waitress Inspired by 'Stellar' Act of ParentingYahoo News
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
September 21, 2015

We’ve all seen it. A child stops and stares or points at someone who is somehow different from what they would expect. Often the parent will shush any questions and look embarrassed. But as far as Liv Hnilicka is concerned, one parent recently handled one of these moments with aplomb. The trans waitress posted a story on Facebook Sunday that begins with the words “Stellar parenting moment of the day,” following an exchange she had with a father and his young daughter shortly after they entered the restaurant. She says she posted it publicly so that people can share the story with other parents they know, and within about 12 hours of posting it had been shared roughly 100 times; commenters called Hnilicka, whose profile identifies her as living in Minneapolis, “an inspiration.” Another writes, “I’m still crying. Magic.”
Ms. Hnilicka wrote on her Facebook page,
This afternoon I was at my waitressing job on a beautiful early fall afternoon. Two parents and their young daughter came in; the tall burly dad adorably scratching his back on the door as they walked in. As I was filling the water station, he came up to me and said, "My daughter just asked if you were a boy or a girl. I didn't want to speak for you so would you like to talk to her?" I nervously said yes and walked to their table. "Hi, I like your hair ribbon," I said. "I heard you asked if I was a boy or girl. I think the important thing to remember is that everyone can be anything they want to be in this world. And it's also important to try to be the best selves we can be for our family and friends. And even to strangers. So to answer your question, I was told that I was a boy when I was little and now I live my adult life as a girl. It sounds complicated but it's actually pretty simple. Do you have any questions for me?" She looked at me smiling and simply said, "Nope!"

I walked away from the table feeling really good about parents intentionally engaging their children about possibly difficult topics. And showing that giving people the power to voice their truths in this complicated world is beautiful and healing.
I think it would have been nice if the father knew the answer and answered the question himself, but he did the next best thing. I don't know if I could have come up with an answer Ms. Hnilicka came up with at the spur of the moment.

1%

What would you pay for something that will save your life?

We are about to find out as hedge funds get into pharmaceutical companies.
Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, OvernightNew York Times
By Andrew Pollack
September 20, 2015

Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” said Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She said the price increase could force hospitals to use “alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy.”

Although some price increases have been caused by shortages, others have resulted from a business strategy of buying old neglected drugs and turning them into high-priced “specialty drugs.”
The One Percenters have found and endless source of money… drugs, but this time it is legal drugs.


Charge whatever the market will bear, put those who are the most needed in the squeeze means big bucks for the money lenders. Daraprim is the only drug that the One Percenters have corral,
Cycloserine, a drug used to treat dangerous multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, was just increased in price to $10,800 for 30 pills from $500 after its acquisition by Rodelis Therapeutics. Scott Spencer, general manager of Rodelis, said the company needed to invest to make sure the supply of the drug remained reliable. He said the company provided the drug free to certain needy patients.

In August, two members of Congress investigating generic drug price increases wrote to Valeant Pharmaceuticals after that company acquired two heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress, from Marathon Pharmaceuticals and promptly raised their prices by 525 percent and 212 percent respectively. Marathon had acquired the drugs from another company in 2013 and had quintupled their prices, according to the lawmakers, Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, and Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland.

Doxycycline, an antibiotic, went from $20 a bottle in October 2013 to $1,849 by April 2014, according to the two lawmakers.
Is this the new trend, squeezing the sick for their blood? How far will unleashed Capitalism go? At one time government was the fulcrum that kept Capitalism in check but not anymore. The rest of the world has reined in on the pharmaceutical companies but here in the U.S. pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever the market will bear.

It is time for a change!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Obama Does It Again

Amanda Simpson who was originally hired by President Obama in 2009 as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce has now been appointed as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (DAS) for Operational Energy.
Amanda Simpson becomes the highest ranking openly transgender official in the Obama administration
LGBT Weekly
Posted by Steve Lee, Editor
Friday, September 18th, 2015

WASHINGTON – Amanda Simpson, the highest ranking transgender appointee of any administration in history was today sworn in as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (DAS) for Operational Energy.
[…]
 “With her extraordinary experience and talent, there is no doubt that Deputy Assistant Secretary Simpson will excel in this important position of leadership within the Department of Defense,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As an openly transgender American, her visibility and leadership is also incredibly important, especially as the Department moves to update the outdated regulations that continue to prevent transgender service members from serving openly and honestly. We congratulate her as she takes on this important role serving our great nation.”
When you stop and think all the LGBT stuff that President Obama has done, it is amazing!

  • Dylan Orr – Special assistant for the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy 
  • Amanda Simpson – Executive Director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI) 
  • Trans attorney Shannon Minter to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships 
  • Raffi Freedman-Gurspan – White Staff
  • First time transgender was mentioned is a State of the Union Address
  • Health insurance: ACA & Medicare
  • Recognized protections: EEOC, OSHA, DoJ, & DoEd

CAN

CAN means Coordinated Access Network; when you call 211 looking for emergency housing here in Connecticut you are accessing CAN. They oversee the emergency shelters and they know which of the area shelters that still have openings, but more important they are the gatekeepers. So they take your information to enter you in to the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)
…is a local information technology system used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness.
So what does this mean?

When a trans person calls 211 and is looking for a homeless shelter it is the CAN operator that finds a shelter for them. So it is important that the CAN operator knows the law and that a trans person should be assigned a shelter of their gender identity.

Trans people were being placed in the wrong shelters and were being assaulted in shelters. We realized that the shelters were not following the law and HUD guidelines, that the shelters needed training to help them understand what needs to be done to obey the law. And that is what I am doing this morning, training the managers and staff. I am with a coalition of non-profits and government agencies that are going around the state training the homeless shelters on how to integrate their shelters and networks.

The group is made up of people from AIDS Connecticut (ACT), , the CT Coalition to End Homelessness, the CT Fair Housing Center, the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, and HUD.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Our Neighbors To The North

Massachusetts had their lobby day for the public accommodation bill on Thursday and it looks like they had a good turnout for the event.
Transgender community pushes for equal access to public areas
A similar bill failed in the legislature last year
WWLP
Tiffany Chan, 22News State House Correspondent
Published: September 17, 2015

BOSTON (WWLP) – A new bill would allow transgender individuals equal access to public areas. Some state lawmakers have concerns when it comes to public restrooms.
Transgender people lobbied State House lawmakers on Thursday, pressing for equal rights in public places. Deja Nicole Greenlaw of Unity of the Pioneer Valley said, “We’re not scary at all; we’re not going to harm anyone.”
The proposed legislation would allow transgender individuals to access public spaces that match their gender identity; that includes sidewalks, buses and hospitals.
[…]
Springfield’s Danica Ali told 22News her experience with discrimination. Ali said, “I have had people follow me into the restrooms in Massachusetts and that is wrong.”
But they are going to have a hard time passing the bill,
Supporters have a long way to go before this becomes law. Republican Governor Charlie Baker has said in the past that he supports the law the way it’s written now. Some state lawmakers hope to expand transgender rights with or without the Governor’s support.

State Rep. Ellen Story, (D) Amherst, said, “If the Governor feels the need to veto it, I hope that we will have the votes to override his veto.”
I hope that they do pass the bill with a veto proof margin.



Saturday, September 19, 2015

On Vacation!

On vacation!

I will be back on Monday!


















# # # # #

Update September 21 @ 8:00AM:

I am back from the cottage...


Saturday's night dinner with my friends. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Summer Camp

There is a summer camp for trans kids, but other summer camps are opening their doors to trans children and some may surprise you.
This Jewish summer camp welcomed a 12-year-old transgender camper
Religious News Service
By Eliel Cruz
September 14, 2015

There were not any hurdles at home. The Gendler family was prepared to be a support system for Hannah as she transitioned socially to a girl. They wrote a letter to Hannah’s school, the synagogue, and Hannah’s summer camp – camp Eisner – to inform them about the transition.

“The synagogue switched her from the bar mitzvah list to the bat mitzvah with no problems,” Gendler said. The school did not have any issues with her transition either. The family’s worries were with Camp Eisner. It’s at camp that Hannah would have to stay overnight with other kids. Hannah had been going to Massachusetts, from her home state of Connecticut, to attend Camp Eisner since 2nd grade. However, that was as Jonah and the Gendler family was not sure if their child would be welcomed back for the summer of 2014 as Hannah.
So what did the camp do? They did research to learn the best way to help trans children and then sent out letters to the other parents with a list of resources for the parents to better understand the transition. A small percentage asked for more information, but
Not a single family had anything negative to say and not a single person pulled their child out of camp. 
What does the do they say about their success?
Hannah is just like other girls her age and Camp Eisner recognized that. The brouhaha over trans people, especially trans kids, comes out of ignorance. Those who educate themselves about the trans community, as the board at Camp Eisner did, are able to welcome trans persons with open arms.
And the camp was all set for when they received the next transgender child this year.

Win One/Lose One

A couple of months ago I wrote about a federal court case in Virginia that we lost, this morning I am writing about a case that we won.
U.S. DISTRICT COURT RULES FIRED TRANSGENDER WOMAN CAN SUE FORMER EMPLOYER FOR SEX DISCRIMINATION
ACLU
September 16, 2015

NEW YORK—A U.S. district court judge ruled yesterday that a transgender woman fired because of her gender transition may sue her former employer for sex discrimination under federal law.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas denied H&H Electric’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Patricia Dawson, a transgender woman and licensed electrician in Arkansas, who was fired by the company after she transitioned from male to female. Dawson’s gender transition was part of her treatment for gender dysphoria.

Dawson’s claim asserts that H&H Electric violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by firing her because of her sex and because she was perceived to fail to conform to sex stereotypes.
That is the problem with courts; some are conservative and takes a narrow view of the law while others see the broader view.  The Virginia federal court judge, Robert Doumar is a Reagan appointee.

I can see the Virginia case going all the way to the Supreme Court, the case is about bathrooms and how the U.S. Department of Education interprets Title IX.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Traveling While Trans

I am always a little leery about traveling when you are trans, saying that it is “Gay” tour does really mean much to me.
Courting Transgender Tourists
New York Times
By DIANE DANIEL
September 16, 2015

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been courting gay and lesbian travelers for nearly two decades, an effort that most recently included a marriage-equality wedding promotion.

This year the city became one of the country’s first destinations to market to transgender travelers, with a new tourism campaign, and for the first time will host the Southern Comfort Conference, the largest transgender conference in the country, with about 1,000 attendees. (The 25th gathering begins Sept. 29.)
Yes, but what will happen when you leave your hotel? And just what does “Gay Friendly” mean?
Q. How has marketing to gay travelers changed since Fort Lauderdale started its outreach efforts in 1996?
A. At first, it was too risky to use the word “gay,” so we used “rainbow.” We started with a budget of $35,000, which has grown to over $1 million. We now welcome 1.3 million L.G.B.T. travelers who spend approximately $1.5 billion in the area.

How did you decide to reach out specifically to the transgender market?
It was during a run less than two years ago that I really started to think about the T in L.G.B.T. It’s really the forgotten T. I realized I knew nothing about transgender travelers, and, as a gay man, I knew nothing about the transgender community. I researched and saw they had this conference that had been in Atlanta for 24 years, and I contacted their president, Lexi Dee. No one had ever courted them or paid them any attention before. They liked our commitment of raising the bar for trans inclusion. Around the same time, I organized a round-table discussion with some national leaders and also met with the research firm Community Marketing & Insights to put a transgender travel study together, because there had never been one.

What did you learn from the survey?
We found that 62 percent of transgender people travel alone, many because they’re “stealth” — often they have a partner who has no idea they’re transgender. The Southern Comfort Conference is mostly male to female and that’s what we’ve looked at. Female to male blend easier; male to female often don’t. By far their biggest concerns were physical and verbal violence and a lack of gender-neutral restrooms. Unlike the gay market, trans travelers are more in line with budget travelers, without a lot of disposable income.
Are they prepared for a six foot six trans woman, or are they more prepared for a Laverne Cox or a Caitlyn Jenner? I agree that “their biggest concerns were physical and verbal violence,” I believe that visual non-conformity is a risk factor in causing anti-trans bias and I don’t believe that the travel industry understands that.

What are your recourse if you’re harassed while traveling? Well just by chance I received a travel brochure and in fine print in the back of the catalog it says,
ARBITRATION I agree that any dispute concerning, relating, or referring to this contract, the brochure, or any literature, concerning to my trip, or the trip itself, shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration…  The arbitrator and not any federal, state, or local court, or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to…
You got that? You will not be protected by any anti-discrimination laws, you surrender your rights to sue in court.

So how comfortable are you to traveling while trans?

Busy This Morning.

Something came up yesterday and I have to go to a nursing home to talk to them on trans issues. So there will be no morning posting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This Should Be Fun!

The Pope is going to stop by the White House on his visit to the United States and the guest list is interesting.
Gays, Transgenders, 'Nun on the Bus' Invited to White House Pope Francis Reception
CNSNews
By Mark Judge
September 15, 2015

Guests at the White House reception for Pope Francis on September 23 will include several gay and transgender persons, a controversial nun, a radical preacher and a gay Episcopal bishop.

Several of the invitations to the event, which is part of the pope's three-city tour of America September 22-27, were offered by Vivian Taylor. Taylor, 30, considers himself transgender, which means he identifies as a sex different from his biology. Taylor has male anatomy but dresses and presents himself as female. Until March of this year he was the Executive Director of Integrity USA, a homosexual and transgender activist wing of the Episcopal Church. Taylor lives in Boston and is now freelance writing.
I sure would like to be a fly on the wall there.

According to CNS News in another article the Pope said,
While Bruce Jenner’s pretend transformation into a woman is dominating the news this week and being applauded by liberals, it merits noting that Pope Francis has condemned the idea of “gender theory” on several occasions, calling it “an error of the human mind” and a notion that “does not recognize the order of creation.”
So it is going to be a quite interesting White House reception.

Our Founding Fathers

Did you know that one of our Founding Fathers was involved with a case about a trans person?

The notorious case of Gray vs. Pitts.

It seems like Mr. Gray fancied himself in a dress and Mr. Pitts was smitten by her and when Mr. Pitts found out she was a man rapped Mr. Gray on the head with a cane.
Mr. Molineux. I saw him dressed in Womens Cloaths. He had the outward Appearance of a Woman, a Gown and Womens Cloaths. I saw a Couple of young Gentlemen gallanting him. Pitts was one. I was very sensible they were taken in. Plaisted was the other. They appeared to be very loving—she rather Coy. I called out to Pitts at New Boston. He turnd a deaf Ear. He came back and said he had a very clever Girl, and went to her again.
It is a little hard to follow but witnesses testified that,
J. Whitworth. Pitt said in the forenoon, that Gray had used him very ill, and he would beat him whenever he met him. About 1 1/2 Hour before, he did [ . . . ] Very ill in Speaking Reports of him.
Mr. Hutchinson. Pitts told me he had sent a Lad to the Custom house to call Gray out to demand Satisfaction of him. And I saw em at it, and the Blood dropping from G's Head. Stick knotty, 1/2 Inch Diameter.
Tim. Odin. Pitts went into the Barbers shop, and asked Gray if he would ask his Pardon. No, you wooly headed Rascall, I wont. D—n you you shall, running his Fist up says Pitts. I could not hear the rest of the Conversation till Pitts struck him. The stick did not seem to be struck hard. But Gray said, Ile set this down to your everlasting Account.
Melvill. Gray had no stick nor Hatt. Gray and Pitts were coming from Dehones shop, to Carpenters. Pitts in a Passion. Pitts shoved him off first with his Hand, and then a stroke with a stick. Saw the Blood.
Isaac Pierce. Heard a Blow at the Town House steps. About 3. Rods.
Dr. Roberts. Wounds, one about 3/4 of an Inch, the other between 1/3 and 1/2 on the scalp, Top of the Head. Both done at one blow. About 12 or 14 days. Every other day. Bill a Guinea. No more than a flesh Wound.
J. Quincy. If he had a Mind to discover his Manhood as much as he had at other Times he would have taken another Weapon.
Knows Gentlemen who have a Talent of diminishing or exagerating just as they please.
Pain, of Body, Expences, Ignominy.
Of great Importance that Juries should be uniform and steady in their Decisions, and that Capriciousness and Humour should not prevail.
Atrocious, inhuman, Injury &c.
What I like is this footnote,
Act of 19 June 1696, c. 2, §7, 1 A&R 208, 210: “[I]f any man shall wear women's apparel, or if any woman shall wear man's apparel, and be thereof duly convicted, they shall be corporally punished or fined, at the discretion of the quarter sessions not exceeding five pounds, to the use of the county where the offence is committed, towards the defraying of the county charges.”
So we are lucky that we live in modern times otherwise we would be in the “stocks” to receive our lashes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Is A Trans Person’s Life Worth?

Not much if you live in Texas.
No Justice for Janette? Dallas Man Sentenced to Probation in Fatal Assault of Trans Woman
Texas Observer
By John Wright
September 14, 2015

A man responsible for the 2012 beating of a Dallas transgender woman who died from her injuries is set to receive probation and no jail sentence.

A spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed to the Observer that Jonathan Stuart Kenney, 29, is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to first-degree felony aggravated assault. Under a plea bargain, Kenney will be sentenced to 10 years probation for the death of his then-partner, Janette Tovar.

Kenney was originally charged with murder in the death of the popular 43-year-old bar promoter after he assaulted her in October 2012. Kenney was arraigned on murder charges three days later, then officially indicted on those same charges in December 2012.
It was a case of domestic violence,
Kenney and Tovar had been together for more than a year at the time of her death and had recently moved in together. But this was not the first time he physically abused her, Anguiano said.

The manager of the couple’s apartment, who lived directly below them, told police they were “always fighting” and did so between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on the day of Tovar’s death, when he heard Tovar yell, “Get off me.”
Life is cheap if you happen to be trans.

# # # # # #

Right now I am at UConn School of Medicine talking to second year med students about trans health care issues.

I Don’t Need A Study

I could have told you why trans people join the military without having a study.
Why do transgender people join the military in such high numbers?
LA Times
By Alan Zarembo
September 4, 2015

Estimates at the time were that for every 100,000 biological males in the general population, no more than three were transgender.

Brown figured the rate had to be even lower in the all-volunteer military. It made little sense to him that a transgender person would choose to join an institution that by its nature had no tolerance for deviance.

Yet over the next three years, Brown saw 10 more transgender patients — all of them seeking hormone therapy and male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. He began to suspect that the military, despite its ban on allowing transgender people to serve, was somehow attracting them at a disproportionately high rate.
[…]
The findings have pumped new life into a theory that Brown developed to explain what he had witnessed. In a 1988 paper, he coined it "flight into hypermasculinity."

His transgender patients told him that they had signed up for service when they were still in denial about their true selves and were trying to prove they were "real men."
Yup. We do not need a study to tell you that, we are also truck drivers, motorcyclists, or engineers, or any other hypermasculinity job.

When we had lunch with Kristin Beck she said that she didn’t care if she lived or died she just ran into a building filled Taliban with guns a blazing, and she received a Silver Star for valor.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Massachusetts is having a lobby day this Thursday and if you live in Massachusetts I urge to contact your state legislators and ask them to vote for the bill and if you can go to Boston to lobby in person for the bill.
Transgender rights bill gains ground on Beacon Hill
More businesses back measure 
The Boston Globe
By Laura Krantz
September 14, 2015

A growing number of businesses as well as the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce are throwing support behind a bill aimed at protecting transgender people from discrimination in parks, shops, restaurants, on the subway, and in other public places.

Although the measure lacks support from Governor Charlie Baker, momentum is accelerating on Beacon Hill, and proponents last week added more than 50 businesses to the list of backers, advocates said.
This bill will fill in the gaps that the 2011 law didn’t cover; public accommodation. But the opposition to the bill is strong,
Governor Baker, in a statement from a spokesman Sunday, said he “prefers the current law regarding public accommodations.” Baker during his unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial bid referred to a similar bill as the “bathroom bill” and said he would veto it if elected.
[…]
Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a conservative public policy organization, said the bill raises privacy concerns for nontransgender people if, for example, transgender women (assigned the male gender at birth) are allowed to enter female bathrooms or locker rooms.

“The rights and feelings of particularly women, and young women, girls, will be ignored in order to facilitate the sort of transgender agenda,” Beckwith said.
They are going to need all the support they can find to veto proof the bill. The two bills are Senate Bill #735 (An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination) and the House Bill #1577 (An Act Relative to Gender Identity and Non-Discrimination) and for more information on Thursday September 17th Lobby Day visit GLAD website.

WHAM!

An Alabama nursing home just had a ton of bricks fall on them.
Boss Who Asked Transgender Woman 'What Are You?' Agrees To Significant Settlement
"They saw the writing on the wall."
The Huffington Post
By Lila Shapiro Senior Staff Reporter
Posted: 09/10/2015

Last November, Jessi Dye showed up at Summerford Nursing Home for what would turn out to be both her first and last day of work.

The morning started well. Dye attended a series of training sessions, completed paperwork, received vaccinations. She was excited about the new job; it seemed like there was a real future with the company, and they'd offered to pay for her training to become a certified nurse's assistant.

But then over lunch, she was asked to go speak with Robert Summerford, the manager of the company, about her paperwork.

"What are you?" he asked her, as soon as she'd entered his office.
[…]
After Dye answered Summerford’s question, explaining that she was born male and was in the process of transitioning to female, he asked her, “What am I supposed to do with you?” and then instructed her to get her things and leave the premises.
Most of the time employers are smart enough not to be so outright in firing a trans employee, this guy was so brazing he basically handed her the discrimination case on a gold plate.
In March, Dye, with the support of lawyers from the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. On Thursday, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced that Summerford had reached a settlement with Dye. Rather than face a possible fight over Dye’s accusation in federal court, the company agreed to implement a policy that prohibits discrimination against job applicants and employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to conduct sensitivity training concerning LGBT people. (The amount of money paid to Dye in the settlement has not been disclosed.)
I wish that we didn’t need to resort to legal action because whenever Ms. Dye applies for a job and they do a search on her name they will know that she is transgender and that she has sued other employers. I wish employers just did the right thing.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Worst Fears.

The stuff nightmares are made of… as a trans women being put into a men’s prison. We have all the non-discrimination laws that say our gender identity is our legal gender. Our driver license, Social Security, Medicare, passports, and shortly our birth certificates all will have our true gender, but is we are stopped and arrested we will be put in the prison on our birth gender. It doesn’t how many years ago you have transitioned, or how feminine or masculine you look you will be housed contrary to the law in a prison of you birth gender.

According to the survey “Injustice At Every Turn”
Physical and sexual assault in jail/prison is a serious problem: 16% of respondents who had been to jail or prison reported being physically assaulted and 15% reported being sexually assaulted.
It is a real fear that we have, so what is being done to protect us?
San Francisco jails to house transgender inmates based on gender preference
LA Times
By James Queally
September 10, 2015

By the end of the year, San Francisco's county jails will be among the first in the nation to house transgender inmates by their gender preference, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said Thursday.

Currently, San Francisco County puts transgender inmates in an isolated wing of its downtown jail facility. But under the policy announced Thursday, Mirkarimi said, he hopes to have transgender inmates living with their preferred population before 2016.

But transgender inmates who choose to remain in segregated housing or to continue living with other inmates who share the gender they were assigned at birth can do so, according to Kenya Briggs, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

 “I carry the perspective forward that the transgender population is marginalized on the streets of America," Mirkarimi said. "Consider how magnified that treatment is inside prisons and jails.”
According to the article California has a transgender prison population of 385 trans inmates.

This is a huge step forward that I hope other states will follow.

Catch 22!

What it is to be trans in another country. We for the most part enjoy a safe existence here in Connecticut, if you are white middle class and if you are aware of your surroundings life can be pretty good. But if you live say in Moscow you have to be prepared for just about anything.
When I wear high heels, my soul soars': meet Moscow's shunned transgender community
Forced to keep a low profile by an increasingly intolerant society, The Moscow Times meets the city’s residents struggling to find acceptanceThe Guardian
Elizaveta Vereykina for The Moscow Times, part of the New East network
Thursday 10 September 2015

HurdlesTo officially change legal identification documents, including the internal passports that are the primary IDs for all Russians over the age of 14, transgender people must go through several steps, including being diagnosed by a state psychiatric commission with “transsexualism”.

Tatyana Glushkova, a lawyer with the Transgender Legal Defence Project, which offers free legal help to transgender people, says that hurdles remain even after those requirements are met.

“According to the law, one must submit a certificate of gender change. However, there is no approved form for such a certificate,” Glushkova said. She explained that state registry offices often use the lack of a proper form as an excuse to refuse to amend birth certificates.

Glushkova also noted that while there is no law stating that gender reassignment surgery is necessary to change a person’s gender on official documents, courts often refuse to do so without the surgery, creating another – expensive – hurdle for transgender Russians.
And on top of the legal barriers the Russia society is becoming increasingly homophobic and transphoblic.
“In the opinion of the public, transvestites, transgender people and gays are all the same,” Vika said. “That’s actually what makes me the most sad.”

Gerasimova echoed her complaint. “I feel sorry for Russia when on state TV channels they basically equate transgender people with paeodophiles and call us sodomites. There are transgender people who have never even had sex!” she said.

Russian legislation hasn’t made it any easier to educate the public, according to Demedetsky.

“Russian authorities constantly want to outlaw things instead of dealing with them and bringing them into the legal field,” he said. “Now, under the law that protects children from gay propaganda, we cannot help teenagers who are struggling with gender identification.”
Life is very different for LGBT around the world, Russia is devolving back to its old ways and is LGBT people as it scapegoat.

So the next time you are at Pride and you look around just remember that in places like Moscow this could never happen.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Staycation Over Labor Day Weekend

Over the Labor Day weekend I went up to my brother's and sister-in-laws in southern Maine and on Saturday we decided to go on the Casco Bay ferry. But first we stopped and had lunch at the Black Point Inn in Scarborough it is a 175 year old sitting on the Western Cove across from Old Orchard Beach. After lunch we walked over in back of the inn to the other side of the peninsula.

There we found the old ocean pump house for the inn, it was built in 1919.


We then went up to Portland to take the Casco Bay ferry out to the islands. It is a beautiful trip and it was only $15 for the round trip to Little Diamond, Big Diamond and Long Islands and it was about a three hour tour. The day was perfect, in the low 70s, a light wind and very few clouds.

On the way out we passed Bug Light Park and a group of people were flying this monster of a kit. It had to be over thirty or forty feet long.


On the way to Little Diamond Island I snapped this photo Highland Head Lighthouse about 9 miles way.


The weather was perfect for sailboats! I would hate to have a powerboat going through all those sailboats since the sailboats have the right-away.


I always want to take a cruise on one of those charter schooners but after see this one packed to the gunwales I don't think I want to take a cruise on them.


Another charter schooner coming out from behind an island


As the ferry left the dock on Little Diamond Island, the captain gunned the engines churning up the sea in the ships wake and the kids all on the dock jumped in.


I took this picture of the Navy Blue Angles that were at the Brunswick Air Show some twenty miles away. I took the picture handhold my 500 mm lens!


On Sunday we went down to the Kennebunk town beach on the last day of summer to relax and read by the ocean. It was a little chilly in the shad of the umbrella but after 20 - 30 minutes in the sun I got back in the shade and repeated the cycle when I got cold.


And on Labor Day I drove home because I had a meeting to go on Tuesday.

Saturday 9: That's All

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: That's All (1983)

Every Saturday I take time off from written on serious topics to have some fun…

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

1) In the lyrics, Phil Collins sings of a time he was wrong when he thought he was right. Tell us about a recent time when you got it wrong.
I try to forget those times, but when I do get it wrong I admit it.

2) The song is addressed to a lover that Phil clearly feels is contrary. When he says, "day," she says, "night." Is there anyone in your life who seems to disagree with you all or most of the time?
Yes, my brother when he talks politics/

3) This was Genesis' first Top 10 hit in the US. Can you name another Phil Collins or Genesis song? 
I had to dust off the Trespass album "Looking for Someone."

4) Phil Collins is a model train enthusiast. Is there anything special that you collect?
Yes, cameras and lens.

5) Collins was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. At the ceremony, he delivered the commencement address. When did you last give a presentation or deliver a speech? 
Thursday, up at the University of Connecticut and I actually got paid to do it. I gave a lecture as part of the “Out to Lunch” lecture series where each week a different person gives a lecture on a LGBT topic.

6) One of Phil Collins' early solo albums was called, Hello, I Must Be Going. He took the title from a song in the 1930 Marx Bros. movie, Animal Crackers. What's the last black and white movie or TV show that you watched?
Roy Rogers, it’s on the TV as I type this… Happy Trails to You.

7) In 1983, when this song was popular, the Lotus 1-2-3 program made it easier for PC users to build spreadsheets. Are you answering these questions on a PC or a Mac? Laptop or desktop? Tablet or phone?
Laptop, a brand new laptop, my old one died a couple of weeks ago when I was doing my PowerPoint for the lecture. Panic! I had to have the old hard drive copied to the new machine.

8) 1983 is also the year when McDonald's introduced McNuggets. What's your favorite chicken recipe (assuming it's not McNuggets)?
Saltimbocca

9) In 1983, President Reagan signed the bill making Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday a holiday. What's your favorite holiday?
I really don’t have a favorite holiday, but if I had to I would pick the Fourth of July because I love fireworks.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Birth Certificate Bill

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of attending the signing of the Birth Certificate legislation at the Governor's office.


And after the governor signed the bill he gave me the signed bill*.



For those who want to learn more about changing your birth certificate GLAD is having a webinar on September 24 the webinar are for people in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

*I intend to donate the signed bill to the library at CCSU for their LGBT collection. 

Twisting The First Amendment

By the far right wing Christians they are twisting the First Amendment to cover bigotry. Somehow, they believe that they can use their religious beliefs to justify discrimination.
Parents angry over transgender student's bathroom choice
WOWK-TV
Posted: Sep 09, 2015
By Chase Numbers


Prents freaked out over a transgender student using the girls’ bathroom at an Ohio elementary school.

Outraged parents protested Tuesday night at the board meeting of the Northwest Local School District, reported WOWK-TV.

“If you have a child who has boy anatomy, let him go to the boys’ restroom,” said parent Karen Jones. “If you have a child who has girls anatomy let them go to the girls’ restroom. It’s simple.”

It’s actually not that simple.

Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments of 1972 protects a student’s right to use the bathroom that corresponds with his or her gender identity, and school officials are not allowed to force students to use unisex bathrooms available at the school.

The superintendent said he had recently refreshed his knowledge of Title IX requirements after the school year opened with a transgender girl at Northwest Elementary School in McDermott.

“Our job is to educate every child regardless of gender, and we want to make sure every child is safe,” said Superintendent Todd Jenkins.
And somehow this has become a religious issue…
“I despise it,” said parent Patty Crabtree. “We’re Christians, we don’t believe in this all these different types of males and females — you know, what we have now. We have slowly watched all of our rights, our Christian rights, are being taken from us. We are tired of it.”
Governor George Wallace of Alabama in his Inaugural Address of 1963 that is known as the “Segregation Now, Segregation Forever” speech said,
We invite the negro citizens of Alabama to work with us from his separate racial station . . as we will work with him . . to develop, to grow in individual freedom and enrichment. We want jobs and a good future for BOTH races . . the tubercular and the infirm. This is the basic heritage of my religion, if which I make full practice . . . . for we are all the handiwork of God.
Religious beliefs have been used many time for the right to not obey the law and the Supreme Court has ruled many times over that the 1st Amendment does not grant the right to disobey laws. One of the most famous cases was United States v. Lee,
United States v. Lee involved an Amish farmer’s contention that his religious beliefs precluded him from paying social security taxes or withholding them from the paychecks of his employees. The farmer sued in federal court for a refund of the taxes he paid. In its decision, the Supreme Court emphasized that not all burdens the government places on religion are unconstitutional. The government can justify a burden on religion so long as it is essential to achieving an overriding government interest. In this case, the Court found that maintenance of the social security system was an overriding interest, and allowing individual exemptions to social security taxes based on religion was impractical. The Court noted that the tax system simply could not function if it was susceptible to challenges on the grounds that certain expenditures were inconsistent with a particular individual’s religious beliefs. Thus, the requirement that employers withhold and pay social security taxes from their employees does not violate the Free Exercise Clause.
In another Supreme Court case “Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith” where an employee was fired for eating peyote which he claimed to take because of a religious ceremony,
Respondents Smith and Black were fired by a private drug rehabilitation organization because they ingested peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, for sacramental purposes at a ceremony of their Native American Church. Their applications for unemployment compensation were denied by the State of Oregon under a state law disqualifying employees discharged for work-related "misconduct." Holding that the denials violated respondents' First Amendment free exercise rights, the State Court of Appeals reversed. The State Supreme Court affirmed, but this Court vacated the judgment and remanded for a determination whether sacramental peyote use is proscribed by the State's controlled substance law, which makes it a felony to knowingly or intentionally possess the drug. Pending that determination, the Court refused to decide whether such use is protected by the Constitution. On remand, the State Supreme Court held that sacramental peyote use violated, and was not excepted from, the state law prohibition, but concluded that that prohibition was invalid under the Free Exercise Clause.
He appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court,
Because respondents' ingestion of peyote was prohibited under Oregon law, and because that prohibition is constitutional, Oregon may, consistent with the Free Exercise Clause, deny respondents unemployment compensation when their dismissal results from use of the drug. The decision of the Oregon Supreme Court is accordingly reversed.
In other words the court found that the ingestion of peyote for religious purposes was not protected by the 1st Amendment

So the far right wing Christians claim that their “right” to discriminate under the First Amendment to being protected is wrong, just like Kim Davis was wrong to deny marriage license for same-sex couple was wrong.

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