Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lesbians & Gays

From time to time I hear negative comment from the trans community about lesbians and gays being transphoblic… please do not paint them all with a broad brush.

I have many lesbian and gay friends who are totally accepting of me. The other night I was over a lesbian couple’s house for Science Night (don’t laugh) where we talk about a science topic, the other night it was longevity and there were two couples and two other women beside myself. And we had a fabulous time.

I also go to Game Night with a number of lesbians, we have our own table and there are usually six or eight women who play board games, it is a nice night out once a month.

I know many gay guys and they are very friendly towards us. A trans friend and me took a bus tour with a gay group, the Prime Timers, to West Point and the Culinary Institute of America and we had a great time.

I know there are transphobic lesbians and gay just like there are homophobic trans people. Just don’t think that they all are against us because it is only a few who are.



I am taking a day trip, a very long day trip up to Cape Cod today.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Saturday 9: My Church



Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: My Church (2016)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…

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

1) This song is about a woman who loves singing along with her car radio. Is that something you enjoy?
Photography (Ops... I misread the question,that is what happens when you answer at 4 AM)
Yes, I do and one time I was signing along with Queen Bohemian Rhapsody at a stop light
and a police car up along side in the turn lane. He saw me signing and had a frown on his face so I lowered so he could hear the song and he started laughing.

2)  The video begins with Maren Morris finishing her cigarette before getting behind the wheel. Do you allow smoking in your car?
Nope.

3) In this song, Maren admits she's lied. What's the last fib you told?
It has been so long ago and I really don’t keep track of that.

4) She mentions having her radio on the FM dial. Are you loyal to a single radio station? Or do you spin the dial?
Okay, first off nobody spins a dial anymore… you press the “Scan” button
I have a number of Sirius channels and also regular AM and FM stations presets on my radio.

5) Maren was inspired to write this song while on a long car trip from Nashville to Los Angeles. When do you get your best ideas? (In the shower, behind the wheel, over lunch with friends ...)
At 3 AM when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep

6) She performed this song on Saturday Night Live last year. The host that week was John Cenna. Do you follow professional wrestling?
First I had to Google John Cenna to find out who he is. I think professional wrestling is a joke (and don’t forget that Connecticut is the home of the WWF and the McMahons.

7) In 2016, when this song was popular, Alex Rodriguez played his final Major League Baseball game. He has embarked on a second career as a broadcaster. Would you be comfortable on camera?
Um… I been on television about a dozen times including the talk heads on Sunday morning shows.

8) A 2016 study revealed that 43% of Americans own mutual funds, many in their 401(k)s and IRAs. Are you involved in the stock market?
Oh yes, the market has been very, very good to me.

9) Random question: You have something awkward and embarrassing that you simply must tell a pal. You know your friend will not be happy with the news. Would you prefer to deliver it by email, in a phone call, or face to face?
Face to face, if you something bad to tell them you should do it face-to-face and not copout by doing it by email. Over the phone is a little better than by email. I know someone who got fired by email; as far as I’m concerned the boss didn’t have the guts to do it in person.
I have had to fire some of my technicians and for one technician I cried they entire time I did it (he showed up drunk work, we had already sent him to rehab two times and would have done it for the third time or for how many times he needed but he refused treatment so I had to fire him after 20 years with the company), while for another technician I was glad to fire him after he tried to strangle another tech. I was scared to fire him, he was aggressive and short tempered, also he was always talking about guns; so I told HR that I was talking a few days off after I fired him. HR hired a couple of guards for a couple of months afterwards, the whole factory was nervous about him (he was transferred from another division when they closed the department that he worked in, it added over a half hour each way to his commute. If he didn’t take he would have been let go without unemployment insurance… so he was not a happy camper.).

Friday, December 08, 2017

Here Is A Question: What Does Trans And “Switched On Bach” Have In Common?

If you know your trans history and music history you will know that Wendy Carlos used a Moog  Synthesizer to make “Switched On Bach” which was a breakthrough for synthesized music, it was a landmark album… but also breakthrough for trans people.
Moogfest Shines a Spotlight on Female, Nonbinary and Transgender Musicians
New York Times
By Elisabeth Vincentelli
December 6, 2017

The music, ideas and technology conference Moogfest is responding to a complaint that was voiced often over the last year — that music festivals frequently overlook or under-book L.G.B.T. artists and women — by beginning to roll out its 2018 lineup with an announcement of female, nonbinary and transgender performers.

The event, which runs May 17-20 in Durham, N.C., will feature the D.J.s Honey Dijon and Ellen Allien; the mysterious British pop producer-musician Sophie; the multidisciplinary sound explorer Fatima Al Qadiri; LCD Soundsystem’s synthesizer maven Gavin Rayna Russom; and the Japanese percussionist and composer Midori Takada, among others. A keynote conversation with Chelsea Manning will close the festival. Additional artists will be announced in January.
Many trans people do not know about trans people who lead the way, one of them was Wendy Carlos…
Meet Wendy Carlos: The Trans Godmother of Electronic Music
In 1968, Wendy Carlos brought electronic sounds into the mainstream.
Thump VICE
By Natasha MacDonald-Dupuis
August 11, 2015


In 1968, Wendy Carlos took a Moog synthesizer, an unknown instrument at the time, and electronically reconstructed Johann Sebastian Bach's six "Brandenburg Concertos" into the first ever platinum-selling classical album, "Switched on Bach." The album became the most influential "electronic" classical recording of all time, smashing the borders between classical and synthesized music. It won her three Grammys and sent a message to the world that a synthesizer was a musical instrument, rather than just an obscure machine used by professors in labs to make weird robot sounds.
" The early electronic instrumentation was not of a kind that allowed you do the literal-minded sampling of every instrumental note to try to assemble later. That became too much like pasted clip art. You ' d have to take a sample, say, of every way that a head can face, and all the expressions, the hand motions, and then try to create real art from pieces." Carlos muses about her earlier creative processes in a 2007 interview with Frank J. Oteri.
Carlos was born in a working-class family in Pawtucket, R.I., and started piano lessons at age six. She went on to study music and physics at Brown University and music composition with pioneers Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, the first electronic music center in the U.S.A. She started working as a tape editor at Gotham Recording and struck up a friendship with Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer, consequently becoming one of his first clients.
[…]
In 1971, Carlos famously composed and recorded music for the soundtrack of Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, which included her reinterpretation of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique used during the opening scene. She went on to score and perform soundtracks for The Shining, and the original Tron, which incorporated orchestra, chorus, organ, and both analog and digital synthesizers.
She did an interview for Playboy in 1979,
Carlos was born on November 14, 1939, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He took up the piano at six, went on to study music and physics at Brown University and earned a masters in music at Columbia. One of his teachers there was the pioneer electronic composer Vladimir Ussachevsky. A year before graduation, Carlos began collaborating with engineer Robert Moog. Their vision was to produce an instrument whose sound was as expressive as the piano’s: It was to be an instrument that grew out of what had gone before, much as the piano grew out of the clavichord. The synthesizer was the result. Unlike the piano or the electric organ, one had to perform a single note at a time on the synthesizer, searching for the right timbre and its right adjustment, then combine many performances of the individual colors and musical lines, using multitrack studio practices. To work it most effectively, one had to be a conductor, performer, composer, acoustician and instrument builder. Carlos was all of those.
[…]
In 1971, Elkind heard that Stanley Kubrick was planning to direct “A Clockwork Orange,” based on Anthony Burgess’ bizarre, violent, futuristic novel. She called Kubrick’s attorney and suggested that Kubrick consider the synthesizer as a novel way of scoring his movie. “The attorney said he’d get our stuff to Kubrick via air freight,” recalls Elkind. “I sent him “Switched-On Bach” and “The Well-Tempered Synthesizer.” Kubrick’s assistant called a few days later. He asked if we could come to England immediately. Two days later, we were on a flight.”

What eventually resulted was a sound track that The New York Times  lauded. “As sheer music,” its critic wrote, “it is a giant step boast the banalities of most contemporary film tracks.”
Wendy Carlos a true Pioneer for the trans community.



How The GOP Tax Cuts Affect Trans People

Not good.

With the high unemployment and underemployed in the trans community we will be hit hard. The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey reported,
The findings show large economic disparities between transgender people in the survey and the U.S. population. Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty, compared to 14% in the U.S. population. A major contributor to the high rate of poverty is likely respondents’ 15% unemployment rate—three times higher than the unemployment rate in the U.S. population at the time of the survey (5%).
In addition many trans people cannot afford to buy health insurance on the open market, the survey reported…
Respondents were asked a series of questions about health insurance coverage. Eighty-six percent (86%) reported that they were covered by a health insurance or health coverage plan, and 14% reported that they were uninsured. This compares to 89% of adults in the U.S. general population who were covered by a health insurance or health coverage plan in 2015…
[…]
The most common source of health insurance reported by respondents was an employer sponsored insurance plan (either through the respondent’s employer or someone else’s employer) (53%). Fourteen percent (14%) of respondents had individual insurance plans that they or someone else purchased directly from an insurance company, through healthcare.gov, or from a health insurance marketplace, and 13% were insured through Medicaid
Yahoo News reported in an article that,
The current tax bill in the Senate would devastate support systems and services for LGBT Americans, especially transgender people, by making deep cuts in their accessibility to healthcare and other programs they rely on.

The bill would raise the cost for people living with HIV/AIDS, cut food stamps, housing and homelessness efforts and lead to cuts in Medicare and Social Security—social programs important to the LGBT community.

“This bill is a disaster for everyone really, but specifically for LGBT [people],” Christopher Stoll, a senior staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told Newsweek. “It will result in deep cuts in programs that LGBT people depend on.”

This tax bill will repeal Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate provision used extensively by people living with chronic health conditions, like those with HIV/AIDS—gay and bisexual men accounted for 82 percent of HIV diagnoses among males and 67 percent of all diagnoses in 2015, according to census data.
[…]
“For transgender people living with HIV in particular, this bill could mean the loss of life-saving treatment and fuel an epidemic that the U.S. government has ostensibly pledged to end,” Kris Hayashi, the executive director of Transgender Law Center said in a statement.
Besides healthcare the bill will also cut,
LGBT people disproportionately struggle with poverty—20 percent of LGBT people have annual incomes less than $12,000, compared to 17 people of non-LGBT people. Transgender people are four times more likely to have incomes under $10,000 per year, despite having higher rates of education.
[…]
Medicare could be cut up to $25 billion just in 2018, millions could be cut from social security, and deep cuts are being made into the food stamp program, housing and homelessness efforts—all of which benefit LGBT people disproportionately.
The cuts will not only affect us but also any group of people that are affected by discrimination causing high unemployment or underemployed. The cuts will be devastating on those who are disabled.

The tax bill will have the most impact on the most needy of us while rewarding the most greedy.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

What Happens When You’re LGBT And Your Parents Are Against You?

What happens when you are a minor and your parents want to “pray-away-the-gay” or in our instance pray away the trans. What are your options?

Well in one case the trans person is suing his parents.
Transgender Teen Sues Parents For Not Allowing Her Gender Reassignment Surgery
The Daily Caller
By Grace Carr
December 6, 2017

Ohio social workers are siding with a transgender teen against her parents, asking that she receive treatment at a hospital instead of the Christian-based therapy the parents desire.

The complaint, filed in Hamilton County Juvenile Court, asks Judge Sylvia Hendon to order Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to provide treatment to the transgender teen, against her parents’ wishes. Court documents posit that the girl’s parents refuse to acknowledge her transgender identity, won’t let her receive treatment at Children’s Hospital, and haven’t let her change her change her appearance to look like a man, according to Cincinnati.com.

The case comes after the unnamed 16-year-old transgender teen emailed a crisis hotline in November 2016, saying that one of her parents had told her to kill herself, according to the complaint. Court documents also allege that the mother screamed “You’re a liar!” at her child when she tried to read a letter during a therapy meeting.
[…]
Cincinnati prohibits doctors or therapists from practicing conversion therapy on gays and transgender, in accordance with a 2015 ban passed largely as a result of Alcorn’s death. The city fines anyone practicing conversion therapy $200.

“No licensed medical professional can perform any type of ‘treatment’ to change the sexual orientation or gender identity/expression of a minor in the City of Cincinnati. It is now the law of the land in Cincinnati, Ohio,” openly gay Cincinnati city councilmember Chris Seelbach said after the ban passed.
This case has big ramifications.

The first question is, are parent’s rights to raise their children absolute? Even if it means harm to the child?

The next question is, can the child file for emancipation? At what age is a child old enough to make their own decisions?

Lastly, is a ban on conversion therapy on a minor legal? Or is it a violation of the parent’s rights to seek help where they want or is it a violation of their “religious freedom?”

It Is A Two Edge Sword And It Cuts Deep

Sports can be biased against LGBT people and in any business it needs to be top down, the management has to buy in on it.
“Sport is a vehicle for social change”: Chris Mosier on transgender athletes
University of Colorado CU Independent News
By Georgia Knoles
December 6, 2017

CU’s Conference on World Affairs hosted Chris Mosier, a Nike-sponsored triathlete and the first transgender athlete to make a US men’s national sports team, on Tuesday night. He spoke in Wolf Law about his experiences as a transgender triathlete and as an advocate for transgender rights.
[…]
Even his competitors treated him with great respect. When Mosier won first place in a men’s race, the second place winner congratulated him. Later when that second place athlete found him on Facebook and read his bio, he was even more congratulatory, saying “keep it up.” Mosier describes that there has been “very good sportsmanship” all around due to the fact that so such dedication to a sport and the hours of training pro athletes put in automatically gains that athlete respect.
It is excellent that the college, the athletic department, and the athletes are so supportive, but I have to wonder about the fans. How will behave toward a trans athletes?

Look what happened down in Argentina…
This rugby team won’t stop fighting for their team member hospitalised by a homophobic attack
PinkNews UK
By Katharine Swindells 
6th December 2017

A rugby team in Argentina is seeking action after a member of their team was hospitalised by a homophobic attack on Friday.

Jonathan Castellari was buying breakfast with a friend at a McDonald’s in Buenos Aires early on Friday morning, when he was targeted by seven men, saying homophobic words.
They followed Castellari into the car park, where they attacked, shouting slurs.

“Today at 6am, a group attacked my friend to within an inch of his life, shouting ’Fa*got’ and ’Fucking fa*got,” Castellari’s friend said on Twitter.
And what will happen when the soccer’s World Cupis held in Russia next year?
Gay soccer fans warned to not hold hands in Russia at 2018 World Cup
An atmosphere of intolerance makes it dangerous to show same-sex affection.
OutSports
By Jim Buzinski 
November 29, 2017

A group dedicated to ending discrimination in soccer has a warning for any gay soccer fans going to Russia for the 2018 World Cup: Don’t hold hands or show affection in public. It could be dangerous.

The executive director of Fare (which used to be known as Football Against Racism in Europe) told the Guardian that the group will be issuing guidelines to LGBT fans in the run-up to the World Cup, which runs June 14-July 15, 2018.
Piara Powar, executive director of Fare, said:“The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community. The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans — do go to the World Cup but be cautious. If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so — that depends on which city they are in and the time of day.
“The guide will also include some detailed explanations of, for example, the actual situation of the LGBT community in Russia. It is not a crime to be gay but there is a law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Issues relating to the LGBT community are not part of the public discourse. Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.”

Russia in 2013 passed what is called a “gay propaganda” law to prohibit promoting homosexuality. Attacks against LGBT people are not uncommon and the situation in the Russian republic of Chechnya is downright terrifying and deadly for gay people. Fare’s advisory makes total sense, especially for games played outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Let’s face it the world in general is not LGBT accepting. I don’t care whether you are traveling on a tour like in “Under The Tuscany Sun” or just traveling to another part of the U.S. or in your hometown there is always that chance you walk into a bigot but when you walk in to a testosterone saturated sports event  you chances of being harassed and assaulted increases.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

So You Want To Sue Because You Were Discriminated Against

With all these women coming out now about sexual assaults and harassments people are asking why are they coming forward now? We have all these laws banning discrimination against us but very few are using them why?

Maybe this article explains the reasons why…
A congressman's accuser: Blackballed and babysitting for cash
Lauren Greene wanted a career in Washington politics. Then she accused Rep. Blake Farenthold of sexually harassing her.
Politico
By Rachael Bade
12/04/2017

North Carolina native Lauren Greene aspired to a career in politics when she arrived on Capitol Hill as an intern in 2009. She spent the next five years climbing the Capitol Hill ladder, ultimately becoming a communications director for a congressman in 2014.

But Greene’s budding career imploded, she said, the minute she accused Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) of sexually harassing her.

Since the summer of 2014, when she says Farenthold fired her for raising concerns about a hostile work environment, Greene has been unable to land a full-time job. She’s making $15 an hour working temporary gigs for a homebuilder. She babysits on the side to earn extra cash.
[…]
She later added: “I was told right away that I would be, quote-unquote, ‘blackballed’ if I came forward. … That’s exactly what happened.”
You see when you file a discrimination complaint it becomes a matter of public record and before the internet if a future employer want to find out about a perspective employee they had to hire a private investigator to do a background check. Now they just go on the internet and do a Google search.

I have a friend and their (I am using gender neutral pronouns to hide their identity) employer came out and told them flat blank that the company was firing them because they’re trans. My friend sued and lost because of an incompetent lawyer (he missed filing deadlines and sued under the wrong statutes). Now when they go for a interview, everything goes great in the interview but then they don’t get hired. If you Google their name there are dozens of hits about the case, do you think that might be one of the reasons that they don’t get hired?

Do you think an employer wants to hire a “trouble maker?”
But putting 500 miles between her and the Beltway didn’t erase the stigma. Over the past three years, Greene said she’s applied to dozens, if not more than a hundred, jobs in communications to no avail. One person told her that she didn’t get one job because of her harassment claims against a congressman.
Yup, the good old internet.

Yes we have laws but like most weapons it cuts both ways. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said,
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
The laws may not being used to sue but maybe it is restraining the heartless from discriminating against us and it is changing the environment.

We Talk About What Not To Say To A Trans Person

But we are constantly asking questions of our selves. I think trans people are the most self-reflecting, introspective group of people, we are always asking questions to ourselves, which is probably a good thing.

I came across this article on Facebook,
5 Totally Normal Questions Transgender People May Be Afraid to Ask, Answered
Everyday Feminism
By Sam Dylan Finch
February 17, 2016

One of my favorite concepts that I’ve encountered as an activist is the idea of “holding space.”

To break it down further, “holding space” is about making room for certain experiences, feelings, or perspectives to be acknowledged and affirmed that may otherwise be pushed aside or invalidated.

Holding space can be powerful. I’m a big believer in giving people the space to open up – and in doing so, building greater understandings of where someone is coming from. A little affirmation can go a long way in making someone feel whole.
[…]
So let’s talk – and I mean really talk – about some of the questions many transgender people are thinking about, but might be afraid to ask. And together, let’s hold space for all of the complicated feelings that arise as we explore them.

1. Am I Really Trans? What If I’m Making This Up?

Confession: I ask myself this a lot.

“Wait, Sam,” you might be saying. “You write publicly about your identity! You’re active in the community! You’re even taking hormones! And you mean to tell me that you’re unsure if you’re trans?”

Yes, that’s precisely what I’m saying.

In fact, I can assure you from firsthand experience that many, many transgender people grapple with this question – even years into their transition.

And I have some theories as to why, too – if it helps.

If someone told you your whole life that you were a terrible dancer and suddenly you received a first prize trophy for a dance competition, you’d probably feel like an imposter, right? Similarly, when society tells us we’re cisgender (and that being cis is the only option), it can take years and years before we feel secure in ourselves as trans.
I think that introspective is good, I think forging ahead without stopping to take inventory of our goals and our future is a healthy. I think society questioning our existence is wrong, they cannot know how we feel; we are the only ones who know our souls.

This I thought about long and hard before I transitioned, many hours I spent crying myself to sleep over this.

This is another biggie,
3. What If I Regret My Medical Transition?

So it’s important to first say that not all transgender people will medically transition. That’s a completely valid choice; medical interventions do not make someone more or less trans.

But for those of us who do pursue some form of medical transition, it’s unbelievably common to worry about regret.

Because our validity as trans people is always coming under fire, it doesn’t surprise me that we question our choices – especially when these choices involve some form of permanent or semi-permanent change.
There are many reasons why people choose not to medically transition, the main one is medically. Some trans people cannot take hormones of susceptibility to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), heart conditions, or other medical problems. Some do not medically transition because of their spouse.

The important thing to remember is that the goal is to end gender dysphoria and if society transitioning does the trick why force someone to undergo risky medical intervention?
5. If This Is My Truth, Why Do I Feel So Ashamed?

The hardest thing about being trans, for me, has been coming face-to-face with the fact that I deal with shame and guilt around being transgender.

When you grow up with the idea that there’s a “right” and “wrong” way to do gender, it’s a perfectly reasonable response to suppress or resist who we are or who we want to be in favor of what feels safer or more socially acceptable.
Ah yes, we are so self-centered that we don’t care about our spouse, family or other. It is all our fault that your father had a heart attack. We get laid with a guilt trips all the time.

Then there is from our own community… you don’t dress feminine enough! Which is what I hear a lot because my usual dress is jeans and sneakers. Or you can’t be trans because you are taking too long to transition, we are supposed to say “we want surgery NOW!”

Many trans people do not “get” gender neutral or gender variant or gender non-conforming people, but when you stop and think about it makes sense. If you think of gender as a spectrum or a continuum as a opposed to a binary then there must be people who identify in the middle.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

You All Seen And Heard It, The Purposely Misgendering Of Us.

Trump and his cronies behave like bullies on an elementary school playground with their name calling and refusing to use proper pronouns.
The Political Pettiness of Misgendering Transgender People
As the general public moves closer to accepting transgender people, the phenomenon of misgendering is coming into sharper relief—and being seen as the petty move that it is.
The Daily Beast
By Samantha Allen
December 2, 2017

But as transgender people enter the public sphere more noticeably—as we win elections and become the subjects of high-profile court cases—we’re witnessing a surge in a much more nefarious phenomenon: The active, willful misgendering of transgender people by our political opponents on large and influential platforms.

I’d hesitate to call it the last gasp of anti-LGBT forces who know they’re on the wrong side of history—but it is almost certainly an embarrassing sign of desperation.

After Danica Roem won her election to the Virginia House of Delegates last month—potentially becoming the first openly transgender candidate elected and seated in a state legislature—the Republican House Majority Leader in Virginia proposed doing away with the traditional “gentleman” and “gentlewoman” titles, as The Washington Post first reported.
How childish of the Republicans changing a 400 hundred year old rule just so they don’t have to say gentlewoman to Ms. Roem.

Then we have the conservative legal counsel doing it also,
If the Liberty Counsel did continue to misgender Grimm, Finch noted, “they seem deliberately disrespectful at best and biased on moral grounds at worst, which undermines their case by revealing an existing bias.”

Indeed, the Supreme Court seemed none too pleased with the stunt, telling the Liberty Counsel in a letter that “his” was the proper pronoun to use in this case, and to “please ensure careful compliance with this requirement in this and other cases in the future.”
Of course, far-right media outlets have been gleefully misgendering transgender subjects all along.
Well we didn’t expect Fox News and the other conservative news outlets to use the proper pronouns.
The article points out that as the general public becomes more accepting of us…
But as the general public slowly moves closer to accepting transgender people, this phenomenon is coming into sharper relief—and being seen as the petty move that it is.
I remember a trans man with a beard and balding telling me of an incident where he was being misgendered on purpose in a restaurant and when the person went to the bathroom he told the waitress that the person had early onset Alzheimer's.

Chipping Away

The chipping away of our rights be the courts have begun, this time it spousal benefits. Will we be next?
Supreme Court Lets Stand Texas Ruling That Could Undermine Marriage Equality
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
December 4, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a Texas Supreme Court ruling that said the right to marry did not mean same-sex couples also had the right to spousal benefits.

The Texas court made its ruling last June in a case involving the city of Houston, which was sued by a coalition of conservatives to block a plan put forth in 2013 to offer spousal benefits to municipal employees in same-sex marriages. A local court ruled against the city, but an appeals court ruled in its favor, leading the coalition to appeal to the state Supreme Court, which found that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling did not necessarily mean government entities must provide equal benefits to all couples. It sent the case back to the Harris County District Court in Houston to decide this question.
Does that make sense?

We can marry legally but states do not have to prove benefits? So we are right back to separate and unequal
Houston appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which today rejected the case without comment, the Austin American-Statesman reports. This lets the Texas ruling stand, and the Harris County court will consider the matter. The high court does not usually comment when rejecting an appeal.
That is one ray of hope; it means that the case could be resubmitted. It is not dead just in limbo.

So now the case goes back to the Texas Supreme Court,
Two LGBT-focused legal groups, GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, issued a reminder not to give up: "This case is not over. It will now return to the Texas trial court for a final decision. It was an uphill battle to persuade the Supreme Court to grant review at this juncture because of the court’s firm rule about taking cases only after a final judgment even where, as we noted in our friend of the court brief, a lower court ruling is subverting an important federal policy. We hope and expect the Texas trial court, on remand, will uphold spousal benefits for employees married to a person of the same sex, as Obergefell and common sense require."  
And don’t forget that today the Supreme Court hears the oral arguments for the Masterpiece Cakeshop religious exemptions case.

Expect to see more bad decisions as Trump packs the courts with religious bigots.

Monday, December 04, 2017

School Books

Texas dominates the school book market; they have so many students that printers use Texas school books for other states around the country. But lately other school districts have been shying away from them because of their conservative leaning on science, the environment, and evolution; in walks California.
California just approved 10 LGBT-inclusive textbooks for elementary & middle school
LGBTQNation
By Alex Bollinger
November 12, 2017

The California State Board of Education just agreed to recommend ten LGBTQ-inclusive history textbooks for grades K through 8. The board also rejected two books from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that failed to include LGBTQ people.

In 2011, California passed the FAIR Education Act, which added people with disabilities and LGBT people to the list of minorities whose contributions must be included in textbooks in the state.
Meanwhile Texas is removing all reference about LGBT people.
“This long fought victory is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions and history of LGBTQ people,” Equality California executive director Rick Zbur said.

School districts in California do not have to choose a book recommended by the state, but many do. Either way, their curriculum has to meet state standards.
A 2012 article in the New York Review of Books had this to say,
No matter where you live, if your children go to public schools, the textbooks they use were very possibly written under Texas influence. If they graduated with a reflexive suspicion of the concept of separation of church and state and an unexpected interest in the contributions of the National Rifle Association to American history, you know who to blame.

When it comes to meddling with school textbooks, Texas is both similar to other states and totally different. It’s hardly the only one that likes to fiddle around with the material its kids study in class. The difference is due to size—4.8 million textbook-reading schoolchildren as of 2011—and the peculiarities of its system of government, in which the State Board of Education is selected in elections that are practically devoid of voters, and wealthy donors can chip in unlimited amounts of money to help their favorites win.
And this is where California comes in… they have enough of a clout to be able to offer alternatives to the Texas school books.

Of course according to the LGBTQNation article there is opposition to the books and it comes from the usual anti-LGBT sources,
Conservatives, of course, opposed any inclusion of LGBTQ people at all. The California Family Institute, in a blog post, said that the law “doesn’t take into account the sincerely held moral and religious beliefs of millions of California parents.”
We can have our little children finding out that Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson were gay and lesbians, might make the children start thinking it is okay to be LGBT.

We Live This Everyday

When Trump got elected last year the non-profit that I’m the executive director started receiving phone calls from trans people who were scared and wanted someone to talk to. We never had calls like that before, but people were scared so this article comes as no surprise.
Study Shows Queer Women, Trans People, Are More Depressed After Donald Trump’s Win
Mike Pence "doesn’t even believe I exist," wrote one respondent. "I should just kill myself now."
NewNowNext
By Trish Bendix
11/22/2017

We’ve all felt down since Donald Trump took the White House, but researchers have uncovered higher rates of anxiety and depression among queer women and trans people since the election.

Ironically, Cindy Veldhuis, a researcher at Columbia University’s School of Nursing, had originally planned on a more uplifting study.

“We thought that there would be all these positive effects from same-sex marriage being recognized,” Veldhuis tells NewNowNext, “And then the election happened and we realized all those positive effects, we just were not seeing. So we regrouped and added a bunch of questions about the election to capture that duality—both the positive effects of marriage recognition and then the potentially negative effects of the election.”

In December, Veldhuis and her team surveyed some 930 adult women who identified as lesbian, bisexual, queer, or otherwise not exclusively heterosexual, as well as trans men and women. Trump was still a month away from being inaugurated, but the effects were clear: Many participants used words like “terrified,” “scared,” and “shell-shocked.”
Why are the lesbians and gay not as “shell-shocked”
Cisgender lesbians felt somewhat less anxious and depressed than trans people, in part, Veldhuis theorized, because they could to “pass” better. “People with more marginalized identities were more aware of how others with even more marginalized identities were going to be affected.” She also found that participants with partners from multiple marginalized communities were more likely to report challenges in their relationships.
Our anxiety is based on how well you can integrate into society, trans people who stand out fear more about discrimination and harassment. I use this slide in my PowerPoint presentation that quotes from the 2015 Transgender survey by NCTE.


The article goes on to say,
“We need to look at this longitudinally and figure out how people are doing longterm,” she says. “This is a snapshot in time, but those affects didn’t go away. It’s an ever-shifting landscape,” with Trump in the White House now. “So it’ll be hard to really capture well what has happened and how people are reacting since every day is a new policy or a new Tweet.”
I don’t think the fear will go away until 2020 and even then it might continue for another four years.


Sunday, December 03, 2017

Kids Transitioning

When I was first poking my head out of the closet the best advice for trans children and their parents was to document everything because you are going to get a visit from DCF (Department of Children and Families).

Well the time are changing for the better but we still have our naysayers… it is only a phase that they are going through, or it is because of the family, there is no father figure or the mother is too domineering. They also cite erroneously studies that they say shows a high number of detransitors.
When “desisters” aren’t: De-desistance in childhood and adolescent gender dysphoria
Gender Analysis,
By Zinnia Jones
October 31, 2017

The progression of childhood gender dysphoria has historically been characterized by two known developmental pathways: persistence, in which dysphoria and cross-gender identification continue into adolescence and typically lead to social and medical transition, and desistance, in which the dysphoria abates and adolescents go on to identify and live as their assigned gender. While studies have found that anywhere from 2-27% of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria will persist in feeling dysphoric (Steensma, McGuire, Kreukels, Beekman, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2013), these findings have crucial limitations and have been widely misconstrued in the public discourse.

One issue is that until recently, diagnoses of gender identity disorder in childhood were made using criteria in the DSM-IV and earlier editions. These criteria were so broad that they allowed for gender-nonconforming children to be diagnosed with childhood gender identity disorder even when they did not identify with another gender or want to live as another gender. For that reason, most samples of “gender-dysphoric children” likely included large numbers of children who did not actually experience gender dysphoria in the first place – meaning that their dysphoria did not “desist” at adolescence, but rather was never present. Regarding changes from the DSM-IV-TR to the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association has stated:
For children, Criterion A1 (“a strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that he or she is the other gender . . .)” is now necessary (but not sufficient), which makes the diagnosis more restrictive and conservative.
Steensma & Cohen-Kettenis (2015) further noted:
What should be emphasized is that these studies did not use the fairly strict criteria of the DSM-5, and children could receive the diagnosis based only on gender-variant behavior. With DSM-5 criteria, the persistence rate probably would have been higher.
Additionally, there is a tendency among the public to misunderstand claims such as “80% of gender-dysphoric children will desist in their dysphoria at adolescence” (already called into question by the aforementioned diagnostic issues) as meaning that any individual child with gender dysphoria can, all else being equal, be assumed to have an 80% likelihood of desisting. But these are two distinct claims, and the latter claim does not accurately represent what is known about the developmental course of childhood and adolescent gender dysphoria.
Much of the research into children with gender dysphoria have been taken out of context by the opposition and some of the authors of the various studies have refuted the opposition’s interpretation of their data.

I have had the honor of knowing a number of trans children and have watched them grow up, and they are the most well-adjusted children that I know. None of them have detransitioned.

I recommend read the whole article.

Merry Christmas… Except For You And You.

If you were black or LGBT it seems like you never got an invitation to the party at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, surprise, surprise.
It was Thanksgiving day when Chris Johnson, the chief political and White House reporter for the Washington Blade, learned he hadn’t been invited to the annual White House holiday party for the press.
Yahoo News
By Emily Shugerman  The Independent
November 30, 2017

Mr Johnson, a reporter for the nation’s oldest LGBTQ paper, had attended every such party for the last seven years. He assumed this year’s invitation hadn’t gone out yet, until he heard other reporters discussing them over the Thanksgiving holiday.
[…]
Mr Johnson is one of at least two long-time White House correspondents who were not invited to this year’s event – a casual, off-the-record gathering for members of the administration and the press.

The other is April D Ryan, the White House correspondent and DC bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks. She has been invited to the party for the last 20 years.
Naw, it couldn’t be because the White House is full of racists and homophobes.
This year’s party will be held on a weekday, and will start earlier than past events. The first couple will not pose for pictures with reporters, as previous administrations have done. The administration will, however, stick to one tradition: keeping the event off the record.
Trump probably wants to get away to Mar-a-Lago to play golf in the morning.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Saturday 9: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree



Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (1971)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
For those who want to read about my 50th high school reunion you can read about it here.

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

In memory of David Cassidy, who died on 11/21/17.

1) This song mentions celebrating the holidays in "the new old-fashioned way." What's a holiday tradition that began with you (or your generation)?
Um… nothing. We just have a traditional Christmas.

2) The lyrics include dancing, caroling and pumpkin pie. Will you enjoy any of those three between now and year-end?
Nope. I don’t dance. I don’t sing. I can’t stand anything to do with pumpkins, as far as I’m concerned they are for carving on Halloween not eating.

3) David Cassidy and The Partridge Family were intensely popular for a short period of time. For example, this song was from the best-selling Christmas album of the 1971 holiday season. Have you added any holiday music to your collection this year?
No. But what I do have is my mother’s Christmas CD collection which includes Nat King Cole singing Christmas carols.


4) In 1971, the official David Cassidy fan club had a membership that exceeded both Elvis' and The Beatles'. Have you ever joined a fan club?
Nope. I think that those are stupid.

5) David recalled that his first hero growing up was the Yankees' Mickey Mantle. When you were a little kid, what grown-up did you look up to?
My father, he was the one who had most influence in my life.

6) David was a notoriously bad driver. In 1990, he was sentenced to traffic school for speeding. He was late for the class because he was stopped for speeding en route. Do you have a "lead foot?"
Um… I take the fifth. I have been known to set the land speed record.
In truth I usually drive around 5 mile per hour over the limit but I have been known to keep up with traffic.

7) David's parents divorced when he was only four years old. He and his mom lived with her parents until he was 10. Have you ever lived in an extended, multi-generational household?
Yes, my material grandmother lived with us when my grandfather died.

8) In 1971, when David and the Partridge Family were at their height, the US Mint introduced the Eisenhower Silver Dollar. Think of the last thing you bought. Did you pay with cash or plastic or your phone?
I very rarely pay cash for anything, but yesterday I paid cash for one of my meds. It was only two dollars.

9) Random holiday question: Let's talk regifting. Tell us about a time you regifted, or you received a present you suspect was regifted.
It was a support group Yankee Swap*. For a while a singing fish made it rounds at the group’s holiday party.

*How we do a Yankee Swap.
  1. Everyone draws a number from a hat or mug.
  2. Number one goes first and picks a gift from the pile. You can pick it up or shake it first and then you unwrap it for everyone to see.
  3. Number 2 can either take the gift from #1 or pick a gift from the pile. If you take #1’s gift then #1 gets to pick again from the pile.
  4. The process is repeated with all the numbers until the last person has picked a gift or taken a gift from anyone other player and that player picked the last gift..
  5. Then #1 gets to swap the gift they have from anyone else.
So who ever has drawn #1 has the best choices while the lower numbers have fewer choices than the higher number players.


Friday, December 01, 2017

Adoption

Trans parents have faced an uphill battle for custody or joint custody of their children, here in Connecticut they cannot discriminate against the trans parent but that is not true for other states and that also goes for adoption.
Flap over Montgomery County resolution reflects transgender rights debate
Houston Chronicle
By Mike Snyder
November 30, 2017

You could call it the accidental nondiscrimination measure.
Terri Jaggers, the president of the Montgomery County Child Protective Services board, tearfully apologized on Facebook after including - inadvertently, she said - certain language in a resolution designating Nov. 15 as "adoption day" in the conservative suburb north of Houston.

As Jay Jordan reported in the Conroe Courier, the resolution stated "there are no restrictions on who can adopt based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or marital status."

County commissioners unanimously approved the resolution, prompting outrage from social conservatives disturbed by the mere mention of "gender identity." The meaning, intended or not, was clear: Transgender people have as much right to adopt a child as anyone else does.
And of course the conservatives are hopping mad.
County commissioners unanimously approved the resolution, prompting outrage from social conservatives disturbed by the mere mention of "gender identity." The meaning, intended or not, was clear: Transgender people have as much right to adopt a child as anyone else does.
And they are attacking the Republicans on the committee for voting in favor of the resolution, how dare they vote for anything LGBT!

My prediction is that you are going to see legislation introduced banning LGBT adoption.

Yes, I Am Biased

I know that I am biased.
I am biased against people who discriminate.
I am biased against people who want to deny my existence.
I am biased against people who want to make me a second class citizen.
I am biased against people who are islamophobes.
I am biased against people who are racists.

We can argue all day about big government v. small government, taxes, and the environment, but when it comes anything about human rights I don’t give any quarter. It is not open to discussion.
Will You Admit You’re Biased, Have Preferences And Discriminate?
Social Justice Solutions
By Kelly Mitchell
November 30, 2017

Discrimination: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Discrimination: the ability to discern what is of high quality; good judgment or taste.
[…]
Ah, but then there’s our first definition of discrimination up there at the top of this piece. This is the definition of discrimination we are likely to want to distance ourselves from; well most of us. We could argue that someone like the current President of the United States is discriminating when he puts forward an, “America first” agenda, or proposes legislation that bans people of certain countries from flying, and of course there is his plan to build a wall separating his country from Mexico. Discrimination? Absolutely! Yet there he is at the very pinnacle of power and influence. So, holding such a polarizing view can get you to the top and, apparently, allow you to stay there too; at least for a while.
A friend has a saying “When you hear mean, intervene”

Many of you probably have heard about what happened at the University of Connecticut the other day. Lucian Wintrich, who is a white supremacist gave a speech at UConn where a fight broke out, a woman stole his speech off of the lectern and he grabbed her and pulled her back.

The Hartford Courant had this editorial today…
Free speech is American to the core. Voicing opposition to the mainstream is a guaranteed right.

But when debate devolves into shout-downs, then there are problems all around. And that's what happened at the University of Connecticut on Tuesday night.

The university's College Republicans invited a young man to campus who is more provocateur than pundit, a choice that from the start did nothing to foster robust debate and instead seemed designed to inflame.

Lucian Wintrich, who writes for "The Gateway Pundit" website, seems to specialize in rhetorical bomb-throwing. He gave a speech titled "It's OK To Be White," which was advertised with posters that bore striking similarities to posters from Nazi Germany. Hundreds packed an auditorium on campus Tuesday night to hear it, or to condemn it. Clearly, Mr. Wintrich and the College Republicans wanted to provoke rancor.
[…]
Mr. Wintrich's schtick is an attempt to divide along the lines of race. In the online transcript of his speech (which he recited mostly intact on Tuesday, extemporizing from time to time), Mr. Wintrich describes an "America run by illegal immigrant tranny communists."

He claims "the left" tells "black people ... that they are oppressed minorities who are subjected to incredible — but unperceivable — human injustices on a daily basis and that they'll never be able to get ahead because of the systematic oppression that looms over this entire nation."

Unperceivable perhaps from Mr. Wintrich's white point of view, but daily human injustices can be rather obvious for African Americans. Not surprisingly, much of the audience responded with howls when he delivered that line.
FREE SPEECH!

We have a right to say what we think!

Well no, you don’t and the Supreme Court agrees that there are limits to free speech.

There is a case called Brandenburg v. Ohio in which the Supreme Court said,
Brief Fact Summary. An Ohio law prohibited the teaching or advocacy of the doctrines of criminal syndicalism. The Defendant, Brandenburg (Defendant), a leader in the Ku Klux Klan, made a speech promoting the taking of vengeful actions against government and was therefore convicted under the Ohio Law.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Speech can be prohibited if it is “directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action” and it is likely to incite or produce such action.
[…]
Held. Yes.
(Per Curiam) The Act properly made it illegal to advocate or teach doctrines of violence, but did not address the issue of whether such advocacy or teaching would actually incite imminent lawlessness. The mere abstract teaching of the need or propriety to resort to violence is not the same as preparing a group for violent action. Because the statute failed to provide for the second part of the test it was overly broad and thus in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Concurrence.
[…]
Discussion. In order for “incitement to violence” speech to be constitutionally barred, Brandenburg sets a new standard. The language must (1) expressly advocate violence; (2) advocate immediate violence and (3) relate to violence likely to occur.
I think that condition “3” has been met since violence did break out.

Who Would Have Thought

When I was growing up I never imagined that I would transition, society was so against us. Then in the late nineties rays of hope started to peek through the gloom and now businesses are actually fighting for us.
Milwaukee-area businesses form coalition to lobby for transgender rights
Would adapt law to prevent employment discrimination
Biz Times
By Molly Dill
November 30, 2017

Four southeastern Wisconsin companies are included in the five founding members of a new group, Wisconsin Businesses for Equality, that is advocating for transgender equality legislation.

Wauwatosa-based Froedtert Health, Kohler-based Kohler Co., Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup and the Milwaukee Bucks have signed on, along with Madison’s UW Health.

The coalition was organized by the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Fair Wisconsin, and will advocate for updating Wisconsin’s non-discrimination law to protect the transgender community.
Connecticut has a GL Chamber of Commerce; it changed its name from Connecticut Alliance for Business Opportunities.

I was a member of CABO and then they decided to change their name to reflect more who they are and I was asked to attend the name change meeting. It was an all afternoon meeting at the house of a Board member, well I lobbied for LGBT chamber of commerce; the other people there didn’t like “LGBT” it was too long of a name. So they chose CT Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce… sayonara, goodbye.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Holocaust The 2017 Edition

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, Hitler and the NAZI party came up with the “final solution” to deal with the Jews and undesirables so are those with disabilities, Gypsies, and LGBT people. Well Putin’s Russia has embarked on another “final solution” in getting rid of us, this time in the Chechnya which is part of the
Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Who Ordered Anti-Gay Purge, Says He’s Ready To Resign
Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Who Ordered Anti-Gay Purge, Says He’s Ready To Resign
"Time has come for changes in the Chechen Republic."
NewNowNext
By Kristina Marusic
November 27, 2017

Chechan President Ramzan Kadyrov, who’s been accused of ordering a murderous anti-gay purge earlier this year, says he is ready to step down.

“It is possible to say that it is my dream,” Kadyrov told state-owned television network Russia-1 of resigning. “Once there was a need for people like me to fight, to put things in order. Now we have order and prosperity … and time has come for changes in the Chechen Republic.”

Asked about potential successors, Kadryov said that if he were to step down, his replacement would be chosen by the Kremlin. Kadyrov has has made similar statements in the past, prompting speculation that this was merely a symbolic show of loyalty to Vladimir Putin, who is expected to run for a fourth term in March.
So what is this about concentration camps for LGBT people?
Chechnya opens world's first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler's in the 1930s where campaigners say gay men are being tortured with electric shocks and beaten to death
  • Chechyna has opened the first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler
  • Prisoners reportedly tortured with electric shocks and some beaten to death 
  • One of those who fled said prisoners were beaten to force them to reveal other members of the gay community 
  • Comes after 100 gay men were detained and three killed in Chechyna last week
The Daily Mail
By Thomas Burrows
April 10, 2017

Chechyna has opened the first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler, where campaigners say gay men are being tortured with electric shocks and beaten to death.

It comes after it was claimed 100 gay men had been detained and three killed in Chechnya last week.
A report by Novoya Gazeta said authorities had set up several camps where homosexuals are killed or forced to promise to leave the republic.

One of the camps is reportedly at the former military headquarters in the town of Argun.
[…]
'Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death.' 
Russia is ignoring the request for an inquiry by its human rights advocate,
Ombudswoman asks investigators to speed up check of persecuted gay's complaint
November 30, 2017


Tatyana Moskalkova, the human rights Ombudswoman in Russia, who earlier promised state protection to Omsk gay Maxim Lapunov, complained about persecution in Chechnya for her sexual orientation, asked the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to speed up the check on the Lapunov’s application.

The Ombudswoman noted that in an appeal to her, a resident of Omsk never talked about keeping him in jail, RIA Novosti reports. According to her, Lapunov "reported that he was detained and taken to the police station, where he was held for several days." "On this issue, I sent an appeal to the investigative authorities, which conducted the check of the facts specified by him," Moskalkova explained.

According to her, "unfortunately, until now this check is not over." Moskalkova noted that it "is conducted too long." "And on this occasion I turned to the Head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation with a request, within the framework of procedural control, to take measures to complete it and issue a fair and justified procedural act," the Ombudswoman said.
Has Trump or the Secretary of State spoken up about these atrocities?

Not one word was spoken to condemn them.

Yeah, Right

We’re not discriminating, we just don’t cover trans people… but that’s not discrimination because the law says we don’t have to cover trans people.
State denies plan discriminates against transgender members
Argus Leader
By Jonathan Ellis
November 29, 2017

The health insurance plan that covers state employees does not discriminate against transgender people even though it excludes drugs and services for gender transformation, the state of South Dakota argues in a court filing.

The exclusion in the state health plan for gender transformation services applies even if those services are deemed medically necessary, the state says.

Those arguments are included in the state’s answer to a lawsuit filed by a state employee who says the health plan discriminates against transgender people by excluding those services. Terri Bruce, a transgender man, filed suit in federal court, arguing that the state’s exclusions violate the U.S. Constitution and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Well thanks to Trump and Sessions rescinding the guidelines from president Obama’s administration and Session’s wrapped interpretation of Title VII and thanks to the fact South Dakota doesn’t have a gender inclusive non-discrimination law we are screwed.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The 411

There is an important case that will be heard on December 5 by the Supreme Court and it is very, very important for the trans and LGBQ community. It could affect our lives on a very basic level, employment, housing, credit, public accommodation, and government interactions.
Everything You Need To Know About The “Masterpiece Cakeshop” Case Before The Supreme Court
On December 5, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights, a case that could have great implications for LGBT rights.
#LetThemEatCake

NewNowNext
By Dan Avery
November 28, 2017

Here’s a quick primer on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights. Check back for more news as the suit progresses.

1. Who’s involved?
The plaintiffs are David Mullins and Charlie Craig (above). The defendant is Jack Phillips

2. What’s it about?
Mullins and Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012 with Craig’s mother, hoping to order a cake for their upcoming wedding. Phillips, the bakery’s owner, told them he couldn’t sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple because it violated his religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. They filed suit with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, contending Phillips was violating the state’s anti-discrimination law.
[…]
3. When And where is it happening?
Oral arguments will be heard December 5, 2017, at the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Okay now we get to the important part…
4. Why should I care?
At its heart, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights is not about cake: It’s about whether its legal to discriminate if it’s part of your religion. Phillips doesn’t deny he broke Colorado’s civil rights code—he believes the code is unconstitutional… If SCOTUS finds for Phillips, it’ll set a precedent that religious beliefs trump civil liberties.
That is why this could be literally very deadly for us; you could be rushed in to an emergency room and the staff to refuse to treat you. You could go to change your name and gender on your driver license and the clerk can refuse to do it.

Those who are backing the side of the bakery feel they have God on their side and more to the point 4 justices of the Supreme Court will probably think that was and four justices are on our side so it will all boil down to justice Kennedy.

There have been a number briefs filed on both sides,
But the small number that embrace discrimination are really big on it. And they’re organized and have deep pockets. (Also, God.) The Justice Department has filed an amicus brief in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop and the White House has asked to argue on Phillips’ behalf, in addition to his attorneys’ arguments.

More than 40 briefs have also been filed supporting Mullens and Craig, including ones by Ben & Jerry’s, Tammy Baldwin, and one signed by culinary stars like Anthony Bourdain And Ace Of Cakes’ Duff Goldman. “When a chef offers something to the public,” it read, “he must offer it to all.”
We will probably not find out how they feel until June, we will have some clues on what the justices are think but we will not know for sure until they issue their ruling.

Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote this opinion on the New York Times this morning,
The Masterpiece Cakeshop Case Is Not About Religious Freedom

I opened the door of a business called True’s.

It was a pharmacy run by a conservative Republican, a man who eventually served as the speaker of the House in the Maine State Legislature. It occurred to me, as I walked in,, that the store might well refuse to fill my prescription, given my condition. And I wondered whether the pharmacy’s actions would be legal if, indeed, the pharmacist argued that helping a person like me went against his beliefs.

After all, there’s a long history of people using religious liberty as reason to justify their refusal to provide a public service offered by their business. In 1968, the owner of a barbecue restaurant — Piggie Park, in South Carolina — held that his religious beliefs gave him the right to withhold service from African-Americans. The owner, Maurice Bessinger, argued that the Civil Rights Act violated his freedom of religion, because “his religious beliefs compel him to oppose any integration of the races whatever.”

More recently, a pediatrician rejected Krista and Jamie Contreras’s child as a patient in Roseville, Mich., in 2014. The doctor, saying she had given the matter “much prayer,” decided that she couldn’t provide health care to their baby because they are lesbians.
[…]
There are two important things to know about the religious freedom/wedding cake case. One is that it’s not about religious freedom — it’s about religious exemption. The other is that it’s about a whole lot more than wedding cakes.
[…]
But Masterpiece has nothing to do with religious freedom. It’s about enshrining a freedom to discriminate. Historically, religious exemptions from the law have occasionally been granted to protect the person who holds the belief. But this case is different, in that it gives an individual the right to harm someone else. And that’s what the Masterpiece case is about: It would give individuals the right to discriminate.
Exactly!

It is giving special rights for people to hide behind their religion to discriminate. And where does it stop?
Could they claim “religious freedom” to discriminate against Muslims?
Could they claim “religious freedom” to discriminate against Jews?
Could they claim “religious freedom” to discriminate against blacks?
Could they claim “religious freedom” to ignore any law? All they have to say “it is against my religious beliefs?”


It’s The Law

It is as simple as that, they’re just doing what the law requires and of course the conservatives are hopping mad.
Canton Schools Consider Policy Prohibiting Harassment Of Transgender Students
The Hartford Courant
By Ken Byron
November 29, 2017

The board of education might soon adopt a policy specifically prohibiting harassment of transgender students and requiring that school staff be sensitive and supportive of those students.

School Superintendent Kevin Case outlined that policy to a board subcommittee on Tuesday. No action was taken on Tuesday but committee members said they want to present the proposal to the full board in December.

Case said on Tuesday that no one incident prompted the district to consider adding this policy. He said the district has no rules now to guide staff on working with transgender students.

“We review our policies every year and one of the policies we realized we don’t have is one on transgender students,” Case said on Tuesday. “We wanted to be proactive and have something before any concerns arise and to protect the rights of those students.”
[…]
Vincent Mustaro, senior staff associate for school policies for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, said CABE has had a draft policy available to districts since 2013.

“Initially there were not a lot of requests for the policy. There has been an increase in the past year to 18 months,” Mustaro said. “It’s not a question of if but when, and it’s better to have direction in place in the form of a policy rather than not have any guidance to go by.”

Robert Rader, CABE’s executive director, said adopting policies on transgender students is a step in the right direction.
This past summer the Connecticut Department of Education issued guidelines and FAQ for Connecticut schools.

Then up in Maine…
Portland school board adopts comprehensive transgender policy
It joins about a half-dozen other Maine school districts that have approved such policies since a landmark state supreme court ruling in 2014.
The Portland Herald
By Noel K. Gallagher

The Portland Board of Education on Tuesday night unanimously approved what’s considered one of Maine’s most comprehensive transgender policies, requiring staff training, using a student’s preferred name and personal pronoun, and taking the student’s side at school if there is disagreement with a parent’s wishes.

“This is a watershed moment in the state of Maine,” said attorney Mary Bonauto, a Portland parent who helped the school board craft the policy. Bonauto, the Maine lawyer who successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court for same-sex couples to have the right to marry, has two high school-aged children in the Portland school district.

Portland is one of about a half-dozen Maine school districts that have adopted transgender policies. The first, in Millinocket, was adopted in early 2015 soon after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued the nation’s first state court ruling affirming the right of a transgender student to use a bathroom corresponding with her gender identity.
Once again this is in response to the state law and Maine Supreme Court ruling.

Meanwhile down in Maryland,
Legal challenge to transgender policy in Maryland school system withdrawn
The Washington Post
By Donna St. George
November 28, 2017

A Maryland family that sued over school measures to protect transgender students has dropped the lawsuit, citing stress and potential humiliation that stemmed from the legal action.

That means a district policy described by advocates as among the most progressive in the state will remain intact.

The legal battle started after the school board in Frederick County, an exurb of Washington, voted in June to adopt a comprehensive policy on school practices that affect transgender students.
[…]
The lawsuit argued that the policy violated the teenager’s right to bodily privacy, saying she fears for her safety and feels humiliated to undress in front of “the opposite sex.” It also claimed that her mother’s parental rights to control her child’s upbringing were violated, and at points made references to totalitarian regimes and Nazi death camps.
All the school boards are just following the law.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

There Is Room Under The Umbrella

For all of our views, just because we are all trans doesn’t mean we all share the same views. One of the things that I believe that makes us a great country is our diversity.

When it comes to activism diversity is also important. A multi-prong approach is also the best way to bring about change.
New Generation Of Transgender Americans Wants To Change Laws, Not Just Minds
NPR
By Martha Bebinger: Heard on Morning Edition
November 28, 2017

In the kitchen of a small colonial house in Springfield, Mass., Edanry Rivera and Louis Mitchell do-si-do around a coffee maker, handing off the creamer and reaching for a refill.
[…]
"I can't change people who are so deeply rooted in their values," Rivera says. "So the only thing I can do is to focus on policy and legislation. We're always going to have a bias, but we need policy in place to reflect our values now in 2017."
[…]
"So policy's lagging behind," Rivera says. "There's this kind of inertia. Government needs to catch up."

"Yeah," says Mitchell, nodding as he leans back into a leather office chair in the living where he and Rivera are reviewing the poll results.

Mitchell, a United Church of Christ minister, agrees with a lot of what Rivera has been saying, but he wants to make sure she understands why older trans men and women are more focused on individual prejudice.

"We've actually been around to see some policy changes, and we've also seen where the policy changes have not necessarily made all of us safer," says Mitchell, who is African-American.
Both views are valid.
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. knew that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not change the minds of racists but would cause discrimination to go from being overt to covert. It taught people not to use code words that were racist, sexist, or ageist. They didn’t fire you because you are old but because you make the most, it is just a coincidence that you all in your 50’s and 60’s.

Yes, we can pass protections and develop regulations to protect us like the CT Department of Education Guidance on Civil Rights Protections and Supports for Transgender Students but we also need to change the hearts and minds of the people. We need people to speak up when we encounter the heartless.

Is A Piece Of The Pie Better Than No Pie At All?

Would you rather have just a piece of the pie than no pie at all, or to put it another way would settle for the crust only and not thee filling?

Well in Ohio they are offering us the crust in their non-discrimination bill.
Ohio bill would ban discrimination based on gender ID or orientation
The Anthem News
By Becca King, Contributor
November 27, 2017

On Nov. 7, Ohio voters elected 11 openly gay and lesbian public officials. These include Megan Kilgore, the city auditor in Columbus, and Democrat Ryan Mess, who garnered the most votes of 13 candidates in the race for Cincinnati Board of Education.

In Ohio, LGBT people may be legally fired or denied an apartment for their sexual identity or orientation unless they live in one of 19 currently protected cities.  This makes the election of LGBT officials especially meaningful in Ohio.

Ohio House Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, sponsored a bill last June that would change that.  The Ohio Fairness Act (H.B. 160) would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing and employment. This reflects similar protections already in place in 22 states.
Whoa did you get that?

Protections for only housing and employment, there is no public accommodation protection in the bill. So you can’t be fired for being trans but you can be thrown out of a business for being trans. In other words, if you are a waitress you cannot be fired for being trans but if you come back a customer you can be told to leave.

This is the same route that Massachusetts and it was an uphill battle to public accommodation protection passed and even now it is not settled until the referendum next November.

What are your thoughts?

bike trail guide

Monday, November 27, 2017

Free Speech?

We tend to think about free speech as being able to say anything you want to say, but the courts have put limits on what is covered by “free speech” you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater and you cannot use “fighting words*.” However, it becomes a fine line between fighting words and tree speech.
UK transgender rights row intensifies as book fair is cancelled
Accusations of ‘transphobia’ have led to bitter divisions within Labour and the Women’s Equality party, feminist and anarchist movements
The Guardian
By Ben Quinn and Dulcie Lee
November 25, 2017

An annual book fair that has served for more than three decades as the most important meeting point for the British anarchist movement has become the latest casualty of widening splits over the issue of transgender rights.

Organisers say that they no longer have “the appetite or the energy” to stage next year’s London Anarchist Bookfair, following fraught scenes at the event last month. A group of feminists were confronted by other activists who accused them of distributing “transphobic” leaflets that promoted prejudice against transgender people.
But first a definition of anarchist from the Merriam-Webster dictionary,
1: a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power
2: a person who believes in, advocates, or promotes anarchism or anarchy; especially : one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order
The article goes on to say,
The acrimony follows highly publicised splits in universities, women’s organisations and political parties over the issue. Lily Madigan, a 19-year-old who has just won a vote in Kent to become Labour’s first women’s officer from a transgender background, has been at the centre of a row within the party.
[…]
Meanwhile, the Women’s Equality party has confirmed that its executive committee is considering complaints about one of its members, Heather Brunskell-Evans, an academic whose invitation to speak at King’s College in London was cancelled after she took part in a discussion on transgender issues on Radio 4. On the programme she called for caution to be exercised in relation to children who expressed confusion over their gender. Brunskell-Evans said the party told her that three members had alleged her “conduct” on the programme had “promoted prejudice against the transgender community”. She is also alleged to have said on Twitter: “we have to #ROAR about the harms of transgenderism for children and young people”.
So back to free speech; is it free speech to deny the existence of a group of people? Is it free speech to argue over the use of bathrooms? The questions are related but different, first question is about margination and oppression and the second question is about who can use what space.

If you believe that we does not exist then our use of bathrooms is a given. But if you believe that we exist then the question becomes are we women or not.

Here are my thoughts…

First medical science has proven that gender identity is not the same as birth sex, that our brains reflects more of our true gender than our birth gender. I believe that gender dysphoria is a form of intersex.

Second I believe that since we are intersexed that we should use the bathrooms of our gender identity.

Third, I believe that to deny us of our gender identity is a form of “fighting words.”

* Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY Legal Information Institute,
Fighting words are, as first defined by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in Chaplinsky v New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942), words which "by their very utterance, inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality."

Did It Really Take A Poll To Find This Out?

Pew Research did a poll on religion and gender identity and guess what they found?
Views of transgender issues divide along religious lines
By Gregory A. Smith
November 27, 2017

The American public is deeply divided along partisan lines over whether it is possible for someone to be a gender different from their sex at birth, a recent Pew Research Center poll found. A new analysis of the survey finds that the public also is sharply divided along religious lines.

Most Christians in the United States (63%) say that whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by their sex at birth. Among religious “nones” – those who identify religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – about six-in-ten (62%) say they think a person’s gender is not necessarily determined by the sex they are assigned at birth.
Surprise, surprise some “Christians” hate us and think we don’t exsist.
Among Christians, white evangelical Protestants (84%) are most likely to say that gender is determined by sex at birth. Many black Protestants (59%) and white mainline Protestants (55%) also feel this way. Catholics are divided on the question, with 51% saying gender is a function of one’s birth sex, while 46% say it is possible for someone to be of a gender different from their sex at birth.
Now the big surprise was that Catholics are divided despite what the Pope says.

In another question about our rights…
Religious differences also extend to questions about societal acceptance of transgender people. Most white evangelical Protestants (61%) say society has “gone too far” when it comes to accepting people who are transgender. And Pew Research Center polling conducted in the summer of 2016 found that seven-in-ten white evangelical Protestants think that transgender people should be required to use the public restrooms that correspond with their birth gender.

By comparison, other Christian groups are more evenly divided on these questions. And most religious “nones” (57%) say society has “not gone far enough” when it comes to accepting people who are transgender, and that transgender individuals should be allowed to use public restrooms corresponding to their current gender identity (70%).
U.S. News and World Report said in an article that,
But unlike the global projections, the U.S. has seen, and will continue to see, a rise of the "religious none." A larger portion of the nation's population describes themselves as religiously unaffiliated, jumping up 7 percent from 2007 to 2014. And unlike other countries, religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. tend to be younger than those who belong to a religious group.
[…]
Many of the nation's "religious nones" live in New England. Only one in three Massachusetts and New Hampshire residents put themselves in the "highly religious" category and about one in three say they are religiously unaffiliated.

Less than one in six Massachusetts residents say they are Christian, but the state has a larger portion of non-Christian faiths, including a 3 percent Jewish and 1 percent Muslim population.
I believe education has a lot to do with religious beliefs, you start thinking for yourself and not listening to someone telling you how to think. A caveat, many religions do have free thinkers but they tend to be in the more liberal religions like Unitarian-Universalism, United Church of Christ, and Episcopalians.