Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Trans Activist Who Is Not Forgotten

The article says “And most people do not know her name.” but the trans community knows her name and all the work that she did for the early trans rights movement… Sylvia Rivera.
A Forgotten Latina Trailblazer: LGBT Activist Sylvia Rivera
NBC News
By Raul A. Reyes
October 6, 2015

NEW YORK, NY -- Before Harvey Milk, she was a seminal figure in the LGBT rights movement. Before Caitlyn Jenner, she was one of the country’s first transgender activists who worked tirelessly for justice and civil rights.

And most people do not know her name.

She was Sylvia Rivera, who occupies a unique place in LGBT history. Rivera helped lead the charge on the night of the Stonewall riots in New York City, considered the beginning of the LGBT rights movement. As drag queens fought back against a police raid at a gay bar on June 28, 1969, the New York Times reported, Rivera shouted out, “I’m not missing a moment of this – it’s the revolution!”
And I think the author got next paragraph wrong…
While Rivera’s presence at this landmark event has been disputed, there is no denying that she was an LGBT civil rights pioneer. Yet she remains little known, even within the LGBT community. The recent movie Stonewall, based on the events of that fateful night, drew protests for “whitewashing” Rivera out of the story in favor of a fictional white character.
I don’t think there is no dispute that she took an active part in the Stonewall Uprising, I think that the only ones that dispute her being there is “Gay Inc.” as they try to “whitewash” the uprising.
I was at the Stonewall riots. The movie ‘Stonewall’ gets everything wrong
PBS News Hour
By Mark Segal
September 23, 2015

Last Sunday, I was at the Stonewall Inn in New York City to kick off a campaign to make neighboring Christopher Park a national park. As the site of the infamous 1969 riots that energized the struggle for LGBT equality, it deserves to be memorialized and for its spot in history to be officially recognized. Those in attendance agreed: activists, community members, neighborhood residents and members of Congress, including New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. It was a remarkable, dignified event.

But the movie “Stonewall,” directed by Roland Emmerich, which comes out this Friday and purports to portray this history, is not so dignified.

I take this subject personally, since many of the people portrayed in this film were, and some still are, my friends and family. These real-life events shaped me and guided me to all that I’ve done and accomplished in my life.

In 1969 I was 18, one of those street kids who spent their nights walking up and down Christopher Street and occasionally popping into the Stonewall. The homeless sex workers that form the main portrayal of the LGBT community in the film were oversimplified and trivialized in the film. Homeless LGBT sex workers were only one part of a large and complex group of people, a group who wanted to stop being beaten up and jeered at, who wanted to feel something other than dehumanized. In reality, Marsha P. Johnson, who is portrayed in the film, kept a switchblade handy for anyone ready to attack her.
Sylvia Rivera said in a 1998 interview in Worker’s World with Leslie Feinberg that,
It was street gay people from the Village out front-homeless people who lived in the park in Sheridan Square outside the bar-and then drag queens behind them and everybody behind us. The Stonewall Inn telephone lines were cut and they were left in the dark.
In another interview Sylvia Rivera characterized the Stonewall Inn as “a white male bar for middle-class males to pick up young boys of different races.”
The original article said,
With her friend and fellow activist Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) and opened a shelter for homeless transgender youth. She was also an early member of groups like the Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay Liberation Front, which were the forerunners of today’s LGBT advocacy organizations.
[…]
But as the gay rights struggle progressed, Rivera was increasingly left out of a movement that was concentrating on going mainstream. Still, she rallied, protested, caucused, and got arrested in the name of what she believed in, earning her the title of “The Rosa Parks of the Modern Transgender Movement.”
She was pushed out by “Gay Inc.” who wanted lily white gays and lesbians who could assimilate into society, they wanted people that they could say, “See we are just like you” and Sylvia Rivera didn’t fit their image.
Riki Wilchins noted that it is not unusual for those that started a movement to be somewhat erased from history. “The gay rights movement was not founded by the gays hanging out at Fire Island. It was started by people like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, it came from low-income people of color outward. And they may not be the face that the modern gay rights movement wants to show the world.”
As this Pride month ends let’s make sure that we are not erased from history.

Trapped In The Tanglements Of Building Code

This is what happens when you try to do the right thing but are stymied by archaic building codes. At Yale University they are trying to have more gender neutral bathrooms to accommodate gender non-conforming students but can’t because the building codes.
Yale files lawsuit against Connecticut in effort to gain more gender neutral bathrooms
New Haven Register
By Mary O’Leary
June 28, 2017

NEW HAVEN >> Yale has gender neutral bathrooms in dozens of its buildings, but it is being stopped by a state building committee from redesignating single-user restrooms at the Yale Law School in the same manner.

The university has filed an appeal in Superior Court of the decision of the state Codes and Standards Committee, which agreed with the original ruling of the Office of the State Building Inspector.

The inspector denied Yale’s request this spring for an exemption from the Connecticut State Building Code.

That code requires a certain number of bathrooms in every building be assigned by gender, including single-user restrooms, if that is necessary in order to reach the code required total.

As to existing buildings, the building code prohibits reducing the number of gender designated bathrooms below the number required for new construction.
Yale argued that…
The Codes and Standards Committee Appeal Panel, in its findings of facts, said Yale argued that removing sex-specific signage from one set of its multi-user facilities would boost the number of bathrooms open to either sex.
Nope the Appeals Panel wouldn’t have any of it, so since this is Yale School of Law, they sued.

And they have allies in their law suit,
In its appeal to the Codes and Standards Committee, Yale got the support of Connecticut Voices for Children, A Better Balance, the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and Yale’s Office of LGBTQ Resources, the paper reported.
So here is a case of archaic laws preventing companies from doing the right thing

Meanwhile out in Chicago…
Northwestern opens first gender-neutral, multi-stall bathroom
Sun Times
By Mitchell Armentrout
June 27, 2017

Northwestern University has opened the first gender-neutral, multi-stall bathroom on a college campus in Chicago, school officials announced on Tuesday.

Other schools in the city have offered single-stall bathrooms for people to use that correspond with their gender identity, but a multi-stall bathroom is “an important next step,” said Francesca Gaiba, associate director of Northwestern’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing.

“Ultimately, our society needs to move toward gender-neutral bathrooms,” Gaiba said. “We want to remove barriers to reduce harassment and threats of violence against the gender non-conforming community.”

University officials gave the institute permission to open the multi-stall bathroom when they moved into their new office at 625 N. Michigan Ave. a couple of months ago. It sits alongside a multi-stall, female-only restroom and a single-stall gender-neutral bathroom.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about what Google is doing in Boston with gender neutral bathrooms.

Architects and builders seem to see the need for more gender neutral bathrooms now the codes need to be updated.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Raise Your Hand If You Been To P’town

My first encounter with Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts was back when I was about ten or twelve when my parents used to rent a cottage in North Truro on route 6A right on the water. They used to rent it for a week and our neighbor rented it for the next week so that us kids could have two weeks on the Cape and our parents had a week vacation away from the kids.

When we went to P’town my father used to call it an artist colony and I used to think it was because all the street artist but I think he called it that because of its bohemia atmosphere.

Then in 2000 I got to see P’town from another perspective… Fantasia Fair.
Equality Is Changing Provincetown's LGBTQ Scene
Vice
By E.J. Graff
June 20 2017

It was our special refuge, a private stretch of gorgeousness that straight people ignored: Provincetown's lesbian beach, and then another few hundred yards to the south, its gay men's beach. You found it only if someone told you about it, or more likely, brought you there. And once you did, you kept going—or at least I did—year after year after a friend first brought me in the 1980s, buying Herring Cove T-shirts as a little wink-wink that signaled when we said we were going to the "Cape" for vacation we really meant P-town. That was back when we had to be subtle, back when we didn't want to incur the wince of "hets" (as we sometimes called straight people) who hadn't yet guessed that our short hair and long stride meant we were… that way.
[…]
Now it's all changed. Like so many resort towns that were once refuges for outcasts, artists, and queers, Provincetown is expensive. It's too expensive for the young people; practically the only ones left on the beach are old folks like me, or lesbian and gay families with their kids, who started to appear somewhere in the late 1990s, putting a lid on the lasciviousness. No longer do the Smith College girls get jobs as servers for the summer, sharing a run-down house for Memorial Day (known as "baby dyke weekend"), roiled with romance and breakup drama. Now, the shops are staffed by Eastern Europeans here on J-1 visas—living God knows where—while the Smith girls take internships in career-track positions since, after all, they can flirt respectably anywhere now.
[…]
At Century, the mid-century modern store with sleek, pricey clocks, watches, jewelry, and high-end bags, I chatted with Brenda LeBlanc, a dark-haired, butch year-rounder of my generation whose brother owns the store. She told me that retail business is down because the bed-and-breakfast and rental prices have gone up, so that now there are vacancy signs almost every week, except for the popular times like July 4th, Carnival, Family Week, and Bear Week.
I have to agree with E.J., it is expensive but so is everywhere along the water, if it is within sight of the ocean add ,000 to the price. And yes, there are a lot Eastern Europeans but I don’t think they are taking jobs from us, those “Smith girls” are going to summer school or looking for a job that looks good on their resume.

Many of the smaller B&Bs have been gobbled up and converted into private residents and the prices have skyrocketed and many of the B&Bs left have a three or four day minimum stay during the summer.
We may have lost our haven, but now, everywhere else, it's OK to be gay. Maybe that's a decent trade
I don’t agree, in my opinion straight people are not taking over but rather rich gays and lesbians are.

When we were there at the end of May there was talk of Fisherman’s Wharf being sold and a 250 room upscale hotel to be built on the pier and also it is supposed to be up graded so that it can take cruise ships. A lot of the residents were complaining about the mobs when a cruise ship unloads a thousand passengers at once, while the merchants dream of thongs of shoppers invading their stores.

# # # # #

As many of you know we are selling the family lake cottage in New Hampshire and I am thinking about buying a three season cottage on the tip of the Cape within walking distance of the bay.

What Would You Do? The Bangladesh Edition

You probably have seen the videos for “What Would You Do?” where they have a trans person in a restaurant getting harassed by a customer or a staff person because they are trans, well here is a Bangladesh version of the show.
It’s Not Surprising Why This Video of Customers Defending Transgender People On Eid is Going Viral
The Lady Finger
By Sharanya Gopinathan
June 27, 2017

Bangladesh, like India, legally recognises people of the “third gender”, and they have since 2014. And just like in India, transgender people in Bangladesh face discrimination on the daily, although if this new social experiment is to be believed (and we always do take social experiments with a tiny pinch of salt) that might be changing, slowly but surely.

Robi Axiata Limited, a telecommunications company, recently released a video of a social experiment. The video depicts what happens when two transgender women sit down to eat iftar at a restaurant, and seem to face opposition from the restaurant management and other customers. It’s been shared over 58,000 times at the time of writing.

It honestly is pretty heart-warming to see so many people, across genders and age groups, rush to their defence. In the beginning, I didn’t realise that one of the angry customers was in on the experiment, which is why I found it doubly hilarious when he angrily said that “he had issues” when he was asked why he wanted the two people to leave the restaurant.
I am heartened to see all of these people speak up for a stranger, they got into a very heated argument with the restaurant staff over their harassment and refusing to serve the trans women. Very encouraging seeing allies defending us.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Knowing The Biologic Causes Of Gender Dysphoria Changes Minds

There are many research papers on the biological causes for sexual orientation and gender identity and a study looked at how understanding the causes of sexual orientation and gender identity have a bases in biology.
Transgender Prejudice And The Belief In A Biological Basis For Gender
NPR
By Tania Lombrozo
June 26, 2017

In the new study, forthcoming in the journal Sex Roles, researchers Boby Ho-Hong Ching and Jason Teng Xu presented 132 university students in Hong Kong with one of three articles to read. One article was intended to reinforce the idea that gender differences have a biological basis, one was intended to question this view, and a third was entirely unrelated to gender differences and served as a baseline comparison.
[…]
After reading one of the three articles and completing an unrelated task, participants then responded to various questions designed to evaluate their stereotypes about transgender individuals, as well as their attitudes towards them. For example, they indicated how much they agreed with statements including, "transgenderism endangers the institution of the family," and "I would feel comfortable if I learned that my neighbor was a transgendered individual." A final set of questions concerned civil rights, with items such as: "Post-operative transsexuals in Hong Kong should have the right to get married in their new sex," and "Transgender people in Hong Kong should have the right to change their birth certificates."

The researchers found that those participants who had read the article endorsing a biological basis for gender differences were significantly more likely than participants who read either of the other articles to report negative stereotypes about transgender individuals, to report prejudicial attitudes, and to reject equal rights. Responses for participants who read the alternative article or the control article did not differ from each other.
This shows that education is the key, when they learned that research studies showed that there is biological factors at play people became more accepting of us. But somehow I don’t think teaching this in schools will happen.

Especially since most text books are written in Texas because they buy the most text books and we don’t want facts muddling up school children minds.

Trans People In Blue

In the news today are articles about trans police officers in Florida and Colorado…
Orange County's first transgender deputy: 'I’m becoming who I want to be'
Orlando Sentinel
By Caitlin Doornbos
June 25, 2017

As a child, Peter John Storozuk used to pray he’d wake up in the morning a little girl.

Storozuk, now an Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy, still wishes the transition from male to female could happen overnight. But the officer — now named Rebecca — is inspiring change in her agency to help ease the long process of changing genders.

“It’s not so much a prayer anymore, because I’m becoming who I want to be,” she said.

Storozuk, 29, is the first transgender deputy at the Sheriff’s Office. She received her new department-issued name tag formally recognizing her as Rebecca in February after legally changing her name and gender.
[…]
She was met with acceptance and said she “was able to show them and change their perception of what transgender is.”
Of course they had to had a “before” photo of her. In the trans community there is a drinking game, one shot each time the article uses their “Deadname,” one shot if they have a photo of putting on makeup, and one shot if they use a photo from before their transition. This was a two shot article.

In Colorado another police officer transitioned on the job.
Colorado sheriff deputy proudly comes out as transgender
By Jack Queen, Associated Press
June 25, 2017


FRISCO, Colo. (AP) — On the morning of April 12, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office called a mandatory staff-wide meeting in the largest courtroom at the justice center in Breckenridge. Employees from the District Attorney’s Office came as well, along with probation staff and court clerks.

Few in the room knew the reason for the unprecedented gathering of the entire Summit County Justice Center campus. Some mistakenly thought there might be an announcement about raises.

“The sheriff asked everyone, ’Hey I’ve heard there are some rumors about why we’re here today, does anybody want to share one?’” recalled the sheriff’s operations commander and SWAT leader, Lesley Mumford. “Devin, my 7-year-old-son, raises his hand, stands up on his chair and says, ‘Because my mom’s going to tell you she’s transgender.’”
I wish them all the best!

Here in liberal Connecticut officers who have transitioned had to face discrimination from the rank and file. One officer faced discipline warnings for doing that other women officer did but never received and some of the other officers made derogatory comments to her. The other officer was denied a position in the department even though she was the most qualified.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I Have Always Been Against Ballot Initiatives

Human Rights should never be put to a vote.

There are certain basic human rights that are called out in the Bill of Rights and since that time we have come to recognize that there more inalienable rights such as the rights of women to vote and own property.

When women’s suffrage right were voted in a ballot referendum it only passed a couple of the states while the majority of states the ballot went against women’s rights.

Three states will have a question on the ballot that asks if we should be able to use a public bathroom.
Ballot Initiative to Strip Away Trans Rights Still on Track to be Voted on in 2018
Rainbow Times
By Jenna Spinelle
June 1, 2017

BOSTON—Throughout Pride Week celebrations this year, you may hear one word come over and over again: referendum.

Less than a year after it was signed into law, legislation in Massachusetts providing transgender people equal access to public spaces will be the subject of a question on the Commonwealth’s November 2018 ballot. Voters statewide will need to affirm or deny support for the measure after a request to overturn it received the signatures necessary to add a referendum.

At a time when the political landscape seems to change daily and news comes and goes in an instant, spreading and maintaining awareness about this issue between now and next fall are priorities for local advocates of trans rights.
[…]
“We are absolutely confident that voters will want to uphold fairness for their neighbors,” Suffredini said. “All this question does is essentially repeal the statute that legislature passed.”

Suffredini said the effort to overturn the law is part of a larger campaign to curb rights for LGBTQ people across the country. Similar efforts are underway in Montana and Washington state.
Let’s hope that Massachusetts get to cocky over their belief that they will win.

Meanwhile, in Washington State their ballot initiative is on a bumpy path and is being challenged,
Petitions for Reversing Transgender Bathroom Law Flawed, Group Claims
The Chronicle
By Joseph O’Sullivan / The Seattle Times
June 23, 2017

OLYMPIA — A letter to Secretary of State Kim Wyman claims that signature gatherers for the initiative to roll back Washington state’s transgender bathroom rules are using flawed petitions.

The letter, dated Friday, comes from three organizations, including Washington Won’t Discriminate, a group formed to oppose Initiative 1552.

I-1552 would reverse a 2015 rule guaranteeing people access to areas like bathrooms and locker rooms according to the gender with which they live — as opposed to the gender with which they were born.

The organization pushing for the initiative, Just Want Privacy, has argued the rule would act as a shield for sexual predators to enter spaces like bathrooms and potentially harm women and children — though such action is already unlawful.

Just Want Privacy faces a July 7 deadline to turn in about 260,000 petition signatures to get I-1552 on the ballot.
[…]
The letter to Wyman claims that some of I-1552’s petitions violate state law by containing typos and missing or changed words. In one of those examples, the letter claims that I-1552’s ballot title on the petitions is different from the one approved by the courts.

“Because the Washington Constitution requires the full text of a measure to appear on all petition sheets, we would expect the Secretary of State will not accept any petitions for I-1552 that fail to comply with this constitutional requirement,” reads the letter. “In addition, we would expect that the Secretary of State will not accept petitions that misrepresent the ballot title and/or the ballot measure summary of I-1552.”

“These requirements are important measures to prevent fraud and mistake in the gathering of signatures in support of initiatives and should be applied scrupulously,” the letter adds.
So we will have to wait to see what the Secretary of State will do.

Then up in Montana they also have a ballot initiative on where we can pee.
Initiative would limit transgender bathroom usePost Register
By Bobby Caina Calvan
Posted: June 22, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A conservative group wants to let Montana voters decide whether transgender people must use public restrooms and locker rooms designated for their gender at birth — a move that could thrust the state into the national debate over transgender rights.

The Montana Family Foundation launched its campaign to place the matter on next year’s fall ballot after lawmakers declined to do so.

If approved by voters, the measure would affect how public schools, universities and other government agencies accommodate transgender people. Facilities designated for use by one sex would have to exclude the opposite sex.
There is some opposition to the bill,
The governor’s office previously expressed concern about the measure in part because of its potential impact to the economy.

Spokeswoman Ronja Abel said the fiscal analysis would be limited to the actual cost to the state budget. Legislative analysts say it would cost $1.9 million to implement the proposal, if passed by voters.

“The initiative would be bad for Montana families, businesses and our economy,” Abel said.
Once again, everyone should have the right to be treated equally in employment, housing and public accommodations and whom they love. Ballot question should never be used to take away a person’s human rights.

In 2008 the United Nation issued a Declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, 66 nations including the United States, signed the Declaration recognizing as Human Rights a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

Trans Employment

Finding a job when you are trans is very hard, you never know why you were not hired and the company can give just about any reason why you were not hired.

So when a company hires 23 trans people that is news and so is when nine of them quit.
Nine transgender employees quit working for Kochi Metro
One India
Written by: Deepika
Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kochi, June 26: Kochi Metro's move to hire 23 transgenders, extending a helping hand to the marginalised section that often faces violence and discrimination has been praised by all. But within a week of operation, nine of them have quit their jobs as they were unable to find cheap accomodation in the city.

The employees had brought the issue to Kochi's mayor and the district collector but they have turned a blind eye towards the issue. Unable to cope up with the accomodation and wage system, nine of them have quit the job since its operation.
The company worked to find them affordable housing,
Sensing the issue, the authorities of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd on Saturday discussed the issue with the district collector and the Social Welfare Department so as to arrange affordable lodging facilities for them.
Too bad the railroad didn’t pay them a living wage in the first place. Like so many companies world wide by paying their worker below a living wage they for their employees to go on government assistance.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Welfare

[RANT]

The Republicans like to go back to our founding fathers… what would they do? They like to cherry pick quotes from the Federalist Papers and correspondences of the Continental Congress members, so lets look welfare in colonial America.

Back when I was in grad school for my Master’s in Social Work we read about how towns in New England took care of disabled or needy town residents and I was amazed at what they did back then.
Poor Relief in Early America
by John E. Hansan, Ph.D.

Introduction
Early American patterns of publicly funded poor relief emerged mainly from the English heritage of early settlers. The policies and practices of aiding the poor current in England when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts were shaped primarily by the Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1594 and 1601, and the Law of Settlement and Removal of 1662. The English poor laws classified poor/dependent people into three major categories and established a requirement for “residency” before aid was provided. Dependent persons were categorized as: vagrant, the involuntary unemployed and the helpless. In effect, the poor laws separated the poor into two classes: the worthy (e.g., orphans, widows, handicapped, frail elderly) and the unworthy (e.g., drunkards, shiftless, lazy). The poor laws also set down the means for dealing with each category of needy persons and established the parish (i.e., local government) as the responsible agent for administering the law. Parish officials were given the authority to raise taxes as needed and use the funds to build and manage almshouses; to supply food and sustenance in their own homes for the aged and the handicapped, (e.g., blind, crippled); and to purchase materials necessary to put the able-bodied to work. If vagrants or able-bodied persons refused to work they could be put in jail.
[…]
In time, colonial legislatures and later State governments adopted legislation patterned after these English laws, establishing the American tradition of public responsibility for the care of the destitute while also requiring evidence of legal residence in a particular geographic locality (i.e., town, municipality, county) as a prerequisite for receiving assistance. The most popular means for caring for the poor in early American communities using public funds included: the contract system, auction of the poor, the poorhouse, and relief in the home, or “outdoor relief.” The contract system placed dependent persons under the care of a homeowner or farmer who offered to care for them for a lump sum. The process of “auctioning” the destitute resulted in an individual or family being placed with a local couple or family bidding the lowest amount of public funding needed to care for them. It should be noted the contract system and auctioning the poor were not prevalent outside rural or lightly populated areas. Part of the reason was evidence that the practice of entrusting the care of the poor to the lowest bidder essentially legalized abusive behavior and near starvation existence.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s as people moved off the farms and into the cities and as immigration increased we see the rise in Settlement Houses and away from the towns.

In Massachusetts town records indicated how welfare was handled in the towns, on the website Colonial Society of Massachusetts they write,
Once the overseers of the poor or selectmen in the towns determined that a pauper needed and was entitled to assistance, they typically turned to local families to provide care. In both seventeenth-and eighteenth-century Massachusetts, the care of paupers generally remained with the family—the basic economic and social unit that could provide housing, food, clothing, education, and nursing in the event of illness. But in the eighteenth century, family care began to assume a different quality, becoming more custodial as it was linked legally to the public poor relief system. Town officials employed families to care for the aged, poor widows, and orphans. While the town officials turned naturally to the family to resolve problems of poverty, the custodial families undoubtedly benefitted from the cash paid by the town as well as the labor of the working poor.

Agreements between town officials and custodial families were remarkably uniform; the towns paid a fee, usually for a year’s duration, for a resident to provide food, housing, and clothing for a pauper. If the pauper was physically able, the agreement would stipulate that he or she would perform labor. Similarly, the town usually agreed to provide the costs of medical care. These contracts for custodial care usually lasted one year. At the end of the year paupers often found themselves placed in another family. Ezekiel Day of Wenham, for example, lived with seven different families between 1757 and 1764. But widow Elizabeth McLane, a pauper from Northampton, remained with Samuel Clapp at the town expense between 1746 and 1760. Obviously a mutually satisfying relationship existed between Samuel Clapp and widow McLane for the town to continue support for fourteen years. Similarly, the Selectmen of Littleton employed John Bridges to care for John and Margaret Barret, two of the town poor, for nearly ten years. Bridges took the Barrets into his home in 1755, receiving four pounds for one year of care. When Margaret Barret died in 1761, Bridges buried her at a cost of twelve shillings to the town. Two years later, Bridges moved to Groton, and John Barret went with him “at the Desire and Request of the Selectmen of Littleton.” While living in Groton, the Littleton Selectmen paid Bridges ten pounds for Barret’s support. After twelve months, however, the Littleton Selectmen refused to pay maintenance costs for Barret, arguing that both Bridges and Barret had become residents of Groton. The Groton Selectmen, however, refused to support the eighty-five-year-old Barret. The sessions court resolved the dispute, holding that Littleton was legally responsible for Barret.
As we look at the budgets proposed by Congress and the Trump administration we see masses cuts to programs like WIC, SNAP, TAFNF and we see major cuts to Medicaid that low income families need desperately.

Just this week Trump said at a rally…
Trump: Immigrants Should Not Get Welfare for at Least Five Years
NBC News
By Ali Vitali
June 21, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — President Donald Trump said in a speech here Wednesday night he would soon introduce legislation that immigrants to America should not receive welfare benefits for at least five years.

The new measure will stipulate that “those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said as the crowd of thousands at the campaign-style rally exploded into extended applause.
However, none of the Trump administration staff seem to know that the law already exists,
Legislation backed by then-President Bill Clinton, called the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996," states immigrants are "not eligible for any federal means-tested public benefit" for five years beginning when they come into the country. However, the law has exceptions and additional legislation since its passage has also affected eligibility
Also what a lot of people don’t know is that for programs like SNAP and TAFNF unless you are disabled you are required to be working after 18 months on the programs.

Finally I like to quote the Preamble to the Constitution,
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of

[/RANT]

Saturday 9: Listen to the Music

Saturday 9: Listen to the Music (1972)
Because Zippi requested it.



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

Once again I am up at the cottage cleaning it up to get ready for the closing on June 30th, sadly it is the end of an era. I will miss it terribly. I will do my best to reply to your comments.

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


1) The lyrics say, "What the people need is a way to make them smile." What song lifts your spirits and makes you smile every time you hear it?
Bubbly


2) Lead vocalist/composer Tom Johnston reports that he's made a lot in royalties because so many radio stations use this as a jingle. Tell us a jingle that sticks in your head.
A jingle has been stuck in my head but now that you asked I can’t remember it, so thank you for getting it out of my head. So I will give you an oldie but goody to stick in your brain…

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz…


3) The Doobie Brothers got their start in San Jose, California. San Jose is the largest city in Northern California, thanks to all the tech companies that have headquarters there. Let's talk about the device you're on right now: are all your applications up to date?
Yup. And I hate Microsoft for forcing updates on you, they come at the most untimely times like when you are late for a meeting and you shutoff your laptop on to be told that there is a huge update that is being implemented and don’t turn off the computer.

4) When they were still a local band, the Doobie Brothers had a strong following among bikers. Are you attracted to biker culture?
No.
But a little known fact, back in high school (when the drinking age was 18) a local biker gang used to have a keg party once a year and many of the members knew me, their nick name for me was Einstein

5) This week's song is from Toulouse Street, which is considered their "breakthrough" album. Tell us about a moment in your own life that you consider a "breakthrough."
When I thought that I was having a heart attack, that brought much change in my life… I started to transiton.

6) In 1987, the Doobie Brothers did a benefit performance for Vietnam Veterans at the Hollywood Bowl. Next to the Beatles, it was the fastest-selling ticket in Hollywood Bowl history. Which group do you listen to more often -- the Doobies or the Beatles?
WOW! How can you pick between the two bands, they both were at the top of the music industry back then and they have different styles of music, so I am going to pass on this question.

7) In 1972, when this song was popular, Wranglers were America's best-selling jeans. Are you brand-loyal to one jeans manufacturer?
Nope, I don’t pay attention to brands.

8) Grocery stores saw seafood prices fluctuate wildly in 1972 because of a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Iceland regarding fishing rights in the North Atlantic. (Iceland won.) What was the most recent seafood dish that you enjoyed?
Stuffed sole with lobster and crab stuffing. Mmm…

9) Random question: Which of these "top ten" lists would you prefer to be on -- the sexiest, the smartest or the richest?
In this time of life I would go for the richest.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sounding Board

This fall I am giving a couple of class lectures in the fall while the professor is away and part of the lecture will be on the intersection of race and trans people and how the two interact. So I have been searching Google Scholar (I miss having the research database from school, many of the papers that I find on the topic I can read unless I pay an outrageous fee.) for papers on the topic and I have come across a number of interesting papers.

One of the papers that I found is “Transgender Youth of Color and Resilience: Negotiating Oppression and Finding Support” and the Abstract reads in part…
Abstract This qualitative study explored the resilience of 13 transgender youth of color in the Southeastern region of the U.S. The definition of resilience framing this study was a participant’s ability to “bounce back” from challenging experiences as transgender youth of color. Using a henomenological research tradition and a feminist, intersectionality (intercategorical) theoretical framework, the research question guiding the study was: “What are the daily lived experiences of resilience transgender youth of color describe as they negotiate intersections of transprejudice and racism?”
So now I’m off finding information on, “intersectionality theoretical.”

Another paper that I found was “AN INTERSECTIONAL ANALYSIS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER(LGBT) PEOPLE'S EVALUATIONS OF ANTI-QUEER VIOLENCE” and it begins…
Most studies that have focused on violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have overlooked the intersections among race, class, and gender (Mason 2002). Conversely, I examine LGBT, or queer, people's violent experiences through a feminist and intersectional lens, exploring the evaluations of 47 respondents interviewed in New York City. In particular, I build on studies that have examined the severity of anti- queer violence, focusing particular attention on LGBT people's evaluations of physical and verbal abuse (Herek, Gillis, and Cogan 1999; Rose and Mechanic 2002). Previous research has suggested that lesbians and gay men generally perceive homophobic physical attacks as more severe than verbal abuse or violence that is not based on their sexuality (D'Augelli and Grossman 2001; Dunbar 2006; Herek et al. 1997). In contrast, my results reveal significant intersectional differences, thereby dispelling the notion that LGBT people evaluate forms of anti-queer violence in uniform ways.
Still another paper “Gender Affirmation: A Framework for Conceptualizing Risk
Behavior among Transgender Women of Color” and its abstract reads,
Experiences of stigma, discrimination, and violence as well as extreme health disparities and high rates of sexual risk behavior and substance use have been well-documented among transgender women of color. Using an intersectional approach and integrating prominent theories from stigma, eating disorders, and HIV-related research, this article offers a new framework for conceptualizing risk behavior among transgender women of color, specifically sexual risk behavior and risky body modification practices. This framework is centered on the concept of ‘gender affirmation,’ the process by which individuals are affirmed in their gender identity through social interactions. Qualitative data from 22 interviews with transgender women of color from the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States are analyzed and discussed in the context of the gender affirmation framework.
Plus I have a copy of the 2015 GLSEN School Climate Survey along with a copy of the 2015 Transgender Survey. So I have lot of reading to do this summer, many of you probably find this all boring, so do I but if I am going to teach it I have to understand it.

Anyone have any thoughts on what I might also want to cover in the lectures for future teachers?

Another Nail In Our Coffin

As many of you might remember the guidelines that the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights issued for trans students under the Obama administration which said that schools had to recognize our gender identity. These guidelines were not pulled out of a hat but based on court rulings including cases heard before the Supreme Court (Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins) and other courts around the country. The case that I liked was…
The Schroer [U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in Schroer v. Billington] court compared a change of sex to a change of religion, noting that "[d]iscrimination 'because of religion' easily encompasses discrimination because of a change of religion." The court stated:
"Imagine that an employee is fired because she converts from Christianity to Judaism. Imagine too that her employer testifies that he harbors no bias toward either Christians or Jews but only to 'converts.' . . . No court would take seriously the notion that ‘converts’ are not covered by the statute."
And there are dozens of other federal cases that found we are protected under Title VII and Title IX.

So now the Trump administration is ignoring all the legal precedent and issued their own guidelines,
Trump administration issues new letter on transgender students
Catholic World News
June 23, 2017

The Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education has issued an instruction stating that schools that fail to use transgender students’ “preferred names and pronouns” are committing harassment.
[…]
In February, the Trump administration withdrew the previous year’s directive.

The Trump administration’s new instruction states that this withdrawal “does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying or harassment.”
And now schools can force us to use the bathrooms of our birth gender or to use a staff bathroom.

This is just another case of the Trump administration refusing to enforce federal law.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Excellent!

With all the stuff the Trump administration is doing to remove anything LGBT, the Department of Justice employees just thumbed their noses at the administration.
At DOJ Pride Event, LGBT Employees Plan To Honor Lawyers, Student Behind Pro-Transgender Lawsuits
BuzzFeed
By Chris Geidner
June 21, 2017

DOJ Pride — the Justice Department's group for LGBT employees and allies — plans to give its community service award to Gavin Grimm, the transgender student challenging his high school's bathroom policy, and its award for contributions to the environment for LGBT employees to department lawyers behind pro-transgender litigation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to rescind Obama-era guidance supporting the rights of transgender students is set to get a strong, if symbolic, rebuke from Sessions' own employees next week.

On the morning of June 28, the Justice Department is scheduled to hold its annual LGBT Pride Month Program in the Great Hall of the department's main building on Pennsylvania Avenue, in between the Capitol and the White House.
[…]
This year, DOJ Pride — the department's group for LGBT employees and their allies — plans to present Gavin Grimm with its Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award at the event, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Yes!

I have to wonder if this will be the last year for DOJ Pride

Healthcare

The trans community is always looking for trans friendly healthcare providers*; we worry when we walk in to a medical office how will I be treated. As a volunteer at a LGBT health care providers I get calls from trans people asking for trans friendly healthcare providers from a database that they have.

Connecticut is one of the states that embraced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or as it is otherwise known Obamacare, as a results many trans people now have insurance for the first time and are looking for a PCP or endos.
How doctors in Texas are trying to protect transgender patients from a persistent threat: HIV
LA Times
By Alexandra Zavis
June 21, 2017

When the Kind Clinic began offering free or low-cost hormone therapy for transgender people in March, word spread quickly here. Within days, the service was booked up until the end of June. Now the next available appointment is in December.

For the patients flocking to the clinic north of downtown — the first of its kind in central Texas — it’s a chance to begin a transition many thought they could not afford. But for the doctors, the rush is a chance to start addressing another major health problem facing the transgender community: the staggering rates of HIV.

By offering hormone therapy, the clinic aims to earn the trust of a population that often feels alienated by mainstream medicine and persuade those at high risk of exposure to the virus to start on a drug regimen that can prevent infection.
There are a couple of clinics here in Connecticut that offers hormones on a sliding scale but now that HUSKY insurance (Connecticut version of Medicaid) has increased the number of insured trans people are now cover hormones.
The population is so vulnerable because the stigmatized place that transgender people occupy in society translates into extremely high rates of poverty, substance abuse, mental health difficulties, homelessness and incarceration — all of which increase the odds of having sex without condoms or sharing needles, the two most common ways that HIV is spread in the U.S.
[…]
A survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2015 found that 23% of the nearly 28,000 respondents hadn’t seen a doctor when they needed one in the last year, because they were afraid of being mistreated. A third couldn’t afford to see one.
Because of HUSKY there is less needle sharing for hormones.

As for “afraid of being mistreated” it is a real fear but I feel it is declining, at least here in Connecticut. Healthcare providers and hospitals are now treating more trans people and are learning how to treat us (sometimes by legal enforcement). However, all it takes is for one trans person to have a problem with the healthcare providers or staff for the news to spread throughout the community.

But I haven’t had any problems with doctors or healthcare providers since I transitioned and I have seen a number of specialists. Yesterday I had an invasive routine test, most of the staff didn’t know I was trans until I arrived at the outpatient facility and the staff was excellent.

*By healthcare provider I mean doctors, APRNs, nurses, therapists, LCSW, medical technicians, or anyone else treat us.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

While We Are On The Topic Of Movies…

There is an independent movie that just came out, “And Then There Was Eve.”
‘And Then There Was Eve’ can’t survive on good intentions alone
Substream Magazine
By Leigh Monson
June 19, 2017

The following review of And Then There Was Eve is coverage for the Los Angeles Film Festival.

And Then There Was Eve is exactly the kind of film I hate to review, and that’s for two reasons. First, this is the kind of film where I can’t really talk about it in any great depth without getting into the nitty gritty of second and third act plot details that could be considered spoilers, so if you don’t want to know where this plot is going, stop reading after the second paragraph. However, the second reason I hate reviewing movies like And Then There Was Eve is because it very, very clearly has its heart in the right place on a very critical social justice issue, but it misses the mark so earnestly and yet so misguidedly that I can’t help but feel that by criticizing it I’m doing some sort of harm to the social progress it’s trying to further, which I’d absolutely hate to do. And yet, despite its morals being firmly where they need to be, its perspective and the degrees by which it grants its characters empathy are disproportionately skewed toward emphasizing the suffering of the privileged over the discriminated against.

The film focuses on Alyssa (Tania Nolan) one year after her husband Kevin mysteriously disappeared. In attempting to track him down, she discovers his work acquaintance Eve (Rachel Crowl), who agrees to help her through this troubling time. Eve suggests that Alyssa move on, encouraging that she grieve the loss of Kevin with a wake and that she join a support group for widows. And as Alyssa begins to move on with her life, she starts to discover a love for Eve that she fears exploring further.
Okay, I have to give a disclosure… I know Rachel Crowl and her spouse Helen Boyd the author of “My Husband Betty,” I have known them for about ten years now, I first met them at Fantasia Fair. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Rachel is Betty.



Speaking Out

Trans actors are speaking out against the freezing them out of trans parts in movies.
Transgender Actors Calls For Equality In Hollywood Via New Video From GLAAD, ScreenCrush
Deadline
By Anita Busch
June 20, 2017

Transgender actors have a message for Hollywood and have taken part in a video to spread the word and equality. In a video written by actress/writer Jen Richards, a number of actors — Alexandra Billings (Transparent), D’Lo (Sense8), Elliot Fletcher (The Fosters), Alexandra Grey (Transparent), Ian Harvie (Transparent), Jazzmun (When We Rise), Trace Lysette (Transparent), Jen Richards (Nashville), and Rain Valdez (Lopez) — take their plea to producers, studios and networks:
“You have the power to educate, to change minds, shape public opinion, and open hearts so we need you to show us, as we really are. Tell our stories with the creativity, dignity, humor and depth that make us real people. Let us help you tell those stories or better yet, help us tell them ourselves and then put us in them. And in everything else. In all kinds of parts. Yes, you’ll be giving us a job, and thank you for that, but you’ll also be making the world a little bit safer for an intensely maligned, under-represented, and vulnerable population.”
This comes shortly after GLAAD released its Studio Responsibility Index, which mapped the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBTQ people in films released by the seven major motion picture studios during the 2016 calendar year found just one transgender character in film, and the character was used as punchline. On television, GLAAD’s latest Where We Are on TV Report found that transgender characters accounted for only 6% of the 278 LGBTQ characters on broadcast, cable and streaming programs.
I don’t think that producers and directors will listen; I think that there is a strong bias against trans actors.

They say that they want named actors in their movies and shows but it is a Catch 22 when they freeze out trans actors because they can never get name recognition if they are not allowed to play in major movies or shows.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Your Papers Please

We dread hearing that, whether it is when we get stopped by police for a driving infractions or standing in line at a TSA checkpoint.
Why Transgender People Suffer from ‘ID Anxiety'
Time
By Jacob Tobia
Jun 19, 2017

Think about the last time you went through TSA before getting on a flight.

No matter how well you packed or how often you’ve traveled, the experience probably managed to be a relatively unpleasant one. As you got in line, you might’ve been worried about how far away your gate was, about whether or not your flight would be delayed, or about if your feet were going to smell when you took off your shoes. If there was traffic on the way to the airport, you might’ve even been quietly (or not so quietly) panicking that you were going to miss your flight.

But odds are, no matter how stressed you were, you weren’t worried about missing your flight because the gender on your ID didn’t “match” how the TSA officer perceived you.

For trans people, “ID anxiety” can be an almost daily occurrence. As a gender nonconforming writer and producer, I travel at least once a month to make appearances at events or perform at colleges and universities. Each time I go through TSA, I take a deep breath and say a prayer that the officer at the podium won’t take one look at my dress, then the “M” on my driver’s license, and decide that I need to be held for more thorough questioning.

This anxiety isn’t just limited to TSA. When I see blue lights behind me on the highway and I worry that I’m being pulled over for a speeding ticket, ID Anxiety kicks in again. When a police car drives up behind me, my first thought isn’t “I wonder how much the fine is going to be?” My first thought is “Oh God, what am I wearing today? Am I wearing too much makeup? Will this dress be a problem? Is the officer going to have an issue with the M on my license?”
When I was in traffic accidents I worried about that. The first accident I was after I transitioned when a guy hit my car at a Maine tollbooth. Then in 2012 my new Prius got hit with only a 197 miles on the car and in both instances the police were very professional in the way they treated me.

But when you call 911 there is that little nagging worry… how will treat me?
Clearly we still have some fairly serious gender problems to solve. As a society, we have to begin redefining the role played by gender markers. That’s why, along with the rest of the transgender community, I am ecstatic about a recently-proposed bill in California that would create a gender-neutral designation on state ID documents and allow individuals to change their gender marker without undergoing clinical treatment or getting a court order.

If passed, the proposed law — Senate Bill 179 — would represent a historic leap forward for the transgender community in California and across the country. As a genderqueer person living in Los Angeles, I could then apply for a new driver’s license at the California DMV that simply listed “nonbinary” in the gender category.

The impact of having that on my driver’s license would be profound. I’d no longer have to worry about getting strange looks from TSA officers, and instead of assuming that I want a man to pat me down, they would simply ask me if I had a preference for a man or a woman. When being pulled over by a police officer, I wouldn’t have to worry anymore about my gender being treated as some sort of interrogation, or have to deal with the implications of simultaneously having makeup on my face and an “M” on my license.
Well I am not too sure about not being hassled by police anymore; it just might make it worst if you encountered a bigoted officer or a TSA agent.

Confusion From On High

The Obama administration issued guideline for trans students to schools, many schools ignored them some got sued and other had their cases continued to the new administration which has closed the cases on them.
Education Department Closes Transgender Student Cases, Scales Back ‘Systemic’ Civil Rights Investigations
“It’s Open Season on Transgender Students”
New Civil Rights Movement
By Ryan Williams-Jent
June 17, 2017

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights this week has closed a case in which it had determined a transgender student had suffered discrimination at school. The move follows the office’s announcement that it will scale back “systemic” civil rights investigations.

“The agency communicated its decision in a letter this week to lawyers representing the girl, an elementary school student in Highland, Ohio,” The Washington Post reported.

“The letter provided no reason or legal justification for withdrawing its 2016 conclusion that the girl’s school wrongly barred her from the girls’ bathroom and failed to address the harassment she endured from classmates and teachers, who repeatedly addressed her with male pronouns and the male name she was given at birth.”
Then the OCR issued their guideline under the Trump administration,
Clarity or Confusion?
OCR issues new guidance that clear way for investigating some cases of transgender bias, but advocates for transgender students say the document is inadequate.
Inside Higher Ed
By Andrew Kreighbaum
June 19, 2017

A memo from the Department of Education on handling of transgender civil rights complaints instructs officials to continue investigating those complaints as they would have before 2016 guidance issued by the Obama administration.

The Obama administration's guidance said that anti-transgender bias was covered by laws against gender bias, and thus opened the way for investigations into such discrimination. Prior to that guidance, some cases involving transgender students were investigated as gender discrimination, but advocates for transgender students said some of their cases needed to be defined as anti-transgender bias.
[…]
But advocates said the significance of the document was unclear and they feared that it could create even more confusion for civil rights enforcement. Sejal Singh, campaigns and communications manager at the Center for American Progress's LGBT Research and Communications Project, said the whole point of guidance from the Office for Civil Rights is to clarify unclear law. The document notably does not mention access to bathrooms matching a student's gender identity as among the types of complaints officials should investigate, she said. That issue has been a key one at some colleges and in state legislation.

"It is definitely creating ambiguity that leaves actors space to create discriminatory actions," Singh said.
It is also not clear on how these new guidelines will effect Connecticut and other states that have protections for trans students.

Monday, June 19, 2017

While We Are Talking About Health

I came across this article on WPATH Facebook page about things to consider if you are going to have Gender Confirming Surgery…
Interested in Having Gender-Affirming Surgery? Keep These Four Pieces of Advice in Mind
By Kellee Terrell
TheBody.com
June 15, 2017

When it comes to transitioning, there is no one or "right" way to undergo your process. For some, being their most authentic self may come solely through changing their pronoun or receiving hormone therapy or having a form of gender-affirming surgery -- or a combination of all three.
[…]
Make Sure You Do Your Research!
Whatever form of surgery you are planning to have, not only do you need to know what the surgery entails but also who is the most-qualified surgeon in your area.

Work on Your Health Prior to Surgery
You cannot underestimate the seriousness of these procedures.

They can be major reconstructive surgeries that require a lot of healing and can result in complications and certain infections. This is why you need to be in optimal health beforehand, says Zil Goldstein, NP, the program director for the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai in New York City. [Dr. Zil was an intern at the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition while she was an undergraduate]

"We are not going to perform surgeries on people who are unhealthy," she says.

With any surgery, you have to be medically cleared first, and that requires having a certain body-mass index (some require no higher than a 33) and a physical to ensure that any chronic diseases you have -- such as diabetes or high blood pressure -- are in check.
The third item is,
Factor in Aftercare and the Need for a Strong Support System
As we stated above, many of these surgeries are pretty major and can require time off work, being incapacitated for weeks to a few months and aftercare that can include dilation of the genitals and draining tubes from various parts of your body.
Many of the surgeons have special residences for recovery after surgery, while others just have you get a motel room.

Lastly,
Please Set Realistic Expectations
While numerous studies have shown that undergoing gender-affirming surgery can improve one's quality of life and mental health, Jenna Rapues, M.P.H., the interim director of the Center for Excellence for Transgender Health in San Francisco, says she's encountered clients with unrealistic expectations about how surgery will change their lives.

"I have so many trans female clients who have told me, 'Once I get my surgery, I'll be a normal woman, and all of my problems will be solved.' The surgery is one piece of transitioning, but it doesn't necessarily address or solve the other issues in our life. That is always going to be an ongoing process, and we are constantly evolving."
Oh how many times have I heard that!

I know of one trans woman who spent close to a hundred thousand dollars on plastic surgery including FFS, breast enhancement, a tummy tuck and GCS… but she is six foot six, and has large hands and feet.

Just remember one thing, it is your life and you will have to live with your decisions.

An Epidemic In The Making

The rate of new HIV’AIDS case is increasing and it is especially increasing in states where the legislature has cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
Indiana Shut Down Its Rural Planned Parenthood Clinics And Got An HIV Outbreak
Huffington Post
By Laura Bassett
03/31/2015

Scott County, Indiana, the center of an exploding HIV outbreak, has been without an HIV testing center since early 2013, when the sole provider — a Planned Parenthood clinic — was forced to close its doors. The clinic did not offer abortion services.

The Scott County clinic and four other Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, all of which provided HIV testing and information, have shuttered since 2011, in large part due to funding cuts to the state’s public health infrastructure. Those cuts came amid a national and local political campaign to demonize the health care provider. Now, the state is scrambling to erect pop-up clinics to combat an unprecedented HIV epidemic caused by intravenous drug use.

The fact that Scott County was “without a testing facility until a few weeks ago is a glaring example of the kind of public health crisis that results when prevention and testing are left unfunded,” said Patti Stauffer, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s vice president for public policy.
Now we might see the same thing nation wide with cuts to funding for HIV/AIDS screenings.
HIV/AIDS cuts in Trump budget called ‘shocking,’ ‘cruel’
Washington Blade
By Chris Johnson
May 31, 2017

Proponents of funding to combat HIV/AIDS continue to express alarm over cuts to federal programs, which in some cases are massive, in the budget proposal that President Trump unveiled last week amid questions of whether Congress will agree to the reductions.

Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, said the decrease in funding for HIV/AIDS proposed in the Trump administration’s $4.1 trillion budget request was “pretty shocking” after years of bipartisan agreement to confront the disease.
[…]
Among the more drastic cuts is a $186 million reduction in Centers for Disease Control funding for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STIs, and TB prevention. A full $150 million of the reduction would come from HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

“We would have probably a million fewer HIV tests because of that and we don’t know how many more people will become [HIV] positive and not get the messages,” Schmid said.
And it will hurt on an individual level also with cuts to Ryan White Health Care Act.
For Ryan White, the budget seeks a $59 million reduction to the program as a result of cutting $34 million from programs for children, youth, women and families and $25 million for programs of special significance.
[…]
Consistent with the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the budget proposal also seeks to eliminate $800 billion in Medicaid. That’s a major of source of assistance for people with HIV/AIDS because an estimated 40 percent of them are on Medicaid.
Meanwhile,
Six Experts Resign From President’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Panel in Protest
NBC News
By Phil McCausland
June 19, 2017


Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) resigned in protest of the Trump administration, which they allege "has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic."

Scott Schoettes, Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, explained in a Newsweek op-ed Friday that he and five colleagues decided to leave their posts on the council for a number of reasons.
But their largest expressed gripe was that the Trump administration has not sought input from the council when formulating HIV policy.

Schoettes, who is HIV positive, added that the White House is also pushing legislation that would harm people with HIV and “reverse gains made in the fight against the disease.”
[…]
In the op-ed, they note that Trump removed the Office of National AIDS Policy website and has not appointed someone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, who held a seat on the Domestic Policy Council under Obama.

"Because we do not believe the Trump Administration is listening to — or cares — about the communities we serve as members of PACHA, we have decided it is time to step down," Schoettes wrote.
You might be thinking, “Well this doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have HIV/AIDS.” Wrong! This affects everyone because right now the disease is being aggressively being fought but link in states that have cut funding to organizations that do testing we see the infection rate climb and when that happens we can expect to see HIV increase in the general population.

Also, under the Republican healthcare plan HIV/AIDS is a preexisting condition and might not be covered by insurance plans.

No Bones About It

Okay so I’m using a pun to get your attention, but this is a serious topic for everyone on Cross Gender Hormones… Have you had a bone mineral density scan?

Hun? What’s that?

Well your body needs either estrogen or testosterone for healthy bones without or if the levels are not high enough your bones lose calcium and weaken.
Bone health and osteoporosis
Center for Transgender Excellence
Primary authors: Asa Radix, MD, MPH and Madeline B. Deutsch, MD, MPH

Introduction
Adaptation of recommendations for osteoporosis screening to transgender populations is complicated by existing recommendations that vary widely for non-transgender people, including lack of consensus about screening for non-transgender men, and no U.S. national level recommendations on the frequency of screening.

Osteoporosis screening is currently age- and sex- based, and also individualized on the basis of risk factors. There are a number of lifestyle, genetic, endocrinologic, hematologic, rheumatoid and autoimmune diseases, as well as medications that contribute to osteoporosis. Known risk factors for osteoporosis include Caucasian or Asian race, older age, alcohol >10 drinks/week, low body mass index, smoking, chronic corticosteroid use, hypogonadism, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperparathyroidism, immobility, vitamin D deficiency and HIV infection.[1,2]

Osteoporosis risk in transgender women
In one study, researchers found that transgender women had factors which may contribute to an increased risk of osteoporosis, independent of and existing prior to hormone use, such as reduced levels of physical activity, lower muscle mass and grip strength, and lower levels of vitamin D.[3] Studies investigating BMD in transgender women receiving hormones have shown both lower, higher and no change in bone density after initiating hormones.[4-11] The differences in results may be due to the regimens used (some used unopposed androgen blockers for a period of time before initiating hormones) and length of follow-up. Known risk factors for osteoporosis include underutilization of hormones after gonadectomy or use of androgen blockers without or with insufficient estrogen. GnRH analogues also may result in short term decrease in bone mineral density (ie, GnRH analogues without concurrent estrogen, and when estrogen added, or blockers stopped bone density returns to normal).

Osteoporosis risk in transgender men
Most published studies to date have shown either no change, or an increase in bone mineral density in transgender men treated with testosterone. Risk factors for osteoporosis in this population include oophorectomy before age 45 without optimal hormone replacement.[4,6,9-13]
[…]
Recommended screening for transgender women and men

There is insufficient evidence to guide recommendations for bone density testing in transgender women or men. Transgender people (regardless of birth-assigned sex) should begin bone density screening at age 65. Screening between ages 50 and 64 should be considered for those with established risk factors for osteoporosis. Transgender people (regardless of birth assigned sex) who have undergone gonadectomy and have a history of at least 5 years without hormone replacement should also be considered for bone density testing, regardless of age (Grading: X C W).
So have you had a bone density scan?

I have and I am schedule for my next scan before my next endo appointment; if you haven’t had one yet I would suggest that you talk to your healthcare provider for one. It is not only a good idea for trans people but also cisgender people over 50.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Why Can’t They Let Us Act?

I have said this over and over and I know some of you don’t agree with me, it is time to end transface actors, actors who play trans parts who are not trans.
Anything, starring cis male as trans woman, to debut at LA Film Festival
Solzy at the Movies
Written by: Danielle Solzman
June 13, 2017

Anything will make its debut on Saturday during the LA Film Festival this and many of us in the trans community are not pleased about the casting of a cis actor in a transgender role.

Written and directed by Timothy McNeil, the film stars John Carroll Lynch, Matt Bomer, Maura Tierney, Margot Bingham, and Micah Hauptman.

Here’s where there is a major problem: cisgender actor Matt Bomer is playing a transgender woman post-transition.  There are many transgender actresses in the United States.  Why is it so hard to cast one of us in a trans role?  It shouldn’t be that hard to cast a trans actress in a trans role.  More so, by casting a gay actor in the role of a trans woman, it only goes on to help the stereotype that trans women are men.  This isn’t fun and it’s not something any of us love to deal with on a daily basis.  I may not speak for others but I definitely speak for myself.
And this was from a cisgender person, not a trans person; people are beginning to realize that trans actors are being shut out of acting.

Read what LGBT Nation has to say,
First look at Matt Bomer playing a trans woman in latest movie made by cis men
By Dawn Ennis
June 14, 2017

We’re finally getting a look at Matt Bomer playing a transgender woman in the movie that took a ton of heat when it was revealed that Mark Ruffalo had cast the cisgender gay actor instead of someone actually trans. The movie, Anything, is about to have its world premiere.

Bomer stars as Freda Von Rhenberg, a sex worker who lives next door to a straight man from the Deep South, Early Landry, played by John Carroll Lynch. The plot centers around the Mississippi native moving to Los Angeles after losing his wife, to be cared for by his over-protective sister, played by Maura Tierney. Landry escapes her clutches to start a new life, reported Deadline Hollywood, and eventually begins an intense relationship with Freda.
[…]
The cause of casting trans actors to play trans roles has an ally in award-winning actor Jeffrey Tambor, the cisgender star of Transparent who has publicly challenged Hollywood to “give transgender talent a chance.”
There are a number of excellent trans actors out there; Jamie Clayton from Sense8, Jen Richards, Angelica Ross, and the other actors in Her Story, and there is Michelle Hendley from Boy Meets Girl that they could have chosen instead of a cisgender actor.

One of the arguments that I hear in favor of using cisgender actors is that they have name recognition and I agree but add how is a trans woman going to get name recognition without being cast in any part? If they don’t even get hired then they are not going to be known.

 Lana and Lilly Wachowski hired a trans actress, and Jen Richards hired trans actresses it seems like the only way for trans actors to get hired is because of a trans director.

Leading The Way

Oregon just became the first state to have a third option for gender on driver licenses, F, M, or X.
Oregon becomes first state to add gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses
PBS Newshour
By Corinne Segal
June 15, 2017

Oregon officials voted Thursday to add a gender-neutral option on state IDs, making it the first state in the country to recognize non-binary people on their driver’s licenses.

The unanimous decision by the Oregon Transportation Commission is the final step in a year-long process that began in June 2016, when Portland resident Jamie Shupe became the first legally non-binary person — identifying as neither male nor female — in the country.

The option, which will be available starting July 3, will make a difference for non-binary and transgender people for whom using an ID marked “M” or “F” is inaccurate or even dangerous, advocates say.

“I think this will make a real difference in people’s lives, and I think it is a great step for removing even more barriers,” said Amy Herzfeld-Copple, co-director of LGBTQ advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon.
As more and more people identify as non-binary I think this is a good option but I do have some reservations in how other states will deal with the Oregon license and as someone on the internet pointed out, how will states like North Carolina and Texas handle non-binary people? Will they face more discrimination?

So what do you think?



Friday, June 16, 2017

Our Neighbor To The North

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey data is being broken down to the state levels and the results are being released,
Survey suggests transgender Maine residents face discrimination
Many respondents say they have experienced problems in housing, health care and when dealing with law enforcement.
Press Herald
By Dennis Hoey
June 15, 2017

A new survey of transgender life in Maine and the United States suggests transgender people in Maine face discrimination in health care, housing and the criminal justice system.

The U.S. Transgender Survey was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality through an anonymous online survey in 2015 of nearly 28,000 people in all 50 states, 182 of them in Maine.
[…]
“This data gives voice to the experiences of Mainers from Aroostook to York,” Quinn Gormley, president of MaineTransNet, said in a statement. “We, as advocates, face a constant struggle to impress upon providers, politicians and the public the severity of discrimination faced by transgender Mainers. These statistics come as no surprise to anyone in our community.”
[…]
“From employment to housing, to education, to police violence, sexual assault, access to health care and beyond, transgender Mainers experience disparities that can scarcely be compared to the lived reality of the general population,” Maggie Campbell, director of communications and development for the Health Equity Alliance, said in a statement.
Surveys are important because when you deal with legislators usually the first question that they ask is “show me the data” and without any data it is hard to show a need for the legislation. That is why the removal of any questions about LGBT people from the 2020 U.S. census if going to hurt us. If you are not counted you don’t exist.



I went to see the musical with three other fiends and the show was excellent! I always love going to a play, I am drawn to the live performance and I am amazed at all the line that the actors have to memorize. I have a hard enough time memorizing a sentence let alone a whole play.

The Goodspeed Opera House is from the 1870s,
The Goodspeed has endured as a majestic presence on the Connecticut River since it was built as the Goodspeed Opera House in 1876 by William H. Goodspeed, shipping and banking magnate and avid theatre lover. Since that time The Goodspeed has lived two lives: the first as a bustling center of commerce housing a theatre, professional offices, steamboat passenger terminal ,and a general store; and the second, after a period of neglect and deterioration, as a magnificent professional musical theatre fully restored in 1963 to its original splendor.
[…]
The theater in the Victorian-style building is located on the fourth floor of the tallest wooden structure on the Connecticut River, and was constructed in 1876. A new stage was built over the original and incorporates what were formerly audience boxes into the downstage left and right areas. The boxes now serve as actor entrances below and lighting positions above.
We had seats in the balcony, or the nosebleed section overlooking the stage. The theater is on the second floor and the balcony up on the third floor which is accessed through a winding staircase and it is a good climb up the stairs, I wasn’t the only one huffing and puffing by the time you reach the third floor.

Give me a play any day over a movie or television.

Another Brick From The Wall

The Trump administration just took another brick from the wall of protections for us that President Obama’s administration build for us.

Last year in July Trump said at the Republican convention,
During his 75-minute speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Donald Trump looked genuinely surprised at the roar of applause when he said, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.”
Yup right.
Trump administration narrows civil rights investigations, reportedly will stop investigating transgender bathroom access
LA Times
By Joy Resmovits
June 16, 2017

The U.S. Department of Education is telling civil rights investigators that they can limit the scope of their work, according to an internal memo uncovered by ProPublica.

The Department also is reportedly circulating an internal memo on enforcing gender discrimination laws that specifically tells officers to stop investigating whether transgender students have been denied the ability to use the bathrooms of their choice. A spokeswoman from the Department did not immediately respond to request for comment on this directive.

During the Obama administration, the department's Office for Civil Rights frequently made waves. The office named colleges that faced scrutiny for mishandling sexual assault; outlined protections for transgender students (which recently have been revoked) and identified patterns of discrimination in school districts and universities.
The Obama administration didn’t just pull their protections for us out of a hat, it was based on a long history of court victories. Going back to the Supreme Court 1989 decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins where they ruled that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sex stereotyping where a woman was not made partner in the firm because she didn’t look feminine enough, they told her to change her hair style, use more makeup, and wear a dress and high heels. From that decision the courts started recognizing the gender identity and expression is a form of sex stereotyping. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity issued their ruling CHRO Declaratory Ruling on behalf of John/Jane Doe  it was based on the Supreme Court ruling (it is a good read if you want to understand the logic behind our legal protections).

So when the Trump administration revokes protection for us they are going against years of legal precedents.

The Secretary of Education said,
DeVos press secretary Elizabeth Hill said the rules are meant to speed up the resolution of complaints.

"These internal enforcement instructions seek to clear out the backlog while giving every complaint the individualized and thorough consideration it deserves," she said in an e-mail. "There is no longer an artificial requirement to collect several years of data when many complaints can be adequately addressed much more efficiently and quickly."
But Senator Murray called her out on it…
"President Trump and his Administration can claim to oppose discrimination all they want, but actions speak louder than words," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement. "Everything they are doing is making it clear that they want to defang and weaken the federal government’s tools to protect the civil rights and safety of people across the country."

Lhamon [Catherine Lhamon lead the Office for Civil Rights under Obama] called the new guidelines her "worst nightmare." The drive to reduce caseloads and close cases quickly, she said, leads to an "assembly line justice that does not open its eyes to the kinds of harms that OCR staff know exists in schools."
It is going to be a long four years and I have a feeling it is going to get worst.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hate Runs Rampant

The place with the golden arches and Ronald McDonald has a HRC Corporate Equality Rating of 100! But to their employees it is anything but 100%.
This Transgender Woman Is Suing McDonald's For Discrimination
The former crew member reported verbal and physical abuse to her manager and was later fired, a lawsuit alleges.
BuzzFeed
By Cora Lewis
Posted on June 14, 2017


A transgender McDonald’s crew member experienced multiple cases of sexual harassment and discrimination on the job, including being barred by managers from using the women’s and men’s restrooms and relegated to a rear bathroom that was used as a storage closet, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed against the restaurant owner and the parent company.

La’Ray Reed worked at a McDonald’s in Redford, Michigan, for six months in 2015, during which time coworkers called her a "boy slash girl" and other sexual insults, and one groped her, the lawsuit alleges. She reported the mistreatment to the franchise owner and was later fired, she alleges.
[…]
In the lawsuit, Reed alleges a coworker groped her genitals at the urging of a store manager who wanted to know whether she had a penis. “You can’t feel it from the front. You have to feel it from the back,” the manager allegedly said over the headset system used by all employees.

Another time, a manager allegedly told a crew member to follow Reed into the ladies’ room to see if she was standing up or sitting down to use the toilet. “I had never had a problem using the ladies room until this day,” Reed wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News. “When I came out the restroom, the manager told me I could no longer use either of the restrooms in the lobby.”

Instead, the manager allegedly had Reed go to the back of the store and clean the out-of-use bathroom, which was being used as a storage closet. That became Reed’s bathroom, she says, which she was also made responsible for cleaning.
I hope that she also files sexual assault charges against the manager for groping her.

Meanwhile McDonald’s has a 100% HRC rating!
Activists point to the complaints as evidence that McDonald’s attempts to brand itself as an LGBT ally are empty rhetoric.

During this past weekend’s gay pride celebrations, McDonald's posted signs that read "Lovin' is Lovin'" and served fries in rainbow-colored boxes at stores in Washington, DC. Cathy Martin, vice president of McDonald’s for the region, called the themed items “a fun way to show our support of the LGBTQ community.”

Detroit-based LGBT rights advocate Heather Aymer said the promotion "smacks of hypocrisy" and that the company is "pretending to support the LGBT community by putting up flags, but not taking action against the unsafe culture it has created in the workplace for LGBT workers."
Don’t look for any help from the Trump administration…
During the Obama presidency, the Department of Labor issued guidance that suggested companies like McDonald’s should be considered the joint employers of the workers in their franchised restaurants, in a move that was cheered by labor activists and denounced by industry groups. Last week, the Trump administration formally withdrew that guidance.
Hate runs rampant in this country on both side of the political divide, there is no leadership in Washington, just oppression.



This afternoon I am at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT watching Thoroughly Modern Millie with some friends.