Monday, October 23, 2017

Are We Safe?

Not only is the number of trans women murdered have increased this year (currently at 23) but violent attacks are also on the upswing around the world.
Britain Is No Longer Considered A Safe Part Of The World For Trans People To Live In
Huffington Post UK
By Ruth Hunt
October 19, 2017

Britain is no longer considered a safe part of the world for trans people to live in.

We know from recent Stonewall research just how bad things are if you are trying to get on with your life as a trans person in Britain today. In the last twelve months, two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident.

Every day, trans people continue to be mocked, excluded, bullied and attacked, simply for existing.

But now, other countries are openly agreeing that Britain is an unsafe place for trans people.

Last month, a tribunal in New Zealand granted asylum to a trans woman from Britain on the basis that her life would be in danger if she returned here.
Is the media complicit in this up surge in violence?
Many mainstream media voices - from newspaper columnists to social media commentators - seem to have stepped up a gear over recent months in their attempts to make vile transphobia acceptable, questioning the right of trans people to even exist. This isn’t something that is open for debate. And giving the green light to these messages has devastating real-world consequences for trans people.
Meanwhile across the pond in New Jersey…
Man pleads not guilty in transgender pepper-spray attack in Asbury Park
Asbury Park Press
By Kathleen Hopkins and Jean Mikle
Published October 20, 2017

ASBURY PARK – A Scotch Plains man accused of pepper-spraying a transgender person on the eve of an anti-hate rally in the city smiled in court Friday as his attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf to simple assault and petty disorderly conduct. 

Morris James May, 22, flashed smiles at a news camera throughout the brief proceeding before Muncipal Court Judge Daniel J. DiBenedetto, who set Nov. 30 as a trial date on the charges.

May’s attorney, Mark Gertner, said afterward that neither he nor his client wished to comment.
Now get this! The charges have been reduced,
Butler said the charges had been downgraded from aggravated assault and possession of a weapon, which are both indictable offenses.


Simple assault carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, and petty disorderly conduct carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, Butler said.
And he claims self-defense!
Karalik alleged  that on the eve of Asbury Park’s anti-hate rally, May and another man were harassing rally volunteers.

Contacted by the Asbury Park Press on Sept. 4, May claimed self-defense.
Get a load of the tee shirt he was wearing,
During the incident, May was wearing a shirt that read, “For those about to MAGA, we salute you,’’ emblazoned with a drawing of Pepe the Frog. MAGA, or Make America Great Again, was President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan.

Their Hate Makes Them Blind

Let’s face it conservatives hate our guts and are willing to go all the way to putting us in concentration camps. The latest is a Georgia legislator who happens to by the wife of the former Secretary of Health and Human Services has proposed locking up HIV/AIDS patients.
Georgia lawmaker, wife of Tom Price, suggests people with HIV could be quarantined
STAT News
By Max Blau
October 20, 2017

ATLANTA — A Georgia state lawmaker — the wife of former Trump health secretary Tom Price — is drawing condemnation for suggesting that people with HIV might be quarantined to curb the spread of the infectious disease.

Republican state Rep. Betty Price, a former anesthesiologist who represents people living in the northern Atlanta area, asked in a hearing this week “what are we legally able to do” to limit the spread of HIV throughout the state.

“I don’t want to say the quarantine word — but I guess I just said it,” Price said to Dr. Pascale Wortley, director of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV epidemiology section. “Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition, so we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. … Are there any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

Her remarks came Tuesday morning during a Georgia House of Representative study committee meeting about barriers to access to health care in the state, and are captured in video of the hearing. The remarks were first reported by Project Q Atlanta, a local website serving the city’s gay community.
Well besides probably being illegal, immoral, and punitive, it is the worst thing that you can do to stop the spread of AIDS/HIV.

Now, with modern drugs a patient’s viral load can be brought down to levels where they are no longer contagious and drugs like Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) that can lower the chances of infection can be used to control the diseases. Instead the Republican Congress is cutting funding for Ryan White programs and cutting funding for PrEP. They have also done away with funding for Planned Parenthood that runs AIDS/HIV prevention programs.

And now Betty Price is doing a two-step to dodge the outrage she has caused.
Price’s wife on HIV quarantine remark: I was just being ‘provocative’
The Hill
By Brandon Conradis
October 22, 2017

Georgia Rep. Betty Price (R), wife of former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, defended her remark asking if people infected with HIV could be quarantined, insisting she was just being “provocative.”

“I made a provocative and rhetorical comment as part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context,” Price said in a statement published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. “I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients.”
Quarantine is the worst possible thing that you can do.

Why?

Well consider that if you think that you might have HIV would you go and be tested, knowing that if you if do have HIV you would be quarantined?

That is what happens if you quarantine patients, they don’t get tested and you have all these undiagnosed HIV positive people infecting other people.

Also in states that are forcing Planned Parenthood out of their states they are seeing a rise in STDs and it is becoming an epidemic in those states. They are also seeing a rise in Cervical and Breast cancers.

The Conservatives with their antiquated moral Puritan values are putting all our lives in danger.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Party’s Over… Fantasia Fair Day 6

Well I’m all packed and heading down to the Sage Inn for the brunch and saying goodbyes until next year, then I head back home.

Saturday was a very productive day, all morning I was cottage hunting and I looked at six places, there’re are two that are promising, one a “fixer upper” and right now it is a dump.

Then it was lunch time and I had lunch at Sage Inn, I didn’t realize it was such a long walk and walking all the way back to the Boatslip I was beat so I skipped the keynote today and read until the afternoon workshop which was “Transgender Health: What You Need to Know” and it was giving by Lauren Abern, MD. After the workshop I asked if she would be interested in giving a workshop at our conference.

In the evening there was the “Gala Awards Banquet” where they recognize those individuals who make the Fair special. The food and company was excellent!
I will tell you after a week of walking around Provincetown, I am beat!

If you come to Fantasias Fair you will get your exercise, the meals and the night entertainment are all down in the center of the town while the workshops are all sown in the south end of town and up on a small hill. But the end of the fair you will be dragging your ass around.



Anywhere you go you can be harassed even in LGBT friendly Provincetown.

I was walking down to the Gala Awards Banquet and the “Tea Dance” was going on at the motel and the smokers were all standing out in front of the motel on the road. The tea dance caters to mainly gays and to some extent lesbians, well while walking out of the motel I had to walk by the group of men one of them said “That is an ugly woman!” and another reply “That’s no woman that’s a tranny!” and they all started to laughing. I heard some of them make other comments about “trannies.”

So there are always assholes wherever you go, no place is immune.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 5 At Fantasia Fair

The morning started off with my workshop “Effective Lobbying*” and I had only 3 people show up for the presentation, but those three people were there to learn. So we had a very good discussion and covered a lot of material.

At lunch I once again when to Tin Pan Alley and once again we all sat out on the deck. I have to this I think we had the best weather ever!

After lunch I went to the Keynote Address it was a panel discussion about the "State of the (Trans*) Union", on the panel was Rep. Sarah Peake (Representative from the 4th Barnstable District on Cape Cod (it includes Provincetown)), Kimberly Strovink, J.D. (Assistant Attorney General at Massachusetts Attorney General's Office), M. Dru Levasseur (Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal), Mara Keisling (Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality).

The panel was very informative; one of the things that I learned was that the ballot initiative to repeal the public accommodation law that protects needs to get voted on by 30 percent of the people voting in order for the ballot to count. I asked a question at the end about the so called “religious freedom” law that U.S. Attorney General is pushing and can it override the state non-discrimination law and the said under the current federal law that it cannot be used as a weapon to discriminate. I also commented on what was said about Planned Parenthood treating trans patients, that Connecticut Planned Parenthood have treated patients for over ten years and they also sat on the Anti-Discrimination Coalition and then later the ctEQUALITY meetings for all the trans legislation and has lobbied for the bills since I first started attending the meeting back in 2006.

After the Keynote Address I went back to my room and read. I went out to supper with a friend and had pizza at George’s, she went to the Follies and I wrote this and then read for a while out on the deck listening to the waves roll on shore.

This morning I’m meeting with a real estate agent to look at seasonal cottages that I might want to buy next spring.



*My outline for the workshop...

Effective Lobby Workshop Outline
I. The inside/outside strategy
a. Both the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Saul Alinsky knew the value of the inside/outside strategies.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said,
”The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”
In an article in the Huffington Post Peter Dreier wrote,
The insiders, elected officials and lobbyists, see their job as pushing through changes in law that can alter the living conditions, incomes, and access to opportunity and environment of our citizens. Legislating involves the “art of compromise” that requires the skills of brokering deals, negotiating, and forging consensus.
Outsiders — community activists, street protestors and radicals — need different skills. They often view compromise as “selling out” by politicians tied to corporate and elite interests. Activists believe that the influence of campaign contributions, and the trade-offs required by legislative give-and-take, make most elected officials undependable allies.
Both the inside and outside are equal parts in the strategies to bring about change, they are Yin and Yang and my workshop at FF will be on the inside game, lobbying your legislators.

An example of an inside outside strategy?
Trump & Bannon

II. All politics are local
Massachusetts 2018 Ballot initiative
School boards --- GI/GE policies
Public safety officials --- training

III. Motive
Financial
Personal
Emotional

IV. All lobbying is basically the same
You have a fixed amount of time to state your case
It doesn’t matter if you are talking to an elected official in their office, home, or walking down the hallway with them or testifying in a public hearing.

V. Discussion of flyer on Effective Lobbying

VI. Discussion of my testimony

VII. Get in touch with your state trans organization
Talking points --- things to say and things not to say
Letters to the editor
Talking to your elected representatives --- feedback to the state trans organization
Avoid talking to the media

Friday, October 20, 2017

Jibe

No not that type of jiving but rather correlation between numbers. A couple of days ago I wrote about the results of the 2015 Transgender Survey for Connecticut (here and here). If you remember around 20 percent of those responding to the survey from Connecticut said they have been discriminated against on the job, 17% said that with housing and around 30% said that about in public accommodation.

The survey results said that there were 319 respondents from Connecticut, so 20% of them would make 62 people said they were discriminated against; well the numbers are out for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) cases from the last year (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017).
Gender Identity: 7 cases in employment, 1 case in housing, and 3 cases in public accommodation 
Well that is a lot less cases than reported be trans people in the survey, so why the difference?

I don’t think we will ever know all the reasons but I can think of some off the top of my head.

First, when you file a complaint it becomes a matter of public record and I think many trans people shy away from filing a complaint because of that… you will definitely be OUTED!

Next, the trans person could have felt it wasn’t worth the time to file a claim, they just moved on with their lives.

Another reason is that they might have settled the discrimination case another way besides filling a complaint such as arbitration.

It could also be because of the survey, since the survey was a quantitative survey using the Likert scale in some questions while in other questions it was just a simple yes or no. This was an online survey so the answers that were given are based on the respondent interpretation of the questions, and when the question asks yes or no to “Have you ever been harassed in a public accommodation?” the range could be from just being starred at to being yelled at or even thrown out of the building. Therefore, the answers that were given are based on the respondent interpretation of the questions.

So there could be many reasons why the numbers don’t jibe but what I think is important is that filing a CHRO complaint is just a part of the tools we have at our disposal.

Day 4 At The “Fair”

Well yesterday started off with the workshop “Take-aways from Last Weekend’s Fenway Conference on Transgender Health” which was a very good workshop and it wasn’t so much about the Fenway Health conference but rather trans health in general. But one of the topics at the Fenway conference was “Detransitioning and Retransitioning: What We Need To Know” which is a very touchy topic in our community but as the doctor pointed out the numbers of “regrets” are not that bad, less than ten percent which is a lot lower that other medical procedures, she said Gallbladder surgery regrets is around 30%. Also many of trans people who detransitions do so not because they are not trans but rather because of family pressures, or employment problems, or religious pressures, or other socioeconomic reasons and only a very few were because they are not trans.

The weather has been beautiful, you couldn’t ask for better weather so for the second day I sat out on the deck overlooking the bay at Tin Pan Alley for lunch.

After lunch I went to the Keynote Address by Mara Keisling and if you know Mara you know her humor; Q: What government agency doesn’t have a department for their equal employment opportunities oversight? A: The Department of Agriculture, the have the department of EIEIO.

Okay, what she did talk about was that they (the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)) now have a PAC, a 501 (c) 4.

Then later in the afternoon they had a reception to formally introduce their “Action Fund.

I went out to supper with a friend at the Lobster Pot; we wanted to go up to the “Top of the Pot” but the bar was full so we ate in the downstairs’ restaurant. I had one of my favorite food there Lobster Newburg and I also had my current favorite drink a “Pomegranate Vodka Martini.” I was planning on going to see the movie "A Self-Made Man" but the martini and all the carbs from the lobster Newburg hit me and I didn’t think that make it through the movie and also I had seen it before so I called it a night.

This morning I give my workshop "Effective Lobbying."





Thursday, October 19, 2017

Are We Being Sold A Bill Of Goods*?

I have to wonder about the terms and conditions of the settlement down in North Carolina, the court case challenging the draconian law HB2 are kind of vague.
Settlement proposed in North Carolina transgender bathroom lawsuit
Reuters
By Colleen Jenkins
October 18, 2017


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - Transgender people would be allowed to use public restrooms in North Carolina that match their gender identity under a settlement agreement filed on Wednesday that aims to resolve the federal lawsuit over the state’s widely criticized bathroom law.

The consent decree proposed by Governor Roy Cooper, the American Civil Liberties Union and transgender people who sued the state would remove some of the law’s harmful effects, civil rights groups said.

The judge in the case must sign off on the proposal before it takes effect.
[…]
The consent decree says that under current state law, transgender people are not prevented from using their preferred public facilities.
This is my thoughts also,
Activists were pleased by both actions but said they would continue to fight for full nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the state.

“Nothing can make up for the cruel and senseless attacks transgender people have faced in North Carolina, but I am hopeful that the court will agree to clarify the law so that we can live our lives in less fear,” said Joaquín Carcaño, a transgender man and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Of course the “family” organizations are jumping up and down crying foul.

I am leery of deals like this, will some other court overturn this agreement when a case of discrimination comes before them? I can see the law being used by businesses to discriminate against us, or some law enforcement officer who doesn’t know of or doesn’t care about the court case arresting us for using “the wrong bathroom.” It will be much better to get the law off the books.

*The Phrase Finder
"The phrase 'sell someone a bill of goods' means to intentionally misrepresent something, to make something worthless seem valuable. It dates from the 1920's. I'm not sure what the origin of the phrase is -- perhaps it means selling someone a description of the goods rather than the goods themselves. To 'sell someone a bill of goods' means to put one over on him. Make him believe a bunch of baloney.


Day 3 At Fantasia Fair

I started of the day at lunch, I chose having lunch at Tin Pan Alley where we had a choice of meals and I picked the toasted cheese and tomato soup. The soup was excellent, the toasted cheese left a little to be desired… come on, one thin slice a cheese?

Each day at the fair we have a choice of three places to eat lunch, the Post Office, Tin Pan Alley, and the Crown and Anchor; I believe that I chose the Crown & Anchor for today’s lunch.

After lunch was the keynote address. When I read the bio of the speaker I wasn’t impressed but listening to her talk I was impressed. She talked about her transitioned while working as a firefighter and one of the things that she mentioned was that she was a conservative before she transitioned but after seeing the discrimination not only against us but also against other minorities she became a believer in affirmative action.

After her talk I went to the The Signs of Suicide Amongst the Trans/GNC Community workshop and I picked up some things I didn’t know about but most of it I know from grad school and also other trainings that I attended in the past. The workshop was given by two volunteers from the Trans Lifeline which is a suicide hotline for transgender people.

I skipped the Fashion Show, after seeing it four or five times it becomes “old hat” after a while.

Long Point Lighthouse at Sunset


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dismal Results (Part 2)

The Connecticut breakout from the 2015 Transgender Survey has just been published and the results are not good especially since we have laws that are supposed to prevent it.

Another section that they break out the Connecticut results is in healthcare and some of the finds were,

  • In the past year, 20% of respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to because of fear of being mistreated as a transgender person, and 25% did not see a doctor when needed because they could not afford it.
  • 29% of those who saw a health care provider in the past year reported having at least one negative experience related to being transgender. This included being refused treatment, verbally harassed, or physically or sexually assaulted, or having to teach the provider about transgender people in order to get appropriate care.

Where I volunteer two days a week they have a database of friendly LGBT providers, and I get a lot of inquiries about trans friendly healthcare providers. But for me I never had any problems with doctors or other healthcare providers. I have to train one doctor which I didn’t mind doing but he should have learned that in medical school.

  • 22% of respondents experienced a problem in the past year with their insurance related to being transgender, such as being denied coverage for care related to gender transition or being denied coverage for routine care because they were transgender.

That is a major problem and it varies from insurance company to insurance company. One company set up a concierge service for us where they assign a case manager for us if we run into any problems. While other make you jump through hoops and still sticks to the old Standard of Care.

It also seems that it varies from whoever answers your call, two operates can give you two different answers. I know that it can vary on your documentation, some proceeds are covered with no questions asked if your insurance has you listed as female if you are a trans woman while denying it if you are listed as a male on the policy. It depends also on how the doctor codes your treatment, improper code can cause complications and raises questions.

  • 56% of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable asking the police for help if they needed it.

I had to interact with police officers three times. The first was before I transitioned and I presenting as female, the Maine state police officer looked at my documents, looked at me and asked “how would you like to be addressed.” He called my Diana and miss when we talked but all the paperwork had my legal name at the time. Then one time my car was hit by a “hit and run” drive. In the last time I called 911 I thought that a friend was in trouble.

In each of the cases before I dialed 911 I worried how I would be treated.

Lastly they have about changing your legal documents, now this one is a little confusing for me.

  • The cost of changing IDs was one of the main barriers respondents faced, with 41% of those who have not changed their legal name and 37% of those who have not updated the gender on their IDs reporting that it was because they could not afford it.

Since I wasn’t charged for changing my name and gender on my driver license and the Probate Court fee for your name change can be waivered. Neither Social Security nor Medicare had any fees associated with changing your name.

Other findings under document changes were,

  • Only 11% of respondents reported that all of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred, while 71% reported that none of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred.
  • 27% of respondents who have shown an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.

Once was asked for my ID when I went into a bar and the bouncer said that they check all IDs but I didn’t observe him asking for anyone else’s IDs and I’m in my late 60s so the only reason I could think of was that he was curious to see what was on it.

Some general thoughts on the breakout data.

First, the study was also quantitative using the Likert scale in some questions while in other questions it was just a simple yes or no. This was an online survey so the answers that were given are based on the respondent interpretation of the questions, so when the question asks yes or no to “Have you ever been harassed in a public accommodation?” the range could be from just being starred at to being yelled at or even thrown out of the building. Therefore, the answers that were given are based on the respondent interpretation of the questions.

Also this was an online survey so then the demographics might be skewed toward white middle-income people and to those who had access to a computer or smartphone.

Day 2 At The “Fair”

As usual I woke in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep so I took a sleeping pill at 3 AM and I woke up again at 8. It was cold overnight so in the morning I did some work on workshop and then went out to lunch and on the way down to the Post Office restaurant I met Dallas Denny and we walked down together to the restaurant.

After lunch I walked around town and I looked at the damage done by the fire at Lopes Square that they had here in the spring. They had it pretty much cleaned up, the building where the fire started is all torn down and the restaurant next to the one where the fire started is all gutted on the inside as they rebuild.

I then when to the keynote address to hear Gwen Smith talk about trans history which I always find interesting. After her talk I bought her book, “Trans/Active: A Biography of Gwendoyn Ann Smith” and then when back to the motel to work more on my workshop.

In the evening I went to go to supper at Bayside Betsy’s and have a bowl of their clam chowder but they were closed! I ended up eating at the Mayflower and their clam chowder on a scale of one to ten was a… maybe a 3.5 compared to an 11 at Bayside Betsy’s. The Mayflower’s clam chowder tasted and looked like it had a lot of corn starch in it and the pieces of clam had the texture of rubber.

As many of you know I am not a night person so I headed back to my room at the motel and did some reading. All around me I could hear sounds of partying from the younger or the younger at heart crowd.

It looks like that many of the regulars didn’t make it this year but FanFair usually picks-ups at the end of the week as many come for the long weekend and not the whole.

Well it is now 6 AM and I’ve been up since 3:30 so I am going to try to catch some more Zs before breakfast here at the motel.

Dismal Results

The Connecticut breakout from the 2015 Transgender Survey has just been published and the results are not good especially since we have laws that are supposed to prevent it.

Some of the finds that I find disturbing are;

  • In the past year, 23% of those who held or applied for a job during that year reported being fired, being denied a promotion, or not being hired for a job they applied for because of their gender identity or expression.
  • 20% of those who had a job in the past year reported other forms of mistreatment based on their gender identity or expression during that year, such as being forced to use a restroom that did not match their gender identity, being told to present in the wrong gender in order to keep their job, or having a boss or coworker share private information about their transgender status with others without their permission.

The survey was done four years after the passage of the non-discrimination law, businesses should have known by then about the law but it seems that many businesses are choosing to ignore the law.

Then in education…

  • 77% of those who were out or perceived as transgender at some point between Kindergarten and Grade 12 (K–12) experienced some form of mistreatment, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, disciplined more harshly, or physically or sexually assaulted because people thought they were transgender.
  • 22% of respondents who were out or perceived as transgender in college or vocational school were verbally, physically, or sexually harassed because of being transgender.

The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity (CHRO) issued their guidelines in the fall of 2012 and also Connecticut has some of the strongest anti-bullying laws in the nation and they include cyberbullying laws. I know that many towns have been following the law but there still are holdout towns who go with their lose interpretation of the law. Just this summer the Connecticut Department of Education has released their own guidelines that will hopefully wake-up those towns that are not following the law.

In housing,

  • 17% of respondents experienced some form of housing discrimination in the past year, such as being evicted from their home or denied a home or apartment because of being transgender.

I get about 3 or 4 calls a month about housing from trans people, many of them are looking for trans friendly housing and unfortunately I don’t know anyone who has a list like that. 211 operators and homeless shelters have been trained but like any training it is only as good as the person who answers the phone.

Then there is public accommodation and they are just as bad.

  • Respondents reported being denied equal treatment or service, verbally harassed, or physically attacked at many places of public accommodation—places that provide services to the public, like retail stores, hotels, and government offices.
  • Of respondents who visited a place of public accommodation where staff or employees thought or knew they were transgender, 29% experienced at least one type of mistreatment in the past year. This included 12% who were denied equal treatment or service and 20% who were verbally harassed because of being transgender.

Even in LGBT Provincetown we are subject to harassment. I was walking down the street Sunday afternoon four guys started to laugh, swishing their ass and holding their wrist limp as they walked by laughing. Then later a guy walked by a women and a trans woman holding and he stared almost walking in to a parked.

Tomorrow I’ll write about the rest of the survey summary for Connecticut.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Do you trust him?

Do you trust him to prosecute your case?

If you have been following the news you will have heard about a hate crime that the feds are prosecuting in Iowa where a man murdered a transgender high school student last year.
Aiding Transgender Case, Sessions Defies His Image on Civil Rights
New York Times
By Matt Apuzzo
October 15, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has dispatched an experienced federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with murdering a transgender high school student last year, a highly unusual move that officials said was personally initiated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In taking the step, Mr. Sessions, a staunch conservative, is sending a signal that he has made a priority of fighting violence against transgender people individually, even as he has rolled back legal protections for them collectively.

The Justice Department rarely assigns its lawyers to serve as local prosecutors, and only in cases in which they can provide expertise in areas that the federal government views as significant. By doing so in this instance, Mr. Sessions put the weight of the government behind a small-city murder case with overtones of gender identity and sexuality.
So this is unusual in two ways, the first in that the Department of Justice is prosecuting the case and the second thing is that they are doing at all because of all the rhetoric that the U.S. Attorney General has made about us not being covered under Title VII and Title IX.
The difference might be because of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate crime law that specifically spells out protection for us.
 “This is just one example of the attorney general’s commitment to enforcing the laws enacted by Congress and to protecting the civil rights of all individuals,” said Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department.
[…]
But he has also brought several hate crime cases, including one against a man accused of burning a mosque. He condemned white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., far more forcefully than the president. And he has vowed tough action against hate crimes, speaking aggressively in ways that few of his most ardent opponents could have predicted. He has tied enforcement of those crimes to his tough stance against violence, a cornerstone of his policies as attorney general.
But still for me I would be a little leery and wonder how much effort the federal government will put into the case.

And I’m not the only one to think that, in an article in Pink News,
Trump’s Attorney General ‘cynically exploiting’ murder of trans teenBy Nick Duffy
16th October 2017

Trump’s Attorney General has been accused of cynically exploiting a transphobic murder for good PR.

16-year-old Kedarie Johnson was shot to death last year in Iowa.

Jorge “Lumni” Sanders-Galvez was charged with first-degree murder over the shooting, but the state’s hate crime laws do not protect LGBT people, meaning the case could not be treated as a hate crime.

However, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has intervened in the case – putting out a release declaring that he would pursue hate crime charges federally.
[…]
Pro-LGBT law firm Lambda Legal accused Sessions of a “cynical publicity stunt” by seeking positive coverage for simply following the precedent set by the Obama administration, at the same time he works to undermine civil rights protections for transgender workers.

Lambda Legal Director of Strategy Sharon McGowan said: “Of course it is important and right that the Department of Justice assist in bringing to justice the murderer of Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, one of the far too many transgender people, and especially transgender people of color, targeted in the ongoing lethal epidemic of hate violence.

“But it is the height of cynicism for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to use this – frankly rare – instance of civil rights enforcement under his tenure to deflect from the current department’s sustained opposition to its historic mission.
Maybe the Attorney General Jeff Sessions sees hate crime differently than discrimination; hopefully that is the case.

FanFair Day 1

The day started off with an Orientation Brunch and I left right after I eat and before the orientation, it is the same talk that they give every year so I wasn’t interested in sticking around for it. Instead I went grocery shopping and bought some stuff to have in my room for the week.

I wanted to attend the keynote address by Nick Adams who is Director of Transgender Media & Representation at GLAAD but life got in the way, I got some type of stomach bug and I didn’t want to get too far away from my room.

In the evening I went to the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award Banquet where they honored where they will honor Gwen Smith and Martine Rothblatt. Dallas Denny gave the introduction and the award to Gwen Smith and she gave a short speech.

In her introduction Ms. Dallas talked about Ms. Smith’s history as an activists and of her many accomplishments,
Gwendolyn Ann Smith has been an advocate for the transgender community for most of her adult life, with a focus on the trans community on the internet, as well as in honoring those we have lost due to anti-transgender violence. Starting in 1992, she lobbied America Online, getting the company to change its policies and allow discussions on gender issues on their service. This led to the creation of the first public forum on a major online service, the Transgender Community Forum, one year later. This service allowed thousands of transgender people worldwide to connect on a daily basis. With the rise of the World Wide Web, Gwen began to provide web management for many within the community, creating sites for the Southern Comfort Conference, for transgender photographer Loren Cameron and many others, pioneering the early transgender web. She is still involved on transgender internet projects, serving as the managing editor for Genderfork. Her best known work on the Internet, however, is Remembering Our Dead, a project founded in 1998 to chronicle the scourge of anti-transgender murders. Through this project, Gwen founded the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The event, now 18 years old, is honored in hundreds of locations across the country and worldwide. Gwen also writes a column on transgender issues and ideas for the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, California. Her column, Transmissions, has been running biweekly since 2000. Her essay, “We’re all someone’s freak” is also featured in the book Gender Outlaws, edited by S. Bear Bergman and Kate Bornstein.
According to Wikipedia Martine Rothblatt,
Martine Aliana Rothblatt (born 1954) is an American lawyer, author, and entrepreneur. Rothblatt graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a combined law and MBA degree in 1981, then began work in Washington, D.C., first in the field of communications satellite law, and eventually in life sciences projects like the Human Genome Project. She is the founder and Chairwoman of the Board of United Therapeutics. She was also the CEO of GeoStar and the creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio
They also had an auction to raise money for their scholarship program and raised over $900 for it.

Today Ms. Smith is giving the keynote talk.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Here’s Gratitude For You

But what do you expect from a religious conservative.
Politician whose life was saved by lesbian police officer to speak at national anti-LGBT convention
Pink News
By Josh Jackman 
5th October 2017

Four months ago, Republican congressman Steve Scalise had his life saved by a heroic lesbian police officer.

Now, the House Majority Whip is set to speak on stage at a virulently homophobic hate group which has questioned if gay people should be executed.

When a shooter opened fire on Republicans who were practising for a charity baseball game in Washington DC, Crystal Griner ran towards the bullets, saving lives in the process.
[…]
Griner carried out her duty to protect Scalise, even though he previously co-sponsored a failed Constitutional Amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage in the United States.
It seems that officer doesn’t care who you are or what you believe, she treats everyone the same. She could have claimed that it was against her religious beliefs to protect someone who’s biased against LGBT people but she didn’t. She saw them as human beings who need protect and she did her job.

The Lockport Union-Sun and Journal wrote about how Rep. Scalise made a speech at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit conference.
Then there's Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, coming up a bit short in the love-thy-neighbor category. After his shooting at a congressional baseball practice stunned the nation, he graciously praised Capitol Police special agent Crystal Griner — a lesbian who is married to a woman — and the other officer who saved his life as "heroes" and "part of our family." But on Friday, Scalise was scheduled to speak at the Family Research Council, which proudly proclaims that "homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed."
The Family Research Council has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their maligning and vilifying us.

It Is Not Only In The U.S.

But it is happening in other countries around the world, this time in England where a printer refused to print business cards for a trans woman.
Christian printer refuses to produce business cards for transgender diversity consultant because they might 'marginalise' fellow believers
  • Christian printer Nigel Williams refused to produce pro-LGBTQ+ business cards
  • In a letter Mr Williams said he didn't want to encourage Christian discrimination 
  • Transgender rights activist Mrs Joanne Lockwood was left reeling after refusal 
  • The clash is reminiscent of the Ashers Bakery saga in Northern Ireland in 2014
Daily Mail
By Rod Ardehali
15 October 2017

A devout Christian printer refused to produce business cards for a transgender diversity consultant because he didn't want to promote a cause potentially harmful to fellow believers.

Nigel Williams turned down the chance to work for Joanne Lockwood's consultancy, SEE Change Happen, which promotes diversity, equality and inclusion.

Following Mrs Lockwood's approach to use his business, Mr Williams sent the diversity coach a letter explaining why he was refusing the business deal.
And of course a Christian legal organization to help the printer.
Mr Williams has been offered support by the Christian Institute - a pressure group which previously backed a family bakery in Northern Ireland accused of discriminating against a gay customer.
I do not believe that England has any “Religious Freedom” laws to complicate the case like we have here in the U.S.



I made it up here to P’town yesterday with no problems, I pulled over at a rest area to have a sandwich and take a cat nap for about twenty minutes. It is a four hour drive from home up to Provincetown, only an hour more than driving up to where we had a cottage in New Hampshire, but that extra weighs heavily on me.

At night there was welcoming reception at Tin Pan Alley which was well attended for an opening night at the Fair. They also had an event at the Pilgrim Monument but I didn’t go to earlier in the evening.

Today I’m at the opening brunch and this evening is the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award Banquet where they will honor Gwen Smith and Martine Rothblatt.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Well It Finally Happening!

Now we will have to see the results from it.

Did it make any difference; will there now be trans actresses and actors in television shows, in movies, and in theater? Will we be playing trans roles or cisgender roles or I hope for, both. Or will it just be a crumb thrown out to the masses.
Casting Society Of America Announces First-Ever Open Call For Transgender Actors
"Trans people have worked hard to hone their craft, but rarely get the chance to be seen."
NewNowNext
By Samantha Manzella
October 13, 2017

Trans visibility in Hollywood just got a big boost: The Casting Society of America has launched an open casting call for transgender actors.

On October 22, casting directors in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, London, and other major cities will open their studios to audition union and nonunion actors.

“Trans people have worked hard to hone their craft, but rarely get the chance to be seen since so few are represented,” Ann Thomas, founder of Transgender Talent, a listing service for trans and gender-nonbinary artists and actors, told the L.A. Times.

“The reasoning that a non-diverse ’star’ gets to play a diverse role is because there weren’t enough talented, diverse options is an industry myth,” says Casting Society Vice President Russell Boast. “We’re going to do something about that.”
I hope that this will make a change. There are so many talented trans actresses and actors there that deserve a chance.

Packing For FF

While I’m packing for Fantasia Fair this week some random thoughts…

This will be something like my tenth fair, now it is more like a class reunion than a conference. I don’t go now for the workshops but more to see people that I have known since the first time that I went up to P’town. I go for the noon time keynote talks. I go for the photographs; the cape is very photogenic just about everywhere you go there is a picture to be taken.

This year I am giving a workshop on “Effective Lobbying” and one of the thing I want to talk about is the inside/outside strategy. Both the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Saul Alinsky knew the value of the inside/outside strategies.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said,
”The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”
In an article in the Huffington Post Peter Dreier wrote,
The insiders, elected officials and lobbyists, see their job as pushing through changes in law that can alter the living conditions, incomes, and access to opportunity and environment of our citizens. Legislating involves the “art of compromise” that requires the skills of brokering deals, negotiating, and forging consensus.

Outsiders — community activists, street protestors and radicals — need different skills. They often view compromise as “selling out” by politicians tied to corporate and elite interests. Activists believe that the influence of campaign contributions, and the trade-offs required by legislative give-and-take, make most elected officials undependable allies.
Both the inside and outside are equal parts in the strategies to bring about change, they are Yen and Yan and my workshop at FF will be on the inside game, lobbying your legislators.

What is going to be different this year is that I have an appointment with a real estate broker to see about buying a three season cottage with my half from the sale of our New Hampshire cottage.



Before I transitioned I hated going shopping for clothes, after I transitioned I hate going shopping for clothes. At least now I like the clothes that I’m buying.

Fall is banquet season and I have several banquets that I will be attending along with my fiftieth high school reunion which I am nervous about, it will be the first time as Diana.



Speaking of banquets, I will once again be going to One Big Event and it is big! It is pricey, but it is for a good cause and the price isn’t that far out of line with other banquets and the food is very good considering it is a small intimate dinner for 600.

The event is for the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective where I volunteer two days a week as their “Trans Advocate.” With the drying up of Ryan White funding
In his FY 2018 budget, President Trump proposed deep reductions in several key HIV programs including eliminating funding for Ryan White AIDS Education and Training Centers, Ryan White Special Projects of National Significance, and the HHS Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund. President Trump also proposed cutting nearly $150 million from HIV prevention programs supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $26 million from Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). He also proposed a $22 million cut in funding for STD prevention programs at the CDC.
So the Health Collective needs to look for other funding to stay open and one of those sources were through Husky insurance (CT version of Medicaid) but now that is also in question with the latest Trump edict.




I plan on daily reports from Fan Fair and I hope to have a lot of photos to show you and maybe some to enter in the local fair next year.

Well I’m off…

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday 9: Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Saturday 9: Chattanooga Choo-Choo (1941)



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

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

1)  Chattanooga is Tennessee's fourth largest city. Have you ever visited Tennessee? If so, where did you go and what did you see?
It was way back when I was knee high to a grasshopper; every summer we used to go on a trip around the eastern U.S. and one year it was the Smokies and the Blue Ridge mountains. When we were in Tennessee we visited Lookout Mountain and road on the Tweetsie Railroad.

Since Glenn Miller's recording of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" was awarded the first-ever gold record, we're going to devote the next questions to your firsts.

2) What was the first award or accolade you ever won?
Wow, do you know how hard it is to answer questions like that when you are in your late 60s?
Well if my memory severs me, it was sometime in high school when we won the science class project with launching a poor mouse in a model rocket. The mouse was dazed and we were beaming.

3) We know about your blog. But which was the first social media site that you posted to? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, MySpace ...)
Geocities. And to prove nothing ever goes away on the web, here is a link to it. As you can see my blogging goes back to1999.

4) Where did you go on your first plane ride?
Whoa… that’s ancient history. I think it was a flight to Orando (and no it wasn’t to Disney World, that was only a dream in Walt’s mind) where we visited Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. The were getting ready to launch the first Saturn V rocket.

5) Tell us about your first cell phone.
It was a big clunky phone of a 2002 vintage.
But more interesting is the story behind it. I went to Provincetown MA for a trans conference and I wasn’t out yet, so I didn’t want to tell my parents where I was going for a week (BTW, I leave tomorrow for the same conference). Because, one P’town has a strong GAY connotation  and two I wasn’t out to them so I couldn’t say they I was going to a trans conference. As a result I was worried about the area code for the phone number of the B&B, so a friend who was gave me her cellphone number. I told my parents that the rates for using the motel phone was too high so call her instead. Within a few days of coming home I had my first cell phone.

6) Tell us about your first tattoo: Where is it on your body? Where did you have it done? What does it depict?
I don’t have a tat.

7) How old were you when you had your first piercing?
June 29, 2007 at 1:00 PM
How’s that for an answer?
I know the time because I was laid off from work at 11:00 AM and that was when I transitioned.

8) What had you been drinking the first time you suffered a hangover?
Probably a rum and coke.

9) Was your first ticket for parking or was it a moving violation?
Ah… I remember that!
I was driving down the New York Thruway at 5 in the morning and the sun was just coming up behind, it was a beautiful morning. I going back to college in Rochester and I was the only car on the road. It was just past Syracuse where the turnpike is flat and level with corn fields on both sides of the road, and one lonely tree alongside the road. There was this guy in the middle of the road doing jumping jacks????
As I got closer I saw a wide brim hat and the state police car parked behind the tree.
I got an 18 dollar ticket for doing 85 in a 65 MPH zone.



I have been having problems posting comments, I get an error page from Google

Friday, October 13, 2017

What Is Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander

There is the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission where the commission found that the Masterpiece Cakeshop violated the state’s non-discrimination when they refused to make a cake for a gay couple and now the case is before the Supreme Court.

Well now a gay man told Christians to get out of his store and the Christians are crying foul.
Pro-life Group Forced to Leave Seattle Coffeeshop by Gay Owner
ChristianHeadlines
By Veronica Neffinger
October 10, 2017


A pro-life Christian group was told they had to leave a Seattle coffeeshop by the business’s gay owner.

The Washington Times reports that members of the pro-life group Abolish Human Abortion came into Seattle’s Bedlam Coffee to order drinks following their time distributing pro-life pamphlets around the community.

Once Bedlam’s owner found out that a pro-life Christian group had entered his business, he told them to leave.
[…]
Many who watched the video called out the hypocrisy in our society today between those who approve of this gay coffeeshop owner having the right to kick this pro-life group out of his business and many of the same people who accuse Christian business owners such as bakery owner Jack Phillips of discriminating against gay people when he refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Okay, these cases do sound similar but there are differences.

First I would say that there is hypocrisy between the two cases if they are equal (which they may not be) and second I don’t even know if a complaint has been files with the state’s human rights commission and if there was a complaint the commission hasn’t ruled on it yet if a complaint was filed, who knows the commission might find that there was discrimination.

What is difference?

In the Colorado case the store owners were asked to bake a cake which is their business and in the Seattle case they were disturbing pamphlets, which is a big difference!

One, we do not know what the store policy for disturbing pamphlets; do they have a policy that nothing will be handed out in the store? Did they ask the store owners if it is okay to hand them out? How graphic was the pamphlets?

Apple and oranges.

Waking Up And Smelling The Coffee

We have all heard about or know someone who is LGBT that supported Trump many of them are starting to wake up to the fact that they bought his lies hook, line, and sinker.
Trump Will Be First President to Address Anti-LGBT Values Voter Summit
Trump, who addressed the gathering as a candidate the past two years, joins far-right luminaries such as Roy Moore, Phil Robertson, and Michele Bachmann.
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
October 12, 2017

Donald Trump will join a who’s who of the religious right Friday at the Values Voter Summit, as he becomes the first sitting president to address the event, sponsored by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council.

Trump is scheduled to speak during Friday’s opening plenary session, which runs from 8:45 a.m. to noon. “Values voters are coming to our nation’s capital thankful to hear from a president who is fulfilling the promises that he campaigned on,” FRC president Tony Perkins said in a press release this week. “Since the early days of the campaign, President Trump allied himself with values voters, promising to put an end to the eight years of relentless assault on the First Amendment.”

Perkins praised the Trump administration’s issuance last week of a “religious freedom” order, which is actually a broad license to discriminate in both the public and private sectors without repercussion. For instance, a company with a federal government contract could cite religious objections in refusing to hire LGBT people or members of different faiths without the contract being revoked. Federal employees could refuse to process paperwork for same-sex spouses’ Social Security or veterans’ benefits without facing discipline.
The Family Research Council called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC  defines a “hate groups” as
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

The organizations on our hate group list vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity – prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines.

The FBI uses similar criteria in its definition of a hate crime:
[A] criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.
We define a “group” as an entity that has a process through which followers identify themselves as being part of the group. This may involve donating, paying membership dues or participating in activities such as meetings and rallies. Individual chapters of a larger organization are each counted separately, because the number indicates reach and organizing activity.
Note that it is not just because they are against LGBT issues but they “vilify others".

Some LGBT are starting to see the light.
Caitlyn Jenner calls Trump administration the “worst ever” for LGBT+ rights
Gaytimes
By Daniel Megarry
12th October 2017

“I was hoping for a lot better…”

Caitlyn Jenner has once again backtracked on her support for the President of the United States.

The trans reality star and staunch Republican faced heavy criticism from the LGBT+ community after voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, despite warnings that he would halt or even reverse advances in equality.

Back in June last year, she declared that Trump was “very much behind” LGBT+ rights in America, despite him already stating he would “strongly consider” appointing justices to overrule same-sex marriage.

Unsurprisingly, Trump has so far been abysmal on LGBT+ rights, having rescinded trans student’s bathroom protections, given freedom to discriminate against LGBT+ people, and announced a ban on trans individuals serving in the military.
So does she feel bad for voting for Trump? Well…
But despite saying she doesn’t regret voting for Trump, and later making the questionable decision to wear a Make America Great Again hat, Caitlyn has this week slammed the US president in a KABC interview.

“I was hoping for a lot better than this,” she explained. “And I was somewhat optimistic and I thought this guy is going to be OK. He has totally, totally disappointed me.”
A gay man who voted for Trump also has a hard time admitting he made a mistake,
Well, at Least One Gay Republican Who Supported Trump Finally Understands His Administration Is Anti-LGBT. Maybe.
'This Administration Will Go Down as the Most Anti-LGBT in History'
The New Civil Rights Movement
By David Badash
October 12, 2017

Remember GOProud, the off-the-wall LGBT Tea Party Republican group that lasted a few years until the antics of its co-founders burned it out? The two co-founders, Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia, spent years attacking "the gay left." One went on to support and actively work to not only mainstream Donald Trump, but get him elected.

This, by the way, was Barron in 2011:
The gay left = the American Taliban. Hateful, angry and dumb as shit.
Barron, who claims he "helped create Donald Trump the politician," threw his support behind the Manhattan real estate mogul who has a long and ugly history of racism. And he created LGBTers for Trump.
[…]
And now?

“I think, personally, the president has met my expectations,” Barron tells The Daily Beast in an article published Thursday.
“My concern has always been what happens at the department and agency levels. And I definitely have concerns with what is going on at Department of Justice. The attorney general [Jeff Sessions] has a very different position on LGBT issues than the president does. But his job is to carry forward the president’s agenda and not push his own… I’m certainly concerned he is [pushing his own].”
Let's pause for just a moment and remember that tomorrow, Friday, Trump will become the first sitting President to address the Values Voter Summit, a far right wing annual political conference hosted by an anti-gay hate group, the Family Research Council.
What will it take for these collaborators to admit they were wrong?

This administration has done everything in its power to criminalize us, they will not be happy until we are either forced back in the closet or behind bars.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Transgender Success Stories

There are so many success stories in our community and some have also made it financially, one such person is Martine Rothblatt who transitioned and is a billionaire. You might never have heard of her but if I say Sirius XM radio?

Well she founded Sirius XM radio.

There is another wealthy trans woman who has transitioned…
Transformed: The Credit Suisse director known as Pippa and Philip
An investment bank director and champion of non-binary gender identities talks to Financial News about coming out at a large institution
Financial News
By Pips Bunce and Becky Pritchard
October 2, 2017

[…]
Coming out in the office

I decided to come out at work about three and a half years ago and for me, this was a big deal.

I’d reached a point in my life where I thought, It’s really silly me hiding this, why am I putting on this facade and keeping all this hidden at work? I knew that I had a supportive firm and an amazing manager, and I had the feeling that it wasn’t going to be an issue.

Back then, close personal friends at work knew. I introduced it on social events, going to fancy dress parties or sometimes I’d do things after work, and tell people 'Oh, Phil is coming along as Pippa.' Then when I felt more comfortable, I chose to ramp it up by bringing this into the everyday corporate world. It was a little scary.

I guess my biggest concern was how I would be accepted and what people would think of me, especially for those that did not understand the different trans identities.

I spoke to our diversity and inclusion group to give them a heads up. They had never come across someone that was gender fluid. They were very supportive, but it was a journey. They needed to get up to speed to understand that trans is an umbrella term and is not just about those that wish to transition.
[…]
So, I think the thing is to be confident and try and get support internally or externally. Reach out to some of the ally networks, LGBT committees or external groups for support and advice on how to approach it, and what your options are. Don’t underestimate the positive impact coming out can have — it’s an amazing thing.
Good advice for anyone coming out at work.

It helps when you work for a company that is supportive, it removes one more hurdle that we face when we transition.

I remember my coming out at work. After I told the HR manager her first words were “They are having a 30% sale on dresses at Syms!” You couldn’t get any more supportive than that.

At Fantasia Fair this year they are honoring Martine Rothblatt with the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award along with Gwen Smith. Accepting the award for Martine will be her daughter.

I Don’t Trust Surveys

When I see an article about surveys my first thought is who is doing the survey, will it be a hatchet job or will it be a legitimate survey. Can you imagine a trans survey done by the Trump administration verses one by the Obama administration, It is all in the questions asked and the way the data is analyzed.
Swedish government orders study into mental health conditions of transgender people
The Local SE
12 October 2017

The Swedish government has ordered the Public Health Authority to carry out an in depth study into the living conditions and mental health of transgender people.

The decision comes after a report showed that mental illness is widespread among transgender people in Sweden and a large percentage of them have at some point considered taking their own lives.

The authorities will also allocate project grants to non-profit organizations working with mental health and to prevent suicide among transgender people, with a focus on the young.

"Young trans people are a group where suicidal tendencies have increased in an especially clear way -- we can't have that. We need to make targeted efforts," said Minister for Social Affairs Annika Strandhäll.
[…]
A report based on a comprehensive survey of transgender people shows that 60 percent of those between the ages of 15 and 19 have considered taking their lives at some point over the past year, while 40 percent have attempted suicide.
They can’t just study the suicidal tendencies but they also need to study the reasons why.

If you just have a question that asked have you ever thought about suicide it would make us sound like a bunch of neurotic nut cases, but if you ask if you have been harassed, bullied, discriminated against, if you have an accepting family, and other factors that might contribute to anxieties you will have to different findings.

In the first case the study would find that are prone to mental health problems because we are trans and the other case will find that our problems are the result of society pressures.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Calling His Bluff

When Trump said he consulted with military leaders before coming banning us from the military and now his bluff has been called. He now has to say who he talked to,
Dems ask for proof Trump consulted Pentagon on transgender ban
By Rebecca Kheel
October 10, 2017

More than 100 Democrats are demanding proof that President Trump consulted with the Pentagon before deciding that he would ban transgender people from the military.

In a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday, 115 Democrats request any communication between the Pentagon and the White House that led Trump to claim that he was “doing the military a great favor” by announcing on Twitter that transgender people would not be allowed “to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”

“If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests,” the Democrats wrote in the letter. “If the department has records of any other discussions that might have justified the president’s claim, we request to see those materials, as well.”
Anyone want to places bets that he will either say it is executive privilege or there will be no one that he talked to.

I have a strong feeling that it was just another one of Trump lies.

From the reports that I have written about it appears that the only one he consulted was  Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.



Last night I went to a Nomoli Brennet concert at the Space Ballroom in Hamden and it was as usual excellent, she was on stage with folk singer Shula Weinstein who played besides the guitar the cello which was a beautiful combination of Brennet’s guitar and Weinstein’s cello.

Here is a video of Weinstein playing…

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are…

…Or not. Today is National Coming Out Day and I am not a big fan of it.

A person that I know says on National Coming Out Day she wants to pick up the phone and dial a random number and when they answer just say, “I’m a lesbian” and hang up.

You might expect that I am in favor of it, but I am not. Coming out involves great risks and you should assess the risk before you come out. Know if you have a support network just in case things go bad. Do your parents support LGBT issues or are they opposed to them. Assess the risk if you are coming out in school; know how much support the school administration will give you. These are some of the factors that you should consider before coming out.

Harvey Milk’s quote “Burst down those closet doors and stand up once and for all, and start to fight.” Is okay but think first; will coming out put me in danger?

Have a plan on coming out, just don’t blurt out “I’m trans!” Timing is everything; you don’t want to be sitting down at a family Thanksgiving dinner and just pop it out that you are transgender. When I came out I came out to my brother I had a plan and he was the first person that I came out to because I knew he would be the most supportive.

You don’t want to come out to the whole family at once because all it takes is for one person to have a negative reaction and that could sway the rest of the family. You want to build family allies before you come out to your whole family so that they can speak on your behalf.

When you come out at work you want to tell HR first so that they can prepare to tell the whole company. You don’t want to just send out an email to the whole company that says, “Hey everyone, guess what? I’m trans!”

So be safe, think before you act.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

It’s the Cost

Or so they say one of the reasons why they are kicking us out of the military. But according to some estimates the cost of healthcare for trans people in the military and in the VA is less than Trump golfing trips.
Cost of military transgender care in the spotlight
Market Place
By Megan Pauly
October 10, 2017

The cost of transgender health care is in the spotlight, both for veterans, and for active duty transgender troops.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced shortly after President Donald Trump was elected that it was going to drop plans to cover those surgeries in part because of cost. Then, President Trump directed the Department of Defense to stop providing transition-related care for active duty service members in part citing “tremendous medical costs.”

When it comes to medical costs for transgender individuals, “what the research shows clearly is that the financial waste would come from firing perfectly competent transgender troops and training their replacements,” said Aaron Belkin, executive director of the Palm Center, a group researching military and gender issues.

The Department of Defense estimated the cost of training new recruits runs about $75,000 per service member.

In contrast, Belkin said the annual average cost of ongoing transgender care for hormones and gender therapy runs less than $700 per service member.
To put the cost of our healthcare in perspective, PBS reports
WASHINGTON — With President Donald Trump making his seventh presidential trip this weekend to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, government watchdogs and Democrats are once again seeing dollar signs: namely, $3 million.

That’s a widely used estimate of what each journey costs taxpayers. The figure comes from a government report on a trip President Barack Obama made to Palm Beach, Florida, but the report’s author tells The Associated Press that it’s a mistake to apply those findings to Trump’s travel.
And he has been playing golf just about every weekend, $3 million time fifty-two equals $156,000,000 a year, but he says that our healthcare cost too much.

The Market Place article goes on to say,
The future for transgender active duty service members also remains uncertain. Trump signed a memorandum directing the military to ban transgender recruits from serving in the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis has until February 2018 to decide if active duty transgender troops will be allowed to continue serving. Mattis has asked a panel of experts to review the issue.
Let’s face it, this is not about money, it is about bigotry. The Republican hatred of anything LGBT and their hate of anything connected with President Obama.

Our Rights Are On The Line Again

This time in Greece, they are debating if we should get out human rights to self determination and to control our bodies.
Greece to decide on transgender rights
Redefining transgender rights is a divisive topic in Greece.
Euronews
October 10, 2017

A divisive debate is due to come to a head in Greece. Transgender people could soon be able to choose the sex the identify best with from the age of 15, if a bill proposed by the ruling Syriza Party is passed.

The prime minister was scathing in his criticism of the opposition.

“Staying in Europe does not mean only applying austerity measures. As the opposition, you choose Europe for its austerity, but on human rights you choose to be anachronistic, you choose to be very conservative. In both cases, you make the worst choice”, said Alexis Tsipras.
According to the article the bill will probably pass but at a cost of political capital to the prime ministry, for that I thank him that he was willing to stand up for us.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Another Victory In Times Of Hate

One school district just guaranteed that we will be treated according to our gender identity. Down in Maryland they are moving ahead implementing their non-discrimination laws.
Transgender students prevail with school policy in Maryland
The Washington Post
By Donna St. George
October 8, 2017

When James van Kuilenburg used the bathroom at his Maryland high school, he always worried. Would he be taunted by his classmates? Would he be shamed or beaten? Most of the time, he avoided the risk altogether.

“You don’t feel safe,” the teenager said, five years after coming out as transgender.

But van Kuilenburg and others in Frederick County hope this year marks a turning point across the Maryland system’s 67 schools as a new policy takes hold that is regarded as one of the most progressive in the state.

The policy spells out that bathrooms and locker rooms should be used according to gender identity and provides alternatives for students uncomfortable for any reason. It also covers privacy, preferred names, dress codes for major events and participation in sports teams.

“I see it as one of the most comprehensive transgender student policies in the country,” said Jabari Lyles, executive director of GLSEN Maryland, which advocates for LGBT students on issues of education.
They still have a ways to go to catch up to Connecticut.

Of course there is opposition…
But critics have spoken out, too. A suit was recently filed on behalf of a mother and her 15-year-old daughter, asserting the girl’s rights to bodily privacy and saying the teen fears for her safety and feels humiliated to undress in front of “the opposite sex.” The family’s attorney, Dan Cox, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress last year, declined to comment on the suit, which at points invokes totalitarian regimes and Nazi death camps.
Who wants to undress in font of others? I don’t think no one does and that is way schools are installing curtains or using shower stalls.

One big open locker room or shower room is a thing from the 50s. Even back in the early seventies when I went to college they had individual shower stalls.
“One of our problems with this policy is it appears to be concerned only with the rights and affirmations of transgender students,” said Cindy Rose, speaking for the Republican Women of Frederick County. “Will there be a policy protecting the band geek, the math nerd and the other children who have felt unwelcome and bullied for decades? Will they get a similar carve-out?”
What an a… well you know what I mean.

For one thing there is a law about bullying and two we don’t want and special rights we just want our rights just like everyone else.

Tearing The Country Apart

One party is trying to tear the country apart, over religion, nationality, sex, race, socioeconomic status, and LGBT human rights.
One party is trying to Balkanized over religion with some people above the law.
One party is trying to put one religion above all others.
One party is trying to create hate against citizens who were not born here.
One party is trying to force women back into the kitchen.
One party is trying to segregate those people who skin is not white.
One party is trying to demonize as leaches those who are sick, or old, or can’t find jobs.
One party is trying to criminalize a person for whom they love and for who they are.

One party is gerrymandering districts to guarantee the elections in their favor.
One party is using voter suppression by placing hurdles in their path to guarantee the elections in their favor.
One party is trying to stuff the courts to thwart opposition.

One party is trying to criminalize me.

We can argue big government/small government, taxes/no taxes, climate/no climate warming all day and I have no problem with it. However, when they want to take away the right of a woman to determine the right to control her body it have a problem with that. I have a problem when they say who can and cannot get married. I have a problem when they tell me I am a second class citizen that I can be denied housing, employment, or public accommodation just because of who I am.

One called itself the party of “Fascial Responsibility” but has become the party of “Social Conservatives” that uses divisiveness, hatred, and bigotry for its gain. I will not debate basic human rights.

If you don’t think race is an issue in this country then watch this video.



Complications

Sometimes our desire to transition is complicated by an existing medical problem or in medical terms it is called comorbidity.

There is an article about how to treat a trans person who has a neurologic condition in a medical journal.
In the Clinic – Transgender Medicine: When Transgender Medicine Meets Neurology What's Known, What's Not
Neurology Today - Volume 17 - Issue 19 - p 30–31
By Dawn Fallik
October 5, 2017

The field of transgender medicine is in its infancy, experts acknowledge, but a new review of existing literature spotlights specific concerns related to treating transgender patients with epilepsy.

There is a dearth of research on how to treat neurologic conditions in patients who are transgender, experts in a small of growing field of so-called transgender medicine acknowledged in interviews with Neurology Today. What is known, however, but not completely understood, is that certain therapies may interact with commonly used treatments for transitioning to an identified gender.

In particular, this could be the case for transgender patients with epilepsy, according to an analysis of the medical literature published in the August 3 online issue of Epilepsia.

“The goals of this analysis were to draw attention to the specific needs of transgender patients, to make neurologists aware of the specific common regimens for gender-affirming treatment, and to highlight the need for epidemiological and prospective studies to characterize the numbers of transgender patients with epilepsy,” study author Emily Johnson, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told Neurology Today. “Prospective observational studies in this population could provide a valuable opportunity to learn more about the effects of exogenous hormones on seizure control.”

She said that epilepsy treatments might affect groups differently depending on whether they are transitioning from female to male or male to female. Other studies have reported interactions of estrogen with antiepileptic drugs, she said, and potentially seizure control could worsen in male-to-female patients taking the hormone. In female-to-male patients, there may be improvement of catamenial epilepsy, where seizures are affected by the menstrual cycle. When menses stop, the effects of additional testosterone are not as well-characterized as those of estrogen/progesterone, where there is information from hormonal birth controls.

The higher rate of HIV among transgender patients should also be a concern, she said, because enzyme-inducing AEDs [antiepileptic drugs] could impact antiretrovirals. Dr. Johnson said that, although there are no data currently studying this specific impact, neurologists should be aware of these interactions, and preferentially prescribe non-inducing AEDs when possible. Good communication with the patient's other providers — particularly those managing the antiretrovirals and the gender-affirming treatment — will be key, she said.
A lot of times doctors refuse to treat us because of comorbid conditions and many times the conditions do not interfere with our transitions but the doctors use it as an excuse not to treat us. But most of the time it does not interfere with our transition so this article is a good step forward.

What needs to be done is the medical school start teaching trans medicine.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

I Remember When…

Colleges and universities banned ROTC on campuses because of the military ban gays and lesbians in the military, well now it is time to ban ROTC on campuses because of the ban on us from entering the military.
ROTC student takes on transgender military ban: 'I still want to fight for my country'
USA Today
By Susan Miller
October 5, 2017

A passion for patriotism has been a constant coursing through Dylan Kohere’s short life.

When he was in the sixth grade, dreams of a military career started to crystallize. In high school, he weighed enlisting after graduation.

The Mount Olive Township, N.J., native eventually decided the smartest path would be college and enrollment in the Army's Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Military service is “the thing I wanted to do, hoped to do my entire life,” he said.

But now Kohere, 18, is on the front lines in a battle he never imagined — as a plaintiff in the first lawsuit challenging President Trump’s directive to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military, a ban that could crush the college freshman’s aspirations.
[…]
“I worked for years to become physically able and ready enough to serve,” said Kohere in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY. “To be told I couldn’t simply because of how I identify was really frustrating.”
He is not alone,
And many take the ROTC route. “There are many more Dylans out there,” he said.
Colleges and universities will placed in the middle of the ban because,
A transgender ban would “create a huge, destructive mess” on campuses, Minter said, thrusting schools back into the don’t ask/don’t tell era.

A ban would also conflict with states that have laws prohibiting bias based on gender identity and could lead to the demise of ROTC programs that did not want to be forced to embrace discriminatory practices, Minter said.
It is time for the schools to step up to obey the law and not discriminate.

It is time for the schools to step up like they do back in the era of DADT and ban ROTC on campus.

It is time for the students to step up and demand that ROTC on campuses be shut down.