Monday, January 16, 2017

I Didn’t Know

And I go there for my hormones and endo care. So I was surprised when I was googling something and it came up in the search…
Transgender Services
Middlesex Hospital
PRIMARY CARE
It’s a fact that a high percentage of LBGTQ individuals do not have a primary care physician and do not seek to establish this very important medical relationship.  The reasons for this are varied, but at Middlesex Hospital, through its network of primary care physicians, we want to change this statistic.   Our providers welcome the opportunity to work with you on your well-being, if you become ill.  Our primary care offices provide a safe, welcoming environment and the physician’s relationship with you is individualized to meet your specific needs.

HORMONE THERAPY
Prescribing gender-affirming hormones is well within the scope of practice of primary care physicians, endocrinologists, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants. At Middlesex Hospital, we are pleased to have Kathryn Tierney, M.S.N, A.P.R.N.-B.C., lead our gender-affirming hormone therapy program, in collaboration her colleagues in endocrinology and within our network of primary care physicians.

GENDER TRANSITION SURGERY
Our surgical specialists in gynecology, urology, and plastic surgery bring expertise, experience and compassion to a host of feminizing and masculinizing surgical procedures for our transgender patients.


INFECTIOUS DISEASE TESTING AND TREATMENT
Our Infectious Disease specialists (part of the Middlesex Multispecialty Group) can provide special insight and expertise regarding the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infections of all types including: HIV and chronic Hepatitis B and C.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES
Gender non-conforming/transgender individuals can feel a strong conflict between their gender (inner sense of who they are) and their physical sex characteristics. This conflict can sometimes manifest itself in depression, isolation and destructive behaviors. Middlesex Hospital’s psychiatrists and behavioral health clinicians are available and trained to help individual, couples and families work through the issues, to lead emotionally healthy lives.
I knew Yale/New Haven hospital was forming a gender clinic including a surgeon who is doing Gender Confirming Surgery but I hadn’t heard a word about Middlesex Hospital.

I did take part in a panel discussion there but I didn’t know that it was to lay the ground work for the clinic.

I Got A Brain

You don’t know what privilege is until you gain or lose it.

A number of my trans men friends say once they transitioned it is almost like they got a brain. One friend said that it is amazing anything he said people listen to him, all of sudden he is an expert in everything.
Trans Men Open Up About Their Experiences With Male Privilege
“Walking down the street is so glorious — I can actually think!”
Huffington Post Queer Voices
By JamesMichael Nichols
August 19, 2016

Trans men occupy a unique space in their identity: many (thought not all) people who live as trans men have experienced the privileges of being read as both male and female at different points of their lives.

In this new video from MTV, a group of trans men open up about male privilege and the unique perspective they have on the topic, having experienced the world and in a multitude of different ways throughout the course of their lives.

“A man can just walk down the street and no one is going to bother him,” Tiq Milan says in the video. “No one is going to ask him to smile, no one is going to ask him where he’s going, no one’s going to ask him if he’s married, no one’s going to ask him if they can walk with him. But this is something that I know women experience every day.”
It becomes very obvious when you gain or lose privilege. When you’re a project manager and you are asked to get the coffee. When you are looking for an electrical part at Home Depot and you get a lecture on how to install. When you go to an auto parts store and the clerk asks if you are getting the part for your boyfriend. These all happened to trans women friends. The first person has a BSEE and a MBA, the next trans woman is a master electrician and the last trans woman has worked on cars all her life. It is like that we got lobotomies.

It is the change to makes it stand out; all of sudden there is the change in privilege that sticks out and it is not only our expertise but it is the things that we took for granted like walking back to the car at night. As a man we never thought about that but as a woman we should be aware of the dangers  but many times we are not.

I tell the story of one late night I had to walk back to my car and I had to go right by a sports bar, I had to walk right by the patio were the men were sitting. I hesitated in the door of the event I was leaving and four lesbians coming out of the event asked me what was wrong, one of them saw where I was looking. She took my arm and cradled it in hers and the five of us walked arm in arm by the men. I would never have even giving it a second thought about walking by a bunch of drunken men but as a woman..

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I Hate Lists

Lists are never right. You always get flack about those people who you did not included or about those that you did include, it is a lose, lose situation.

LGBTQ Nation has a list of 50 successful trans people.
When building a list of transgender people with great careers, there were five basic criterion:
  • They are American.
  • They are currently living.
  • They’ve had successful careers after transition.
  • Their careers should have little to nothing to do with being transgender (i.e, trans people can be something other than professional advocates).
  • They are publicly out as transgender.
This list is not comprehensive, and there are literally hundreds more we did not list. The careers represented are deliberately eclectic, as are their genders, ages, races, and are intended to show the diversity of the community. 
“This list is not comprehensive, and there are literally hundreds more we did not list” is a good start.

So who some on the list that I agree with…

  • Lynn Conway
  • Amanda Simpson
  • Wendy Carlos
  • Martine Rothblatt
  • Judge Phyllis Frye (I met her at Fantasia Fair once)
  • Jennifer Finney Boylan (Our paths have crossed many times)
  • Lana and Lilly Wachowski
  • Allyson Robinson (I met her when I was an intern and it was my job to escort her around town while she was here and make sure she got to the hearing for the gender inclusive nondiscrimination bill on time.)
  • Dylan Orr (He attended my workshop on trans history at the True Colors conference once. He came up to me, said he said his name and that he like my workshop. It was only latter when I found out who he was.)
  • Namoli Brennet (I am a big fan of her)

And who are those that I never heard of that are on the list…

  • Dr. Ben Barres
  • Rachel See
  • Robyn McCutcheon
  • Angelica Ross
  • Sergeant Ken Ochoa
  • Nicole Shounder

The list goes on and on but one thing that I noticed about the list was most those who are on the list is that they all have passing privilege.

I Have To Comment On This

One of those rare times that a Republican legislature have block a anti-trans bill, maybe they realized that the bill went too far or maybe it was that Pence wasn’t there to egg them on.
Republican lawmaker blocks anti-transgender bill in Indiana
LGBTQ Nation
By Erin Rook
January 14, 2017

Late Friday, a Republican lawmaker blocked an anti-transgender bill from advancing in Indiana.

The proposed legislation, HB 1361, was introduced just one day prior and would have prohibited transgender Hoosiers from updating their birth certificates.

“The intent of this bill is to strip transgender people of the most basic and fundamental dignity,” Freedom Indiana said in a statement following the bill’s introduction on Thursday. “HB 1361 seeks to deny the very existence of transgender people—with the cruel mandate that a transgender person’s birth certificate can never match the identity they live as and the person they have always known themselves to be.”

Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer, the Republican chair of the Indiana’s Public Health Committee, confirmed in a statement that she is declining to hear the bill in committee, effectively halting its progress for 2017. She said she will instead focus on the pressing public health issue of opioid and heroin addiction.
So why was the bill introduced?
The bill’s author, Republican and Elvis impersonator Rep. Bruce Borders, said the proposal wasn’t meant as a political statement.

“This was not a philosophically driven thing,” he told the Indy Star. “I just respect accuracy in all legal records.”
I am surprise about this, I wonder why the chair of the committee did squash the legislation, I hope it was because she realized that the bill went too far and was punitive.

Back in the early sixties there were ten states that passed laws allowing trans people to change the gender on their birth certificates and many of those states realized that by being able to change our birth certificates it made it easier for us to get jobs or for us to get married so that our husbands could support us.

A birth certificate is not a historic document; it is a proof of U.S. citizenship the only times you need to show it is when you go for a job or for a passport. Having a birth certificate with a name and gender that is different  from your true gender creates hardships for the person who is just trying to become a productive citizen.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday 9: Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (1984)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song was inspired by a note WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley left for his parents. He accidentally wrote "go" twice. What was the last handwritten note you left for someone?
I think it was at the health collective where I volunteer two days a week/

2) Born Georgios Panayiotou, George Michael was the son of the Greek restauranteur in East London. When you think of Greek cuisine, what comes to mind?
Stuffed grape leaves.
Hey! You asked and that was the first thing that popped up in my mind.

3) He was a terrible driver and admitted his license was suspended a number of times. Have you ever lost your license?
If you mean from speeding or DUI, nope.
But I did lose my purse and I had to cancel all my credit cards and get a new driver license, what a hassle! I originally thought someone stole it out of my pocketbook but then a number of months later I found my purse under my car seat. It must have slid out of my pocketbook and down between the sat and the console.

4) WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley, on the other hand, is a talented driver who got to live his fantasy by racing Formula Three in Monaco. There are companies that sell racetrack driving experiences that allow you to spin around the track at dizzying speeds. Is this something you like to try? 
Yup. At the track at Limerock Park they have that and also have race car diving training.

5) In 1990, Frank Sinatra famously gave George Michael advice. Ol' Blue Eyes told the younger man to enjoy his fame, to remember all those lean nights traveling from gig to gig by bus and, now that he's successful, "loosen up and swing, man." Who last gave you advice? Did you take it?
The waitress, she suggested that I try the pot roast and it was good.

6) Mr.  Michael's neighbors have reported since his passing that he seemed to live rather quietly, and that they usually saw him when he was out walking his three dogs. Tell us about the last time you spoke to one of your neighbors.
I have to really think back on that one. Do you mean a conversation or just a simple “Hi?”
I said “Hi” to my neighbor the other day when we both went to our mailbox.

7) Fansites tell us that George Michael's favorite cereal was cornflakes. What breakfast cereals are currently in your kitchen?
Generic Cheerios

8) In 1984, when "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was popular, Murder, She Wrote premiered on CBS. Today it's still seen in reruns all over the world. Are you a fan?
Oh yes, I watch most afternoons

9) RANDOM QUESTION: What's your secret to a good night's sleep?
Sh… don’t tell anyone! I smoke a bowl of pot before bed.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pushback

As we make headway with trans rights we get pushback from the conservatives, here and overseas.

BBC has a show that questioned how best to treat children with gender dysphoria and guess who’s name kept popping up?
BBC film on child transgender issues worries activists
Criticism over featured expert’s approach to gender dysphoria
The Guardian
By Hannah Ellis-Petersen
Wednesday 11 January 2017

The transgender community is “very scared and very worried” by a BBC documentary on how to approach gender dysphoria in children, organisations and activists are claiming.

The film – Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? – prominently features Kenneth Zucker, a Canadian psychologist whose controversial approach with transgender children led to his being sacked in 2015 from a Toronto gender identity clinic.

Zucker disagrees with the now widely favoured “gender affirmative” approach to young people who feel they were born with the wrong gender. The approach encourages parents to allow their children with gender dysphoria to live as their chosen sex.

Instead, Zucker’s approach was likened to reparative therapy, which had the intended goal of “curing” children of transgender status. He also advocated more exploration into underlying psychological and mental health issues that might lead children to believe they were born the wrong gender.
As expected the medical and trans communities objects to the BBC documentary going against the census of medical research.
Zucker’s comment in the documentary, where he says, “a four-year-old might say that he’s a dog – do you go out and buy dog food?” was a particular concern for the Mermaids Foundation, which represents transgender issues.

“That quote in itself is incredibly inflammatory for parents of trans children,” said Susie Green, chief executive officer of Mermaids.

“We’ve had real concern that this is going to cause them to be targeted, because it supports this idea of trans children being mentally disturbed or that they can be cured. Parents are very afraid.”
Dr. Zucker has been discredited in his country and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has closed it gender clinic.
How the Fight Over Transgender Kids Got a Leading Sex Researcher Fired
New York Magazine
By Jesse Singal
February 7, 2016

On paper, Dr. Kenneth Zucker isn’t the sort of person who gets suddenly and unceremoniously fired. For decades, the 65-year-old psychologist had led the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), in Toronto, one of the most well-known clinics in the world for children and adolescents with gender dysphoria — that is, the feeling that the body they were born with doesn’t fit their true gender identity. Zucker had built up quite a CV during his time leading the clinic: In addition to being one of the most frequently cited names in the research literature on gender dysphoria and gender-identity development, and the editor of the prestigious journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, he took a leading role helping devise diagnostic and treatment guidelines for gender dysphoric and transgender individuals. He headed the group which developed the DSM-5’s criteria for its “gender dysphoria” entry, for example, and also helped write the most recent “standards of care” guidelines for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health  —  one of the bibles for clinicians who treat transgender and gender-dysphoric patients.
[…]
The GIC, which operates out of CAMH, pronounced “Cam-H,” had been standing firm against a changing tide in the world of psychological treatment for children with gender dysphoria. The “gender-affirmative” approach, which focuses on identifying young transgender children and helping them socially transition — that is, express their gender to others through their everyday clothes, name changes, or other means — has been on the rise in recent years, and has become the favored protocol of many activists and clinicians. GIC clinicians, who saw clients between ages 3 and 18, had a much more cautious stance on social transitioning for their younger clients — they believed that in many cases, it was preferable to first “help children feel comfortable in their own bodies,” as they often put it, since in the GIC’s view gender is quite malleable at a young age and gender dysphoria will likely resolve itself with time.

Many activists see this approach as a rejection of young children’s transgender identities, and Zucker as its regressive standard-bearer. As a result, the GIC had been tarred for years as a “conversion” or “reparative” therapy clinic — terms which conjure images of outfits operated out of backwoods shacks in the Bible Belt. Responding to what felt like a surge in this line of criticism from activists, CAMH had agreed in February of 2015 to commission an External Review that would evaluate the clinic’s operations, and possibly, Zucker and his staffers knew, determine its future. CAMH had already taken actions suggesting that that future might be dim: In June of 2014, the hospital closed the GIC’s approximately 80-family waitlist (for being too long, administrators said), and about two months before Zucker’s vacation was interrupted, the clinic’s only other full-time staffer, the psychologist Dr. Hayley Wood, was laid off on her first day back from maternity leave. (Wood declined to comment for this article.)
And now BBC used him in their documentary on trans children and is drawing a lot of fire for it.
Transgender activists concerned about film featuring former CAMH psychologist Ken Zucker
Thousands sign petition for expert review of documentary featuring former director of Gender Identity Centre
CBC News
By Michelle Cheung,
Posted: Jan 12, 2017
A documentary scheduled to air on British television Thursday is raising concerns among transgender activists in this city, partly because it features a Toronto psychologist widely accused of trying to prevent transgender children from getting sex reassignment treatment.

As of this writing, almost 11,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that the BBC2 documentary Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? be independently reviewed by an expert before it airs.

"Ultimately, this TV show could spark a trail of prejudice; belittling transgender children, leading them to not being socially accepted by society," wrote Lucas Johnston, on his change.org petition.

Johnston's concerns stem from the documentary's interview with Dr. Kenneth Zucker, the former director of the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In December 2015, CAMH announced it was "winding down" the clinic and Zucker was no longer employed there.
[…]
Some transgender activists have suggested the Gender Identity Clinic for youth Zucker ran was practising "conversion" or "reparative therapy," which counsels queer youth to accept their biological sex, an accusation clinic staff denied.
Conversion or reparative therapy is being banned in more and more states here in the U.S.

I hope the documentary fades away but I have a feeling that the show will be used by the opposition against us.

Connecticut Leads The Way

Connecticut is leading the states in ending chronic homelessness; there are articles in the news media on how Connecticut has ended homelessness for veterans and now for the chronic homeless.
State Says It's Lined Up Housing For Chronically Homeless
Hartford Courant
By Jordan Otero Sisson
January 12, 2017

Connecticut is the first state in the country to have provided housing to all confirmed chronically homeless people in the state, officials announced Thursday.

Speaking at an affordable housing complex in downtown Meriden, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state had reached the milestone of matching every verified chronically homeless individual in Connecticut with permanent supportive housing.

That group of homeless is a small percentage of the total number of homeless people defined as those who have been homeless repeatedly or for long periods of time and are living with a "severe disabling condition."

In January 2016, agencies that deal with the homeless identified 1,200 chronically homeless people who would need housing by the end of the year. By May 16, the figure had dropped to 529. On Nov. 2, it was 110; on Nov. 28, it was 27. On Dec. 8, the number hit zero.
In November of 2015 Connecticut officials announced that they ended homelessness for all veterans who wanted to find housing and now they announces that all those who want housing have found it.
The state collaborates with a network of nonprofit service providers to identify chronically homeless people. Whenever a new episode of chronic homelessness occurs, it is logged via the state's 2-1-1 system and that person is connected with services. The person is matched to supportive housing within 90 days.
I have as part of coalition giving training to the 211 operators and for the last two years we have gone around the state training shelter staff and administrators how to treat trans homeless people. The coalition is made up of AIDS CT, CT Coalition to End Homelessness, CT Fair Housing Center, CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, HUD, and Triangle Community Center.

We have had some pushback but in general our training has been very accepted by shelter staff.

Why is Connecticut doing this, it is simple…
Malloy said despite the current budget shortfalls, the state would continue to commit to combating homelessness because it brings cost savings to places like shelters and emergency rooms.

"Every time we keep somebody out of one of those places, we're saving money. That's the reality," he said. "And I say that in spite of the fact that we're in the middle of ... an opiod explosion that we have to deal with. This is an investment. I don't think every dollar that government spends is an investment, but I think every dollar that we spend here is an investment."
Let’s hope that Connecticut continues to lead the way.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

History Repeats Itself

The battle over bathrooms is nothing new. It has been around for generations.

Back in the fifties and sixties the rallying cry of the conservatives was “Save Our Children!” and it was about trans people and bathrooms but blacks and bathrooms.
The Anti-Trans Bathroom Nightmare Has Its Roots in Racial Segregation
Slate
By Gillian Frank
November 10, 2015

The conservative idea that civil rights protections sexually endanger women and children in public bathrooms is not new. In fact, conservative sexual thought has been in the toilet since the 1940s. During the World War II era, conservatives began employing the idea that social equality for African-Americans would lead to sexual danger for white women in bathrooms. In the decades since, conservatives used this trope to negate the civil rights claims of women and sexual minorities. Placing Houston’s rejection of HERO within the history of discrimination against racial minorities, sexual minorities, and women reveals a broader pattern: When previously marginalized groups demanded access to public accommodations, conservatives responded with toilet talk to stall these groups’ aspirations for social equality.
An article in Politico said,
At the same time, public fears about a “homosexual menace” overtaking the nation stoked alarm that young boys faced sexual danger in public restrooms. A police crackdown on same-sex sexual activity in men’s restrooms in the 1950s and 1960s — this at the time when many Americans equated homosexuality with pedophilia — deepened these worries.

Public officials distributed pamphlets warning about “child attackers” who hid out in public restrooms to capture their prey. “Never wait or play around toilets. Always leave immediately,” a popular 1954 pamphlet used across the nation instructed. The 1961 public service film, “Boys Beware,” broadcasted those ideas to an even larger audience. “Public restrooms can often be a hangout for the homosexual,” a narrator ominously explained. “Bobby and his friends hadn’t noticed the man who had been in the restroom when they changed.” Bobby and his friends had erred in treating their restroom as a safe space — the very mistake predators relied on to carry out their crimes. School children understood the message: Boys had to be on guard when they entered public restrooms, vigilant against the violent, sexual dangers that lurked there.

And now it is our turn, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. later this month. The case is about,
Issues: (1) Whether courts should extend deference to an unpublished agency letter that, among other things, does not carry the force of law and was adopted in the context of the very dispute in which deference is sought; and (2) whether, with or without deference to the agency, the Department of Education's specific interpretation of Title IX and 34 C.F.R. § 106.33, which provides that a funding recipient providing sex-separated facilities must “generally treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity,” should be given effect.
And they are being flooded with “Friends of the Court” briefs and one of them is…
Restrooms unite conservative Family Policy Alliance and feminist activistsColorado Politics
By Joey Bunch,
January 10, 2017

Here’s a partnership you don’t see every day: The Colorado Springs-based Family Policy Alliance and the liberal activist group the Women’s Liberation Front, known as WoLF, over the restroom choice of transgender people.

The unlikely partners filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court over the request of a Virginia transgender student to use the boys’ restroom at school in Gloucester School Board v. G.G.
[…]
The Family Policy Alliance/WoLF brief argues that “allowing males who self-identify as women access to female-only spaces threatens the safety of women and girls and results in the effective erasure of women under Title IX – a civil rights law enacted specifically to benefit women, who have been excluded from and discriminated against in the educational arena for centuries,” the Family Policy Alliance said in a statement.
Then there is one filed by members of Congress,
INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE
Amici Curiae are 114 Members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

The Appendix to this Brief sets forth a complete list of amici curiae.

As Members of Congress, amici have a compelling interest in the proper resolution of this case. Under our tripartite system, Congress is tasked with writing the laws and the Executive has the responsibility to enforce them. This case arises from yet another instance of the Obama Administration effectively rewriting a federal law through an informal agency directive. In so doing, the Department of Education (“Department”) seized power that Article I vests in Congress and undermined the rule of law. In short, amici have a strong interest in ensuring that the Executive faithfully interprets and enforces the laws of the United States as written.
The case will be heard after the president–elect Trump takes office and the big question is will we have nine justices again or will there be only eight?

A Big Step In The Right Direction

And it didn’t happen here but across the big pond in Denmark.
Where Transgender Is No Longer a Diagnosis
Denmark becomes the first country to declassify it as a mental disorder
Scientific American
By Francine Russo
January 6, 2017

At the dawn of 2017 the Danish parliament struck a blow for transgender rights and became the first country to remove trans people’s classification as “mentally ill.” In this New Year’s Day move the government took official action to destigmatize transgender individuals, separating them from any association with words such as “problem,” “disorder” or dysphoria.

Words matter, says Linda Thor Pedersen of rights organization LGBT Denmark. “It was very important,” she says, “that terms like “incongruence,” “disturbance” and “problem” were left out of the code title used by the country’s medical community to track care. The change, she says, “makes it a code instead of a diagnosis.” The old system made indirect discrimination possible, she explains; job applications were sometimes rejected because of a “diagnosis.”

The change, although currently limited to Denmark, represents a new phase in the evolution of views on being transgender. An earlier change occurred in 2013, when “gender identity disorder” was dropped from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), U.S. psychiatry’s bible for diagnosing mental illness. A new condition called “gender dysphoria” was added to diagnose and treat those transgender individuals who felt distress at the mismatch between their identities and their bodies. The new diagnosis recognized that a mismatch between one’s birth gender and identity was not necessarily pathological, notes pediatric endocrinologist Norman Spack, a founder of the gender clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital. It shifted the emphasis in treatment from fixing a disorder to resolving distress over the mismatch.*

*Editor's Note (1/11/17): This paragraph was edited after posting. The original stated “gender identity disorder” in the DSM-5 was renamed “gender dysphoria.” In actuality, DSM-5 dropped the former term describing a pathology, and replaced it with the latter classification, which could be used to diagnose distress caused by gender mismatch.
And it doesn’t end there,
As the brand-new measure takes effect, experts are speculating about its political, medical and financial ramifications in Denmark and around the world. Danish politicians had announced last year that they hoped to spur the World Health Organization (WHO) to remove transgender from a category of mental illnesses in its globally used International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10), whose codes are used to mark health records, track epidemiological trends and inform insurance reimbursement. If WHO did not act by January 1, 2017, Denmark had promised to act unilaterally.
Hopefully this will lead the way for the WHO to make the changes and spur the APA to take it out of the DSM.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This Is Good News

We keep on saying that healthcare providers must be training to treat us in school and not to have to learn it on the job.
Endocrinologists want training in transgender care
Medical Press
January 10, 2017

Four out of five physicians who specialize in treating hormone health conditions have never received formal training on care for transgender individuals, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Transgender individuals have a gender identity that is different from their sex assigned at birth. Many people who are transgender are prescribed hormones or undergo other medical treatments to reduce the distress that can subsequently occur. They often seek treatment from endocrinologists—physicians and scientists who specialize in treating and researching hormone conditions.

"As awareness and insurance coverage of transgender healthcare has increased, there is growing demand for healthcare providers with expertise in this area," said the study's first author, Caroline Davidge-Pitts, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. "It is crucial for endocrinologists to receive the necessary training to feel confident providing the highest quality care for this population."

The Mayo Clinic and the Endocrine Society conducted an online survey of practicing U.S. endocrinologists and directors of training programs that prepare fellows, residents and medical students for endocrinology careers to gauge their understanding of transgender healthcare.
The survey found that 80% of the survey respondents have treated trans patients and the majority of them said that it should be taught in med school.

So maybe our hunt for competent healthcare providers will be easier with the new crop of providers.

The New McCarthyism

Back in the late forties Congress under Senator McCarthy (R WI) conducted witch hunts for communist and homosexuals in the State Department. One of those who testified was then president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Time magazine has an article about the Senator and the hearings,
Oct. 20, 1947: The House Un-American Activities Committee opens hearings into communist infiltration of the motion picture industry

On this day — Oct. 20 — in 1947, members of the House Un-American Activities Committee began an investigation into alleged communist influences in the film industry as the post-World War II “Red Scare” ramped up towards its peak. (Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, the namesake of an era marked by anti-communist paranoia, was not involved with the Congressional committee, although their aims overlapped.) Fearing a conspiracy that would inject propaganda into productions and recruit movie-going Americans to communist causes, the committee subpoenaed more than 40 actors, directors, writers and studio executives, whom they grilled about their political affiliations and asked to name names of other Hollywood communists.

And while 80 celebrities — including Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Gene Kelly and John Huston — signed a petition denouncing the committee as un-American itself for probing the politics of individual citizens, the anti-communist momentum of the day carried the hearings forward.

Some of those subpoenaed cooperated fully with the committee, confirming its fears that subversives were at work in Hollywood. These “friendly witnesses” included Ronald Reagan, who testified that a “small clique” of communists “have attempted to be a disruptive influence” within the Screen Actors Guild, and Walt Disney, who declared that they had been behind a strike at his studio. Disney felt particularly vulnerable to the Red Menace, according to his testimony, in which he alleged that one communist agitator, the union organizer Herbert Sorrell, swore “he would make a dust bowl out of my plant if he chose to.” Disney knew Sorrell was a communist, he said, because of “having seen his name appearing on a number of Commie front things,” which then went on to smear Disney’s name.
Well now it is happening again.

Once again the Republicans are conducting witch hunts, this time it is just as sinister, they on the hunt for Democrats in government agencies.
Trump’s Purge Of Non-Loyalists Takes Shape
Huffington Post
By Eric Schmeltzer
January 6, 2017

And so, the purge takes shape.

This week’s move by the GOP Congress to revive an 1876 rule that allows them to cut any federal employee’s pay to $1 sets up the purge of non-loyalists that Donald Trump’s team has been talking about, for months.

This summer, Reuters reported that then-Trump Transition chair, Governor Chris Christie, had told a group of Trump insiders that, if he won, Trump would seek new ability to purge the government of non-loyalists. Reuters reported, at the time:
One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people,” Christie said.

He said firing civil servants was “cumbersome” and “time-consuming.”
[…]
Reinstatement of the 1876 rule should not come as a shock. For weeks, the Trump transition team has sought out the names of individual employees in the government.

They demanded names of all Department of Energy employees who worked on climate change.

They demanded a list of all positions in the State Department that work on gender and women’s equality issues.

They told the Department of Homeland Security to send over the names of anyone working on combating the spread of extremism. One government insider implied it was likely a way to get to civil servants who do not think we’re in a war against Islam.

To be clear ― these lists will mostly be civil servants, the kind of people who work in administrations of different parties, with different agendas.
And so the hunt begins.

Where will it stop?

To stop Senator McCarthy it took a reporter, Edward R. Murrow, to stop him. On his show he had the senator who wanted to set the “record straight,” the following week Mr. Murrow said,
Last week, Senator McCarthy appeared on this program to correct any errors he might have thought we made in our report of March 9th.

Since he made no reference to any statements of fact that we made, we must conclude that he found no errors of fact. He proved again that anyone who exposes him, anyone who does not share his hysterical disregard for decency and human dignity and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, must be either a Communist or a fellow traveler.

I fully expected this treatment. The Senator added this reporter's name to a long list of individuals and institutions he has accused of serving the Communist cause. His proposition is very simple: Anyone who criticizes or opposes McCarthy's methods must be a Communist. And if that be true, there are an awful lot of Communists in this country.

For the record, let's consider briefly some of the Senator's charges. He claimed, but offered no proof, that I had been a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. That is false. I was never a member of the IWW, never applied for membership. Men that I worked with in the Pacific Northwest in western Washington in logging camps will attest that I never had any affiliation or affinity with that organization.
Let’s hope that a main stream news show like 60 Minutes steps up and challenges the president-elect Trump and Congress to stop them.


We Have To Beware

We always have to be on our guard, the opposition will always be taking away our right. In Massachusetts there will be a referendum to repeal public accommodation next year and in Washington state they trying to get petition to repeal the Washington non-discrimination law.
Campaign wants repeal of open-bathroom rule for transgender people
KIRO
Updated: Jan 9, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A group that wants to repeal a Washington state rule allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify is trying once again to overturn that policy at the ballot.

The "Just Want Privacy" campaign filed its second attempt at an initiative on Monday. Last year, the group failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The first effort of an initiative came following news that a state regulation took effect at the end of 2015 that required buildings open to the public - including schools - to allow transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with.

The state Human Rights Commission said the new rule was a clarification of the state's existing anti-discrimination law that added transgender people as a protected class in 2006. The commission was created by the Legislature and is responsible for administering and enforcing that law.
First is you don’t get your way, keep trying until you wear them down.

What is good is that the longer that the long we have the laws on the books, the long we can show them that nothing has happened. However, they are good at staging dirty tricks like they did in Maryland where they stage a lock room incident.

Here in Connecticut now with a 18-18 split in the Senate I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an anti-LGBT bill sneaked in again by a Republican like they did to repeal our healthcare insurance a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Think That This Is What We All Want

Whether we are cisgender or transgender we all just want to live our lives in peace.

But sometimes we have to fight for our rights, sometimes someone gets in our way and we have to take legal action.
Transgender woman wants normal life, like anyone else
Time Herald Record
By Sharon E. Siegel
January 6, 2017

[…]
At first the company president vowed his support, Fuller said, but as transitioning began this changed.

"I continued working for almost a year after submitting my letter," Fuller said. "In August of 2010, I supplied a court document changing my name to my new first name, Erin. My boss then told me 'now I have a problem with your condition and I have to let you go.'"

Her former employer declined to comment. However, Fuller said her employer's first response was quickly revised to "work is slow, let's get you some unemployment" and she was told that her job would be waiting should she choose to wear "normal clothes again."

At first, Fuller planned simply to find another job. Yet at the urging of others, she filed a sex discrimination case - a case she won on April 1, 2015, in the New York State Division of Human Rights headquarters in the Bronx. A second victory came a month later before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and she expects a third in response to her former employer's appeal.
It is sad that we have to take legal action; all we want is to feed our families and keep a roof over our heads. We don’t want special rights or treatment; we just want to be judged on our work performance. We want to be giving the same chance at a job as anyone else. All we want is a normal life as any other working stiff.

I Don’t Know If I Would Do It

If the census asked if you are trans would you say yes?

Well that is what they are doing in Pakistan,
Transgender population to be counted in population census for first time
Dawn
By Tauqir Ghumman
January 8, 2017

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the country's transgender community will be included in the national population census.

The Lahore High Court on Monday instructed the federal government, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the interior ministry to include the transgender community in the census while hearing a petition filed by a transgender individual Waqar Ali in November 2016.

Ali in his petition had called for the enforcement of the community’s fundamental rights, including enrolment in the upcoming census and issuance of national identity cards specifying their gender.

A deputy attorney general from the federal government was present in court during the hearing and assured the court that the transgender community will indeed be part of the upcoming census.
I know I would be leery in a country like Pakistan where if the winds blow the other way the list might be used to oppress us.

While here in the U.S. I would have listed myself as trans on the census but now after November I would have to think about it.

What about you?

Monday, January 09, 2017

Not Even A Month Into The New Year

And the death toll mounts.
Trans Woman Murdered in Mississippi; First of 2017
Mesha Campbell was found shot to death along a rural road Wednesday.
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
January 06, 2017

A transgender woman was found shot to death on a road in Mississippi this week, and her killing is being investigated as a homicide, meaning she is the first trans murder victim of 2017.

Mesha Campbell’s body was found Wednesday afternoon near Canton in Madison County, in the central part of the state, Jackson TV station WLBT reports. She had been shot several times. Police have not made statements about a motive, but friends believe she may have been killed for being transgender.
Then out in North Dakota,
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow Is Second Trans Woman Killed in 2017
Community members in North Dakota are mourning the loss of the two-spirit transgender woman.
The Advocate
By Daniel Reynolds
January 08 2017

Another transgender life has been taken in 2017.

Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow is the second reported trans woman to be killed this year, following the homicide investigation of Mesha Campbell in Mississippi.

The native of Sioux Falls, N.D., was discovered by police Friday in her apartment, reports KSFY. Investigators believe her death to be a homicide.

The 28-year-old member of the Oglala Lakota tribe was part of the group Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies, which released a statement on Facebook mourning her loss.

"Tunkasila has called another one of our community members home," the statement read, adding, "Our hearts are broken as we will miss her very much. So again, prayers are needed. Pilamaye."
In Pennsylvania…
Transgender man killed by police responding to domestic violence call
LGBTQ Nation
By Erin Rook
January 8, 2017

A Pennsylvania transgender man was shot and killed by police Friday night after officers responded to a domestic violence call, WKBN reports.

Sean Hake, 23, was killed in the home where he lived. Police have released few details except to confirm that the shooting was officer-involved and that the officer who shot Hake has been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.

The police did not say what role, if any, Hake may have had in the domestic assault that prompted police to show up at his residence. Hake had been previously arrested for violating an order as recently as March 2016, according to WKBN.
Three killed one week in to the new year, it is a sad start.



This afternoon I am at a meeting in Hartford to discuss the 2017 Connecticut Legislative agenda.

I Don’t Care

I don’t care if you voted for or against Trump, we can argue big government, small government, global warming, or any other topic but there is one topic that we can’t argue on president-elect Trump is a pathologically liar.

Forbes is not a liberal news outlet, it is conservative business magazine and this is what they said about Trump during the debates,
 Although the media have made much of Clinton's "trust problem," data even beyond this debate tally suggest that Trump has a solid pattern of lying pretty much all the time, about any situation, especially those that might cast him in what he perceives as a negative light.

His reputation is such that this debate, like no debate before it, had every news media outlet promising intensive fact-checking of every assertion. Fact-checkers have probably never before been this employable and may be the true winners in this election.
The conservative National Review said,
Donald Trump has some big ideas about Social Security. Happily, he is almost certainly lying about them. Trump is, politically speaking, a weathervane, prone to telling every audience what he believes it wants to hear, irrespective of what he said an hour ago or plans to say an hour hence.
[…]
He’ll make whatever vow he thinks will get him what he wants. And if you want to know how serious he is about vows, ask the NRA, or Mrs. Trump, or Mrs. Trump, or Mrs. Trump.
It was one thing to lie during the elections but as president-elect it is a grave problem of trust that can lead to wars or an economic collapse.

The national security report just released according to the Washington Post said,
Russia carried out a comprehensive cyber campaign to sabotage the U.S. presidential election, an operation that was ordered by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and ultimately sought to help elect Donald Trump, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a remarkably blunt assessment released Friday.

The report depicts Russian interference as unprecedented in scale, saying that Moscow’s role represented “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort” beyond previous election-related espionage.
[…]
Instead, Trump said in a statement that while Russia, China and other countries and groups may have sought to breach Democratic and Republican computer systems, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

The report did not address that issue. It was presented to Trump by officials including Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James B. Comey.
In other words… Trump out and out lied to us.

And then we had last night Trump tweeting that,
“For the 100th time, I never ‘mocked’ a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him ‘groveling’ when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad,” Trump added on Twitter Monday morning. “Just more very dishonest media!”
Take a look at the video and you be the judge...


We cannot trust a president who is a pathologically liar with his button on the nuclear trigger.

A Rather Unusual Problem

When I was in prison doing training I was told that the trans prisoners were allowed to wear women’s clothes, now I don’t exactly what they wear but the social worker said that they get their clothes from the women’s prison down in Niantic. So my guess is they wear the same clothes as women prisoners.
OUTFIT ROW Prisoners complain they have to wear uniforms while transgender lags* wear dresses
HMP Whatton in Notts - Europe's biggest sex offender jail - has seen a rise in the number of transgender prisoners, who are 'living in role' and so treated as women
The Sun
By Stian Alexander
7th January 2017

PRISONERS complaining about having to wear drab uniforms while transgender inmates are allowed to wear dresses and make-up have won the backing or prison inspectors in a bid to wear their own clothes.

HMP Whatton in Notts – Europe’s biggest sex offender jail – has seen a rise in the number of transgender prisoners, who are ‘living in role’ and so treated as women, in the past year.

Eight new transgender inmates have arrived at the 840-capacity prison recently, with a total of 12 now living as women in the all-male prison.

They are allowed to order female clothing – including dresses, skirts, blouses, knickers and bras – from various catalogues and are permitted to wear make-up, including mascara, lipstick and foundation.

They can spend up to £25-a-week on cosmetics and clothes – whereas non-transgender prisoners don’t have access to the same benefits.
Hmm… so what is the answer?

Well the prison decided to,
 In a report by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons out last week, inspectors picked up on complaints from prisoners and have now recommended that all prisoners should now be allowed to wear their own clothes.
Why do they not do the same as Connecticut prisons and have the trans inmates wear women prison uniforms? Somehow I would think that wearing uniforms would make the prisoners stand out more if they made a break. In the prison that I visited all the inmates wore brown jumpsuits except one, and he was being transported somewhere else and he wore a bright red jumpsuit. The guards all wore dark blue and the social workers all wore business causal.

*Lags: I had to look up the meaning of the British slang word and it means prisoner.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Stretching

When you open a business one of the important points to remember is that the business is a public accommodation, you cannot discriminate against any protective class.* No matter who owns the business you cannot discriminate, the only exception is if it is a private club. This has been reinforced by numerous U. S. Supreme Court decisions.

In the case of Heart of Atlanta Motel Inc. v. United States in 1964 the court ruled that a business could not discriminate based on race. In New Jersey the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association regularly offered the pavilion to the broader public and when a lesbian couple wanted to use the pavilion for their wedding and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association said they don’t rent to lesbians or gays. According to the Religious Freedom website,
2007-AUG: The Association filed a federal suit to stop the state's investigation on the grounds that the Association's first amendment rights were being infringed upon. It was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Joel Pisano.
The New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (DCR) ruled that,
2008-DEC: Frank Vespa-Papaleo, New Jersey director of the DCR found that there was probable cause to credit the lesbian couple's complaint. (A finding of "probable cause" is similar to an indictment in a criminal case.) He found that:
"... at the time of the complaint and continuing to date, the Boardwalk Pavilion is used by the general public in a variety of ways, including as a place to sit, congregate, picnic, play and to seek shade and shelter from the weather. Signs posted in and on the Boardwalk Pavilion state that smoking, bicycling and skateboarding are prohibited. Other than those restrictions, there are no signs, postings or other visible indications that public use of the structure is prohibited in any way. Based on witness interviews and direct observation, the investigation concludes that, when Respondent was not using the Boardwalk Pavilion for scheduled programs, the casual passerby or user of the Ocean Grove beach or boardwalk would have no reason to conclude that the Boardwalk Pavilion is not open for the same general public use as the boardwalk itself or the uncovered benches situated along that boardwalk.
In addition, the investigation disclosed that Respondent affirmatively represented to the public and to State government that the Boardwalk Pavilion was open to the public. The investigation disclosed that in July 1989, Respondent applied to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for a Green Acres real property tax exemption for a number of its properties, including Lot 1, Block 1.01, on which the Boardwalk Pavilion is located. Its initial application stated that the Pavilion was “used for religious services and band concerts.”
The investigation disclosed that, at a September 7, 1989 public hearing, Neptune Township opposed Respondent’s application for a Green Acres tax exemption. The Township argued that the property would not benefit the general public, but instead would benefit only Respondent because its uses were restricted. In response, Respondent’s representative argued that the Pavilion was generally open and accessible to the public through numerous boardwalk entrances, was used regularly for musical events, band practices and performances and other events including weddings, baptisms and memorial services, as well as religious services."
That brings me up to what I want to write about today.
Transgender Man Takes to Court Catholic Hospital That Refused Him Care
Jionni Conforti claims in a federal lawsuit that the hospital refused to perform his hysterectomy because of religious beliefs.
Out.com
By Michael Lambert
January 7, 2017

A Catholic hospital that denied a transgender man a hysterectomy because of “religious beliefs” will have to defend itself in court.

Jionni Conforti, a 33-year-old transgender man from New Jersey, scheduled the surgery in 2015 at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson. However, he claims in his federal discrimination lawsuit that a hospital administrator told him that the hospital could not do the procedure because it was “Catholic.”

"I felt completely disrespected as a person," Conforti told the AP. "That's not how any hospital should treat any person regardless of who they are. A hospital is a place where you should feel safe and taken care of. Instead I felt like I was rejected and humiliated."
Of course the Catholic hospital has other thoughts,
Catholic Hospital Sued for Refusing to Remove Transgender Man's Uterus
Christian Post
By Anugrah Kumar
January 7, 2017

A transgender man who was born female has filed a federal lawsuit against a Catholic hospital in New Jersey for refusing to allow a surgeon to perform a hysterectomy as part of a gender transition due to the facility's religious beliefs.

Jionni Conforti, 33, from Totowa, alleged in the suit that staff at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center initially gave the go-ahead for the surgery, and a surgeon was prepared to perform the procedure in 2015 when a hospital administrator said that "as a Catholic Hospital we would not be able to allow your surgeon to schedule this surgery," NorthJersey.com reports.
[…]
In an email sent to Conforti, the Rev. Martin Rooney, director of mission services at St. Joseph, wrote, "This is to follow up to your email inquiring about scheduling a total hysterectomy here at St. Joseph's to remove all female parts based on the medical necessity for Gender Reassignment. This is to inform you that as a Catholic Hospital we would not be able to allow your surgeon to schedule this surgery here at St. Joseph's."
[…]
Bill Donohue, president of Catholic League, believes Conforti is an "activist" who's targeting a Catholic hospital for political reasons.

"St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center is a leading Catholic healthcare institution serving one of the most diverse and underserved populations in New Jersey. The Medical Center follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services in making decisions about care and treatment," the hospital said in a statement.
1. The hospital is licensed to treat the general public.
2. The hospital is receiving public funding.
3. The hospital is not a place of worship, it might have a chapel but that is not the main function of the hospital.
4. New Jersey law bans discrimination by public accommodations because of gender identity or expression.  Under New Jersey law places of worship are exempt from the law, the hospital is not a place of worship, it is a place where you get medical treatment.

Therefore, just like the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association they cannot discriminate against trans people.

Obey the law.

* In Connecticut the protected classes are race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, mental retardation, mental disability and physical disability.

This Month And The Supreme Court

This month the Supreme Court will hear the Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board case. The case challenges the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX coverage of gender identity under sex discrimination.
Supreme Court Takes Up Transgender Restroom Policy
University of Pennsylvania Law School REG Blog
By Justin S. Daniel
December 15, 2016

For most high school students, using the restroom is not a matter of national importance—but in the case of Gavin Grimm, the U.S. Supreme Court will be weighing in.

Grimm—the transgender high school student at the center of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board—is challenging the bathroom policy of the local Virginia school board that is preventing him from using the boys’ restroom.

Although he was assigned female at birth, Grimm identifies as male, has undergone hormone therapy, and legally changed his name—but he has not had surgery for sex reassignment. Grimm’s school initially allowed him access to the boys’ restroom but later changed its policy after receiving complaints from parents of other students. The school also made modifications to the existing male and female bathrooms and built “single-stall unisex restrooms available to all students,” but Grimm argued that those facilities made him feel “stigmatized” and “different.”
So sometime this month the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case, will it be after Trump inauguration and his appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is uncertain. But one of two outcomes will happen; the court will find that Title IX does cover gender identity or that it doesn’t.

But my guess and it is only a guess is that we will win… However, we will also lose because I think that if we win the Republican controlled Congress will pass a law saying that it does not cover us.

Will Trump sign it is anybody’s guess

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A New Day Has Come


On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2017!

Meā Culpā, Meā Culpā … I didn’t get to reply to any of your comments last, it was a crazy holiday weekend. I promise to do better this week.

1) This song is about a new day. Here we are celebrating a new year. What do you hope for in 2017?
That I survive 2017

2) Ms. Dion has said this song was influenced by the events of 9/11, and how a new day dawned after tragedy. Looking back on 2016, did something happen that you're glad to leave behind and move away from?
Hmm… no nothing happened that I want to forget and move on.
  
3) In the video, Celine serenades us from billowy white clouds. Describe the sky where you are as you answer these 9 questions.
Black. It is 6 AM.

4) This video was shot in West Palm Beach, FL. When settlers arrived in the late 1870s, the town was called Lake Worth County. OK, your turn. Tell us something about your hometown. 
Last month the train station that was built in the 1870s burned down. It was undergoing  renovations. Amtrak is upgrading the rail line through the state, and was expanding the station to match the 1870 architecture. Now the new building is stand there next to a pile of rubble. 

5) Celine Dion's native tongue is French. Dites-nous quelque chose en Français.
Hun?
Back in my high school day I took French for about two weeks before I dropped out. I could never understand why the lesson assignment and the class was taught in French, so how on the first day of class do you understand what you are supposed to be doing?

6) Celine's mother, Therese, is known in her Quebec neighborhood as a terrific cook. Think about your own domestic talents. Where do you excel? (Food prep, house cleaning, laundry, scheduling, etc.)
Food prep, I love to eat so therefore I have to cook.

7) Growing up, Celine and her siblings often performed in her family's piano bar. Where did you most recently enjoy an adult beverage?
When we when out to see a play in Hartford just before Christmas.  

8) In 2002, when this song was popular, Kmart was in the news because the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. What department store to you shop at most often?
Kohls, they have a story in town so I support it. They pay a lot in property taxes.
  
9) Random question: It's time for a midnight snack and you have your choice of one of these three -- a slice of sausage pizza, a bagel with lox and cream cheese, or a piece of carrot cake. Which will you have? And what shall we bring you to drink?
I will go for the cold pizza with a cold beer!
I love cold pizza for breakfast. It is the breakfast of champions!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

You heard that all throughout the last year’s presidential campaign, well there is one sector of the job market that is being left behind… us.
Why Is It So Hard For Transgender Americans To Find Work?
Nearly a third of trans people live below the poverty line.
Logo’s NewNowNext
By Adam Salandra
January 4, 2017

Transgender people face discrimination on a daily basis for simply being who they are—discrimination that can make it impossible to find or keep a job.

A new Bustle video is exploring the unemployment epidemic among trans people, and revealing some unnerving statistics along the way.

While the U.S. unemployment rate is currently at 5%, for trans people that number leaps to 15%—with 29% living in poverty.

Lala Zannell of the Anti-Violence Project says that, while trans employees often experience discrimination on the job, many can’t even get hired in the first place.

“Sometimes their documentation doesn’t match who they are,” she explains. “People think, ’Oh, just get it changed.’ Some states don’t allow you to do that.”
It is so very hard to get a job if you are trans. The companies can invent a thousand reasons why they didn’t hire you and none of them are because you are trans.

If you have been working for a company a long time and you have many job reviews under your belt before you transition, then they fire you for “lack of work” or your job performance it is easier to prove. But it is still hard thing prove unless the company is dumb and comes out and says we fired you because you are trans.

It is also a problem if your old employers do not change their records and the still list you in your birth gender.

In addition, a lot has to do with how well you can integrate into society. If you blend into you true gender you will face a lot  less  discrimination that someone who is readily identified as trans.

I remember when I told HR that I was trans, she was so happy because being an engineering company we didn’t have many women in engineering and now she got to add another woman to the EEOC reports. But alas, they closed the company before I transitioned.

Over There. Over There…

Overseas there are a couple of trans items in the news; the first stop is China
China: Limited victory for man in transgender dismissal case
BBC
3 January 2017

Mr C, who was born female but identifies and dresses as a man, was working at a health centre in Guiyang last year when he was fired.

The court said he had been illegally dismissed, but said there was not enough evidence to rule he had been fired due to discrimination against transgender people.

Mr C told AFP news agency that he was "quite happy" with the outcome.

But he said that the court's decision to reject discrimination as the cause showed that "legislation in this field requires greater attention".
So the court found he was fired illegally but not because of discrimination.
In the end the court's ruling was a limited victory - awarding Mr C compensation but not ruling that he was dismissed because of his transgender status.

China's courts are not independent, and a politically sensitive case like this would have attracted the attention of the country's central authorities.
Talk about a “cop out,”  yeah it was illegal to fire him but we don’t think it was because he is trans. Then what was the reason he was fired? They totally ignored the reason why he was fired.

Next we take a look at Japan.
Doctors push for policy change following transgender inmate case
Japan Times
January 4, 2017

Last June a 30-year-old transgender female inmate convicted of killing her boyfriend filed a lawsuit against the government demanding to be allowed to receive hormone therapy.

According to the complaint submitted to the Tokyo District Court, the plaintiff was born a man but was diagnosed with gender identity disorder as a teenager. After taking female hormones every day in a bid to match her mental and physical identity and undergoing gender-reassignment surgery, she changed her sex to “female” on her official family registry in 2006.

In February 2015, the woman was arrested for murdering her boyfriend, 48, and transferred to the Tokyo Detention House the following month. According to her lawyer, the facility did not allow her to take female hormones and she became mentally unstable, repeatedly asking “whether she would return to being a man.” She then became unable to communicate well with other people.
With having surgery and not getting the proper hormone treatment she is at grave risk of bone disorders.
A sudden break in the administration of hormones may not only cause depression and other conditions but also lead to osteoporosis and arterial sclerosis in the long run, Nakatsuka said.
I hope that for her sake they do start hormone therapy before it becomes too late.a

Thursday, January 05, 2017

This Is Pure Hate!

Can you imagine being rushed to an emergency room and no doctors are willing to help you, or in an accident and the EMTs refuse to help you?

Well that is what can happen down in Texas thanks to a the same federal judge who ruled that insurance companies do not have to insure us.
Texas Judge Gives Doctors "Religious Freedom" to Discriminate Against Trans Patients and Women Who Have Had Abortions
San Antonio Current
Posted By Alex Zielinski
January 3, 2017

A Texas judge this past weekend issued a nationwide injunction against a federal health rule, allowing doctors to openly discriminate against transgender patients and women who have had an abortion.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor's Saturday ruling was in direct response to an August lawsuit filed against the feds by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton representing the Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital organization, and four other states. The lawsuit claimed the Affordable Care Act's nondiscrimination clause violated doctors' religious freedoms by forcing them to perform gender transition procedures and abortions.
[…]
"It's troubling to see how Paxton went straight to O'Connor, again," said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas. "And it's troubling that O'Connor's decision may not even be factually accurate."

Paxton's argument, now apparently backed by Judge O'Connor, remains rooted in the false notion that the ACA's nondiscrimination clause forces doctors to perform an abortion or a gender transition surgery. In reality, the clause simply barred doctors from discriminating against two specific populations — trans people and women who have had an abortion in the past.
According to MIC,
O'Connor cited 2014's Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, which allowed family-owned corporations to refuse insurance coverage for birth control under the Affordable Care Act if it went against their religious beliefs.

At the time, the New York Times predicted the 5-4 Supreme Court decision would "[open] the door to many challenges from corporations over laws that they claim violate their religious liberty." And, given O'Connor's interpretation of the decision, it seems the outlet was right.
Please, please end the hate!

The rulings are nothing but pure bigotry, hate, and religious furor.

The Onslaught Begins

In state legislatures across the country the hate bills are being introduced.
Virginia Republican Files Transgender Bathroom Bill
Fox News
By Gurnal Scott
January 4, 2017

Virginia lawmakers aren’t due back in session until next week, but Republican delegate Bob Marshall’s legislation filed Tuesday, will be up for discussion when they return.

The bill generally would do as the North Carolina law did limit transgender bathroom use in government buildings to birth gender.

But it goes further than North Carolina by requiring school principals to notify parents within 24 hours if a student requests to be treated or recognized by name as the opposite sex.
And sadly a Democrat introduced another hate bill…
Democrat gives new life to transgender bathroom bill in Kentucky
McClatchy DC
By Linda Blackford
January 4, 2017

FRANKFORT
A Democratic state lawmaker has revived Republican proposals to govern transgender use of public bathrooms and weaken local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

State Rep. Rick Nelson of Middlesboro said he wasn’t aware of the two issues being problems in Kentucky, “but we want to be vigilant about what could happen.”

Nelson said he knows that Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, recently scoffed at the idea of a law requiring people to choose public bathrooms according to their biological sex. Similar laws recently caused a huge furor in North Carolina after several businesses, sporting events and entertainers canceled their plans in the state. They also are credited with the narrow upset of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s re-election bid.
In a twist the Republican governor is against the bill.
When asked about the possibility of a bathroom bill during a news conference in December, Bevin responded: “Why would we? Why would anybody need it? Is it an issue? Is there anyone you know in Kentucky who has trouble going to the bathroom? Seriously. Have you heard of one person in Kentucky having trouble taking care of business in Kentucky?”

Bevin said “the last thing we need is more government rules.”
And what does the Republican control legislature think about all this?
Although the Republican-led state Senate favored a bill limiting transgender students to school bathrooms that match their biological sex in 2015, GOP leaders of the House and Senate have said they want to focus this year on economic issues rather than social issue.
The Democratic representative should just shut up and sit down and in this case listen to his Republican colleagues and concentrate on the economy.

Haven't they learned their lesson after what happened in North Carolina with businesses backing out of the state, loss of conferences and sports and entertainment events.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Another Survey, This Time It Is Global

A survey of 23 countries for transgender rights was just released by the Williams Institute, this is what a conservative news outlet had as its headlines…
“Poll: Transgender Goal Supported by Only 22.7 Percent of Americans”
What does the headline sound like? Then we have this Christian headline said,
“23-Nation Survey on Transgenderism Finds Less Than Half of Americans Think It's 'Natural'”
Well here is what the poll really found according to Pink News
Less than half of American respondents said they believe being transgender is a ‘natural occurrence’.
On the subject matter, ‘Belief that Transgender People are a Natural Occurrence by Country’, the poll’s results suggested many are yet to sign up to trans rights.

20.1% said they strongly agree with the statement, while 24.1% somewhat agreed.

However 21.3% strongly disagreed and 16.6% somewhat disagreed.

17.9% answered ‘don’t know’ when asked if being transgender was a natural occurrence.
So 44.2% agree, 37.9% disagree, and 17.9% don’t know, in other words the majority of the respondents say being transgender is a ‘natural occurrence.’

The poll also finds that,
In all 23 counties, majorities of survey respondents supported important transgender rights:
  • Majorities in all 23 countries believe that transgender people deserve the right to change their identity documents to be consistent with their gender identity, though a substantial portion believes that some form of regulation from medical professionals, medical interventions, and/or government is necessary.
  • Majorities in 21 countries support policies banning discrimination against transgender people.
  • Majorities in 16 countries support rights to marry for transgender people.
  • Majorities in 14 countries support adoption rights for transgender people.
  • Majorities in 15 countries support allowing access to public restrooms consistent with a transgender person’s gender identity.
So the first headline really distorted the findings of the poll and that headline was from Breitbart News, the organization that president-elect Trump pick his Chief of Staff from. The other headline came from the Christian News.

Another find of the survey is something that we all know,
The strongest predictor of approval of transgender rights is whether people report having friends or family members who are transgender. About 10% of the respondents report having transgender friends or family members, and support for transgender rights is about 24.6% greater for these respondents than among those who do not have such friends or family members.
What Harvey Milk says is still true today,
Gay brothers and sisters,...You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.
So we have our work cut out for us, we must come out! But I will add, only if it is safe to do so.



The Golden Age

Is the Golden Age coming to an end here in Connecticut?

Today the Connecticut General Assembly comes to order for the 2017 season and it is going to be a whole new ballgame.

We have been on a streak of passing LGBT legislation here in Connecticut, with a Democratic control House and Senate, and a governor who is totally behind LGBT rights. He forced through the legislature the gender non-discrimination legislation, and he gave his stamp of approval for the birth certificate bill.
After the passage of the gender identity/expression bill
outside of the Senate chamber
During that time the Democrats control of the legislature meant that both co-chairs on committees were Democrats but now with an 18 – 18 tie in the Senate means that for the first time in a very long time the co-chairs of the committees will be shared.

So what does that mean?

Well the co-chairs get to decide which bills will be heard in their committees. In the past the Democrats were able to shut out anti-LGBT legislation. If you look at proposed legislation there has been some very negative LGBT bills that were proposed but never saw the light of day.

Back in 2015 a Republican legislator introduced a bill to strip insurance coverage from us. The Public Health committee held a hearing on the bill but never brought it up for a committee vote. In the future that might happen, the bill might be voted on in committee.
The signing of the birth certificate legislation
So what does that mean for our bills?

Well we have a hate crime law, a non-discrimination law, a birth certificate law, so what is left? When they were passed there were some Democrats who voted against the bills but with a tie Senate there can be no Democrats that vote against the bill. And in the House the Democrats have a three vote margin, that means no more than one Democrat can vote against a bill.

So what is on our wish list?

A bill to ban Trans/Gay Panic defense in court case, “When I found out she was transgender I lost my mind in rage and killed her” that type of defense would be banned. It hasn’t been used much in Connecticut but in other states it has been used successfully and we should be pro-active to make sure it isn’t used here in Connecticut.

Another bill that we should consider is banning Conversion/Reparative Therapy. There are a number of locations here in Connecticut that practice conversion therapy where they try to make you straight. A bill to allow therapist to have their license revokes it they practice conversion therapy and people  under 18 years old is needed. A bill will allow clergy to make their members “straight” but ban therapist from doing it.

So we are now treading on new ground, where it will lead is anybody’s guess.



Update:
I wrote this last night and in today's Hartford Courant I find out that we lost another of our Champion in the Senate, Eric Coleman.
Democrats and Republicans negotiated a tentative deal Tuesday night in which Sen. Rob J. Kane, R-Watertown, and Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Bloomfield, would resign Wednesday morning in a carefully choreographed arrangement freeing each legislator to accept new jobs while maintaining the balance of power in an evenly divided Senate.
[…]
Coleman is 65, meaning the window on a potential nomination to the bench is closing. The mandatory retirement age of judges in Connecticut is 70. But if Coleman resigns, he would be giving up his seat without a guarantee of an appointment, since he would have to clear the independent selection commission.
Sen. Coleman was one of the co-chairs of the Judicial Committee and a very, very good ally of the LGBT community and he will be strongly missed.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Is Gender Dysphoria An Intersex Condition?

I read Google News, WPATH Facebook page, Facebook posts from friends to find news stories to write about, today’s post comes from A.E. Brain’s blog where she wrote about a scientific research paper by Dr. Richard Diamond.
Title: Transsexualism as an Intersex Condition
Author: Milton Diamond Ph.D.
This paper attempts to demonstrate that there are significant natural in-born sex differences found between the brains of those called transsexual people and others. It does so by showing the differences are due to normal genetic, hormonal and environmental forces that lead eventually to differences in the transsexual person’s brain. This development brings with it feelings of dysphoria regarding one’s gender identity. It is such feelings that lead to a desire for sex/gender change. These brain differences are sufficient enough to conclude that persons with a transsexual condition are intersexed. Simultaneously it is recognized that many intersexed persons will switch from their assigned gender, yet many will not.

Transsexual people are persons now also commonly referred to as trans persons or transgender persons. Those not transgender are commonly referred to as cisgender individuals. In an attempt to explain themselves trans persons often say they are convinced that they were born “in the wrong body.” They believe they have the anatomy of one sex but identity and the emotional awareness of the opposite sex. Transsexual persons are so convinced of this feeling that they desire to forego any advantages they think associated with their birth sex and seek transition to their opposite sex. And many are willing to attain the goal of transfer even at great expense financially, emotionally and socially as evidenced by divorce, separation from friends and family, and other such losses (https://www.quora.com/topic/Gender-Dysphoria; https://www.quora.com/topic/Transsexuality-1). The natural question arises – how does this feeling come about, what causes it?

The initial factor in the development of transsexualism involves genetics. Coolidge, Theda and Young, in 2002, reported, finding a strong heritable component to the condition they called Gender Identity Disorder (GID) symptomatology (Coolidge, Theda, & Young, 2002). With this they implied that gender identity was much less a matter of choice and much more a natural matter of biology. In 2013 a large study among trans persons found one third of monozygotic (identical) male twins, and approximately one quarter of female monozygotic twins, were concordant in transitioning; essentially no dizygotic (familial) twins were concordant in transitioning (Diamond, 2013). And in 2014 it was reported that concordance in transition had occurred even among a trans twin pair that were reared and lived apart (Segal & Diamond, 2014). In sum these findings support a basic biological underpinning of the trans condition.

Another feature of transsexual development needs understanding. This too points to its natural biological nature. It is known that the genitals and brain develop at different times. The genitals develop early prenatally during the first 6 – 12th week and they may develop in masculine or feminine form. If the genitals develop under the influence of the androgen testosterone they are masculinized. If they are not, female genitals develop. In comparison, the brain, it is believed, develops during the latter period of pregnancy and also is subject to the influence of androgen. If there is significant androgen present at that time there will be brain masculinization, if not, there will be brain feminization. It thus is clear that the brain and genitals can develop independently and under different forces (Bao & Swaab, 2011; Savik, Garcia-Falguera, & Swaab, 2010). As Reiner has said “The etiology of gender identity may be neither obvious nor easily conceptualized. Yet what is obvious is that the presence of androgen is critical. It is the determining factor in the development of ... behavioral dimorphism in humans—genital structure, ... male-typical behaviors, masculinization of the brain …“ (Reiner, 2002).
It is interesting that Dr. Diamond references Dr. Reiner there was an article in the New York  Times about research that he did with intersex individuals. When I read the article it made me wonder if we are a Disorder of Sexual Development, or intersexed.

Dr. Reiner, a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma and Johns Hopkins and a leading specialist in the treatment of children with the intersexual condition said in the New York Times article “Declaring With Clarity, When Gender Is Ambiguous” by Claudia Dreifus that…

Q. How do you know what constitutes gender identity?
A. As part of a research study, I've personally seen and assessed 400 children with major anomalies of the genitals. Of those, approximately 100 might be called "intersex." Our findings have been many and complex. The most important is that about 60 percent of the genetic male children raised as female have retransitioned into males. [My emphasis]

We also found that of this group there were some genetically male children, who despite genital anomalies were raised as males, and they continued to declare themselves as male.

Q. What conclusions can you draw about the eventual sexual identity of an intersex child?
A. That you can castrate a male at birth, create a female genital structure, raise the child as a girl, and in a majority of the cases, they'll still recognize themselves as male. Now many of the children I've seen are still young. I don't know what will happen as they get older.
There is something in our brain that tells us whether we are male or female and the more that they research it the more that they find that we are really and truly different.

I met Dr. Diamond back in the 2000's at Fantasia Fair where he gave a series of talks on Gender Dysphoia and various intersex conditions.