Monday, June 18, 2018

Your Religion Is Not My Religion

Okay, I am not a religious person. I believe how you live your life is more important than where you go to worship. I will not interfere with your religion if you let me live my life.

But there are some who feel it is a God giving right to butt in on how I live my life.
I'm transgender, and evangelicals tried to pray for me. I prayed for them instead
For years, I navigated conservative religious spaces where I encountered bigotry and attempts to shame LGBT+ people
Independent
By Charlotte Clymer
June 16, 2018

On Sunday afternoon I was sitting in front of a cafe in downtown Washington, sipping coffee under a sliver of roof on a wet day, minding my own business, when three people who were clearly tourists walked up and gestured for me to take out my headphones. When I did, one asked: “Can we pray for you?”

I asked why they wanted to pray for me, and the same person answered that they felt called by God to walk the streets of DC and let God’s voice tell them who might be “broken” or otherwise need prayer.

Broken.

As a Christian, I’m opposed to neither prayer nor people praying specifically for me, at least not when it’s done in good faith.
[…]
It angered me that the whole of my being could be reduced to their flawed understanding of LGBT+ people, a view that could easily be revised if only they would take the time to get to know me instead of assuming they already did.

So I would be damned if I would let them interrupt my Sunday afternoon coffee when I certainly wasn’t bothering them.
What she did in response is classic!
 I stood up, smiling but internally annoyed, and asked them what the Book of Matthew says about prayer. Their eyes went wide. One guy stammered nervously, clearly having trouble answering the question.

The other two were just as flummoxed, ambushed by the idea that the “broken” transgender person was asking a simple question about a common verse on prayer in Matthew.
[…]
“You know how Matthew says that where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, there he is with us?”

They stared at me blankly. I had no intention of going easy on them.

“That is what Matthew says, is it not?”

At last, one spoke up: “Yes, that’s right.”

“So let’s pray.”

And they nervously stepped forward into a circle.

“Lord Jesus, thank you for the benefit of these friends,” I began, wholly honest with God about how I hoped she would bless my new friends, encouraging them to affirm and be inclusive of others. I was hopeful that their community would honour all as God made them and value the strength of diversity.

I mentioned the natural beauty of the LGBT+ community and thanked God again for making us as we are, throwing in a genuine wish that their trip back home would be a safe one.

Then, knowing my audience, I wrapped up with the usual evangelical banal phraseology – “no weapons shall be formed against them”, “put God on their hearts” – to let them know I was just as familiar with their community’s vernacular as they were, maybe more so.
Me I would have said something like “And my Satan be with you.” and they probably would have gone off sputtering.

But seriously why do people think that it is okay to force their religion on others, there are hundreds of war being fought right now to force people to one religion or another. From what I have learned about religions from around the world they all have a common theme, love one another, not hate and surely not to blow the brains out of non-believers. But somehow His message has been corrupted to hate and violence.

The article ends with…
Prayer should be a loving act, not a weapon of marginalisation.
To that I say amen.

I Love You

It times of hate it is a welcome oasis to hear love for us; especially to hear it from a sports celebrity.
Pistons’ Reggie Bullock to transgender community: ‘I see y’all as people that I love’
Chicago Tribune
By Malika Andrews
June 17, 2018

The NYC Pride March is still a week away, but Reggie Bullock already is nervous. He has yet to decide on an outfit; he will get to that. He knows he is bringing his 5-year-old son with him to ride atop the NBA’s annual float.

Will Reggie Jr. ask questions? Probably. It is the first time the boy will be around the glitter, rainbows and flamboyant outfits that are a staple of LGBTQ pride parades.

Bullock explained his nerves on a phone call from his Detroit home. He was there for a couple of days before he goes to North Carolina to see his family and then flies to New York for the parade. Bullock, a 27-year-old small forward for the Pistons, is set to become the first active NBA player to ride on the Pride float.

“I want to stand up for the people who have lost people within that community over tragic murders,” Bullock said. “I just want to let them know that as a straight person, I am not within that community, but I see y’all as people and I see y’all as people that I love.”
For him this hit close to home he had a trans sister who was murdered.
Bullock admits that if Henderson hadn’t died, he probably wouldn’t be championing this cause. He still is working to find the right words to explain his sister’s death to his son, who was just 1 ne [sic] and a half years old when Henderson died.
It is sad that it takes violence to come out and try to understand us in death rather than in life.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Stonewall Uprising.

There are so many myths surrounding the uprising and those who know the truth are dying off. As more movies and documentaries portray it as a white gay riot the truth is getting lost.
5 things you may not know about the Stonewall rebellion
LGBT Nation
By Gwendolyn Smith
June 3, 2018

The Stonewall rebellion: it is widely recognized as the flashpoint of queer liberation. The event was the moment when members of our community stood up against a police raid in a bar, the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village of New York City.

Much of the story is well known, passed down like one might share a community’s legends.
[…]
This wasn’t the first time we rose up
While it is true that the Stonewall Rebellion was a pivotal moment in queer history, it was not the first such uprising — just one of the best known. Several other actions happened before the 28th of June around the county.

The best known of these is probably the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, which while taking place across the continent from the Stonewall Inn, shares many of the same causes.

Compton’s Cafeteria was part of a chair of such restaurants, in operation from the 1940-1970s. The location in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood was a popular hangout for trans people and hustlers. Cafeteria personnel, fearing the loss of more profitable clientele, would call the San Francisco Police to clear the place out.

On an August night in 1966, when the police attempted to arrest a trans patron, she responded by throwing her coffee in the officer’s face. This touched off a riot, with a picket against Compton’s the following night.

Many other actions have been recorded in the pre-stonewall era, from a riot at Cooper Do-nuts in Los Angeles in 1959, a sit-in at Dewey’s lunch counter in Philadelphia in 1965, and a picket of the Chicago newspapers in 1066 for refusing Mattachine Midwest, an early gay rights organization, advertising space.
One thing I learned researching the uprising… you don’t want to be around mad trans women with a cup of coffee. Just about every one of these uprisings started with a cup of coffee being thrown at police officers, in the case of Stonewall it was pennies and nickels.
It wasn’t the first police raid at the Stonewall Inn
Police raids on the Stonewall Inn and other bars were frequent. At the time, it was illegal for members of the same sex to dance together, and laws made it illegal to wear articles of clothing of the gender opposite the one they were assigned at birth.

The Stonewall Inn has been raided just days before the one that led to the rebellion.

“This wasn’t the first raid,” said Robert Herndon, a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion, who now resides in Myrtle Beach, far from the village. “The police would come in and check everyone’s ID. They were looking for illegal booze.”
[…]
The Stonewall Inn wasn’t exactly above board
The Stonewall Inn has long been pinpointed as a mafia-controlled bar under the ownership of the Genovese crime family. It had no liquor license, no running water — patrons would often get ill from the glassware, which was rinsed in a tub of water — and there were no fire exits.

“It was a place that was heavily connected with blackmail. They had a prostitution ring that was run out of the second floor above the Stonewall Inn, and one of the owners of the Stonewall Inn, Ed Murphy, was the person who had run a national blackmail ring, had over a thousand victims, over 10 years,” said Carter.
Because it was illegal to be LGBT back then, legitimate bars and clubs didn’t want anything to do with us so we had to hang out in the seedier part of the cities.
It was about more than police; it was about community
In spite of the conditions and the crime connections, the Stonewall Inn served as a de facto hangout for the local area.

Tommy Lanigan Schmidt, another survivor of that note who spoke on WNYC, addressed why the community fought for the stonewall, “This bar had been open for a few years. Generally bars closed down quickly. Also this bar — it’s hard for people to imagine now — but gay people weren’t allowed to dance with each other, it was against the law, and this bar allowed slow dancing.”
They made it illegal to be gay, lesbian, or trans which forced us in to the sleazy bars run by organized crime. It was kind of self-fulfilling we couldn’t go to mainstream bars and nightclubs, we couldn’t marry and from that came the image of gays, lesbians, and “drag queens” hanging out in dark smoke filled bars and jumping from one bed to another.
Everyone was a part of the rebellion
The community of the time was not as granular as it is today, with clear identities delineating people within it, and those who we would call transgender today were more likely to hang out with everyone else. Everyone was an outcast, and everyone could find a place at the Stonewall Inn.

“That’s the thing I like, that made me comfortable. It was there were all age groups. They weren’t all 20 years old. There were all types there, including people who were transsexual and those who were transvestites. It was a mixture of all kinds of people and that’s what make it so good to me,” said Herndon.
I find that today marriage and equality the gay bars are closing, there is only one gay bar left in Hartford; the need for gay bars is declining. Why do you need a gay bar when now you can meet your friends at the corner bar? I meet with a group of lesbians for game night once a month at an avant-garde art gallery something that never would have been heard of 20 years ago.

We cannot let them force us back into the closet under the guise of “religious freedom.”

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday 9 Cat's in the Cradle

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9 Cat's in the Cradle (1974)



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

This song was chosen in honor of Father's Day. Hear it here.

1) This song began as a poem, written by Harry's wife Sandy before the couple even met. Have you ever tried your hand at writing poetry?
Yes, you can read them here. I wrote them when I was starting to think about transitioning with all the stress that it demands.

2) The lyrics include a reference to "The Man in the Moon." The original Mother Goose rhyme ends: "It's time for the children on earth to think about getting to bed." Do you remember what time your childhood bedtime was?
Naw, that was over 65 years ago.

3)  When did you go to bed last night?
Around nine, but then I woke up a little after 3 AM.

4) In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the proclamation that made Father's Day a holiday on the third Sunday in June. Can you name all 45 Presidents? (No, you don't have to list them here.)
Nope, no way and especially not in order.

5) Since Sam's father is particular about his Cole Haan loafers, her Father's Day present to him is always a DSW gift card. Who on your gift list is especially easy to buy for?
I don’t have a gift list, we do a Yankee Swap

6) Sam's father is a voracious reader. So much so that the local librarian knows him on sight and by name. When did you last visit your neighborhood library?
A couple of months ago to get a DVD

7) Back when Sam was in high school, her father gave her driving lessons. Do you consider yourself a good driver?
Not recently, my cataract made it hard to drive at night, especially a rainy night.

8) He is a stickler about car maintenance and reminds Sam to check her car's air filter regularly, because a dirty air filter can reduce mileage. Share your own car maintenance tip.
When the idiot light lights for maintenance, I call the dealer and make an appointment. I have a Toyota Prime and the only maintenance that it needs is tire rotation every 5,000 miles and an oil change every 10,000. My last Prius went 125,000 miles and that was the only maintenance done except for changing the sparkplugs at 100,000. It didn’t even need a brake job when I traded it in.

9) Whenever he fills up the car, Sam's father also stocks up on his favorite candy: LifeSavers. So Sam is celebrating Father's Day by giving everyone a roll. Would you prefer Wild Cherry, Butter Rum, Winter Green or Peppermint?
Well wild cherry taste like cough drops, winter green and peppermint are too common so I will go with butter rum.

Friday, June 15, 2018

A New Eyeball

So I had to have surgery for cataracts in one of my eyes Wednesday and I was a little concerned not only for the operation but how the staff would treat me. I was at the eye surgery center for a hospital where they refused to treat a trans woman in the emergency room about 5 years ago.

I had to be there at six in the morning so a friend stayed over at my house so we could leave at 5:30 AM.

I changed all my paperwork to “Female” many, many years ago, so I a couple of weeks ago I get a call from the hospital for pre-admission and she asked questions about insurance and medical history. Only once did she ask, “And you’re a woman, right?”

So Wednesday morning we arrive at six and sit there in the waiting room until they called my name, the receptionist didn’t blink at all when I sat down. They brought me back the preparation room, as I was laying on the gurney the doctors came by, the anesthesiologist asked his questions, the nurses took their readings and during the entire time they used the correct pronouns. Not just in front of me but I could hear them talked over at the nurse’s station.

I fell asleep in the prep room and woke up when they rolled me into the operating room and boy the drugs they give you! You don’t care that they are cutting the lens out of you eye and then vacuum the pieces out.

When I was coming out of the anesthesia the anesthesiologist was talking to somebody and he said that there were no problems, she was sleeping when we wheeled her in to the operating room.

Today when I went for a follow-up exam the doctor asked who was the person that brought me to the surgery center yesterday, I told him a friend. She’s a 6 foot trans woman like me.

Oh, and the operation was a success.



A couple of weeks ago I did training with a trans man at a local hospital.


Let’s Face It, They Hate Our Guts

They try to do everything they can for force us back in the closet and make us criminals. They are fighting for the right to be bigots and discriminate against us.
ADF defends Indiana teacher who rejected his district’s transgender-inclusive policy
The Indiana orchestra teacher is trying to appeal his own resignation.
ThinkProgress
By Zack Ford
June 15, 2018

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBTQ hate group, has pounced on yet another opportunity to advocate against transgender students in schools. This time, ADF is defending an Indiana orchestra teacher who resigned rather than comply with his school’s policy requiring him to respect the gender identities of his students.

Last year, the Brownsburg Community School Corporation (BCSC) distributed new guidance to its high school and middle school teachers about transgender students. It instructed teachers that for students who have transitioned, their new information will be updated in the school database and teachers are expected to address them by the names and pronouns that are listed. This practice, the district noted, is “based on current case law” — likely referring to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit respecting a Wisconsin transgender student’s identity.

In response to a question about the legal consequences of not addressing students properly, the guidance warns, “lt is your professional responsibility to follow the expectations and guidelines set forth by the school district. The consequences in this case could depend on if this is the first time and/or the intent in calling the student the wrong name/pronoun.”
But John Kluge, the former orchestra teacher didn’t follow the policy he claimed that it was his right to belittle, embarrass, and humiliate the student. He thumbed his nose at the policy by taking advantage of a loophole in the policy, he started calling the students by their last name. So the school…
As the end of the school year approached, the district informed Kluge that if he was unwilling to comply with the policy moving forward, his only choices were to resign or be fired. He chose to submit his letter of resignation, but he later attempted to withdraw the letter. It was too late, however, as the school had already begun processing his resignation.
So now it is off to court.
Kluge is now threatening legal action with ADF at his back. ADF has activated (at least) two of its allied lawyers in Indiana, Roscoe Stovall and Michael Cork, to represent him pro bono. Indeed, he and his lawyers have also been engaged in a national media campaign to paint him as a victim for his unwillingness to follow the policy.
I hope that the school board seeks reimbursement of their legal expenses.

In Medium Vanessa Ford explained the harm to the student.
One thing has remained true each year I’ve worked in education: Every student has an abundance of unique beliefs, experiences, cultures, passions and fears that lay just below the surface. Valuing, honoring and respecting these pieces that make my students who they are have always been the most critical factor to building a trusting relationship that ensures they can be successful in my class.
[…]
In truth, he’s likely doing more harm to his students than good. Not only is he denying transgender students a welcoming classroom, but he’s signaling a lack of respect for transgender students to every other student. Many transgender children will spend far too long ashamed of their own selves and who they know themselves to be. Each time that fear is reinforced — especially by educators — it gashes their youth wide open, leaving painful scars.
These bigots do not care about the students, they hide their hate behind their “religion” and I would bet that many are gleeful over the harm they are doing their students.

We are winning in the courts now, but what is going to happen when Trump and the Republicans saturate the courts with judges how put the Bible before the Constitution?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Who We Are

I came across an interesting poll on LGBT people (mostly L & G) that looked at religion, politics (there are some LGBT conservatives out there), and if we want children.
Who Are LGBTQ Americans? Here’s A Major Poll On Life, Sex, and Politics.
BuzzFeed News and Whitman Insight Strategies conducted one of the most comprehensive national polls to date on how LGBTQ Americans live in 2018.
By Dominic Holden
Posted on June 13, 2018

LGBTQ adults in the United States are mostly women, religious, and under 40 years old, according to a new survey conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies and BuzzFeed News.

The poll, taken by 880 LGBTQ Americans across the country, is one of the most thorough surveys of its type, asking more than 100 questions about gender, sex, politics, family, and discrimination.

LGBTQ people make up about 4% to 5% of the United States, but there have been few major national polls to date on how they differ from each other and live their lives.
Out of the 880 only 51 said they are trans.

The results seems to affirm some stereotypes and studies, like that lesbian and bisexual women are smoking more, while gay men are drinking more. The poll finds that gay men also have more sex than lesbian women, while other findings may be more surprising: More than half of LGBTQ Americans are Christian, and nearly half of all LGBTQ people identify as bisexual or queer.
Some of the other findings were,
More than two-thirds of respondents across generations said coming out made them happier. But not all have come out — 55% said they're out, but 38% said they're only out to some people or in certain places, while 7% said they are not out at all. Among bisexual people, 53% are out in limited contexts and 11% are not out at all — making them the least out group.

On average, LGBTQ people came out at the age of 21. They said they knew they were LGBTQ just shy of 17 years old, with gay and transgender people being the youngest, at 14 years old, while lesbians said they knew later, at 19.
Not everyone is “out” at work…
Overall, 21% said they had to lie about being LGBTQ at work and 12% reported discrimination in the workplace based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
When it comes to marriage…
Three out of five LGBTQ Americans believe getting married is a "strong political/social statement," and roughly that many want to get married, would like to get married, or already are. Only 14% don't want to marry.

When it comes to legalizing polygamy (marriage to more than one person), 31% of LGBTQ people support it, while 42% are opposed. Support for changing the law is highest among people who are transgender (55%), queer (44%), and bisexual (37%). Fewer than a quarter of lesbians and gay people support it.

Most LGBTQ people said they don't want kids or aren't sure if they do, with gay men the most solidly in this camp — only 5% of gay men said they would definitely have kids and 55% said they don't want them. Bisexual people were a more mixed group, with 51% said they would have kids or would like to.
Not tonight honey…
Lesbians reported having the least sex, with 35% abstaining the last year, 19% having sex several times per year, 25% doing it once or twice per month, and 4% having several times per week. Half of lesbians report no sex with a partner for six months or more, compared to 35% of gays and 27% of bisexuals.
And when it comes to politics,
LGBTQ people fall decisively on the left of the political spectrum, but not exclusively. Sixty-five percent consider themselves Democrats and 21% are independents. Just 12% are Republican; the remaining 3% have other affiliations.

LGBTQ people fall decisively on the left of the political spectrum, but not exclusively. Sixty-five percent consider themselves Democrats and 21% are independents. Just 12% are Republican; the remaining 3% have other affiliations.

In the 2016 election, 59% went for Hillary Clinton and 14% for Donald Trump; a full fifth of LGBTQ people said they didn't vote that year.

Overall, 88% are registered to vote. And 67% said they vote in state and federal elections. Lesbians and gay people are most politically involved — between 12% and 16% donate to political campaigns and organizations. Bisexual people, who were generally younger than gay people and lesbians, topped out the group and said they're least likely to be politically involved at 32%.
I guess those who didn’t bother to vote got what they wanted… a tyrant.

They also discuss religion and the results show about a 40% do not believe in religion and about an equal number say they are protestants or Catholics.

No Blog This Morning

I pre-wrote this blog today because yesterday I had cataract surgery and I didn’t know if I would be able to write my blog this morning… I can’t. So here is a rerun blog post.

It has such a bad connotation, it makes up sound like sneaks, that we are doing something underhanded; but the word passing is used by us all the time.
i haven’t failed to ‘pass' as a woman, i want to look transgender
i-D Vice
By Juno Roche
April 25 2018

Fashion and pop culture only embrace transgender people who don’t look trans. The real ‘tipping point’ will come when we embrace queer beauty outside of the binary, says author Juno Roche.
[…]
In 2014, Time magazine put actress and campaigner Laverne Cox on the cover, and declared the moment a ‘transgender tipping point’. A point at which trans people could, and would, come out of the shadows and claim their rightful and authentic place within wider society. It heralded a time of widespread acceptance, surely, if we were now on covers of magazines, on the sofas of breakfast television and beginning to appear in ones and occasionally twos across the media spectrum. But this visibility had a catch: to be accepted, you had to ‘pass’.
For many trans people they will never be able to integrate into society as a cis gender woman, let’s face it being able to “pass” is a privilege.
There were many voices around me, personal and societal, telling me that safety and success lay in ‘passing and blending’ -- that the more I looked like ‘them’, the easier my life would be. To be visibly or audibly trans would mean risking rejection, economic stability and intimacy, so extinguishing my trans fault lines would help me to have an ordinary life. Our (fairly) recent ‘tipping point’ did nothing to challenge that notion, hiding the amazing work done by the people often depicted as utterly hetero- and cis-normative.
I think the young non-binary trans people are on to something by breaking down the gender barriers.

“Visual non-conformity is a risk factor in causing anti-transgender bias and its attendant social and economic burdens.” The 2015 Transgender Survey hit the nail on its head with that statement; if you have the privilege to be able to integrate into society you are going to get the jobs, you will not be harassed on the street or in a store.

People tell me that I should take voice lessons to hide my transness but I feel that for almost 60 years I lived a lie, and by using a “false” voice I will be living another lie… I just want to be myself.


While we are still on “integrating” I came across this article about beard removal how some trans people are forgoing electrolysis or laser treatments to remove their beards.
I'm a Trans Woman, and My 5 O'Clock Shadow Is a Badge of Visibility
But it also makes me a target for transphobic abuse
Them
By Lucy Diavolo
April 30, 2018

I've been having a lot of feelings about my 5 o'clock shadow. The hair that sprouts from my jaw has always been a physical manifestation of a biology that I never could accustom myself to. I have a bad habit of making everything into a metaphor, and so the faint outline of a goatee and the stubble on my cheeks is more than just hair. It is symbolic of the catch-22 that is visibility for me as a trans person. Being visibly trans, whether through my facial hair or my willingness to be open about my identity, gives me the power to advocate for myself and lift up my trans siblings — but it also makes me a target for transphobic abuse.
[…]
As much as I never want to be clocked as trans again, I'm far too proud of who I am to give up because I can't achieve full stealth. I've seen too many people spend decades in hiding only to lose the families, careers, and lives they built when they decided to finally come out.
While I realize not every trans person can afford to have their beard removed or that they can withstand the pain, I personally cannot understand why they don’t shave. They are going to get so much more harassment and discrimination because they don’t shave.

But it is their life and they get to make their decisions but they also have to live with their decision.



I didn’t even know that this bill existed; I thought that they had given up.
PRO-TRANSGENDER RIGHTS BILL PASSES ASSEMBLY, MOVES ON TO STATE SENATE  
A proposed pro-transgender rights bill passed the New York State Assembly, and was presented to the New York Senate Monday.
Posted By: WKTV
May. 7, 2018

A proposed pro-transgender rights bill passed the New York State Assembly, and was presented to the New York Senate Monday.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA, A3358/S7010) would protect transgender New Yorkers under State Human Rights Law, and the hate crimes law.

ACR Health officials said they’re encouraged that the assembly is taking up the discussion, and possibly voting to pass the legislation. But spokesman Elliott Sharrow said his concern is getting the bill through the Republican-led state Senate, which has never seen the legislation come up for a vote.

“I think over time, there’s been a lot more momentum as far as the need for this. I think there’s been a lot more talk about GENDA and trans people in general, so I think that’s definitely playing to our favor,” Sharrow said.
All the other years the bill made it out of the house and died in the Republican controlled Senate, will this year break the pattern? I hope so.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Have You Been To Pride?

I have.

I know people who love it, I know people who hate it.

I have been to the Northampton, Norwalk, Hartford, Providence, and the New York City pride events and I even attended a pride event at psychiatric hospital (Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition was invited to table at the event, all I will say is that it was interesting). I intend to attend other pride events.
LGBT women don’t feel comfortable at Pride, new study suggests
Pink News
By Jess Glass
12th June 2018

A new study has suggested that many lesbian, bisexual and queer women do not feel comfortable at Pride events.

LGBT Pride is celebrated around the world each summer, with countless events organised to celebrate and revel in diverse gender identities and sexualities.

However, according to a recent study conducted by dating app Her, the events may not be as inclusive as people would hope.
[…]
When the results were broken down by sexuality, the study found that this discomfort was felt more by bisexual and queer women, who often face unique discrimination within the community.

43 percent of bisexual women surveyed said they do not feel comfortable at Pride events and parades.

This was echoed by women who self-identified as queer, with over half of queer respondents saying they did not feel welcomed at the events.
I have noticed that different Prides focus on different things, some are more family centered, some are more vendor centered, and some are beer focused. And some are male focused.

When Hartford Pride was in Bushnell Park it seemed more family focused with a play area for children. When it was held on Main St. in front of city hall it seemed beer focused, and on Pratt St. it was more vendor focused.

What about you?



The Doctor’s Not In For You

I know of a number of trans people who were turned away by doctors because they are trans. Many of them are trans men who want to see a OB/GYN. This was posted on WPATH Facebook page the other day.
Doctors Refuse to Treat Trans Patients More Often Than You Think
New federal regulations are intended to help doctors refuse service based on religious or moral grounds. For trans patients, they may make a bad situation much worse.
VICE
By Keren Landman
January 29 2018

On January 18, the US Department of Health and Human Services proposed new regulations and announced the creation of a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division,” both focused on supporting healthcare providers who refuse to perform certain healthcare services on religious or moral grounds.

"Not more of this shit," thought Marian, the mother of a transmasculine teen named Julian who lives in rural Georgia. (Marian chose to withhold her and Julian’s full names due to safety concerns.)

In 2016, Marian said a nurse practitioner in a local supermarket's walk-in health care clinic had repeatedly and intentionally misgendered Julian while administering his testosterone injection, asking, "What kind of a doctor would prescribe this to a girl?" As far as Marian could see, the provider’s disgust was evident—and a week later, the provider called to inform her there would be no staff available to perform the procedure in the clinic for Julian's next injection, suggesting they instead try a different clinic in a nearby town.
And a lot of times it depends upon where you live and who you are,
Not all transgender people are at equal risk for being excluded from or poorly treated in a healthcare environment. An analysis of responses to a 2008-9 survey of transgender people nationwide, found that people were at higher risk of being refused healthcare if they were transfeminine (i.e. assigned male gender at birth, but identifying and often presenting on the female side of the gender spectrum), identified as Native American or multiracial, or had low incomes.

Respondents living in southern and western states were more likely to report healthcare refusals, which might have been explained by regional variations in state politics: the more strongly Republican a state is, the more likely it was that their transgender residents had experienced healthcare refusal.
We are in an island of blue but that doesn’t mean that we are exempt from discrimination I know of a trans woman who was refused service in an emergency room at a local hospital when she slipped and fell on ice.

This morning I am having eye surgery, while this is not a concern for me because the surgeon is my eye doctor since the mid-seventies but for many trans this could be a major worry having a delicate medical procedure with surgeon and healthcare providers that they don’t and by providers that don’t know that they are trans.



Update 2:15 PM
This morning I had minor out patient surgery and the entire staff was nice and friendly, no problems with being trans. When I was coming out of the anesthesia the anesthesiologist was talking to somebody and he said that there were no problems, she was sleeping when we wheeled her in to the operating room.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Flying The Flag

Free Speech?

Well for one thing there is no such thing as free speech; it always comes with a price. You can say what you want but those who oppose your view are free to express their rights also.
Preacher sues after city makes him stop harassing pride attendees
LGBTQ Nation
By Gwendolyn Smith
June 11, 2018

Timothy J. Brown attended the Upper Cumberland Pride Festival in Cookeville, Tennessee last June, but was asked to stay 50 feet away from the event. Now he wants compensation from the city.

At last year’s event, Brown and two other men showed up with a signs bearing anti-gay bible verses and other statements, and harassed event attendees. The Cookeville police were summoned, and officers asked Brown and his companions to move away from the event.

In response, Brown, who goes by “Timthebaptist” on YouTube, filed a suit against the city, claiming that he was simply, “exercising his constitutional rights and free exercise of religion by peacefully sharing his Christian message in a public park in the city,” when he was threatened with arrest.

Upper Cumberland PRIDE had rented a portion of the park for their event.
And of course there is a Christian legal firm behind the law suit.
He is requesting a trial by jury over the “injuries” he has faced by not being allowed access to the event, and is asking that the city not be allowed to enforce its code, as well as “nominal and/or compensatory and/or special and/or punitive damages” in addition to his attorney’s fees.

Brown is being represented in part by the American Liberties Institute, a part of the right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom. The ADF was also involved with the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop lawsuit.
Normally I wouldn’t worry about the law suit but now with the Republicans packing the courts with those who put the Bible above the Constitution who knows the outcome of the case.

It would seem that since they rented part of the park that the Pride organizations could control who attended the event. But as I said it is now a crap shoot.



At another event flying the flag cause the haters to crawl out from under the bleachers.
Red Sox Fans Triggered Over LGBT Pride, Call for Straight Night
The Advocate
By Ariel Sobel
June 11, 2018

For Thursday night's game, the Boston Red Sox painted their logo rainbow on the pitcher's mound to show their support for the LGBT community, which created a strong backlash on their social media.

Although many enjoyed the gesture of inclusion, the Red Sox had an avalanche of antigay comments on social media from fans who are angry the team hosted a Pride Night. [Twitter comments...]
Disgusting ! Nice to see my favourite team conforming to the sin of the world. No more Red Sox for my family !!
Not necessary. Nothing to be proud of here Red Sox. We don’t need rainbows on the pitchers mound.. what’s next rainbow uniforms? Rainbow home plate? Rainbow monster?
Thought baseball was for real men
So we get a straight pride and acceptance night? Have to be equal and fair after all.
When is Straight Pride month? This is discrimination at its finest. Why can't we be proud of following God's Laws?
However, many were proud of the show of solidarity with queer fans and athletes. They even trolled back.

One socially conscious straight man put it best:
Thanks for doing this. All 4 inclusion. As a white straight male, the entire world is set up 4me. A Pride night or logo doesnt take away from anything and only lets other people know you support them.  Pretty simple, people. It can b about baseball & Pride!!!
Here in Connecticut the Hartford Yard Goats are having their LGBT night on June 26.



It Is Nice To See Them Obey The Law

Last week there was a big brouhaha over a school district in Maine, they proposed a school policy for trans students and as you probably figured out already the conservatives crawled out of the woodwork.
Despite opposition from Christian group, Maine school district adopts transgender policy
Bangor Daily News
By Hadley Barndollar, Portsmouth Herald
June 6, 2018

KITTERY, Maine — Following a single staunch plea to the School Committee to kill a transgender policy proposal Tuesday night, parents and students then rivaled the opposition with powerful support, a committee member shed tears, and one mother added, “There is no room for hate in Kittery.”

The policy to support transgender and gender expansive students ultimately passed by an unanimous 6-0 vote after its second reading at Tuesday’s School Committee meeting, with Chairwoman Julie Dow proclaiming, “I have never been more proud to be on the School Committee.”

The policy, researched and drafted by the district’s Policy Committee, states the Kittery School District will honor the wishes of the student when it comes to desired gender identification, name and pronouns. While the student’s official record will continue to bear their legal name, unless changed by a court order, the school district will use the student’s preferred name and pronouns on all other documents including school identification, classroom rosters, certificates, diplomas and yearbooks.
It was great that they passed unanimously but what they actually did was obey the law. They really had no choice if they didn’t approve the policy then they could be sued.

Of course there was vocal opposition…
Resident Susan Wiswell told the School Committee the policy “affirms the delusions of gender-confused children,” and would potentially allow “a biological male who claims to identify as a female to enter the girls’ locker room” to molest or rape a female student.

“What about her rights or dignity?” Wiswell said. “Are the majority of students who are not gender-confused expected to accept this violation?”

Wiswell said the “ill-conceived policy” is education malpractice. “More than half of our property tax goes to fund the schools,” she said. “We do not want to face the litigation costs. We will remember how this board votes when it comes to the polls.”
You know that there will probably be a legal challenge to the policy by the right-wing conservatives but the case has already been settled in the Maine Supreme Court.
Maine Supreme Court rules in favor of transgender girl in Orono school bathroom case
Bangor Daily News
By Judy Harrison
January 30, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday guaranteed the right of a transgender child to use the school bathroom designated for the gender with which he or she identifies.

It is the first time any court in the nation has ruled it is unlawful to force a transgender child to use the school bathroom designated for the sex he or she was born with rather than the one with which the child identifies, according to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders of Boston, which represented the girl and her family.

“This sends a message to my children that you can believe in the system,” Wayne Maines, the father of Nicole Maines, the girl at the center of the case, said Thursday afternoon in a conference call.
So the school board just followed the law and the courts.

BTW, last year I had dinner with Nicole and her mother after she spoke at the Transgender Health and Law Conference. She was our keynote speaker.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Jockey

With Justify winning the Triple Crown it is a good time to write about those who ride the horses.
Transgender jockey inspired by Caitlyn Jenner switches from Vince to Victoria
CNN Sports
By Matt Majendie
June 8, 2018

(CNN) Victoria Smith has lost count of the number of times she sat in the weighing room, her stomach aflutter with pre-race nerves and anticipation.

But last month, the return to familiar ground for the 52-year-old was the first as a woman, competing in a charity race at British racecourse Warwick.

As Vince Smith, she boasted 250 races as a jockey before hanging up the whip but has made a return to the saddle as she transitions to becoming a woman making her the first jockey to ride as both a male and female.

"The reaction of the racing community has been fabulous," said Smith, who finished second on her return on board the gelding Roy Rocket.
Good for her and it is fabulous that she has the support of the other jockeys.
Yet in the often macho world of horse racing, she felt too nervous to make her secret public until last year.

Partially inspired by Caitlyn Jenner and Kellie Maloney, who both transitioned from the "male-dominated sports worlds" of the decathlon and boxing respectively, helped instil a bit more confidence in Smith.
As more of us are in the public spotlight more of us are emboldened to come out of the shadows.

He Got What He Deserved

When you take a job you cannot not do your job and not expect to be fired.
Indiana teacher challenges school's transgender name policy
Orchestra teacher John Kluge says his former school district forced him to resign after he wouldn't address transgender students by their preferred names.
NBC News
By Ariel Jao
June 5, 2018

A central Indiana teacher says his former school district forced him to resign following a disagreement over a policy that calls for teachers to address transgender students by their preferred name rather than their birth name.

Former Brownsburg High School orchestra teacher John Kluge, 28, said the Brownsburg Community Schools policy goes against his religious beliefs and violates his constitutional rights, the Indianapolis Star reported.

"I’m being compelled to encourage students in what I believe is something that's a dangerous lifestyle," he said. "I’m fine to teach students with other beliefs, but the fact that teachers are being compelled to speak a certain way is the scary thing."
What the students had to say,
Student says Brownsburg teacher's transgender policy was dangerous
RTV6 ABC
By Matthew McClellan
June 10, 2018

[…]
To get around the policy, Sucec [Brownsburg High School sophomore Aidyn Sucec] said Kluge used last names for all of his students.

“He started calling us by our last names, it was one of those things where he was technically treating all the students the same, but everybody was aware of why he was doing it," Sucec said. "We all knew that it was because of the three trans students."

Aside from feeling disrespected, Sucec says Kluge’s actions were also harmful.

“He said that he doesn't want to condone students going down a path where 20 percent of trans people try to kill themselves but I don't think he recognizes the people like him and doing things like this are the reason that 20 percent of trans people try to kill themselves,” Sucec said. “I know he thinks he’s doing the right thing but he’s not listening to the actual people this affects.”
The students know what’s right, why can’t the adults learn from the students?

This is going to become a major can-of-worms, the Republicans are pushing this idea of “religious freedom” but it reality it is just another way to hide bigotry. Since the founding of our country the First Amendment was freedom to worship not a way around non-discrimination laws.

The Republicans want to create two classes of people, those who have to obey the law and those who can ignore the law.

Can you imagine if you are an employer and you tell an employee to wait on a customer and you employee says no? The employee tells you it is against his religious beliefs because the customer is gay, or black, or Muslim and there is nothing you can do about it. That is where we are heading.

“One nation… with justice for all”

The Republicans are making a mockery out of that, they want two nations and two sets of laws. One for white Christians heterosexuals and one nation for the rest of us.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

It’s Hard

Trying to meet new people romantically is hard, Dating is hard and if you are trans it is even harder… and riskier.
Woman says she was beaten after telling date she's transgender
News4 San Antonio
By Ariana Lubelli

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - A date for a New Braunfels woman led to a bloody attack after she says she told the man that she was transgender.

Aliah Hernandez's story about the 2014 assault is now featured in Texas Monthly: June Edition.

"He told me he was going to kill me and he almost did," Hernandez said.

She met her attacker while working at a drive-thru window of a New Braunfels restaurant. He was a customer. The two went on a date that led to a motel and that's when she told him that she was transgender.

"He told me, '"I hate homosexuals,'" Hernandez said. "'I'm going to finish with your life. I don't want nobody to know that I was here with you.'"

According to Hernandez, she was beaten until the point of unconsciousness.
People say that you should tell them up front, but then you will never get a date.

Other say you should tell them on the first date but then you run the risk of violence.

The way I see it, it shouldn’t matter if you’re trans but in today’s climate of hate it doesn’t even matter is it in a dating situation, the haters have been giving a green light by the president for violence. Men are being taught to settle things with their fist or even a gun.

The police many time look the other way if you are trans and a victim of an assault and if you are trans in some parts of the country you can’t even get a conviction if you are assaulted because all it takes is one person on a jury to believe you had it coming to you if you are trans.
The person responsible is still a free man.

Seeing Is Believing

And I haven’t seen it, an increase in trans employment. Trying to get our foot in the door is almost impossible for us if you don’t fit the norm.
While challenges remain for transgender jobseekers, more businesses are reaching out to the trans community
Market Place
By Adrian Ma
June 08, 2018

On a recent Saturday in May, the atrium at Cleveland’s Metro Health Hospital was the site of a typical-looking job fair — people in suits shook hands and swapped business cards with company reps who sat behind tables adorned with mounds of branded freebies. Among the 24 companies, there were some big names including Starbucks, PNC Bank and Progressive Insurance.
[…]
What made the event different than most, however, is that it was geared specifically towards transgender jobseekers like her. Metro Health started hosting the annual event a few years ago, and organizers say each time, the number of recruiters keeps growing; the first year, there were only eight.
[…]
But there are signs that an increasing number of businesses are reaching out to the trans community. 
Once again I say seeing is believing. I want to see them hire someone who doesn’t integrate into society, a six foot five trans woman, if you blend into society you don’t have a great of a problem getting a job as someone who is obviously is trans.
Advocates say hiring discrimination against trans jobseekers remains a big problem, but there is evidence that the private sector is opening up to the trans community.
I have seen a number of trans people working in big box stores but even though I could identify them as trans they could integrate pretty and I haven’t seen any trans people employed that didn’t.

At one time we looked in to having a job fair for trans people but the problem we had was not in finding companies to come but in finding enough trans people to attend. It is hard getting the word out to our community. At one time you could reach out to support groups in the state but now it seems trendy to have a support group. Just in Hartford there are four support groups that I know of, it used to be just PFLAG and Twenty Club but two more have been started by healthcare providers and if you look in a ten mile radius there are four more groups. In addition many trans people don’t attend support groups now.

So trying to get the word out about an event of any kind is hard let only a job fair.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Saturday 9: (There's) No Gettin' Over Me

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: (There's) No Gettin' Over Me (1981)



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


1) Ronnie Milsap sings about how worrisome it can be when you realize you forgot to pay a bill. It's happened to all of us, hasn't it? Tell about about a time you accidentally missed a payment.
It really pis… um… got me mad. No not missing the payment but the company’s response.
I never missed a payment for my electricity since I moved into the house in 1991. Well I missed one in March.
I got this letter from them and in big bold red letters it said that if I didn’t pay the bill in ten days my electricity would be turned off and they will notify the credit bureau!
I also didn’t pay the phone and cable companies. The phone company never sent anything they just added a late fee and the cable company sent a letter that said “Ops… did you forget something?”
My guess is that during the blizzard that we had in March that the mail got blown away.

2) He also references a dream that keeps him awake. Do you have any recurring dreams?
Nope and I don’t even remember my dreams

3) He sings about the face you see in the crowd. Tell us about someone you see regularly, but don't really know.
Dave.
We go back probably fifteen years.
I was at a True Colors conference and we attended a workshop Transgender 101 together he sat in the chair next to me. After the workshop he asked me question about being trans. Well just about every conference after that we usually met in between workshop walking in the hallway, our conversation is usually “how was your year?” Just last week we bumped into each other at the LGBT film festival.

4) He mentions the book that you just can't put down. What's the last book that you finished?
Champions of Time (The After Cilmeri Series Book 15) by Sarah Woodbury

5) Ronnie Milsap is a big fan of new technology, and believes the advancements make both his professional and personal lives easier. What about you? Do you embrace new technology? Or do you long for the good old days, when we weren't so connected to personal devices?
Yes and no. I don’t go out of my way to get new technology; the fact that I still have a flip phone bears it out.

6) As a child, Ronnie used to surreptitiously listen to late night radio, especially gospel broadcasts. When you were a kid, what rule did you break again and again?
I had a halo around my head, it was in my late teenager years that I turned into a hellon.

7) Country star Blake Shelton says Ronnie Milsap was a big influence on his music. Do you watch Blake on The Voice?
Who on what?

8) In May, Ronnie appeared at the Choctaw Casino in Grant, OK. Do you enjoy games of chance?
Nope. But I do like playing games, on the first Tuesday of the month I meet with a group of senior women and we play board games. Last Tuesday we played a mean game of Qwirkle.

9) Random question -- When did you last "do it yourself" and repair something around the house or yard?
A very, very long time ago but… you know there is always a but.
I bought a battery for my tablet but now I have to work up the courage to change it.

A Walk Through A Salt Marsh

Yesterday I joined the Massachusetts  Audubon Society, what brought about that? It was a walk through salt marsh and pine woodlands at the Wellfleet Bay wildlife sanctuary.

So here are some of the photos that I took yesterday…

A little bit about the photos, they both are HDR or High Dynamic Range. What that means is that I took three photo, one 2 f-stops under, one the exact f-stop, and one 2 f-stops over. In other words one was under exposed, one the correct exposure, and one was over exposed and then the three were combined. What that does is allow the details in the shadows to stand out and the bright areas also have more details.

Then using Adobe Lightroom I adjust the composite photo be adding more color and contrast.

This was first light for my new lens, Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR






When I was walking on the boardwalk I saw all these little holes on the march and my first thought was clam breathing holes, as I walked by something duck in the hole and I thought it was the clam’s neck but then I saw this little guy…


One of the many flowers along the path.



Friday, June 08, 2018

Another Victory

We need all that we can get, this time it is for healthcare.
A judge has struck down Iowa's Medicaid ban on transgender transition-related care.
Here's why.
The Des Moines Register
By Courtney Crowder
June 8, 2018

Dr. Nicole Nisly spent the last six months telling her transgender patients to wait and see what happens.

Two transgender women had filed a lawsuit challenging Iowa's blanket Medicaid ban on transition-related care after years of dealing with denials and headaches regarding their health coverage.

Just hang on, Nisly told patient after patient, and a judge will decide if the right to transition-related care deemed medically necessary should override the state's ban.

As of Thursday, the wait was over.

Chief District Judge Arthur Gamble ruled in favor of Carol Ann Beal of northwest Iowa and EerieAnna Good of the Quad Cities, agreeing that the state's ban violated both the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the state constitution.

The judge ordered the Department of Human Services to approve the women's requests for coverage.
[…]
The question of the "medical necessity" of many of these procedures often lies at the heart of conversations about transition-related care.

When prescribed by a doctor, all forms of transition-care, including surgeries, are recommended by most professional medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
Of course they now have to fight all the roadblocks that will be thrown in their way. Here in Connecticut the insurance companies have become experts in all the ways of delaying coverage.

"A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet"

Shakespeare might have had a different idea about names but for us a name is important.

One this that is important for us is being able to change the name and gender on our birth certificates, we need it to get a job, a passport and other identity documents.
How Birth Certificates Are Being Weaponized Once Again
A century ago, birth certificates were used to segregate the South. Today, they’re being used to impose binary identities on transgender people.
The Atlantic
By Garrett Epps
June 8, 2018

When Walter A. Plecker died in August 1947, his “death was considered a gift by many,” writes historian Arica L. Coleman in her searing history, That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia. “It marked the end of one of the most virulent, bureaucratic, and racist regimes in the history of [Virginia] and the nation.”

Six decades later, however, Plecker’s ghost still sometimes shows his face—most recently in litigation about the rights of transgender Americans.

Plecker was Virginia’s registrar of vital statistics from 1912 to 1946. He played a leading role in creating and enforcing the grotesque racial dictatorship called segregation, which ruled the South from the 1890s until 1964—and whose heritage still divides and degrades the region today.
I thought birth certificates was something that were used forever and not a recent invention, so this is an eye opener that it was created to enforce segregation.
Plecker would, I suspect, not be surprised to learn that in 2018, the birth certificate is being used as a weapon against transgender people. To him, the birth certificate always was a weapon; he deployed it in a nearly 40-year campaign of racial terrorism against Virginia’s black residents—and a disturbingly successful attempt at what Coleman calls “pencil genocide” against the state’s Native American population. It was particularly powerful in his hands because he was one of the architects of Virginia’s notorious Racial Integrity Act, passed in 1924 to prevent racially mixed marriages. Enforcing the Act required the state to maintain comprehensive records of its residents’ race. The race had to be recorded on the birth certificate, and Plecker policed that record-keeping ruthlessly. The birth certificate, he believed, was a key part of preserving the purity of the white race. Under the law, there were two and only two answers: “white” or “colored.” The notation was important: It would determine whom the individual could marry, where he or she could seek medical care, and even where he or she could be buried.
And once again birth certificates are being used against us,
The infamous “bathroom bills”—passed and partially repealed in North Carolina, and proposed in more than a dozen other states—were also birth-certificate based; they would make binding for life the assignment of sex performed at birth. In Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, decided last year by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Ash Whitaker, a transgender boy, was denied permission to use the boys’ bathroom despite two letters from his physician. At oral argument, the district argued instead that it would only accept “a birth certificate that designated his sex as male.” The appeals court, holding for Ash, noted the “arbitrary nature” of reliance on birth certificates.

Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board was decided last month by the Fourth Circuit; Grimm, a transgender boy, was blocked from use of the boys’ room after parent complaints. Even when a Virginia court granted him an amended birth certificate, the school board would not budge, saying that his “biological gender” was still female. “The board’s argument,” the appeals court wrote, “rings hollow.”
Connecticut uses sanity for our birth certificates; you can change your gender with only a letter from a healthcare provider or therapist. They seal your old birth certificate and issue a brand new certificate.

The biggest argument against changes the document is that it is a “historic” document but I have no idea what they meant by that, does anybody know what they mean? It is only a document to prove that you are a child of your parents and that you are a U.S. citizen.
Faulker University law professor Adam J. McLeod argues that these changes to birth certificates should not be made:
… the correspondence between a child’s identity and natural parentage is precisely why birth certificates list the child’s actual, biological parents. As embodied beings, our identity is constituted in large part in our biological reality. Each of us inherits (for better and worse) the biological basis for his identity from his father and mother. To record as parent someone who is not the child’s biological parent is to make a permanent misstatement about the child’s identity.
It seems clear, however, that what we call birth certificates are not scientific or medical documents. When a baby is born, hospitals fill out and file what is called a form attesting to a “live birth,” which contains information about parentage, weight, sex, and general health and is shared with public-health authorities. The birth certificate, issued later, is primarily used as a form of identification. It is frequently altered later in life—most commonly after adoption, when most states allow the adoptive parent or parents to be substituted for those recorded at birth. Transgender people seek the same opportunity to make their birth certificates match their present identity.
Down in Puerto Rico the court got it right…
The right to identify our own existence lies at the heart of one’s humanity. And so, we must heed their voices: “the woman that I am,” “the man that I am.” Plaintiffs know they are not fodder for memoranda legalese. They have stepped up for those whose voices, debilitated by raw discrimination, have been hushed into silence. They cannot wait for another generation, hoping for a lawmaker to act. They, like Linda Brown, took the steps to the courthouse to demand what is due: their right to exist, to live more and die less.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

Life Goes On


I am sitting outside on a swing relaxing after a four hour drive up to the Cape. Last night I was running around doing last minute errands and this morning I did my packing. Since I woke up at 2 AM and took a sleeping pill I didn’t wake up until 8:30, packed the car and headed out for the Cape at a little after ten.

I got up here around 2:30 and checked my email. There was an email from a producers about being on their show on the 26th, I emailed her my cell number and since I have no bars the call went something like Hell... this is Liz from ...cast ...makers ... ing ... out being on news...ers, so she is going to email me.

Tonight I am going out for pizza and tomorrow bright and early go to the National Seashore and the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary for a photo shoot, then up to P’town to buy some food for the weekend, go to the town hall and get my town beach pass.

On Saturday some friends are coming up and then home on Monday.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

More Pushback, This Time In Sports

Boys and girls are pretty much the same until the hormones kick in during Tanner Stage II*. Until then there is not much difference between us.
Coaches, Parents Question Policy For High School Transgender Athletes
Hartford Courant
By Lori Riley
June 5, 2018

The success of transgender female athletes participating in high school track and field events has parents, athletes and coaches in some communities calling for a change in the current rules, as they question a possible competitive advantage.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports in the state, allows athletes to compete in the gender specific sport in which they identify. Continued success by transgender athletes has prompted two petitions — one started in Glastonbury and another in Plainville — from critics who say transgender athletes have an advantage. Together, the petitions have about 150 signatures, though neither has been submitted to CIAC officials.

“I think it’s unfair to the girls who work really hard to do well and qualify for Opens and New Englands,” said Glastonbury sophomore sprinter Selina Soule, who finished sixth in the 100-meter State Open final Monday. “These girls, they’re just coming in and beating everyone. I have no problem with them wanting to be a girl.”
My question is where is the data?

They have made some allegations without any data, just because one trans person won doesn’t mean that trans girls have an advantage. As far as I know this is all observational data.

I am not an expert on sports medicine but the athletic associations have including the IOC and I imagine also the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, have done research on trans athletes.
Biological advantage can also vary, according to Dr. Myron Genel, a Yale professor emeritus of pediatric endocrinology and a consultant to the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission on issues relating to gender identity in elite athletic competition. Because young males, in general, mature later than females, a natal male (a person born a biological male) may not necessarily have an advantage over a natal female depending on the age of the person and their development.

“There is no such thing as a level playing field,” Genel said. “Athletes succeed because in part of special traits they have or traits that others may not share. Or they had the good fortune of having good training facilities and a good training program.

“You cannot necessarily assume any one of these girls is succeeding because they have not fully converted their gender. I say this without knowing these kids but it may have nothing to do with it.”
I have to wonder if parental bias isn’t present here… my child lost and there must be a reason why she lost and we happen to be a handy scapegoat.

In an Editorial note, the editor said,
Last, there are those who argue we are ignoring the fact that a transgender girl may have an “unfair” advantage. But what is fair or unfair in sports is, to a degree, subjective. Tall people have an advantage on the basketball court. Athletes whose parents can afford to send them to year-round training have a clear-cut advantage in soccer, tennis and other sports. Our notions of what is fair and unfair are often driven by our own frames of reference.
*Tanner Stage II is when secondary sexual characteristics begin such as puberty hairs, breasts in girls begin to develop in girls and beards in boys.

The Battle Never Ends

I just found out for some reason Blogger stopped emailing me the comments to be approved so I had over a dozens comments to approve. It also looks like they haven't been sending me all the comments to be approved for almost a year!

We are one nation. We are made up of many races, many religions, many nationalities; we are a very diverse country.

Many people have fought for our country from native American “Code Talkers” to the Tuskegee Airmen to the 442nd Infantry Regiment to trans, lesbians, and gays, they have all shared foxholes together.
Pride Flag in Veterans Park Brings Controversy, Town Forum
A local veteran is calling the show of support to the LGBT community "a travesty."
NewNowNext
By Jeff Taylor
June 4, 2018

A rainbow flag is flying high in Veterans Park in a small Maine town for Pride month, and not everyone is pleased with the show of support.

One veteran in particular, John Mixon, is causing such a fuss over the inclusive gesture made by the town of Ogunquit that a community forum is being planned to quell the tension.

Mixon says flying the pride flag is disrespectful to veterans, calling it “a travesty.” This in spite of the fact that many veterans are members of the LGBT community.
WGME said that Mixon,
Mixon is a commander with the Wells-Ogunquit American Legion Post 143.

For Mixon, it is not about what kind of flag will be going up Friday afternoon at the Main Street park.

"These three flags [The American, state and POW flags] that are flying here now represent all veterans gay, straight, black, white-- whatever kind of veteran they are represented here in Veterans Park," he said.
Somehow I don’t think that is the real issue with him.

The mayor said that any flag is welcome there, that they only have to petition to have their flag flown. The governor has come out on the side of the anti-flag people.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

And Now All Six States

All of the New England states will now have protection for us; New Hampshire was the last state to pass a gender inclusive non-discrimination law.
Transgender Bill Awaiting Sununu's Signature Celebrated At Concord Pride Event
NHPR
By Savannah Maher
June 4, 2018

Members of New Hampshire's LGBTQ community kicked off Pride month in style Saturday. There were colorful costumes, musical performances, and drag queens on the State House lawn.

But this year, attendees had something extra to celebrate. A bill, passed by the Legislature earlier this spring, will include gender identity in New Hampshire's civil rights laws.

Governor Chris Sununu has said he'll sign it. When he does, transgender residents will be legally protected against discrimination.
It was a long battle to get the law passed, the first time the bill was introduced not even the bill sponsored voted for it. NBC reported,
The bill, which passed the House in March, would ban discrimination based on gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations, in addition to the protections that already exist based on race, sex, religion and sexual orientation. It passed the Senate 14-10, with four Republicans joining all 10 Democrats in voting yes.
Now on to New York!
Why a Groundbreaking Trans Rights Bill Has Failed in New York State For 11 Straight Years
Into
By: Nico Lang
21 May 2018

For the 11th consecutive year, New York has failed to pass a groundbreaking transgender rights bill shielding trans people from discrimination.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) was defeated on Tuesday by a Senate vote of five to four, meaning New York will soon be the only state in New England lacking laws on the books preventing transgender individuals from bias in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
[…]
Although the majority Democratic New York Assembly approved GENDA by a 100-43 margin earlier this month, the landmark bill was defeated in the upper house of the legislature the same way it has for more than a decade: along party lines.

The five Republicans on the majority conservative Senate Committee on Investigations and Government and Operations all voted against the trans rights bill. These politicians are Sens. Martin Golden of Brooklyn, Andrew J. Lanza of Staten Island, Terrence Murphy of Yorktown, Thomas O’Mara of Big Flats, and Elaine Phillips of Flower Hill.
First we need to work to keep Massachusetts public accommodation law and then we need to work to change the Senate in New York.

Um… Nico, I don’t know how to tell you this but New York in not one of the six New England states.

I Don’t Know About You, But It Is Not A Sure Thing

We have another nail biter coming up this November and it is not a candidate.
Repeal of transgender protections unlikely
Poll shows 52% of voters support keeping law in place
CommonWealth
By Maeve Duggan
June 1, 2018

VOTERS IN MASSACHUSETTS this November will be asked whether to uphold or repeal a 2016 law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in public places. The law allows transgender  people to use bathrooms and lockers rooms consistent with their gender identity, rather than their sex at birth.

The idea of repealing the law does not fare well in terms of public support. A new WBUR poll out this week shows only 38 percent support repeal, while 52 percent support keeping it in place. An earlier Suffolk University/Boston Globe survey, taken before the law went into effect, showed a similar 53 percent of voters supported the proposal at the time.
So what can we do?

Well Harvey Milk had the right idea in 1978, 
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.
We must come out, it changes people minds, the article goes on to say…
Pew also found that knowing someone who is transgender makes a difference on this question; 60 percent of those who know a transgender person think they should be able to use the restroom conforming to their identity, compared to 47 percent among those who do not know someone who is  transgender. This “proximity effect” is reminiscent of the debate over same sex marriage. Before the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage nationwide, those who were close with a gay or lesbian person were more likely to support their right to marry.

But the proximity effect is likely to be less potent than it was in the public debate over same sex marriage. As recently as 2017, just 37 percent of Americans said they know someone who is transgender – far fewer than the 87 percent who said in a 2013 poll that they know someone who is gay or lesbian.
Let’s face it a two percent lead is not encouraging, it is within the margin of error of the poll.

The haters cannot win and there is going to be big money coming in from out-of-state bigots. Massachusetts is going to be the battle cry for the evangelical Christians, for the white supremacists, for the homophobes and transphobes. You are going to see the most repulsive ads. You are going to see the dirtiest grubbiest man coming out of bathrooms. You are going to see Pride portrayed in the worst possible light.  You are going to see staged incidents.

When Harvey Milk made his plea, California was in the middle of a ballot initiative just like the one that Massachusetts is in now. They were caught up in the Anita Bryant “Save the Children” to criminalize homosexuals; Save Our Children was a coalition of conservative Christians. Sound familiar?

The only way to counter this blitz of hate and lies is with us being out.

Monday, June 04, 2018

More On Pride Month

How many time have you heard heterosexuals complain that they don’t have a Pride so why should we?
Why we have LGBTQ Pride and not 'Straight Pride'
There is a level of social and systemic privilege not afforded to many members of the LGBTQ community in North America
USA Today
By Chris Hanna, Opinion contributor
June 1, 2018

Every time a month or week — or even a day — purporting to honor the achievements of a minority group starts, in storms some seldom-silent members of the majority with cries of “What about us?”

In February, it’s, “Well, what about White History Month?”

In March, some men will decry the need for an International Women’s Day, celebrated on the 8th.

June is Pride Month, a time to reflect on and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history. Undoubtedly — and like clockwork — some will wonder: But what about "Straight Pride"?
Chris goes on to list the reasons…
Pride is inherently political
Pride has been celebrated every year in June since 1970 after the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, when police raided the Stonewall Inn.
[…]
Visibility and equality
These fights for acceptance and equality aren’t over.

Living proudly and openly in societies where your well-being (emotional, physical, professional) is constantly at risk is nothing short of brave. The fact that we are seeing more people live openly and honestly despite these challenges is a miracle.
I read some of the comments and I have a reply to the hetero' comments…

  • When was the last time you were beaten by a baseball bat because of you sexual orientation?
  • When was the last time a person was stabbed 19 times because of their gender identity
  • When was the last time you were fired because of your sexual orientation or gender identity?

Have you thought that maybe one of the things that we are celebrating is that we made it through another year alive?



No surprise here…
The Trump White House Ignored LGBTQ Pride Month for the Second Year
"Why are Trump and Pence so insistent on erasing us?”
Teen Vogue
By Emma Sarran Webster
June 3, 2018

Three days into Pride Month, countless people (celebs included) and companies have already paid homage to the month of LGBTQ+ visibility and celebration. The White House is not among them.

For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump’s White House left Pride Month out of its list of proclamations declaring June National Ocean Month, National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, National Homeownership Month, and National African-American Music Appreciation Month.

The only acknowledgement of Pride Month from the Trump administration has come from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who released a brief statement on June 1. “The United States joins people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Month, and reaffirms its commitment to protecting and defending the human rights of all, including LGBTI persons,” the statement read in part. He also referenced the fact that LGBTI people in other parts of the world face violence and arrest, and stated that the U.S. “stands firmly with you as you exercise your human rights and fundamental freedom.”



Speaking of Pride last night I went to the 31st Connecticut LGBT Film Festival “Trans Shorts Night” and there was a good turnout for it, there was maybe forty or fifty people who attended last night which was a good attendance for the festival during a non-opening or closing night.

I liked all but one of the shorts, the one I didn’t like had too much sex for me (Pre-Drink) but the last short had everyone in tears of joy.
Mrs. McCutcheon     (New England Premiere)
Dir. John Sheedy, 2017, Australia, 17 min

Ten-year-old Tim always felt he was born in the wrong body. Now he’s at his third school and once again having trouble settling in and being accepted by his classmates. But a school dance is about to revolutionize it all.

Breaking News... Disaster!

It is the ruling that we have been dreading!

It is now reality… we can be discriminated against just by claiming “it is against my religion!”
In narrow ruling, Supreme Court gives victory to baker who refused to make cake for gay wedding
The opinion did not address the larger question of whether businesses can refuse to serve gay and lesbian customers.
NBC News
By Pete Williams
June 4, 2018

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court gave a boost to advocates of religious freedom on Monday, ruling that a Colorado baker cannot be forced to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, in a case that involved marriage equality and protection from discrimination.

But the opinion was a narrow one, applying to the specific facts of this case only. It gave no hint as to how the court might decide future cases involving florists, bakers, photographers and other business owners who have cited religious and free-speech objections when refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2015 same-sex marriage decision.

In the 7-2 decision, the court said legal proceedings in Colorado had shown a hostility to the baker's religious views. Monday's ruling was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also wrote the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision.
This is what we feared!

There is a small ray of hope in the ruling, in that the ruling just involves this case and now discrimination against us… hopefully.

And this is what I fear,
The Supreme Court's decision means that business owners cannot be successfully sued for refusing on religious grounds to provide services to same-sex couples, even in the 21 states with human rights laws similar to Colorado's ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Say goodbye to all our hard won laws.

This creates a two tier system of justice; no longer do we have laws that apply to everyone. Now we have laws that certain people do not have to obey!

Not only does this bring in to question state laws but also the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I foresee in the not too distant future someone refusing to serve or make a cake or whatever a black or a Muslim. I can foresee an interracial couple wanting a wedding cake and being denied it because “it is against my religion.”



Update 12:55

From the Huffington Post...
But the court did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views.

The commission had said Phillips violated the Colorado anti-discrimination law that bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012.

Two of the court’s four liberals, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, joined the five conservative justices in the ruling authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

“The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote, referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.