Friday, March 23, 2018

In High Places

More and more trans people are being appointed to high government positions, President Obama had about a dozen trans people in key government positions and a trans women has just been appointed to a Pennsylvania cabinet position.
Levine becomes PA’s first trans cabinet member
Philadelphia Gay News.
By Kristen Demilio 
March 21, 2018

The Pennsylvania Senate this week confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine, along with three other women, to cabinet-level positions, making Levine the commonwealth’s first-ever transgender individual to reach this level of government.

Levine, who was already serving as Pennsylvania’s Physician General — also a first for the trans community — was appointed Secretary of Health, joining the appointments of Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman.

As Physician General, Levine initiated the effort to establish opioid-prescribing guidelines in Pennsylvania. She also has led an LGBT workgroup on behalf of the governor’s office to promote fair and inclusive access to healthcare.

Levine, who specializes in pediatrics and psychiatry, “is firm in her stance, but professional and gentle in her delivery,” said Dane Menkin, clinical operations director of the Mazzoni Center and a member of the workgroup. “She takes issues that could spark conflict and de-escalates them.”
Hmm… I am a little surprised to see her appointment because the Senate is controlled by the Republicans while the governor is a Democrat.

The classes went very good, I didn’t finished the slide set in my presentation but I left them with a pdf copy of the PowerPoint. I might see them again at the March For Our Lives rally tomorrow in Hartford, they will get extra credit for attending the rally.

I’ve Been Taken In…

It seems like yesterday’s post might not have been on the up and up, according to Cristan Williams at the Transadvocate the author of the Slate article didn’t report the conclusion of the research accurately.
Slate wants you to be concerned that, “A Disproportionate Number of Autistic Youth Are Transgender.” Here’s why that concern is BS.

Cited are the following papers:
  • Gender identity disorder in a girl with autism —a case report, 1997
  • A 2017 Atlantic article that itself cites a 2010 paper titled, Autism Spectrum Disorders in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents
  • A 2016 paper titled, Gender Dysphoria and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review of the Literature that predominately considers a pre-2013 dataset.
In fact, the 2016 study warns researchers that:
Notably, 1 study explored the link between the DSM-IV diagnosis GID and ASD in a clinical sample of children and adolescents using the more comprehensive Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO), a semistructured 2- to 4-hour interview. This study identified 1 child (of 52 with GID) who also met criteria for ASD according to the DISCO… In conclusion, current research has not established an overrepresentation of GD among those with ASD or the converse.
Yup, this is the paper that Slate cites as an example of supporting that:
A.) There is a consensus that “gender-dysphoric youth are more likely to be autistic than would be expected based on autism rates in the general population”; and,
B.) “This co-occurrence has implications for the treatment of both gender dysphoria and autism in young people”
The Slate article states, “Research on this phenomenon goes back to at least the 1990s, when the first case study of an autistic child with gender dysphoria (then called gender identity disorder) was published. As studies investigating the co-occurrence (or correlation) between gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have trickled in, there is a growing consensus in the medical community that the two do co-occur at disproportionate rates.”
Consider the following from a 2018 paper published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:
More recently, growing attention has been paid to a putative relation between gender dysphoria (GD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This concept has become particularly popular in the lay press. Some individuals have gone so far as to suggest that transgender identity is a result of underlying psychopathology, with ASD being one example. These conclusions are not supported by extant research, and practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists should be aware of the literature on this topic and its limitations.
This paper is titled, “Gender Dysphoria” and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Is the Link Real?

As this paper correctly notes, the idea that Autism and GD share a link has, “become particularly popular in the lay press.” If you care to see how these misconceptions are used as propaganda, check out the way this misconception is used on this ex-trans site, a site that recently helped publish an ex-trans booklet targeting schools and school children. Click here to see the 100s of news articles on google fretting over the link between autism and being trans.
So I guess I was suckered in to reporting the Slate article.

What I do see is that many of trans children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD and other spectrum disorders; that many time when a child socially transitions all misdiagnosed symptoms disappear and the child begins living a normal life.

She ends the article with…
While it’s possible there is, in fact, a link between autism and being trans, the reality is that we do not have evidence to substantiate that hypothesis. Until we have clear data that substantiates the claims Slate and others regularly make, we need to remain agnostic to such claims, no matter how often these claims are made. While there are certainly autistic people who have gender dysphoria (just like there are autistic people who are GNC or gay) this reality doesn’t mean that being GNC, gay, or GD is any more likely than the general population to be autistic.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Is There A Link?

Or is it because the dysphoria mimics many of the symptoms of ADHD or Autism? It is because therapists only look for the oblivious and don’t probe deeper?
A Disproportionate Number of Autistic Youth Are Transgender. Why?
By Evan Urquhart
March 21, 2018

Gender specialists first noticed decades ago that a large number of people who seek treatment for gender dysphoria also seemed to have autistic traits. Research on this phenomenon goes back to at least the 1990s, when the first case study of an autistic child with gender dysphoria (then called gender identity disorder) was published. As studies investigating the co-occurrence (or correlation) between gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have trickled in, there is a growing consensus in the medical community that the two do co-occur at disproportionate rates. This consensus is based on numerous studies reporting that gender-dysphoric youth are more likely to be autistic than would be expected based on autism rates in the general population. (This may also hold true for adults, although the research on adults is sparser.) This co-occurrence has implications for the treatment of both gender dysphoria and autism in young people, and hints at a connection between the biological causes of both transgender identity and ASD.

“We have enough evidence, across multiple studies internationally, to say that autism is more common in gender-diverse youth than in the general population,” said John Strang, a neuropsychologist and founder of the Gender and Autism Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington. Strang authored a 2014 analysis that found that more than 5 percent of autistic youth sampled for his study also displayed some level of desire to be the other gender, according to parental reports. (He cautioned that it’s too soon to say what the exact percentage in the overall population may be.) Another widely referenced study found that 7.8 percent of young people being treated for gender dysphoria at a clinic in Amsterdam had a confirmed diagnosis of ASD.

These studies seem to support the hypothesis that transgender identities are rooted in biology, especially when combined with other studies pointing to a strong heritable component of transgender identity. A biological basis for transgender identity is still highly contested, although the science has been pointing toward that explanation for several years. Researchers believe that autism itself is highly heritable, so a link between autism and gender identity could even provide some direction for researchers hunting for genes associated with transgender identity.
Two things, first we cannot get hung up on a biological component of gender dysphoria, there might be many other reason for GD besides biological causes. Also we cannot say that the two are linked; there are many autistic children who are not trans.
On the other hand, it’s possible that autism is overrepresented among trans youth because autistic people are less concerned with social norms and less likely to bow to social pressures that keep other trans people from coming out. Our ability to study gender dysphoria and diversity is limited by the fact that there are such strong social pressures, starting in early childhood, to conform to gendered expectations. There’s no way of knowing how many people hide their transgender identity, so we can’t know for sure whether studies of openly transgender people are representing the full picture at this time.
It can be as simple as asking questions about their gender identity.
One practical outcome of this research is that clinicians are recommending that autistic youth should be screened for gender dysphoria—and that clinics that work with gender-dysphoric youth should screen clients for autism as well. Young people who are found to have both need individualized, compassionate care, and they and their families also need to know that they are not alone. Strang cautioned that ASD should not be viewed as a negative for transgender people, because the ability to ignore social pressure can be very freeing for this group: “Autistic people may be more bold and individualistic, less swayed by social expectations. Some of the front-line leaders of the trans rights movement have been trans and autistic—and there’s a beautiful focus, for many of them, on being themselves and not bending to social expectations of what others expect them to be.”
The other thing we have to be aware of comorbidity.

We cannot block a child’s transition just because they’re autistic or if they have any other medical or mental illness. The governing factor should be can they make an informed consent to transition.

Update: 7:55 PM
The TransAdvocte reports that this article if flawed... Tomorrow post will look at her reserach.

I Have Said…

…That human rights should not be subject to a popular vote.
Anchorage voters to decide on anti-transgender "bathroom" law pushed by far-right extremists
Voters in Anchorage, Alaska are deciding the fate of an anti-transgender “bathroom” initiative in the city’s first vote-by-mail election (ballots are due by Election Day, Tuesday, April 3).
By Brendan Joel Kelley
March 21, 2018

Proposition 1, on the ballot due to the signature-gathering efforts of the far-right anti-LGBT Alaska Family Council (AFC), would overturn some protections enshrined by the Anchorage Assembly’s (the city’s legislative body) 2015 nondiscrimination law, and require city-owned changing facilities and restrooms to be designated for persons of the same sex listed on their birth certificate. The current nondiscrimination law being targeted by the Alaska Family Council and its allies entitles people to use bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms that are “consistent with their gender identity.”

Anchorage, which last year elected the state’s first two openly gay politicians, Christopher Constant and Felix Rivera, to the municipal assembly, has a long history with anti-LGBT culture wars, and the Alaska Family Council, led by its director Jim Minnery, has been the tip of the spear in attempts to deny LGBT equality over the last decade.

Minnery and the Alaska Family Council, with support from the national anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (of which Minnery’s cousin Tom was once chairman), led the campaign against Anchorage’s Proposition 5 in 2012, which would have added sexual orientation and transgender identity to the city’s civil rights code. The initiative failed after an ugly campaign against it that included anti-transgender cartoon ads former Governor Tony Knowles described as “intentionally stigmatizing” and “dehumanizing.”
Much like in the 2012 campaign, Minnery and the Alaska Family Council are relying on scare tactics like the debunked “bathroom predator” myth to convince Anchorage residents to vote yes on the initiative.
What gets me is that these so called “Family” organizations don’t even blink an eye to lying, creating hate and fear. I don’t know about you but these are not family values, family values are love and acceptance.

Let us hope that love wins out over hate.

This morning I am up at the Legislative Office Building at an “Action” to support the nomination to Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

When Justice McDonald was appointed to the Supreme Court his vote in Senate and House was almost unanimous now it is split right down party lines.

The question is what has changed?

The Republicans claim it was his vote about the death penalty* but other judges who ruled the same as Justice McDonald were not grilled on their ruling.

The Republicans claim that he looked researched the law on issues that were not brought up before the court during the trail but the Republicans never questioned any other of the justices during their re-nominating hearings. So why was it an issue with McDonald?

The Republicans claim it is because of a proposed bill he introduced to add more oversite of church funds but that was not an issue when he was voted to the Supreme Court, why is it an issue now?

Is it because he is a personal friend of the governor?

Is it because he is gay?

Is it because conservative money is pouring into the state?

*Back when the legislature voted to repeal the death penalty, the convicts on death row sued saying it was unfair that those convicted before the legislation passed the law still faced the death sentence. Four out of the seven justices agreed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Have You Attended A Trans Support Group?

It seems like support groups have a love them, hate them with the community. There’re some trans people who swear by them and another group of people hate them and wouldn’t set foot in them.
Support group offers window into how Las Vegas treats its transgender residents
Nevada Independent
By Jackie Valley
March 18th, 2018

The circle of chairs just keeps getting larger.

First, it’s only a man and woman sitting on a couch. But then someone takes a chair across the circle. Then another. And another. By the time Blue Montana takes a seat and introduces himself, 13 people surround him. Some are strangers. Some are friends. But in this room — with its dark purple walls, lime-green lockers and orange-tinted floors — Montana wants all to feel welcome and, more importantly, comfortable to be themselves. So his introduction comes with an invitation to do just that:

“My pronouns are he/him,” Montana tells the group. “This week so far was good.”

The introductions continue in that pattern.

 “My name is T. I don’t have a pronoun right now. I think I had a good week.”

“I’m Harper. Female pronouns. My week has been terrible.”

“My name is Geneva. Pronouns she and her. Last week was pretty crappy, and I’d rather not talk about it.”
This is common in support groups, the check-in.

It is just basic peer support group procedure, it give everyone a chance to speak-up. Many times after the check-in the group will go back and ask a member to expand more on their opening comments. Some support groups are more social than support, they have trips out to dinner, movies, or the theaters. But even those trips can be supportive by getting their member out in the public to build up courage for its members.

I used to visit every support group in the state to talk about the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill so I got to know many trans people in the state and also see how their group operates. I still attend two support groups regularly now so much for support but more socially. I see many friends at the meetings. It is also the reason I attend Fantasia Fair, not for the workshops but more for the social aspect.

I am also the treasurer for Connecticut Outreach Society because I saw too many times the treasurer left the group and it was hard to track them down to sign over the bank account to another member so I became the treasurer.

You All Have Seen Those Hateful Comments…

About XY and XX chromosomes or about our anatomy between our legs; well that is 1950s thinking, we have come a long ways since then to understand gender.
Scientists uncover 20 genes linked to being transgender – supporting claims the condition has a physical basis
  • US researchers tested 14 female-to-male and 16 male-to-female patients
  • The latest findings point towards transgender identity having a physical basis
  • Dr Ricki Lewis, a geneticist, said: 'It lends legitimacy, if that needs to be added, that transgender is not a choice but a way of being'

The Daily Mail
By Colin Fernandez Science Correspondent
18 March 2018

Scientists have uncovered 20 genes linked to being transgender – supporting claims that the condition has a physical basis.

Researchers believe the gene variations may contribute to people identifying with the opposite sex.

Critics of transgender identity say the condition is ‘all in the mind’, and transgender people have a psychological problem rather than a medical one. But by highlighting genetic mutations that affect brain development, the latest findings point towards transgender identity having a physical basis.
‘The most promising of these include variants of genes involved in neurologic development and sex hormones.’

Dr Ricki Lewis, a geneticist, said: ‘These are highly reputable folks going about this exactly the right way, searching the genomes of transgender people to highlight which genes they have variants in. It lends legitimacy, if that needs to be added, that transgender is not a choice but a way of being.'
Then there is this article…
What Role Do Sex Chromosomes Play In Transgender People's Identities?
Quora , Contributor
Match 19, 2018

What role do sex chromosomes play in the identities of transgender people? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Sai Janani Ganesan, Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSF, on Quora:
Biological gender and gender identity are two very distinct concepts. Biological gender or sex refers to the anatomy and physiology of a human body, whereas gender identity is influenced by a multitude of factors, most of which we don’t fully understand.

Biological sex is purely determined by the choice of sexual differentiation pathway, which is guided by genes on the sex chromosomes (though not exclusively, for example: WNT4 on chromosome 1). Testis-determining factor (TDF) or sex determining gene Y (SRY) located on the Y chromosome is one such gene. SRY is largely responsible for testis formation. It is not the only gene, and a variety of pathways and proteins are involved in this process of sex differentiation, some even located in the autosomal regions, but SRY is… special.

The sex determining gene Y (SRY) was identified in the 1980s by Peter Goodfellow’s group [2]. Goodfellow’s group and others performed a series of experiments to demonstrate the role of the gene. In one such study, they looked at the genetic information of individuals who were anatomically female and had both XY chromosomes, and individuals who were anatomically male with XX chromosomes [3][4]. They found the SRY gene in an X chromosome in fifty cases of anatomically male with XX chromosomes. In one of the anatomically female case with XY chromosomes, they found a single nucleotide mutation in the SRY gene, that translated to a single amino acid change (from methionine to isoleucine), thus disrupting the testes development process. A single amino acid change from methionine to isoleucine in the SRY gene can cause an embryo with XY sex chromosomes to develop as a female. It is not difficult to imagine that such de novo mutations can also play a role in gender identity. In another study in 1991, they were able to transform female mice embryo to male (anatomically and behaviorally) by simply inserting one single SRY gene [5].
The thing to remember is that there may be many reasons why we are trans and just because you don’t have one medical indicator doesn’t mean you’re not trans. There is only one sure thing that indicates if you are trans or not and it is you. You are the final judge if you are trans.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Something That We Knew

When you talk to a trans person one thing I think everyone would agree once you transition it is like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
Transgender surgery can improve life for most, study confirms
New research uses a transgender-specific survey to assess the well-being of people who underwent gender reassignment survey.
Medical News Today
By Ana Sandoiu 19 March 2018

According to recent estimates, at present, there are 1.4 million transgender adults living in the United States, which represents about 0.6 percent of the country's population.

Studies have shown that transgender people have, overall, a lower quality of life than the general population.

High rates of depression, suicide attempts, and substance abuse have been documented among transgender individuals.

For many transgender people, quality of life improves after they transition. Gender reassignment is often essential for their well-being, with better psychosocial functioning, more stable relationships, and higher levels of contentment and happiness being reported by men and women who have transitioned.

Now, researchers from Essen University Hospital in Germany have developed, for the first time, a specific quality of life questionnaire for trans people who have had gender reassignment surgery.
The results of the study don’t come as a surprise to us,
Dr. Hess and colleagues surveyed 156 people who had all had gender reassignment surgery 6.61 years prior to the study, on average. The survey included open-ended questions regarding the participants' "general, optical, and functional contentedness" with the surgery.

The participants were also asked about their psychosocial well-being and quality of life. The latter was assessed at two different points in time throughout the transition process.

Overall, 71 percent of the participants reported feeling very satisfied with the "optical and functional results" of the surgery, with 76.2 percent of the participants saying that they were able to achieve orgasms.
Over 80 percent of the participants reported seeing themselves as female, and 16 percent said they felt "rather female." The authors conclude:
"We could detect a distinct improvement of general and trans-specific [quality of life] and psychosocial resources in our transgender cohort within [the] transition process."
When I transitioned I sent out a letter to all my cousins and one wrote back…
I remarked to _____ as we were leaving  what a warm and charming host you were and how sorry I was that I never knew you well. Now I understand better why. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
People can see a change in us, for me I was more outgoing.

You Have A Pain In Your Chest And Arms… What Do You Do?

For most people they would call 911 to be taken to an emergency room but for trans people that might be what they fear most.
What It's Like Being Transgender in the Emergency Room
One patient described the experience as making them feel like “the freak show.” But some hospitals are forging a path toward inclusive care.
National Geographic
By Susmita Baral
March 19, 2018

Visiting a hospital emergency room for medical attention can make anyone feel vulnerable. But for transgender patients, the experience can be even more harrowing. Gaps in staff knowledge about transgender health contribute to patients’ uncertainty about receiving prejudice-free, competent care. That in turn leads to alarming statistics about the well-being of the transgender community.

Today, roughly 0.6 to 0.7 percent of the American population identifies as transgender, and these people have disproportionately high rates of illness and death—in part due to widespread reluctance to seek out emergency treatment and even routine checkups over concerns about the quality of care. (Here's how science is helping us understand gender.)

In a study in the February edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, transgender adults who visited the ER overwhelmingly reported that health care providers lacked competency in issues specific to the transgender community. For instance, many providers did not understand the meaning of “transgender,” and they lacked experience with and knowledge in trans-specific treatment, such as the effects of hormone therapy or complications from reassignment surgery.

One subject in particular said prior hospital experiences left them feeling “like the freak show.” Similar encounters led to many participants saying they had avoided seeking out emergency care for fear of mistreatment, discrimination, and harassment.
One trans person I know who was hospitalized recounts a story of their hospital stay; she was in a ward with three other patients, one morning her doctor was leading a group of med students and her doctor was talking about her in the third person and about her being trans all in hearing of the other patients. She said she felt like a specimen on exhibit.
“When you’re that vulnerable, that’s the worst time to have to worry about people reacting to you,” one participant said. Often, the burden falls on patients themselves to educate their health care providers, according to a survey conducted by the National LGBTQ Task Force. But as transgender awareness grows, so does interest in formally educating medical professionals.
Another person tells the story about when she slipped and fell on icy, she could hear the emergency room personnel saying that they didn’t want to deal with “it.”
At New York University Langone Medical Center, transgender actors are trained to serve as so-called standardized patients, people who act out common health scenarios, to better prepare future professionals for patients with non-binary gender identities. Richard Greene, the director of gender and health education at the medical center, says it’s instrumental to have transgender individuals act as patients to keep the training authentic.
I understand that this is being done at a number of Connecticut medical schools.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stigma & Fear

That is what is driving the growing backlash against us especially in schools; it is bad for children who have or are transitioning but it is even worst for the teachers because they face the same bigotry as the students bit also face the possibility of losing their job.
Swampscott won’t renew contract for transgender principal
Boston Globe
By Stephanie Ebbert and James Vaznis
March 15, 2018

By Stephanie Ebbert and James Vaznis GLOBE STAFF  MARCH 15, 2018
The superintendent of Swampscott Public Schools announced Thursday that she will not renew the contract of an elementary school principal who recently came out as transgender and who will remain on paid administrative leave for the rest of the school year.

In an e-mail to the community, Superintendent Pamela Angelakis said she informed principal Shannon Daniels of the decision earlier this week. Daniels’ contract does not expire until June 30, but the district had to notify Daniels by March 15 if the contract was not going to be renewed.

Angelakis did not specify a reason for not renewing the contract for Daniels, who has been on leave for more than two weeks.
Well of course she didn’t give any reason for the firing because it would have been against the law.
Do you really think that Daniels will ever find a job as a teacher again?
Transgender Teachers: In Their Own Voices
By LA Johnson. Clare Lombardo
March 18, 2018

NPR Ed has been reporting this month on the lives of transgender educators around the country. We surveyed 79 educators from the U.S. and Canada, and they had a lot to say – about their teaching, their identities and their roles in the lives of young people. We reported the survey findings here, and followed with this story about how educators are coming together to organize and to share their experiences in the classroom, and in their lives.

We asked our survey respondents to send in a selfie and tell us what they wish others knew about them as a trans- or gender nonconforming (T/GNC) educator. Here are some of their responses.
Here are some of the teachers that they had responses from
Dylan Kapit, special education teacher, New York City
"The one thing I wish people knew about me is that my identity as an educator is the most important one I have."

Benjamin Kennedy, early childhood and higher education, Vermont
"The one thing I wish people knew about being a T/GNC educator is how resilient you must be! Each choice about what pieces or how much of your identity to share is extremely intentional, and fighting off the fear of being 'found out' by unaccepting colleagues or families is exhausting. At the end of the day, it's all worth it – my kids have taught me more about myself and unconditional acceptance than I ever imagined."

Deena Dawn Larsen, English teacher, Manitowoc, Wis.
"A year ago, I legally changed my name. This fall, I fully transitioned at work, presenting as my authentic self in front of my students for the first time. My fear was that my transition would adversely affect the learning. In reality, my transition has been a non-issue. The staff, students, and parents have been amazing. I am able to focus on teaching and students can focus on learning. I am comforted knowing that my students see me as an educator who has their best interest at heart."

Alison Tippett, special education teacher, Massachusetts
"The one thing I wish people knew about being a T/GNC educator is that I am making a choice about my safety every day when I wake up and am out about being non-binary at work. We currently live in a society where it is not always safe for any trans person to be themselves at home, let alone be themselves out in public or in the workplace. I make this choice to be out every day at school because I believe it is my duty as an educator to show students that being one's authentic self is so much more fulfilling than hiding who you are.

"I want my students, and any student in my school, to know that gender norms and stereotypes are not something we need to continue to perpetuate. I want the students in my school to know they have someone they can talk to if they do not have a safe adult at home or in the community to discuss their feelings about gender. I also want my students to know that it is necessary to respect a person's gender identity and pronouns. I know I am not the only trans person that my students will meet and interact with in their lifetime. I am trying to prepare them for a diverse world where they can live with compassion and authenticity. I put my safety at risk every single day because I believe the end result will be so, so worth it."
I noticed one thing in common with all those whose responses NPR published… they all have passing privileges, while the Principal Daniels doesn’t.

Guess Which Party Wants Us Back In The Closet?

Out in Kansas a couple of months ago the Republican Party passed a resolution marginalizing us and now they are trying to justify their resolution.
The Kansas Republican Party is taking a stance on transgender identity
Kansas City Star
By Eric Teetsel
March 18, 2018

Editor’s note:
In February, the Kansas Republican Party voted yes on a resolution to “oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity.” Here the author of the GOP resolution shares his perspectives on the topic. Read another viewpoint from Larry J. Bingham, treasurer of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and chair of it finance committee, here.

In 1856, a new political party held its convention in Philadelphia. They called themselves Republicans.

As violent skirmishes over slavery in “Bleeding Kansas” foreshadowed the Civil War, the delegates took their stand, resolving that “it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism — polygamy, and slavery.”

This legacy of moral clarity and courage is the inheritance of every Republican. It was in that spirit that the delegates at this year’s State Convention of the Kansas Republican Party passed a resolution regarding human sexual identity that I wrote.
A media frenzy then ensued, from local papers and LGBT blogs to a shamefully inaccurate column in The New York Times. For the majority of Kansans, it is stunning that basic biology is now debatable, much less that to defend it is considered “undignified,” “crass,” and “hateful anti-science,” in the words of opponents of the resolution.
Now guess who they quote?
Facts like these are the reason doctors like Paul McHugh professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, put a stop to gender-reassignment surgeries in 1979 (though they resumed last year). It’s not about bigotry or fear or being “anti-science.” I feel transgender identity is sexual ideology spread through shame and intimidation.
Now guess who wrote the editorial?
Eric Teetsel is the president of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. and author of the resolution on human sexual identity recently affirmed by the Kansas Republican Party.
This is what we are up against and they used our own research against us....
Fellow Kansans are suffering and dying because of what I believe is a lie that one’s gender is whatever a person believes it to be. According to a January 2014 analysis by the Williams Institute, in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and based on 2008 data from the National Center for Trangender Equity’s 2008 U.S. Transgender Survey, the rate of attempted suicide for those who experience gender dysphoria is 41 percent — 10 times the national average. A 2011 study in Sweden concluded that those who undergo gender reassignment surgery are 19 times more likely to commit suicide.
They picked and chose snip-bits to back up their hate and ignored all the rest that didn't support their bigotry.

We have to oppose the billionaires backed conservative mass media, bigotry, and lies.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are*

Coming out can make a difference for all trans people. One of the biggest thing that change people minds against us to know a trans person.
Nobody Knew Model Teddy Quinlivan Was Transgender—Here's Why She Came Out
As Told To Naomi Rougeau
March 7, 2018

Last September during New York Fashion Week, I came out publicly as transgender: first in an online interview with CNN Style, then on Instagram, since that’s what you do now when you have a life-changing announcement. If it came as a surprise to people, it’s because I’d already been working as a female model for the past few years.

I actually started taking hormones when I was 17. I grew up in Boston and knew early on that I was very much female, despite my anatomy. I would sneak into my mom’s closet and play dress-up. Unbeknownst to my parents, I would change into girls’ clothing and put on makeup once I got to school. I understood at a young age that fashion is about identity and self-expression, and that we convey gender through clothing. People would say, “Take that dress off; you are a boy!” But I’ve always been rebellious. I thought, Fine, you don’t want me to wear a skirt? I’m gonna wear one every day. I was viciously bullied for it. When I would defend myself, I’d be the one in trouble. Every time in the principal’s office, it was the same spiel: “If you don’t want people to bully you anymore, then conform.”
There’s a stereotype of transgender people based on what’s shown on Maury Povich or Jerry Springer. It’s that there’s something mentally wrong with them, that they are incapable of serving in the military or existing in the workplace normally. But that’s not true at all. I am proof—a successful model who happens to be transgender. And I think fashion, in terms of social power, is the most important industry. Advertising has tremendous impact in terms of who and what we find attractive. It’s a hard sphere to penetrate. But I have.

So I can’t stay silent while a reality TV president actively fights to prevent people like me from living a normal life. There is no evidence to support the notion that transgender people are being perverted in the restrooms of their choosing. If legislation is being made on my behalf as an American citizen, then it’s incumbent on me to speak up for the transgender taxpayers who deserve the same dignity and respect that a cisgender person receives. And if I’ve learned anything from Trump’s election, it’s that literally anything is possible in the twenty-first century. Why can’t a transgender person walk in a Versace show or run for office? She already has—and maybe, one day, I will.
Miqqi Alicia Gilbert says there is “out” and then there is “OUT!”

Once you are out you will never be back in the closet, if you Google my name there are “About 48,300 results.” Transgender Day of Visibility is on March 31 and I don’t know how you can be more visible than having over 48,000 results on Google.

You don’t have to be visible or out to make a difference but you do have to speak up for trans people, as Robin McHaelen the Executive Director of True Colors says “If you hear mean, intervene.”

You have to let your legislators know that anti-trans or anti-LGBT legislation is not acceptable. You have to let your school board know that bans on trans people in school is not acceptable. You don’t not have to be visible but you do have to speak up.

*But please, only if you are safe to come out and coming out is not for everyone… think before coming out because afterward nothing is ever going to be the same.

We Won Another Court Case

Even after the Trump administration said they will no longer back trans discrimination complaint in school the courts are seeing following Trump attempts at marginalizing us.
A court reaffirms a transgender teen’s rights. Will the Education Department follow?
Washington Post
By Editorial Board
March 16, 2018

A 15-YEAR-OLD transgender student who had been barred by his Maryland high school from using the boy’s locker room, which aligned with his gender identity, just scored an important legal victory. A federal judge in Baltimore ruled this week that singling the boy out is discriminatory, “harms his health and well-being,” and is barred by federal and state law.

Other school districts should pay attention and realize that fair treatment of transgender children is not just the right thing to do, but is, in fact, the law. Likewise, we hope this ruling — consistent with other federal court decisions in similar cases — prompts the federal Education Department to revisit the wobbly reasoning used to justify its decision to stop handling complaints from transgender students who have been victimized by prejudice and barred from school bathrooms and locker rooms.
Left unanswered then was how the federal civil rights division would handle complaints from these students. Last month the Education Department said restroom complaints from transgender students are not covered by the 1972 Title IX federal civil rights law. “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” spokeswoman Liz Hill told BuzzFeed News. That parsing of the law conflicts with rulings of two federal appeals courts, the highest courts to consider the scope of Title IX. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 6th and 7th Circuits held that Title IX does guarantee that transgender students be treated consistent with their gender identity. The courts suspended restrictive school restroom policies, determining that transgender students were likely to win at trial. The two rulings, while not binding nationwide, are the law in the jurisdictions covered by the two circuits.

Now comes the same reasoning from U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III in the case of Max Brennan, a teenager living on Maryland’s Eastern Shore who had been barred from using facilities that corresponded with his gender identity because of a policy of Talbot County’s school board. Max was able to bring his case because of the legal assistance he received from the American Civil Liberties Union and FreeState Justice.
Ha! Does anyone think that DeVos and Sessions will change their tune just because they are losing court cases… they will just keep packing the bench with judges who believe in the Bible over the law.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday 9: Danny Boy

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Danny Boy (1956)

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

"Danny Boy" was selected in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This is a sad song of farewell. Who is the last person you said "goodbye" or "so long" to?
A friend who I was with yesterday at a conference in Storrs on the UConn campus.

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State?
I never heard of the state of Massachusetts but I have heard of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Oh, have I told you that I bought a small cottage on Cape Cod in the town of Wellfleet?

3) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day?
Naw, maybe something orange just to stir up trouble.

4) What color makes you look best?
I have no idea, maybe I should make up a poll to find out.

5) Will you drink something green in honor of the day (like a Shamrock shake or a green beer)?
Yuck... I don't know anything that is naturally green to drink and I don't want to drink green food coloring.

6) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm?
Nope. But my mother could look at a field of clover and pick out the four leaf covers  after I spent hours looking for them.

7) Though she's singing an Irish ballad, this week's featured artist, Joni James, is of Italian heritage. Can you think of a song as identified with Italy as "Danny Boy" is with Ireland?
How about the Italian Street Song

8) Soda bread and potato bread are popular in Ireland. Are there any rolls or bread in your kitchen right now?
Yes I have potato hot dog rolls

9) Ireland is known for its whiskey. Do you enjoy Irish coffee (black coffee, whiskey and whipped cream)?
Well not the recipe but rather black coffee, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and whipped cream.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Insurance, Love It Or Hate It

We here in the U.S. are stuck at the whim of the insurance companies, they and not our doctors are make the decision on what is and what is not covered.
Many transgender patients pay cash for gender-affirming surgery
By Lisa Rapaport
March 15, 2018

(Reuters Health) - Even though a growing number of transgender patients now use insurance for gender-affirming surgery, almost half are still paying cash for procedures their health plans don’t cover, a U.S. study suggests.

The proportion of patients getting genital surgery as part of their transition rose from 72 percent in the period from 2000 to 2005 to 84 percent from 2006 to 2011, yet 56 percent paid out of pocket.

Even in the period from 2012 to 2014, about 46 percent of patients lacked insurance for these operations and paid cash, researchers report in JAMA Surgery.
While costs may still keep some people from getting gender-affirming surgery, a limited supply of surgeons also plays a role, said senior study author Brandyn Lau, director of quality and research for the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health in Baltimore.

“We know that patients can spend years on a waitlist for surgery because there have only been a limited number of providers who have committed to making gender-affirming surgery a part of their practice,” Lau said by email.
Many of the trans people that I know are looking overseas, or to surgeons who are just starting to perform Gender Confirming Surgery (GCS).

Above The Law

When that prison gate slams shut and echoes down the hall you no longer have rights.

Many, many prisons do not follow the law. Here in Connecticut the gender inclusive non-discrimination law is ignored; trans women are routinely placed in male prisons.
After transgender inmate was raped, beaten, Texas agrees to clarify LGBT prisoner policies
Dallas Morning News
By Lauren McGaughy, Texas Government Reporter
March 15, 2018

AUSTIN — Texas will clarify its policies regarding the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inmates as the result of a settlement with a former prisoner.

Passion Star, a transgender woman housed in men's prisons, filed a civil rights complaint in 2014 alleging she was repeatedly brutalized during her time behind bars. Star said she asked to be housed separately for a decade before Texas prison officials put her in safekeeping.

The state of Texas and Star recently reached a settlement that was "agreeable to all parties," the LGBT law group Lambda Legal announced Wednesday.

"For years, I was raped and beaten in prison and when I asked for help I was ignored," said Star, who was released last year. "I was hurt, scared and thrown in solitary in hopes that I would be forgotten, but today I can be proud that I never gave up."
Federal courts have ruled many times, but the states ignore their rulings that confining trans prisoners in solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment when trans inmates having done anything to justify the confinement.

Prisons operate in their own world when you enter prison property you surrender all you rights including visitors.
Lawsuit: Prison guards ordered transgender visitor to strip
Chicargo Sun Times

BATON ROUGE, La. — A transgender woman who tried to visit her incarcerated brother claims Louisiana prison officers ordered her to remove her underwear and told her she would have to reveal her genitalia before she could leave the facility.

China Nelson, a 48-year-old New Orleans resident, said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that officers at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola insisted on searching her vehicle after she refused to take off her pants and underwear.

Nelson, who sued under her given name Donald, filed the federal suit against the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections. It accuses several unnamed prison guards of violating her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Nelson’s suit says guards stopped her from entering the maximum-security prison last September after a body screening machine detected an “unknown object” in her pants.

“When an unknown guard stated that she saw ‘something’ in Ms. Nelson’s pants, Ms. Nelson acknowledged that she was born a male as indicated on her driver’s license in an effort to explain the ‘something’ the guard stated she saw,” the suit says.
When I went to do training at a maximum security prison there was a BIG sign that said everything and everyone was subject to searches.

She is going to have a very hard time to prove that it was done because of bias.

Today I will be up at the True Color conference at UConn’s main campus in Storrs. It is the largest LGBT conference in the world with over 3800 attendees over the two days. I am giving a workshop on Trans history.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The name sound deadly with the root word “morbid” with the connotation of being something unhealthy, or disturbing, or unpleasant. But medically it means having coexistence of two or more disease processes. So what it means for us is having one or more mental health diagnoses besides gender dysphoria.

On Facebook this link was just posted…
3 Transition Obstacles I Never Expected as Mentally Ill and Transgender
Everyday Feminism
By Sam Dylan Finch
March 23, 2017

“I think we need to hold off on this,” the therapist tells me, “until you’re doing a little better.”

My heart dropped. I was stunned, sitting in total silence.

This was the third time I’d been given a red light and told not to proceed with top surgery – a surgery I desperately needed, but struggled to access because of my mental illness.

This was a struggle I knew all too well as both mentally ill and trans – a struggle many of my other transgender friends had never even heard of.

Intersectional feminism tells us that the various aspects of our identity will impact our lived experiences – especially as it relates to power and privilege.

This is true for me as a transgender person who is also white, and thus does not experience racism and benefits from white privilege. I think it’s really important to be mindful of the ways that this impacts how I move through the world – and how I can be a better ally to trans people of color.
  • The article goes on to list the three roadblocks he faced.
  • My Clinicians Have Interfered with My Access to Hormones
  • I Keep Being Denied Surgery
  • My Clinicians Don’t Have the Research They Need to Help Me – Because It Doesn’t Exist
Being diagnosed with a mental disorder is not a roadblock to treatment of gender dysphoria per se, there are a number of factors that should be considered.
The Standard of Care says,
3. Assess, Diagnose, and Discuss Treatment Options for Coexisting Mental Health Concerns
Clients presenting with gender dysphoria may struggle with a range of mental health concerns (Gómez-Gil, Trilla, Salamero, Godás, & Valdés, 2009; Murad et al., 2010) whether related or unrelated to what is often a long history of gender dysphoria and/or chronic minority stress. Possible concerns include anxiety, depression, self-harm, a history of abuse and neglect, compulsivity, substance abuse, sexual concerns, personality disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, and autistic spectrum disorders (Bockting et al., 2006; Nuttbrock et al., 2010; Robinow, 2009). Mental health professionals should screen for these and other mental health concerns and incorporate the identified concerns into the overall treatment plan. These concerns can be significant sources of distress and, if left untreated, can complicate the process of gender identity exploration and resolution of gender dysphoria (Bockting et al., 2006; Fraser, 2009a; Lev, 2009). Addressing these concerns can greatly facilitate the resolution of gender dysphoria, possible changes in gender role, the making of informed decisions about medical interventions, and improvements in quality of life.

Some clients may benefit from psychotropic medications to alleviate symptoms or treat coexisting mental health concerns. Mental health professionals are expected to recognize this and either provide pharmacotherapy or refer to a colleague who is qualified to do so. The presence of coexisting mental health concerns does not necessarily preclude possible changes in gender role or access to feminizing/masculinizing hormones or surgery; rather, these concerns need to be optimally managed prior to, or concurrent with, treatment of gender dysphoria. In addition, clients should be assessed for their ability to provide educated and informed consent for medical treatments.

Qualified mental health professionals are specifically trained to assess, diagnose, and treat (or refer to treatment for) these coexisting mental health concerns. Other health professionals with appropriate training in behavioral health, particularly when functioning as part of a multidisciplinary specialty team providing access to feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapy, may also screen for mental health concerns and, if indicated, provide referral for comprehensive assessment and treatment by a qualified mental health professional.
So there is no reason for anyone to be denied Cross-gender Hormone Therapy or surgery if they have been diagnosed with a mental illness; as long as they are able to make an informed consent and have the mental illness under control.

Scott Lively’s Alien Tort Statute Case Update

There is a court case that I am following and it didn’t end well for us. Scott Lively was sued by an organization from Uganda for the violation of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) (you can read about it here and here) and he got off scot free. However, that wasn’t good enough for him.
Homophobic pastor appeals his own legal victory, because judge called him a ‘crackpot’
Pink News
By Nick Duffy
8th June 2017

In a bizarre twist, a homophobic pastor who escaped ‘crime against humanity’ charges is appealing against a ruling in favour of himself – because he is upset that the judge was mean to him.

Massachusetts hate preacher Scott Lively has become one of the world’s most notorious homophobes, by helping ‘export’ anti-LGBT laws to suggestible countries around the world.

The pastor faced a ‘crimes against humanity’ lawsuit from LGBT activists for his role in securing Uganda’s 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act, but a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit this week.

The judge in the case, Michael A Ponsor, described Lively as a “crackpot bigot” who has caused “immense harm” around the world, but ruled that there was no case to be heard as the actions did not take place on US soil.

In a surprise move, Lively has now confirmed he will appeal against that ruling, even though the court ruled in his favour.
From my reading of the act, I think that the judge was wrong; the Alien Tort Act was designed for actions by U.S. citizen abroad and it doesn’t have to involve the actions taking place on US soil. (I know Wikipedia is not a great source to use but here is their description of the Alien Tort Act)

So who is representing Lively?
His legal team from the Liberty Counsel, which is the same ultra-evangelical law firm that represented homophobic Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, accused the judge of pandering to an “LGBT agenda”.
What are some of the other cases they were involved in?

The HRC reports that…
Liberty Counsel’s Staver Defended Reparative Therapists, Calling Laws Banning The Practice “One Of The Greatest Assaults On Children And Families That Has Risen In Recent Times.” Mathew Staver, in an audio report on called Freedom’s Call, said “Last week I had the opportunity to submit a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court and to testify before Congress regarding the attacks on religious freedom of licensed mental health professionals, minors, and their parents. Homosexual activists have attempted to enact laws throughout the country that would silence mental health professionals from expressing the truth that an individual can successfully reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions behavior or identity. These efforts are nothing more than an attempt to censure any viewpoint concerning scriptural teaching on human sexuality. They represent one of the greatest assaults on children and families that has risen in recent times.” The name of the post was ‘Liberty Counsel Defends Minors Against Homosexual Political Activists.”  [Barb Wire, Freedom’s Call, 6/19/2014, AUDIO]
Liberty Counsel’s Staver Said A Third Party Would Take The Place Of Republicans If GOP Gives Up On Marriage, “That’s What Happened With The Issue Of Slavery.” According to World Net Daily, “Mathew Staver is the chairman of Liberty Counsel and has represented the traditional marriage position in in many states around the country. He is appalled at the suggestion that Supreme Court has effectively ended the political debate over marriage. ‘That’s ridiculous. In fact, you can’t have anything such as marriage or life over as a political issue. It’s [absolute] stupidity to have that kind of an opinion. You cannot just simply sit back and allow the Supreme Court or any justice or any judge to undermine something as basic and as fundamental and as necessary and as important as marriage,’ said Staver, who is furious what he sees as the GOP wilting on this issue once it stopped being an easy political winner for the party. ‘They’re cowards, and if Republicans don’t stand up for this, the party will become a non-issue. There will be a third party that will ultimately take its place,’ he said. ‘That’s what happened with the issue of slavery, and there’s no party that’s immune from the situation.’” [World Net Daily, 10/8/2014, AUDIO]
Liberty Counsel Advocated For Biological Mother In Custody Dispute In Jenkins V. Miller Case. According to the Windy City Times, “There have been a number of recent cases across the country in which a biological or adoptive parent tries to claim the other parent has no parental rights. Best known among them is the case of Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, which has grabbed headlines nationally. Miller, the biological mother, asked courts in both Virginia and Vermont to deny Jenkins visitation and custody, and has taken issues to the U.S. Supreme Court five times, without success each time. Miller was eventually ruled in contempt of court for defying a Vermont court order that she allow Jenkins visitation. The court then granted Legal custody to Jenkins. But Miller went hiding with the girl at the end of 2009, and a man accused of helping her leave the U.S. was arraigned in a federal court in April…. In several of these cases, notably Miller v. Jenkins, attorneys from conservative legal organizations such as Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund have represented the biological mothers.” [Windy City Times, 9/14/11]

No Surprise Here

We all know that Trump and Pence hate us and want to force us back into the closet. One of their areas of focus of their hate is trans people in the military, I believe they want us out of the military because of two reason; one they hate our guts and two President Obama was the one who brought about the change in military policy for us.
Trump Is Dragging Feet on Transgender Ban Evidence, Judge Rules
By Erik Larson
March 14, 2018

The Trump administration has repeatedly failed to identify evidence it may use to defend the government’s stalled ban on transgender soldiers, a federal judge in Seattle says.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ordered the government on Wednesday to provide the information -- a standard procedure -- within five days. She criticized the administration’s earlier claims that no such information could be identified because the policy wasn’t yet in effect.

Pechman used President Donald Trump’s July 2017 tweets announcing the ban to challenge the government’s claim, noting the president posted that he made his decision after "consultation with my generals and military experts."
Does anyone really believe that Trump consulted anyone other than religious leaders about trans people in the military?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

No Excuses!

They only want known actors

There are no good trans actors

Trans actors don’t have a track record

Well that cannot be said anymore a trans actress won an Oscar!
Chilean drama 'A Fantastic Woman' addresses transgender rights 
Fantastic foray
Orlando Weekly
By Cameron Meie
March 14, 2018

"Fantastic," like "awesome," has lost most of the power of its original meaning and is now a sullied synonym for great. But in naming his film A Fantastic Woman, Chilean writer-director Sebastián Lelio has embraced all interpretations of the word – political correctness be both damned and respected – to create a film that honors gender identity while challenging our notion of what it means to be transgender.

Marina, a transgender woman and aspiring singer, is in love with Orlando, a wealthy man 30 years her senior. Though their love is unconventional, they have high hopes for their future together – until Orlando dies unexpectedly. Instead of being allowed to grieve, Marina is ostracized by Orlando's family.
Shot and scored beautifully and fashioned with a fittingly deliberate pace – the pace of grief – the film features intriguing supporting performances but is powered by newcomer Daniela Vega as Marin. Chile's first openly transgender model, actress and singer, Vega never strays far from her stoic, mesmerizing, almost one-note performance, but one always gets the sense that she herself has lived a life not dissimilar to her character's.
Deadline Hollywood writes,
The timely title began its career at the Berlin Film Festival in 2017 where it won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay. On Oscar nominations day in January, Lelio told me he and Vega were “remembering how two years ago we were shooting wondering if everything was going to even work. It seems like a long beautiful journey.”

While the multi-layered/multi-genre A Fantastic Woman is “not a cause film,” Lelio has previously told me at its center “is a real beating heart, Daniela’s heart. It is a portrait of a real transgender woman, so it’s undeniable that dimension of the film is crucial… I’m happy to see it well received within the community, but especially how generously it has been received by people have no connection to the community, who have just been exposed to a love story that has a transgender woman. The complexity is beautiful.”
There are so many talented trans actors and actresses out there just begging for work and many of them have won awards for their performances.

  • Rachel Crowl for her performance in “And Then There Was Eve.
  • Michelle Hendley for her 2015 performance in “Boy Meets Girl.”
  • Laverne Cox for her performance in “Orange is the New Black.”
  • Rebecca Root is an award-winning actor and star of BBC Two sitcom ‘Boy Meets Girl’.

Then there are actors such as Candis Cayne, Tom Phelan, Jamie Clayton, Ian Harvie, Mya Taylor, Elliot Fletcher and Alexandra Billings who deserve a chance to star in a major movie.

It is time to stop making excuses why trans parts are given to cisgender actors.

The Old Fears Are Coming Back

We won… but it is all on the verge of being taken away by these so call “religious freedom” laws and the fear is coming back. What will happen if we are rushed to an emergency room only to be told “we don’t want your kind here!”
It’s ‘Scary,’ But Transgender Patients Are Fighting Trump’s Health-Care Discrimination Agenda
If the Trump administration gets its way, doctors will be able to claim a religious or a more nebulous moral objection as an excuse to deny care, gender-affirming or otherwise, to transgender patients.
By Christine Grimaldi
March 13, 2018

Stefi Honey had been with her primary care doctor for five years, visiting as often as every other week without incident. When she began to live openly as a transgender woman, however, the doctor-patient dynamic changed.

Honey’s doctor eyed her dresses and asked if she was “gay,” though sexual orientation and gender identity are not one and the same. The doctor “wasn’t very gentle in the way she was speaking about it,” Honey, 57, recalled in an interview with Rewire.News. Neither were the nurses and office staff. She watched their “giggles” and “snickers” via a door window into the waiting room.
“She looked at me, and then she kind of hemmed and hawed and kind of got this stupid grin on her face, and she said, ‘Well, I just don’t believe in that, and I can’t help you with that,’” Honey said. “I cried. I cried.”
Now and for the rest of her life Stefi is going to have a tinge of fear and anxiety when she goes to a hospital or a doctor’s office.

As Health and Human Services start their department of religious bigotry we are going to all going to be tainted with apprehension as we seek medical treatment.
“What if a doctor wouldn’t put a cast on your broken arm because you’re transgender?” the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) asked in a video recapping various forms of discrimination that could have the administration’s blessing. “These situations aren’t hypothetical—this is what happens when a persons’ care comes second to their doctor’s religious or moral beliefs,” the NWLC explained in an accompanying tweet.

Even hospitals could turn away transgender patients. Catholic hospitals, which operate under religious directives that have been used to deny care, account for one in six acute-care beds nationwide.

The Trump administration is angling to give a giant out to the entire medical profession in the name of “religious freedom,” or religious imposition.
Well we don’t have to worry about that here; we have non-discrimination laws in this state… wrong!

If you remember that under President Obama’s administration they required every hospital that accepted federal Medicare or other federal funding to allow same-sex couples to have visitation rights for their spouses, well the same can apply in reverse.
The proposed regulations are open for public comment through March 27. Commenting allows advocacy groups and concerned members of the public alike to register their discontent and lay the groundwork for legal challenges, though HHS previously tried and failed to hide negative comments about anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ policy.

The National LGBTQ Task Force is collecting comments on the health department’s proposed regulations via an online portal. So is the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). “We strongly encourage you to use your own words, including by sharing personal stories of how discrimination or the fear of discrimination in health care or related services has affected you or someone you love, or why you oppose this rule as a person of faith,” NCTE wrote in its appeal. Some of those stories are already circulating on Twitter under the hashtags #RxforDiscrimination, #LicensetoDiscriminate, and #PutPatientsFirst.
NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin said that speaking up can take many forms, whether that’s “going and complaining to the administration of a hospital about the way you were treated by a provider,” or talking to the press, or fighting in the courts.
The thing is these fears are going to come to fruition unless we act!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I Looked At Life From Both Sides Now

I always loved that song by Joni Mitchell, I always thought it was a good song for trans people because we have literately looked at life from both sides.
What Trans Men See That Women Don’t
“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”
By Charlotte Alter

Three guys are sitting at a Harlem bartop eating fries, drinking whiskey and talking about love. One of them, Bryce Richardson, is about to propose to his girlfriend.
I ask the groom-to-be how he knew his girlfriend was the one. They met at work, he says, and by the time he came out to her, they were already in love. “I said ‘I’m trans, and you’re not gonna want me anyway,” he recalls, unable to keep the smile off his face. “And she said ‘I’m in love with you, I don’t care about that.’” His friend Tiq nods and says, “That’s your wife, right there.”

All three men are trans. But if they hadn’t said so, you wouldn’t have known.
That gives them a unique perspective that a lot of trans women don’t have, many trans women are like me we are not identified as trans until we speak or you get up close. At least for me I don’t know if the way I am treated is because I am seen as a woman or is because I am seen as a trans woman but for the guys they integrate into society perfectly.
Yet experiences of trans men can provide a unique window into how gender functions in American society. In the last few months, I’ve interviewed nearly two dozen trans men and activists about work, relationships and family. Over and over again, men who were raised and socialized as female described all the ways they were treated differently as soon as the world perceived them as male. They gained professional respect, but lost intimacy. They exuded authority, but caused fear. From courtrooms to playgrounds to prisons to train stations, at work and at home, with friends and alone, trans men reiterated how fundamentally different it is to experience the world as a man.

“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin,” says Tiq Milan, a friend of the future groom.
The article goes on to list many of the things that are both a curse and privilege.
Most trans men I spoke to also identified another commonality: Once they transitioned, walking became easier, but talking became harder. To be more specific: walking home after dark felt easier, casually talking to babies, strangers and friends felt harder.

“I have to be very careful to not be staring at kids,” says Gardner. “I can look at a mom and her baby, but I can’t look for too long. I miss being seen as not a threat.” Ditto for kids on the playground and puppies, multiple guys said.

And to a man, everyone said they’d experienced a moment when they were walking at night behind a woman, and suddenly realized that she was walking faster or clutching her purse because she was scared.

“If I start to get too close, I can feel her fear, I can feel that she’s getting upset,” says Milan. “And it’s really just an indication of how dangerous this world is for women.
And if you are a trans man of color it is even harder for you. A trans man once told me before he transitioned no one questioned her right to be in a black neighborhood but as a black man he is always being questioned why a black man is in a white neighborhood.
As a trans man of color, Milan says he feels that the world perceives him as a menace, and his interactions with police officers have gotten much more fraught. “I’ve had people make assumptions that I was dangerous or I was a criminal. I’ve been followed around stores. I’ve seen white women who look physically scared, visibly shaken if there’s just the two of us in a elevator,” he says. “You can’t even ask a cop for directions as a black man.”
Dana Delgardo also says that being a man of color comes with new problems. “I bought a Porsche convertible and I’m afraid to be out late at night after having one cocktail driving that car,” he says. “It deters me from doing things that I think a Caucasian male could probably do without fear of being pulled over by the police.”
A friend who is a project manager for an international engineering firm and has a BSEE and a MBA from well-known universities; before she transitioned in a meeting what “he” said was law. Now in a meeting no one pays any attention to what she said until a man says the same thing. One time she was even asked to get the coffee!

It is a unique perspective that we have on what male privilege is because we either gain or lose the privilege that we have and it becomes very noticeable.

I leave you with Joni Mitchell singing her song Both Sides Now.

Something We Have To Acknowledge

There are trans people who detransition.

For those who have followed the WPATH Standard of Care the rate of detransition is low, only a couple of percent, but it does happen.
A Different Stripe
For eight years, Renee Sullivan identified as transgender. Then it got more complicated.
Psychology Today
By Renee Sullivan,
Published March 7, 2018

One Saturday evening, when I was 26, I got dressed for a night out on the town. I cinched a binder around my chest to flatten my breasts and slipped on a black unisex T-shirt and straight-cut blue jeans. I put on a pair of men's shoes that I'd bought specifically for their chunky soles, which boosted my height a couple of inches, and stood in front of a full-length mirror. I felt pleased with my appearance. I could imagine people seeing me as a man rather than as a woman—and that was the point. But was that what I really wanted? I was no longer sure.
I came out as bisexual and joined my school's LGBT group. At a meeting one day, I picked up a pamphlet that for the first time gave me a detailed definition of what the T in LGBT stood for: people who feel discomfort with their biological sex and its associated gender role and who resolve the situation by presenting as a member of the opposite sex. It hit me: That's what I am. That's why I feel different. I'm supposed to be a man.

The revelation sparked an eight-year odyssey that stretched well into my 20s. Once I started to watch myself for the symptoms of gender dysphoria, I felt them distinctly. I would sometimes catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and be surprised to see a female face. Other times, I felt as if I were taller and more broad-shouldered than I really was, or as if I were flat-chested. I would occasionally have a tactile awareness of male genitals that weren't there, accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of wrongness in my own female genitals. I felt a knee-jerk anger when others addressed me as "miss" or referred to me as "she."
The younger people in the support group were noticeably different; they were enthusiastic about medical transition and encouraged me to pursue it. One of them, a trans woman in her early 30s whom I'll call Cindy, became my friend. Quiet and thoughtful, she was thrilled with the changes that female hormones had provoked in her body, and she had little patience for my own apprehension about beginning testosterone therapy. "Have you decided to start taking T yet?" she regularly prodded me, reacting with mild disapproval when I confessed that I hadn't. It was clear that transitioning had healed something deeply painful in her.  Like many people who experience a miracle cure, she seemed convinced that those of us who were still evaluating whether it was the best choice for them just needed a nudge in the right direction.
Do our support group focus on transition to the exclusion of all else? How do we handle those who are questioning their gender?

I think most of the peer support groups realize that we are on our own journey and gives safe space to question our gender. I say most because there was one group that was focused on hormones and transitioning, when I brought up a problem that I was struggling with I got shot down. A close friend had amnesia because of a brain infection and didn’t remember her transition and surgery. It freaked her out and me, I questioned if it could happen to me; I was worried and brought it up in the support group and my concerns got brushed aside to talk about Cross-gender Hormones Therapy, needless to say I never attended their meetings again.
When I told Cindy, she looked a bit shocked. "I don't think that's real," she said. "Women who like to wear men's clothes are just transgender men who are afraid of surgery." But I knew otherwise. I realized I could engage with womanhood on my own terms, ditching all the rules and expectations that surround it.

I embraced a new identity as an androgynous woman, and it gave me the same feeling of joy that I'd previously felt when people saw me as a man. I developed an adult version of my childhood wardrobe, with masculine and feminine clothing that I chose from at whim. I felt powerful and loved the way I looked. I had been shy all my life, but suddenly I was outgoing and confident.
Gender Dysphoria:
In adolescents and adults gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning. It lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following:
  • A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
  • A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
  • A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
  • A strong desire to be of the other gender
  • A strong desire to be treated as the other gender
  • A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender
Just because one has been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria does not mean that you have to transition, it doesn’t mean going on CHT, and it doesn’t mean having Gender Conforming Surgery. All it means is that there is a “difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning.” How it is treated is up to us.

The goal is to eliminate it or make it manageable and for each of us it is different. For some it might mean just a social transition, while for others it might mean having GCS.

Just because someone detransitioned doesn’t mean that they don’t have Gender Dysphoria; all it means is that transitioning isn’t for them… now. I know a couple trans people who detransitioned only to transition again later. I know of one person who detransitioned because they couldn’t get a job and they moved back in with their parents.

Life isn’t mapped out, everyone day we start off on a new journey to explore the unexplored.

Monday, March 12, 2018

How Many Times…

Have you seen comments about our chromosomes, if you have XY you’re male but that is nineteen fifties thinking.

This popped up on Facebook…
Sex biology redefined: Genes don’t indicate binary sexes
Stanford Medicine
Author Andrea Ford
Published on February 24, 2015

Imagine being a forty-six-year-old woman pregnant with her third child, whose amniocentesis follow-up shows that half her cells carry male chromosomes. Or a seventy-year-old father of three who learns during a hernia repair that he has a uterus. A recent news feature in Nature mentioned these cases as it elaborated on the spectrum of sex biology. People can be sexed in a non-straightforward way and not even be aware of it; in fact, most probably aren't. As many as 1 person in 100 has some form of "DSD," a difference/disorder of sex development.

The simple scenario many of us learned in school is that two X chromosomes make someone female, and an X and a Y chromosome make someone male. These are simplistic ways of thinking about what is scientifically very complex. Anatomy, hormones, cells, and chromosomes (not to mention personal identity convictions) are actually not usually aligned with one binary classification.
As quoted in the article, Eric Vilain, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Gender-Based Biology at UCLA, explains that sex determination is a contest between two opposing networks of gene activity. Changes in the activity or amounts of molecules in the networks can sway the embryo towards or away from the sex seemingly spelled out by the chromosomes. “It has been, in a sense, a philosophical change in our way of looking at sex; that it's a balance.”

What's more, studies in mice are showing that the balance of sex manifestation can be shifted even after birth; in fact, it is something actively maintained during the mouse's whole life.
Mother Nature does not like simple, life is so complicated and there’re many facets that we do not understand. It is like an onion, when we find something there are always another layer beneath that layer.
As our understanding of biology continues to advance, our social, legal, and medical systems will have to evolve as well. Check out the Nature feature for a discussion of these problems, as well as more interesting research into the biology of sex.

Something We Don’t Think About

As we age two of the diseases that we have a risk of are Alzheimer's and dementia.
Dementia care advice for transgender patients drawn up
12 March 2018

New guidance for staff caring for transgender people with dementia has been drawn up to ensure patients get dignified and compassionate health care in north Wales.

It includes advice about dealing with people confused between their gender preference and their birth gender.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) believes it is the first in the UK to develop such guidelines.

It said the advice would help support the "unique, but vulnerable, group".
She [Jenny Burgess] said the advice was key as transgender people with dementia "may wake up one day and they'll be confused why they're dressed in a certain way".

She said: "Take for instance a transgender woman - they may well get quite concerned and disturbed at being in female clothes.

"They may worry why certain parts are missing from their anatomy. So it's these sort of things that I'd like staff to be aware of. There's no simple answer… but it really is a worrying scenario."
Far fetched?

No, it happened to a friend, she was in a coma and not expected to survive but when she did come out of the coma she couldn’t remember transitioning and have surgery. She paniced!

Her memory did return, but what would have happened if her memory didn’t return… it would have been living a nightmare.

Or suppose a trans person has dementia, is our gender dysphoria strong enough to survive? Will we remember that we are trans?

It is really a legitimate concern.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Good News Stories

Trans good news stories are hard to find but I found one from right here in Connecticut…
Coming out presents unique challenges for Stamford transgender student
The Stamford Advocate
By Erin Kayata
March 10, 2018

STAMFORD — On the surface, Jessie Tarzia’s bedroom looks like one belonging any 18-year-old girl.

Glass jars filled with well-used paint brushes sit on one shelf, and on a pink bucket chair is a white ukulele. The bookshelf is lined with nonfiction about the supernatural and horror novels, her favorite genre. A bulletin board features photo-booth snapshots with Jessie and her friends striking silly poses at a “Sweet 16” party. There’s also a tall, white umbrella lamp for filming YouTube videos, a remnant of her vlogging days.

Jessie is a high-school senior, a painter, an actress, a daughter, a big sister and a friend, among other things. She is also one of 1.4 million transgender people in the United States, according to estimates by UCLA’s Williams Institute. Being transgender is just another component of Jessie’s life. But coming out as a young student in middle school presented a unique set of challenges.

“I noticed something was different when I was 5 years old,” she said. “I just didn’t feel comfortable with myself, with the clothes I was wearing, the way I acted, my interests. There were definitely some things I felt were still very boy-like...but I always felt there was this need for me to do something else.”

Given the name Justin at birth, Jessie always wanted to wear dresses, play with dolls and put on makeup.
It is the best of times it is the worst of times

It is the best of times for coming out pre-teen, before the evil puberty kicks in, before we develop secondary sex characterizes, before Tanner Stage 2.
The Tarzias met regularly with Rogers staff to discuss Jessie’s 504 plan — granted to her under the federal special-education law for children with disabilities. During those meetings, Jessie’s gender transition was discussed, and the school arranged for her to use the bathroom in the nurse’s office. But when the Tarzias learned about the Connecticut law allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their preference, Jessie began using the girls restroom.

“I had enough of walking so far out of my way just to go to the bathroom,” she said. “I just went into the girls bathroom and when I came out, the world hadn’t exploded. Everyone was completely comfortable with it.”
A link to Connecticut’s Department of Education guideline is here and here.

The worst of times…

One of the things that I am concerned about is the push for the so called “religious freedom” legislation and how it will affect state laws.
Republicans return the anti-gay First Amendment Defense Act to Congress
Think Progress
By Zack Ford
March 9, 2018

When Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, Republicans in Congress were very optimistic this would mean they could finally pass a bill legalizing discrimination against same-sex couples. This week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) followed through, reintroducing the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA).

FADA singles out a specific set of conservative beliefs for special dispensation to discriminate: those who oppose same-sex marriage and those who oppose sex outside of marriage. The bill defines these privileges as such:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person speaks, or acts, in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief, or moral conviction, that —
(1) marriage is or should be recognized as a union of—
(A) one man and one woman;
(B) two individuals as recognized under Federal law; or
(2) sexual relations outside marriage are improper.
The language here is fairly insidious. A person who is held accountable for treating others unfairly because they oppose their same-sex relationship or their decision to engage in premarital sex would be considered a victim of “discriminatory action.” They would be entitled to cite FADA as a defense that they should not be in any way punished for their own discriminatory actions.
I fear that these federal laws will override state non-discrimination laws.
FADA protects this group from broad actions. The legislation stipulates they can’t be denied any tax benefit and they can’t be denied any access to “any Federal grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, guarantee, loan, scholarship, license, certification, accreditation, employment or other similar position or status.”

In a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction, Lee openly admitted that he wants to make sure organizations and individuals can discriminate without consequence. FADA ensures, he said, “that federal bureaucrats will never have the authority to require those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage to choose between their living in accordance with those beliefs and maintaining their occupation or their tax status.”
What will happen to Jessie is one of her teachers invokes the FADA? What happens if another student invokes the FADA.

I don’t think that this law will pass the mustard of the Fourteenth Amendment… but if Justice Kennedy does retire this summer and Trump gets to pick another religious conservative Justice that can reshape the entire legal systems.

Will these so called “religious freedom” laws be just another way to advance bigotry and force Jessie back in to the closet?