Thursday, July 19, 2018

Well I Don’t Agree With This

We are a diverse community, we span the globe, we have different problems, different needs, and different wants, what we share in common is that thing called Gender Dysphoria. So when it comes to definitions and words that hurt we are all over the place; when I do training I say these are the common definitions at least for today.
What's The Difference Between A Crossdresser, Drag Queen, And Being Transgender?
Your Tango
By Rebecca Jane Stokes
July 17, 2018

One of the subjects that comes up frequently in my conversations with my parents is one I also see playing out on the internet daily: language and how we use it when we are talking about identity, persona, and performance in the LGBTQ community. The most common thing I find myself clearing up lately is the difference between being a drag queen, performing in drag, crossdressing, and being transgender.
Okay this is one definition that I say “Whoa” to not so fast…
1. Crossdressing
Being a crossdresser is when a man or a woman (though typically a man) derives sexual enjoyment from dressing in women's clothing. You know how a scented candle and the dank tones of John Tesh can put some people in the mood? For others, it's donning clothing traditionally worn by members of the opposite sex.

It's typically viewed as a kink and can sometimes have a comorbidity with fetishes like foot fetishes or stocking fetishes.

Some people who are crossdressers are also known as transvestites. Don't get it twisted: just because there is a "trans" in front of the word, that doesn't mean that a man who dressed up as a woman for his own sexual pleasure identifies himself as being a woman.
I totally disagree with this!

I know many who crossdress and they do not do it for “sexual enjoyment from dressing in women's clothing” I think she is totally wrong on this and I think it biases the rest of the article. Also everyone I know thinks that the word transvestites is pejorative and do not like the word.
2. Drag queen
A drag queen or a drag king is a person (male or female) who adopts a costume and a persona and performs on stage as a singer, a comedian, or other character. There is a long and storied tradition of drag, and if you want a taste of it, go watch Paris is Burning immediately.
For a drag performer, drag can be an escape, a performance, a form of self-expression, or it could make them feel more like their true self.
I think she is close on this definition.
3. Transgender
A person who is trans was born into the wrong body. While they might have been born biologically male or biologically female, they are simply not the gender that was assigned to their body at birth. A trans person can undergo surgery to correct their body to match how they feel internally, but they don't have to.
A trans person can choose to dress in clothing that they feel is appropriate to their gender. This isn't cross-dressing, and they are not transvestites: they are trans people wearing clothes. That's it.
I think she also got this very wrong, most of the people I know who are trans use Transgender to denote anyone who crosses the gender norms and use the word as an umbrella term. And there is that word again… transvestites!
The Controversy Within The LGBTQ Community
Can a drag queen be a trans person? Sure, if they happen to be a trans person. I'm a straight woman, but if I were to decided to go to a drag show as a man, it's still just drag. Same goes for anyone else. Drag is performance, it isn't identity.
RuPaul's show has attracted controversy for its use of the words "tranny" and "she-male" on their show. These words are often used by drag performers to mock or deride another perform's look. Lately members of the trans community have asked that these more hateful terms be removed from the vernacular. Some people in the drag community agree, while others who feel that drag is about subversion and shock see nothing wrong with using those words.
I do not like RuPaul not because he does drag but because what he has said in the past about trans people (and I use the word in its broadest sense). He has said that he uses the words "tranny" and "she-male" to take them back, but I am sorry, I don’t buy that.

He is just one person under the umbrella and the others under umbrella just don’t agree. Those words are used by others to subjugate us and I also believe he uses those words because there is money in those words for him; people tune in his show to watch the drama and those words are part of the “act.” He is not using them to “buy back the words for the community” but instead to make money off of them. In other words to prostitute them.

As I said at the beginning of this post we are diverse community and we must respect all those who cross the gender norms including drag queens and kings but likewise they have to respect and understand the rest of the community.

Another Win

This time in Puerto Rico. There are many states that do not allow birth certificates to be changed but the territory of Puerto Rico just changed their rules on birth certificates.
Puerto Rico allowing transgender people to fix birth certificates
Channel New Asia
17 July 2018

MIAMI: Transgender people in Puerto Rico can now modify their birth certificates to match their gender identity, after activists won a lawsuit against the US territory's governor.

The change, which went into effect Monday (Jul 16), will comply with a ruling from the US District Court for Puerto Rico, which in April struck down the island's policy preventing transgender people living there from correcting gender on birth certificates.

"The right to identify our own existence lies at the heart of one's humanity," wrote US District Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo at the time. "And so, we must heed their voices: 'the woman that I am,' 'the man that I am.'"

The latest victory for the LGBT community leaves just three US states that prohibit amending the gender marker on the official identification documents: Kansas, Ohio and Tennessee.
I think that it is going to be very hard to get the last states to change their policies on birth certificates because I believe that they are doing to spite the trans community. But I applaud Puerto Rico for changes their policy on BC even though it took a court order, they could have appealed the ruling but didn’t.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trans In Sports

We have always been targeted in sports. Look at the trans masculine student in Texas who wanted to play on the men’s wrestling team but was forced by the state to play on the women’s team or the trans women athletes who ran track here in Connecticut and parents complained.
Alison Perkins on being a transgender woman working in golf
Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 17/07/18

"As a golf coach, people would come to me with a problem... but no one could give me any answers."

Alison Perkins will be working at The 147th Open at Carnoustie this week, as part of the PGA's Swing Zone team.

She's a highly respected coach, with over 20 years of experience teaching and training pupils of all ages at Wavendon Golf Centre in Buckinghamshire - but for a time, she stepped away from the course in order to concentrate on her own journey, as a transgender woman.
It is great that she has been accepted by the other golfers, but like most people they accept the person not the gender.

Here in Connecticut a friend who plays golf on the semi-pro level came to me all indignant with an email inviting her to a women’s golf tournament that was open to all “women born women.” She hit the ceiling, she emailed the head of the golf association here in Connecticut complaining about the tournament's email. They replied that it was not their policy and that they contacted the people running the tournament and had them resend the invitations saying it was open to “all women.”

Oh, and did I mention that she is a lesbian standing up for us?

Is It A Battle Lost?

Sometimes when we lose in court it is not a defeat for us; the EEOC sued on behalf of a trans woman her employer for discrimination and lost, we it a defeat for us?
Illinois Jury Rejects Transgender Worker’s Discrimination Claim
By Yvonne Norris Maddalena
July 17, 2018

A federal jury in Illinois has rejected a transgender employee’s claim that she was discriminated against and illegally fired after she told her employer that she was transitioning.

In 2016, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Rent-A-Center East, Inc., alleging the company discharged Megan Kerr illegally in 2014, after over a year’s worth of efforts to terminate her employment or force her to quit following her news that she was transgender. According to the complaint, the EEOC alleged that the effect of the practices of Kerr’s supervisors at the relevant store in Rantoul, Illinois, was to “deprive Kerr of equal employment opportunities and otherwise adversely affect her status as an employee because of her sex.”
It sounds like an open shut case so why did she lose?
Rent-A-Center denied the discrimination claims. According to the company, in July 2016, Kerr asked her supervisor to use a company truck on a Sunday to deliver furniture for a local civic organization project. Although Kerr’s request was granted, Kerr improperly used the vehicle to move her own personal belongings, in violation of Rent-A-Center policy. Kerr’s personal use of the vehicle, according to the company, is what led to her discharge the following day.
The jury went along with the company explanation.

This just goes to show how hard it is to win a case of discrimination; you have to make sure there are no complicating factors in the case. Do you come in a little late each day? Do you take smoke breaks? Do you talk to other employees? Do you take bathroom breaks?

All of these can be used against you. But you say everyone does that… yes but we are talking about you not the other employees. Any infraction of company rules can be used against you.

I managed a department at work for 25 years and when I had an employee who created problems such as being an alcoholic*, HR always told me to keep a record on the employee.

My advice to you if you think that the company is out to get you is to keep a record. Were you standing around talking to Alice and Jane and your boss only said something to you… write it down in your notebook. Did you come in 5 minute late and the boss yelled at you but not at the other employees coming in after you… write it down with names, dates, and places.

You have to be proactive.

I don’t know if it would have helped but maybe if Kerr kept a notebook about other employee’s behavior like names, dates, and places of other employees using the van for personal use might have helped her case that she was singled out.

It is very important that you keep documentation. They are.

*Yes, I did have to fire an employee for coming to work drunk and yes I did keep a notebook on him. Every summer he used to fall off the wagon (it was the 19th Hole that did him in each year) and every year we sent him to a detox center. We sent him three or four time to detox and this time he refused saying we were picking on him and he refused to go detox so we had to fire him.

I cried during the who process begging him to go to detox again, I cried when his wife came to pick up his personal stuff the next day begging her to get him to treatment and he could have his job back. But he refused and went back to the bottle.

The company looked at alcoholism and drug addiction as a disease and didn’t limit the number of times you went to treatment as long as you tried to kick the habit they were willing to give you a chance.

He was only one of two employees that I had to fire in my 25 years running the department, the other was for attacking another employee. I had one employee that we sent twice to detox because of a cocaine addiction, after the second treatment he was drug free.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I Will Not Fly

I don’t want all the hassles that are involved with flying. I don’t like the mobs, the herd atmosphere that the airlines make, being packed like sardines in the skinny seats (I once dropped my book and the whole aisle had to get up so that I could pick up my book off of the floor).

But most of all I don’t want to go through security and be at the mercy of the TSA, most of the agents are probably good but there are a lot of transphobes and homophobes TSA agents out there who can make my life miserable.
Sea-Tac, activists team up on rights of transgender travelers
By Manola Secaira
July 16, 2018

After the Port of Seattle began adding gender-neutral bathroom signs at Sea-Tac,  Port administrators called a meeting in February to talk to Seattle activists about the rights of transgender travelers. Upcoming renovations at the airport meant possible changes to bathrooms, so the Port wanted to keep activists in the loop. They asked if the representatives had anything else they wanted to add.

They had a lot. One in particular bubbled to the top: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“I hadn’t previously heard of the TSA issues,” says Courtney Gregoire, the Port of Seattle Commission president. In the meeting, she heard that transgender travelers almost always find themselves selected for additional screening processes and pat-downs.

Since the February talks, the Port of Seattle has worked in conjunction with organizations like the Gender Justice League, the Ingersoll Gender Center and Pride Foundation to bring these issues to the attention of TSA and lawmakers. The port commission passed a motion on May 22 calling for a gender-inclusive restroom plan at Sea-Tac International Airport by Sept. 30 and the port updated its information page for transgender travelers.
“Some travelers reported that TSA agents instructed them to remove clothing to the point where they are nearly naked,” Jayapal and Kennedy wrote. “Others have reported being groped and publicly humiliated.”
Let’s face it the current administration couldn’t care less about us, they are probably laughing at our anguish; “And even when transgender travelers have a bad experience and know where to send their complaint, activists like Ingersoll Gender Center Executive Director Karter Booher say TSA often fails to respond.” and when they do respond…
“I feel like I didn’t get a resolution,” he says. “Of the two complaints I’ve filed, one of them, I didn’t get any follow-up, and the other one six months later.”

Even then, the response consisted of only an apology for his discomfort and didn’t instigate further action or change, he [Gunner Scott, the director of programs at Pride Foundation. I know Scott from his days at MTPC] says.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport seems to want to do everything right but the TSA is behaving like they are the Gestapo and the current administration is allowing them to get away with it.

Do We As A Trans Community Throw Ourselves Under The Bus

I had an interesting discussion over the weekend about gender fluid, gender non-conforming, and non-binary trans people.

For many trans people it is hard to wrap their head around gender non-conforming trans people. For me it is easy if you think of gender as a continuum, if you believe that then accepting people in the middle of the spectrum is easy.

What do we do with “gender non-conforming”?

Do we say the law is only for those who have a “F” or a “M” on their driver license and not an “X”?

Do we do as one person suggested in not so many words… thrown them off the bus?

They were concerned for the Massachusetts’ ballot question to keep public accommodation law on the books and they worry that these “queer” kids could ruin it for the rest of us.

I asked what do we do, set up a panel of judges to determine if you are trans enough to be covered by the law? Do we thrown Do we throw them under the bus and say this law is only for the “true” trans person?

When we were trying to pass the Connecticut gender inclusive non-discrimination law one of the things that we said was that the law had to cover everyone who crossed the gender norms. Not just transsexuals but also crossdressers, gender non-conforming, drag queens and even straight people. We would have pulled the bill rather than limit protections. If the all-inclusive bill didn’t pass so be it.

The law states
(21) "Gender identity or expression" means a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth, which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose.
Do you see anything in that language that limits the protection to just transsexuals? It covers everyone.

Do we allow only trans people who can integrate in to society to be the only ones covered by the law? Do we only allow those who identify as binary be covered by the law? Who will be the judge?

The law has to cover everyone!

We cannot in good conscious divide the community, we have to make sure the law covers all people; even straight people. We cannot allow gender fluid, gender non-conforming, and non-binary trans people to be not included in the discussion.

In New York State we were thrown under the bus with a promise of coming back for us in 2003 to pass the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) and they never passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).

I cannot support anything that divides us. If it doesn’t pass… so be it. We will be back next year.

What Do We Do When We Get Old

I am well on my way of getting old (it sure beats the alternative of pushing up flowers) and I am starting to think what will happen if I had to go into a Long Term Care facility.
Retirement communities turn their sights on a once-invisible group: LGBT seniors
Chicago Tribune
By Tara Bahrampour The Washington Post
July 11, 2018

In 2016, as Kenneth MacLean was about to turn 90 and was looking to move to a retirement community, he had a question for Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

"I asked, 'Would there be many gays here? Would gays be welcomed?' " MacLean, a retired Unitarian minister, wanted to be sure his partner of 22 years, a man who lives in England and spends several months a year visiting him, would be welcomed by staff and other residents.

The staff member he talked to was generally positive about the community being welcoming, MacLean said, but "not quite ready" to answer his questions about gay residents. MacLean subsequently moved in and felt comfortable introducing his partner. But even after almost two years there, he has little sense of how many of his 1,400 fellow residents on the sprawling, leafy campus are also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

That could soon change. Last month, Asbury became the first facility in the Washington, D.C., region to receive LGBT-friendly certification from SAGECare, a program run by SAGE, a national advocacy organization for older LGBT people.

The certification program began two years ago to address the needs of the aging Stonewall generation - LGBT people who were at the forefront of the national battles for equality and acceptance in the 20th century. An estimated 2.7 million Americans 50 or older identify as LGBT, and that number is projected to exceed 5 million by 2060, according to a study by the University of Washington.
Back in 2015 I began working on a project with the LGBT Aging Advocacy which included a visit to SAGE in New York City and through that effort the Jewish Family Services became the first agency to be certified as being LGBT friendly.
From the community Jewish Family Services, JFS Care at Home Obtain LGBT Certification
Hartford Courant
By Community Contributor ssebag
April 20, 2018

Jewish Family Services (JFS) and JFS Care at Home today announced that they have become the state's first organizations to earn the Getting it Right LGBT Inclusivity-Advanced level certification. This integrated program includes actions and resources to help organizations adopt practices of intentional inclusion for LGBT elders. The event was attended by State Senator Beth Bye and State Representative Andrew Fleischmann.
State Representative Andrew Fleischmann added, "Connecticut Community Care's recognition of Jewish Family Services for its inclusivity is terrific and well deserved. Jewish Family Services and JFS Care At Home (JFS) train all their staff to understand the importance of being open and inclusive to the LGBT community and all people. JFS ensures that every person in their world - employees, clients, partner organizations, community members - understands the importance of inclusivity. And they work to make sure that this open, welcoming culture is sustained day-in and day-out, for every person whom they touch. JFS provides a great model of caring and inclusivity for all of our homes and workplaces - congratulations!"
Senator Beth Bye has been following our work and giving us encouragement but Representative Andrew Fleischmann I never heard from and I have been on the committee working for the training since it was formed.

I did a presentation at “Creating LGBT Inclusive Environments in Connecticut Long Term Care Communities” sponsored by Connecticut Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program which is a state agency. And from that presentation came a visit to a LTC facility to help them with a trans resident.

A couple of weeks ago I did an interview for Comcast Newsmakers with Eric Clemons …

Monday, July 16, 2018

Fake News

The far right and Trump are always saying “fake news” about any news that isn’t favorable to them but they also create their own “fake news” against those who oppose them and the LGBT community is the newest target.
Rumors holding that MAPs (Minor Attracted Persons) created a pride flag in an attempt to join the LGBTQ community originated with a troll experiment on Tumblr.


MAPs (Minor Attracted Persons) created a pride flag



A number of fear-mongering campaigns over the years have attempted to link pedophilia to the LGBTQ community, despite an utter lack of scientific proof of any such connection. In December 2017, for instance, internet trolls spread a false rumor that the letter “P,” representing “pedosexual,” was being added to the initialism LGBT (for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender”).

An eerily similar rumor was spread via social media in June 2018 in the form of an image purportedly showing a “MAPs (Minor-Attracted Persons) Pride Flag” supposedly created for Gay Pride Month:
When pictures of this “MAP flag” began circulating on Facebook, the posts typically included messages warning other social media users to be wary of anyone displaying this flag:
This is a Minor Attracted Person (MAP) (polished term for pedophile) flag. If you happen to see this flag on any Social Media Profile or someone using the term MAP in their bio, please REPORT the Pedophile running that account.
Do your bit.
Websites such as the Daily Caller and “Attitude” picked up on this alleged “MAPs Pride Flag” and reported that pedophiles were “rebranding” themselves as “Minor Attracted Persons” in an attempt to be accepted by the LGBT community:

Paedophiles are trying to gain acceptance to the LGBT community by rebranding themselves.

In a bid to gain acceptance, they have rebranded themselves as MAPs or “Minor Attracted Persons” and have gone so far to even create a rainbow “Pride” flag for Gay Pride, but Twitter user, Communist Fish, posted a picture back in June to warn children to stay away.

The group attempt to claim that paedophiles are misunderstood people and if they do not act upon their attraction to children, they shouldn’t be marginalised.

Sites like The Prevention Project have started to post testimonials from paedophiles who are seeking help with their attraction, claiming everyone “needs support”.

Pedophiles did not coin the term “minor attracted persons” (or MAPS) to rebrand themselves in 2018 in order to gain entry to the LGBT community. Organizations such as B4UAct have been using the term “minor attracted persons” for years to refer to “adults who experience feelings of preferential sexual attraction to children or adolescents under the age of consent.”
The far right are trying to discredit us and are trying to attach the pedophile label to all LGBT people by spreading the lies.

Snopes went on to say…
We also found no evidence that this flag originated in earnest as a MAPs Pride Flag. We reached out to the “Prevention Project, who told us they had never heard of this pride flag: “We’re experts in treating MAPs who have zero desire to harm anyone but want support to deal with the stigma of being a pedophile, hebophile or ephebephile. MAPs encompass these 3 terms. None of the MAPs we know (we know a lot) have talked about this [flag].”
So far it hasn’t  stuck except for in the conservative media like Fox and the mainstream media hasn’t used the label yet…

A Penalty Card

A hard if not an  impossible job, sometime it feels like tilting windmills and I imagine that’s how it is in Russia for LGBT human rights.
Russian LGBT Sport Federation hosting conference in Moscow today
Supported by FIFA, the World Cup-inspired event focuses on LGBTQ inclusion in soccer and in Russia.
Out Sports
By Cyd Zeigler
July 11, 2018

The Russian LGBT Sport Federation will host a conference today in Moscow designed to further discussion in both Russia and the sport of soccer about LGBTQ inclusion.

Titled “Football — A Homophobia Free Game,” the international conference takes place at The Goethe Institut in Moscow. Sadly, organizers had to endure discrimination by both a local Holiday Inn and Radisson Inn, due to the fact that they wanted to bring an LGBTQ event to their hotels. That’s when the Goethe Institut stepped up to the plate.

The day features a lunch, a closing reception and these three panel discussions:
  • LGBTQ community and fan subculture
  • My story changes football
  • Legacy of the World Cup for LGBTQ community in Russia
  • Organizers say the conference is supported by FIFA, among others.
Appearing on the panel about changing the sport with your story are two people from the UK: Premier League photographer Sophie Cook and English soccer referee Ryan Atkin.

“I hope that today’s conference is the start of a legacy that will see Russia begin to change and start a journey to being accepting of LGBT community and equality,” Atkin, who came out publicly last year, told Outsports. “My fears are that it will return to its previous ways once the World Cup finishes. That is why Pride in countries where we are equal are so important. To fight for our brothers and sisters.”
When we go out to protest or do advocacy we might run in to opposition but nowhere on the level of opposition as in Russia… it can be deadly there in Russia.

To stamp out homophobia at soccer matches is going to be very hard. The game generates strong emotions and some of the matches are played in very homophobic countries that are not known for their human rights. Couple that with the strong emotions soccer games create and you have all the ingredients for violence.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday 9: I Love Lucy

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: I Love Lucy (1951)

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

1) Before today, did you know that the "I Love Lucy" theme had lyrics?
No I didn’t know.

2) Since its premiere in 1951, I Love Lucy has never been off the air. Are you a fan?
Yes, the whole family used to gather around the black & white television to watch the show.

3) On the show, Ricky Riccardo supports his family by performing in a nightclub. Do you know anyone in show business?
One has won seven Emmys for producing TV shows (She has covered the White House, was with 60 minutes when they went to Cuba, and has covered the national political conventions).
Another was a producer for Good Morning America and produced other nation news programs as well as doing the news.
One is an actress who was in “And Then There Was Eve”
If authors count… I know an author who was number one on Oprah's Book Club list and was on her show and is a columnist at the New York Times.
I also know another writer who is the wife of the actress in “And Then There Was Eve”

And then there is me, I have been on two Sunday morning talk shows and interviewed a dozen times.

4) Lucy and Ricky's best friends are Fred and Ethel, their landlord and his wife. Are you friendly with your neighbors?
Not really, everyone in the neighborhood has their lawns mowed and their driveways done in winter and like me live outdoors on the back porch.

5) One of the most popular episodes has Lucy and Ethel working on the conveyor belt at a chocolate factory. When did you last have chocolate?
Shh… about an hour ago.

6) Another famous episode has Lucy promoting Vitametavegimin. This tonic is made with vitamins, meat, vegetables -- and 23% alcohol. Do you read the ingredients statement before you take an over-the-counter medication? Or do you trust that it's safe because it's on the store shelf?
No but I read the nutrition label especially the carbs.

7) I Love Lucy was filmed before a live audience. Desi Arnaz (Ricky) always maintained he could identify the chuckle of his mother-in-law, who attended every taping. Do you know anyone who has a distinctive laugh?
Oh yes. This radio show host who sounds just like he was born to be on the radio and his laugh sounds just the same.

8) The show ended when the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz marriage ended. Have you ever had to choose sides when a couple broke up?
Yes and it is very hard because I liked both of them.

9) Random question -- You must eat the same dinner, every day, between now and Labor Day. An identical menu, no deviation. What will you be having?
Hmm... I would say lobster Newburg but it is very rich and I would probably end up with gout. Can we very the way it is prepared? Then it definitely be lobster… lobster Newberg, boiled Lobster, lobster roll, lobster eggs Benedict, lobster mac & cheese, etc., etc.


Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us on next Saturday for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your weekend!

I will be away for the weekend so I will try to approve as many comments that I can before I leave on an overnight party in Vermont.

Friday, July 13, 2018

She Saw The Light!

When Scarlett Johansson was picked to play a trans man, the community protested and she heard our cry,
Scarlett Johansson drops out of trans role after backlash
The actor has exited the fact-based drama Rub & Tug after the casting angered trans actors and activists
The Guardian
Benjamin Lee
13 July 2018

Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of her role in fact-based drama Rub & Tug after backlash from the trans community.

The actor was set to play the role of crime kingpin Dante “Tex” Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man. He used his massage parlors as a front for prostitution.

“In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” Johansson said in a statement to Out magazine. “Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.”

Since news of the project was announced, with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders attached, backlash has followed from trans actors and activists.
Our voices are being heard!

Now will the studios listen?

More Hate From The Republicans

This time for adoption by LGBT people, adoption agencies and can now discriminate against LGBT people who want to adopt a child.
Republicans vote to make it legal nationwide to ban gays & lesbians from adopting
LGBT Nation
By Sarah Toce
July 12, 2018

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed an amendment allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny LGBTQ families the ability to adopt a child based on religious objection.

The amendment appears on a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. If it remains in the final bill, the amendment would cut 15% of federal adoption funding to states and localities that penalize adoption agencies that refuse to place children in families that conflict with the agency’s “sincerely held religious beliefs or convictions.”

The amendment also bars the federal government from refusing to work with adoption agencies that discriminate.

The vote in the committee was 29-23, along party lines, with Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) the lone Republican to vote against the amendment.
But we are not alone in the bigotry and hate coming from the Republican party…
In addition to LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, the amendment would also impact interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other qualified parents to whom an agency could have an objection.
The Democrats voted against the amendment…
“Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with their parents, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to give child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against qualified potential parents.”

Acosta [Democratic National Committee (DNC) LGBTQ Media Director] added, “Across the country, LGBTQ candidates are running for office and taking a stand against the Trump-GOP agenda, which seeks to roll back the progress we have made. In November, voters will stand together in the face of this bigotry and hate and elect Democrats up and down the ticket.”
We have to get out the vote in November. 46% of the voters didn’t in the 2016 elections we need to make sure that everyone gets out to vote.

I think that the number one thing that we have to do is take control of the Senate to block judicial appointments. If Trump packs the courts with religious bigots even if the Democrats get control of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House in 2020 the judges can strike down anything that Congress passes.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Are We Entering A New Dark Age?

Trump is appointing young judges who believe in the Bible over the Constitution and who believe we are spawn of the devil and they will have a lifetime to force us back into the closet.
For Gays, the Worst Is Yet to Come. Again.
Mr. Kramer, a writer and activist, is a founder of both Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Act Up. Volume Two of his “The American People” is forthcoming.
New York Times
By Larry Kramer
July 11, 2018

I was recently honored for my birthday with an all-star reading of my play “The Destiny of Me.” It was obviously a very emotional experience for me. I’m supposed to be dead by now. Most of the guys who got infected with H.I.V. in the 1980s are long dead.
But by the time a modicum of acceptance by the outside world starts to arrive, we are visited with a plague. It is a plague of disease, and with our new president it continues to be a plague of hate. There is not one cabinet member who has supportive or welcoming words for us. Every week, it seems, Mr. Trump appoints another judge who is on record as hating us. They will serve for many years. A new Supreme Court will further echo this disdain.
I have never been able to answer one question: Why have relatively few of us — out of so many millions — been willing to fight for their lives? I still can’t answer it and I continue to be very sad because of it. And the biggest fight for our lives is ahead of us.
That is a question I also ask, why don’t more trans people speak out against discrimination and bigotry? As I wrote this morning we have a very of high level of activism but still it is only a small fraction of the trans population who will pick up a phone and call their legislator.
I still can’t see enough of us, in all our numbers and our splendor and our magnificence. Our activist organizations are a diminished presence. We still have no respected and accepted leaders who can speak for us as a people. And what little power we do have, lobbying or otherwise, in Washington or anywhere else, is woefully inadequate. Our billionaires are funding concert halls and public parks and retirement homes for primates, but not gay rights. If it weren’t for such stalwart defenders as Lambda Legal Defense and the A.C.L.U., we’d probably be jailed by our enemies.
I was heartened with the turn-out at a LGBT community forum at a ctEQUALITY town hall meeting. I realize that for many LGBT people it might be dangerous in coming out but there are so many ways to help that doesn’t require coming out LGBT.

But we need a lot more LGBT people to become active in politics… I know… it’s politics… ugh… I don’t get involved in politics. Well my dear unless you want your healthcare stripped from you (right now the VA is requesting comments on their repeal of trans healthcare for veterans), your rights to go out in public (Massachusetts has a ballot question this November to repeal “Public Accommodation”), your right to get married (numerous courts cases to give special rights to religious bigots to refuse to services for us) you better think about being active in politics. Do you want to go back to the days of police raids to check you are wearing three items of clothing from your birth gender?

How many of you have gone to a “Women’s March on Washington” rally or have gone to a another rally for human rights?
Millions of women and straight people are marching on Washington and in other cities and towns and protesting in the offices of elected officials every week of the year. Where are the millions of gay people being angry and vocal and visibly fighting back?

Are we prepared to fight the many fights piling up against us?

Right now, I don’t think so. The worst is yet to come. Again. Yes, it makes me very sad.

And still imploringly angry.
And I don’t think so either.

I am always thinking of the poem written by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, “First they came for…”

If we don’t stand up for others, who will stand up for us?

The is going to be another ctEQUALITY community town hall meeting in Waterbury sometime in the coming months. We need you to attend and let us know what you think we should do moving forward.

File This Under… “No Kidding Sherlock”

This is oblivious, the LGBT community is politically active and I think if you look at any oppressed community you will also find them politically active.
Study Finds Queer Folks Are 20 Times More Likely to Be Activists Than Cishets
Queers don't just advocate for their own rights, but are also more active in other social justice movements.
By Zhana Vrangalova
July 10, 2018

Social activism is an important tool for enacting social change, especially for stigmatized minorities and poor populations who often lack access to more traditional avenues for change — like elections, the courts, mainstream media, or school curriculums. In those cases, social movement tactics like boycotting, protesting, and civil disobedience prove critical in the fight to secure civil and human rights.

It wouldn’t come as a surprise that people are most likely to engage in activism for their own group: There are far fewer men than women at feminist rallies, for example, and far fewer heterosexuals than queer folks at pride marches. But is there some crossover between social movements? In other words, are people who belong to one stigmatized group more likely to be also active in social movements that primarily affect other stigmatized groups?

A new study using a nationally representative sample of almost 4,000 US adults surveyed in 2012 suggests this might be the case. As the graph below shows, the 4.5% of respondents who considered themselves gay, lesbian, or bisexual (other sexual orientation labels were not offered on the survey, nor were trans identities or movements) were more likely than heterosexuals to have been active in several liberal social movements.

Unsurprisingly, LGB folks were much (as in 20 times!) more likely to be involved in the LGB rights movement than straight folks. But they were also 2-4 times more likely to be active in the peace, environmentalism, and Occupy Wall Street movements. There was also slightly higher participation of queer folks in the feminist and racial justice movements, and slightly lower participation in the Tea Party and anti-abortion movements, but neither of these group differences reached statistical significance (noted with an * in front of the movement’s name on the graph).

When you are discriminated against whether it is for sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, national origin or any other marginalized people you are going to fight for your rights.

I would like to know who the lesbians and gays were that were for the Tea Party, I imagine they might be the same ones who voted for Trump

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

We Have It Good…

Here in Connecticut we have just about every law you can imagine protecting us but some states have it a lot worst,
Ohio family says judge violated transgender son's rights by denying name-change request
By:  NBC4 Staff
July 10, 2018

LEBANON, OH (WCMH) - A family in southwest Ohio says a judge violated their transgender son’s civil rights when he denied the teen’s request to legally change his name and now they’re appealing the decision.

Leigh and Kylen Whitaker went to Warren County Probate Court Tuesday morning to file an appeal against a decision by Judge Joseph Kirby. Last month, Kirby denied a request from the Whitakers to change their son’s name from Heidi to Elliott.
“He started out by asking us, ‘Did this all start when all of this stuff came out in the media?’” Leigh said. “And we didn’t know what he was talking about and later on, he clarified he was talking about when Bruce Jenner came out [as transgender].”
But Kirby wasn’t convinced that Elliott truly wanted to change his name.
“Children change significantly and rapidly,” Kirby wrote in his decision. WKRC reports Kirby also told Elliott to ask for the name change again when he becomes an adult.
Here in Connecticut the judge where I had my name change was more interested in where I was going to have surgery. I have heard of one judge down in the Gold Coast (Fairfield county, the strong Republican territory) refusing to grant fee waivers for us but from what I heard he was informed of his errors.

Note, just because we have “just about every law you can imagine protecting us” does mean we do not have discrimination; what it does mean is that people now use covert discrimination instead of overt discrimination. However, we are much better off than most states.

The Bad And The Ugly

The “Good” in this bad and ugly post…

[Warning, this article is about derogatory words to describe trans and gay people]

Yelp Finally Removes Anti-Transgender Slur From Search Feature
Yelp scores a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. But, until Tuesday, Yelp’s search box suggestions included the anti-trans slur ‘tranny.’
The Daily Beast
By Samantha Allen
July 10, 2018

Restaurant reviewing app Yelp allows users to filter for gender-neutral restrooms. The company also scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which measures the LGBT-friendliness of workplaces.

But until earlier today, the Yelp search box across multiple devices would make suggestions that included the anti-transgender slur “tranny.”

The search behavior was first highlighted on Twitter Monday night by the transgender personals website

On devices tested by The Daily Beast Tuesday morning, beginning to type “tran-” in the Yelp search box brought up the suggestion “Tranny Bars” right after “Transmission Repair” and “Transportation.”
When it was brought to Yelps attention,
The Daily Beast asked Yelp for comment on Tuesday morning, and by mid-afternoon, the search behavior in the application had already started to change. Terms like “Shemale Bars” and “Shemale Clubs” were still suggestions as of late Tuesday afternoon, but the derogatory “Tranny” suggestions were gone and Yelp pledged to address the issue.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention and allowing us to correct it,” a Yelp spokesperson said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “This is a machine-generated error and we are taking prompt action to remove it from our systems.”
With Yelp, the issue was not the filtering out of LGBT content, but the suggestion of insulting anti-transgender search terms on par with anti-gay slurs like “faggot.”
There also have been some problems with Artificial Intelligence or AI…
Artificial Intelligence Has a Bias Problem, and It's Our Fault
From racist Twitter bots to unfortunate Google search results, deep-learning software easily picks up on biases. Here's what can be done about racism and sexism in AI algorithms.
PC Magazine
By Ben Dickson
June 14, 2018

In 2016, researchers from Boston University and Microsoft were working on artificial intelligence algorithms when they discovered racist and sexist tendencies in the technology underlying some of the most popular and critical services we use every day. The revelation went against the conventional wisdom that artificial intelligence doesn't suffer from the gender, racial, and cultural prejudices that we humans do.

The researchers made this discovery while studying word-embedding algorithms, a type of AI that finds correlations and associations among different words by analyzing large bodies of text. For instance, a trained word-embedding algorithm can understand that words for flowers are closely related to pleasant feelings. On a more practical level, word embedding understands that the term "computer programming" is closely related to "C++," "JavaScript" and "object-oriented analysis and design." When integrated in a resume-scanning application, this functionality lets employers find qualified candidates with less effort. In search engines, it can provide better results by bringing up content that's semantically related to the search term.

The BU and Microsoft researchers found that the word-embedding algorithms had problematic biases, though—such as associating "computer programmer" with male pronouns and "homemaker" with female ones. Their findings, which they published in a research paper aptly titled "Man is to Computer Programmer as Woman is to Homemaker?" was one of several reports to debunk the myth of AI neutrality and to shed light on algorithmic bias, a phenomenon that is reaching critical dimensions as algorithms become increasingly involved in our everyday decisions.
In an article behind the firewall in New Scientist has an intriguing tidbit…
Something is rotten at the heart of artificial intelligence. Machine learning algorithms that spot patterns in huge datasets, hold promise for everything from recommending if someone should be released on bail to estimating the likelihood of a driver having a car crash, and thus the cost of their insurance.

But these algorithms also risk being discriminatory by basing their recommendations on categories like someone’s sex, sexuality, or race. So far, all attempts to de-bias our algorithms have failed.
So are we now going to be discriminated against not only us but also all minorities by a machine?

And when we are discriminated against will the excuse be… “Oh sorry, it wasn’t us the computer did it?”

Update 10:05AM
I just came across another article…
Data-driven discrimination – a new challenge for civil society
LSE Media Policy Project blog, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science
By Jędrzej Niklas and Seeta Peña Gangadharan
July 5, 2018

In recent years, debate on algorithms, artificial intelligence, and automated decision making has stoked public concern, panic, and occasional outrage. While such innovations are very often shown in a positive light, there are also stories of vulnerable groups who struggle because of discriminatory biases imbedded in the technologies. More often than not, public discourse presents these problems in a distinctive US context. In our new report “Between Antidiscrimination and Data: Understanding Human Rights Discourse on Automated Discrimination in Europe”, we make European perspectives on data-driven systems visible, through the lenses of 28 civil society organisations (CSOs) active in the field of human rights and social justice in 9 EU countries.

How do algorithms discriminate?
We began our study by reviewing the problem of algorithmic or data-driven discrimination. In a very broad sense, algorithms are encoded procedures or instructions. They often use data as their main ingredient (or input), transforming these inputs into a desired output, based on specific calculations. Automated systems based on algorithms are complicated and vary in character, purpose, and sophistication. The variety of systems also means that algorithmic discrimination can arise for various reasons.

To run, algorithms need data. But data can be poorly selected, incorrect, incomplete or out-dated, and can even incorporate historical biases. One of the early examples (1988) of this problem was the case of St. George’s Medical School in the United Kingdom. An automated system was used to screen the incoming applications from potential students. Modelled on previous job recruitment data, the system incorporated historical biases in its analytical process and discriminated against women and people with non-European names.

Concerns not only relate to the quality of input data but also extend to the design of the algorithm that is using those inputs. Programming decisions are essentially human judgments, and reflect a vision about how the world ought to be. For example, humans must decide on error types and rates for algorithmic models. In other words, someone has to decide whether to measure the algorithmic “reliability” in terms of the cases wrongly included in an algorithmic decision (e.g., false positives) or wrongly excluded (e.g., false negatives) from an analytic model. Someone also needs to decide what an acceptable level of wrongful inclusion or exclusion might be.
The article goes on in detail about the whys & hows of the AI bias; but it all boils down to “garbage in, garbage out.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Once Again, “We Knew This.”

Hormones are back in the news telling us what we knew, NBC reports,
Study finds health risks for transgender women on hormone therapy
The study looked at the records of 5,000 transgender people and found a higher risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack for transgender women.
NBC News
By Avichai Scher
July 9.2018

Transgender women on hormone therapy may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems, such as stroke, blood clots and heart attack, researchers reported Monday.

The study was done by reviewing eight years of medical records of nearly 5,000 transgender patients in the Kaiser Health system, and looked at patients over the age of 18 who took hormones for gender transition. Over 97,000 cisgender patients — people whose sex assigned at birth matches their gender identity — with similar age and health characteristics were studied for comparison.

“This is the largest study of the health of transgender individuals on hormone therapy ever done,” Dr. Darios Getahun, an author of the study and research scientist at Kaiser Permanente, told NBC News. “Doctors and patients need to be aware of the possibility for increased health risks for transgender women.”
But there are flaws in the study.
The review of the records has limitations and isn’t enough to establish a direct cause and effect, Getahun cautioned. He noted that the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, only had access to the patients’ records at Kaiser, so any outside medications couldn’t be accounted for. In addition, the dosage and type of hormones administered were unknown.

A traditional study to determine direct cause and effect usually involves one group receiving a placebo, while the other group takes the real medicine. But giving a patient in transition fake hormones without his or her knowledge or consent is ethically prohibitive.
You know a woman on HRT has many of the same risks as Cross-gender Hormone Therapy and look at the ads on television when they list the side effects of the drugs they are hawking. No treatment is without risk.

Every time we pop a pill we are making an assessment of risk/benefit even for aspirin.

When I started hormones back in 2004 my doctor told me all the risks of starting CHT and I accepted the risk.

What I worry about is…
“This is a great study and I’m not surprised by its conclusions,” he [Dr. Richard Greene, an associate professor of medicine and director of health disparities education at the New York University School of Medicine] told NBC News. “But my concern is that doctors who are inclined to deny hormone therapy will use this study as a reason to do so.”

Same Old, Same Old

Another attack by the oppressors on the oppressed. I always find it highly “ironic” (if that is the right word) when those who are oppressing others become incensed when the oppressed rise up.
Transgender Fury: What Happened to Civil Discourse?
CNS [Christian News Service]
By Eric Metaxas
July 9, 2018

You’ve heard the old saying that starts, “Hell hath no fury”? It pretty well describes recent transgender activists.

If you want to see how far down the slope civic discourse has slid in the land of free speech and “tolerance,” I give you an article in The Atlantic by Jesse Singhal entitled, “When Children Say They’re Trans.”

Rather than the unabashed cheerleading you might expect in a secular, progressive magazine, the article is surprisingly balanced. And that’s just the problem for transgender activists.
Well if you read the Atlantic article… it is not balanced.

It tells of one child struggle with her identity, it turns out that she decided she is not trans. If she had a competent therapist I think she would never have gotten as far as she did.

Another article in The Atlantic says about her…
Sixth grade had been difficult for her. She’d struggled to make friends and experienced both anxiety and depression. “I didn’t have any self-confidence at all,” she told me. “I thought there was something wrong with me.” Claire, who was 12 at the time, also felt uncomfortable in her body in a way she couldn’t quite describe. She acknowledged that part of it had to do with puberty, but she felt it was more than the usual preteen woes. “At first, I started eating less,” she said, “but that didn’t really help.”
Claire found in MilesChronicles and similar YouTube videos a clear solution to her unhappiness. “I just wanted to stop feeling bad, so I was like, I should just transition,” she said. In Claire’s case, the first step would be gaining access to drugs that would halt puberty; next, she would start taking testosterone to develop male secondary sex characteristics. “I thought that that was what made you feel better,” she told me.
It seems to me that she didn’t display any of the characteristics of trans children, a strong persistent, insistence of gender dysphoria. It seems to me a good therapist who specializes in gender dysphoria would have picked it up.

The article goes on to quote the Standard of Care,
There is no shortage of information available for parents trying to navigate this difficult terrain. If you read the bible of medical and psychiatric care for transgender people—the Standards of Care issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (Wpath)—you’ll find an 11-page section called “Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Gender Dysphoria.” It states that while some teenagers should go on hormones, that decision should be made with deliberation: “Before any physical interventions are considered for adolescents, extensive exploration of psychological, family, and social issues should be undertaken.” The American Psychological Association’s guidelines sound a similar note, explaining the benefits of hormones but also noting that “adolescents can become intensely focused on their immediate desires.” It goes on: “This intense focus on immediate needs may create challenges in assuring that adolescents are cognitively and emotionally able to make life-altering decisions.”
Yeah so a good therapist specializing in gender dysphoria would have picked up on “adolescents can become intensely focused on their immediate desires.”

Okay so when we objected to the bias in the article Eric Metaxas writes that we are,
And of what should Singhal be so decisively ashamed? According to David Marcus, who critiqued the resulting frenzy in an article for The Federalist, “The article is a balanced and nuanced look … at a challenge facing a growing number of families in the United States. Along with stories of successful child gender reversals, it also tells of near misses and unfixable mistakes.”
Well first of all The Federalist is not unbiased. According to MarketWatch The Federalist is “Selective Incomplete Story: Unfair Persuasion.”

The article in CNS ends with...
Chuck Colson [The former Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon] saw this lack of civility, this over-the-top fury, running rampant in our national discourse firsthand, and he correctly identified it not merely as a political problem, but as a worldview problem. He specifically labeled it as a lack of courtesy.
Okay so you say we are not being civil when you beat us down and we fight back. What are supposed to do? Thank you when you are beating us down.

Of course we are mad, you are saying we are mentally ill, you are trying to make it impossible to go the bathroom, you are allowing doctors to refuse to treat us when we are dying, you are allowing stores to refuse to serve us, and you are doing everything you can to force us back into the closet.

What’s next… checking to see if we have three items of clothing from our birth gender?

Monday, July 09, 2018

Don’t Paint With A Broad Brush

How many times do we blame everyone for the action of a few.
Lesbians come out in support of trans people after group blocks Pride parade
A group of lesbians compiled a video declaring their support for trans people
Gay Star News
By James Besanvalle
July 8, 2018

When a group of lesbian activists blocked the Pride in London parade yesterday (7 July) to protest against trans people, the internet responded overwhelmingly by calling them out.

But perhaps the most vocal support for the transgender community came from lesbians themselves, wanting the world to know that the actions of a small minority do not represent the community as a whole.

So people started taking to social media and using the hash tag: I Stand With Trans People.
She tweeted: ‘I really need my cis-lesbian sisters to be vocal and take a stand on this! I am proud Black Lesbian socialist and those women and their anti-trans message do not speak for me! #IStandWithTransPeople’

‘I am a cis female lesbian, I support trans rights’
In a truly remarkable show of solidarity, the love and support began flooding social media feeds across the world.

One group of cisgender lesbians even compiled a short video repeating the statements: ‘I am a cis female lesbian and I support trans rights – trans women do not erase me. Keep the L with the T.’ 
I know many lesbians and they are very supportive of trans people and trans rights. They have worked for passing all the legislation that we have here in Connecticut. I know many lesbians who have been open and welcoming to the trans community. I have many lesbians who call me a friend. So please do not paint all with the same brush.

Speaking of broad brushes …

At the Episcopal General Convention in Austin this week...
  1. Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church reaffirm its support for the enactment of laws at the local, state and federal level that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or the expression of one’s gender identity; and be it further
  2. Resolved, That The Episcopal Church support legislative, educational, pastoral, liturgical, and broader communal efforts that seek to end the pattern of violence against transgender people in general and transgender women in particular, calling attention especially to the rising violence against transgender women of color; and be it further
  3. Resolved, That The Episcopal Church oppose all legislation that restricts public restroom, locker room and shower access for transgender and gender non-conforming people, recognizing that such bills disproportionately impact and contribute to a pattern of violence against transgender women and non-binary identified people; and be it further
  4. Resolved, That The Episcopal Church ask dioceses and parishes to remove barriers to full participation in congregational life by making their gender-specific facilities and activities fully accessible to all, regardless of gender identity and expression

This resolution reaffirms the support of The Episcopal Church for transgender people by calling upon the General Convention to lift its voice in response to the rise of anti-transgender rhetoric, legislation, and violence across the United States. It builds upon earlier General Convention resolutions (2009-C048, 2009-D012, 2012-D022, 2015-D028) and public statements by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies decrying this pattern, including the recent legislative efforts in Texas and the declared ban on transgender people serving in the military. Building upon this foundation, this resolution calls us to recognize and respond to the lethal violence against transgender people that has risen sharply over the last several years, disproportionately
impacting transgender women of color. It also challenges us to name how so-called “bathroom bills,” which have likewise increased markedly in recent years, are part of that same pattern of violence, impacting not only transgender people in general but more specifically targeting transgender women
Once again, don’t paint all religions the same; there are a number of religions that support us. When we were trying to pass the non-discrimination bill here in Connecticut we had an Episcopal Bishop, priests, pastors, and minsters speak in favor of the bill.

Leave It To LePage

The contrarian governor of Maine has vetoed another bill, this time a bill banning Conversion Therapy.
Maine Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy
Maine would have become the 14th state to outlaw the dangerous practice.
By Brandon Voss
July 8, 2018

Maine Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited state-licensed mental health professionals from subjecting minors to conversion therapy, which dangerously attempts to change the orientation or identity of LGBTQ people, the Portland Press Herald reports.

The far-right Republican governor, who vetoed the bill Friday, called it “bad public policy” that could potentially restrict therapist and patient interaction.
LePage, an anti-LGBT Trump supporter, is the first U.S. governor, Republican or Democrat, to veto a bill that would ban conversion therapy.

“This bill attempts to regulate professionals who already have a defined scope of practice and standard of care per their statutory licensing requirements,” LePage wrote in his veto.
Among his other objections to the bill, LePage criticized legislators for seeking to outlaw conversion therapy but refusing to pass a bill banning female genital mutilation, which is already banned by federal law.
The legislature is supposed to reconvene to discuss his veto.

Here in Connecticut the vote to ban on Conversion Therapy was unanimous in the Senate and in the House there were only a few votes opposing the bill.

LePage became governor because it was a three-way race, he received only slightly more than a third of the votes which was around 34 percent. I think in multicandidate election a run off should beheld of the two highest vote getters.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

When Is It Discrimination

One of the hardest things to prove is if it is discrimination; it might be so oblivious to us but it is so hard to prove. Prospective employers have so many ways to hide their discrimination when hiring.
Ban Was Lifted, but Transgender Recruits Still Can’t Join Up
New York Times
By Dave Philipps
July 5, 2018

Nicholas Bade showed up at an Air Force recruiting office on an icy morning in January, determined to be one of the first transgender recruits to enlist in the military.

He was in top shape, and had earned two martial arts black belts. He had already aced the military aptitude test, and organized the stack of medical records required to show he was stable and healthy enough to serve. So he expected to be called for basic training in a month, maybe two at the most.

Six months later, he’s still waiting. And so are nearly all other transgender recruits who have tried to join up since a federal court ordered the Trump administration not to ban them from the military.
Since then, scores have applied — but it appears almost none are being accepted.
Many trans people have applied for the military and not have been accepted or rejected… is it discrimination or is it just normal bureaucratic red-tape?
The applicants are being stalled or turned away at a time when some branches of the military face a shortage of recruits, and when recruiters have been ordered to work Saturdays to try to make up the shortfall.

“I’m now on round five of rejections,” said Mr. Bade, 38, a waiter and martial arts instructor who lives in Chicago. “Each time, they say they need even more medical information. My last one was a minor document from years ago.”
It is going to take another round of legal challenges to find out.

I ran a test department and that meant that I had to hire and fire employees. Twenty-five years and I ran the department and I knew the HR director and I knew that she wanted to hire the best employee for the job, period. That their race, color, sex, marital status, age, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity didn’t matter. It never came up… the only thing that she was interested in were they the best person for the job.

But what I did learn from those 25 years is to document everything; troubled employee… keep a record. I learned it so well that I tell trans people that if you think you are being discriminated against, keep a record of not only the incidents but also of your conversation with HR or your boss.

But it is not just the military and employers; it is what’s happening every day in our lives.

Yesterday I asked a man who mows the neighboring cottage lawn if he would do mine; he said he would call me back… no callback.

Did he forget? Does he have enough clients now and he doesn’t want a new customer? Or is it because I’m trans?

I probably will never know.

And that is the thing, we will never know the true reason unless they are stupid enough to come right out and say it is because I’m trans.

It Is Not Just Us Under Fire

We have a lot of company including our gay brothers and sisters from the conservatives.
Why LGBT rights are under threat—and what to do about it
An interview with Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the United Nations
The Economist
July 2, 2018

In recent years the progress in securing equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people in the West has seemed on an upward trajectory. Two-thirds of Americans support same-sex marriage, up from just over a third in 2001. Attitudes have also changed in much of Europe, where same-sex marriage is mostly legal, and in Australia, where same-sex unions were legalised last year.

Yet in much of the world, far more needs to be done. Even in America, activists worry that under Donald Trump’s administration hard-fought victories may be undermined. The Economist spoke with Fabrice Houdart, the Human Rights Officer at the United Nations, about the global challenges to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

The Economist: Are LGBT rights going backwards in the world today?
Fabrice Houdart: We are witnessing a proliferation of hate speech and human-rights abuses globally. This backsliding on human rights is not limited to that of LGBT people--but they experience it disproportionately. The steady advances that we have witnessed over the past few years in most parts of the globe have led to greater visibility of lesbian, gay and transgender people in places where they were previously relegated to the shadows.

Today, in almost every country you will find an LGBT grassroots movement. But increasingly LGBT people are used as pawns for political gain around issues of family and tradition. We have achieved some success in the struggle for LGBT equality in certain countries; but in other parts of the world progress will be harder.
We the U.S. used to be the leaders of the LGBT human rights movement, now we are the world leader in LGBT rights oppression. The Fascists and Republicans have found political and financial gain in oppressing minorities.
The Economist: You have spoken out about how homophobia and transphobia hurt the poor the most. Can you expand upon this?
Mr Houdart: When I first went to India in 2012 at the request of the World Bank to assess the links between poverty, sexual orientation and gender identity, I was struck by how the gay elite seemed to be attached to the status quo. They were not keen to see a public debate on sexual orientation take place. The reality is that money or social status create opportunities for one to isolate oneself from homophobia and transphobia. There is growing evidence that the burden of homophobia is harsher and heavier on the poor.

In India, for example, the poor rely heavily on community safety nets and girls tend to have very little control over their life choices, so fully living one’s sexual orientation is not an option. In 2016 I met a gay man from the slums in Mumbai who explained to me that once he was outed, he had no choice but to remain in the family dwelling exposed daily to the homophobia and violence from family members and neighbours. Leaving, he told me, meant losing all community safety-nets--and could have led to him ultimately dying homeless and abandoned on the streets.
Just like in the straight community, those who can afford to flee poverty, war, and oppression do so while the neediest are left behind.
The Economist: Where is tolerance being eroded? How can individuals and businesses make the case for it more clearly?
Mr Houdart: Conversations remain key. Recently, in New York, I went to a training of new recruits on lesbian, gay and transgender issues at the NYPD Police Academy in Queens, which featured gay and trans officers telling their stories candidly and responding to all kind of questions from recruits. It was very powerful and engaging. That same evening, I went to a well-attended diversity and inclusion event at Microsoft’s New York offices in which staff members shared their views on what being an “ally” meant.

Businesses and individuals should keep these discussions going--even in hostile environments. That is why laws against so-called “gay propaganda” frustrate social change because they ban these conversations.
Just like Harvey Milk said all those years ago, being visible is the key.

We need to control the message and not let those who hate us define us.

Another place of concern is our aging LGBT population, we fought to be out of the closet but as we age many of us are going back into the closet.
LGBT Organizations Focused on Reducing Healthcare Stigma in Aging Adults
The Medical Bag
By Lauren Biscaldi, Editor
July 05, 2018

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community regularly face health disparities because of violence, stigma, and discrimination. Researchers at Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging, and Sexuality/Gender Study1 have set out to examine the consequences of those disparities with the help of the LGBT+ National Aging Research Center.

The federally funded project follows 2450 LGBT adults age 50 to more than 100 years. Approximately 13% of older LGBT adults report experiencing healthcare denial or receiving poor health care because of sexual or gender identity. Of transgender adults, 40% experienced the same treatment.

“We've found a constellation of high-risk factors, including a history of victimization and not getting access to the services they need,” said Karen I. Fredriksen Goldsen, PhD, principal National Health, Aging, and Sexuality/Gender Study investigator and professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work.2 “Not everyone is experiencing poor health,” she added. “In fact, most are doing very well. But we wanted to understand the poor health outcomes in this community.”
Lisa Krinsky, MSW, director of the LGBT Aging Project at The Fenway Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, shared some of the work the Institute is doing to treat the LGBT community, citing a recently launched video conferencing pilot program being used to reduce social isolation among LGBT adults. Additionally, The Fenway Institute is working to address the health of LGBT people with HIV in older age. “We still think of it as a young person's disease,” she said, noting that as a result of the overall success of antiretroviral therapies, people with HIV are living longer. Currently, adults 50 years and older account for 45% of the population living with diagnosed HIV.
I know of a number of hospitals in Connecticut are starting to recognize the disparities in healthcare provided to us and are trying to rectify the inequalities but we still have a long way to go. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Mini Vacations

Well this doesn’t really fall under the category of Staycations but it is nearby and will make a great weekend getaway.

The next three photographs are from the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary...

Hatches Creek

The next three are lighthouses from around Wellfleet.

Nauset Lighthouse
The present Nauset Lighthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is made of cast iron with a brick lining and stands 48 feet high. It was built in 1877, and was located in Chatham as a twin to the one that is there today. In 1923, the smaller wooden lighthouse in Eastham was retired, and the north tower in Chatham was dismantled, moved to Eastham, and reconstructed about 200 feet from the edge of the cliff near the relocated keeper's house. In the 1940s, Nauset Lighthouse was painted red and white as a daytime indicator. In 1981, the light's Fresnel lens was replaced by two two rotating aero beacons. The signal was changed from three white flashes to one red and one white flash of 5 second intervals between them.

The Three Sisters Lighthouses
An 1836 petition by Eastham residents concerned about loved ones at sea caused the Boston Marine Society to recommend to the United States Congress the construction of the Nauset Lights. Congress granted $10,000, and the contract was awarded to Winslow Lewis, the lowest bidder at $6549.

Three 15-foot high masonry towers were built. The lights soon gained the nickname “The Three Sisters” because from sea they looked like women in white dresses with black hats.

Cape Cod shores change quickly. The National Lighthouse Board ordered three new moveable wooden towers to be built thirty feet inland from the original masonry ones.

Highland Lighthouse
Highland Light Station, also known as Cape Cod Light, is located on Outer Cape Cod within Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro. Commissioned by George Washington and established in 1797 as the 20th light station in the United States, the original 45-foot tall wooden tower and keeper's dwelling were built more than 500 feet from the edge of a 125-foot-tall clay cliff. A new brick lighthouse was erected near the original tower in 1831. The present 66-foot-tall brick light tower, keeper's house, and generator shed replaced the previous structures in 1857. An enclosed walkway connects the tower and the one-and-one-half-story, L-shaped, Queen-Anne-style keeper's dwelling.

Saturday 9: Chains

So I am up at the cottage on Cape Cod that I just got in April with some friends and the neighbor came over with a plate of Wellfleet Oysters for us, what a nice way to introduce themselves. The oysters on a half shell were delicious!

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Chains (1962)

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

1) The song is about a woman who is in love with her boyfriend, but still attracted to someone else. Do you believe a woman can be in love with more than one person at a time?

2) What about the male of the species? Do you believe a man can be in love with more than one person at a time?

3) This lyrics were by Gerry Goffin and the music by Carole King. Carole was a favorite guest of David Letterman's. When she appeared on his show, he often commented on how impressed he was by her firm handshake. She credited her memorable grip to time spent milking goats on her Idaho farm. Have you poured goat milk on your cereal? Eaten goat milk yogurt or cheese?
Oh you mean like Feta and Brie? Never any goat milk.
When I was growing up there was a goat farm within walking distance, most of the farms were dairy farms and he was the only goat farmers.

4) When it first came out, "Chains" was a favorite of 18-year-old George Harrison. It was at his recommendation that the Beatles added it to their early stage shows and even recorded it on their first album. When you were in high school, what was one of your favorite songs?

5) In 1962, when this song was released, epic movies were popular on the big screen. The Longest Day was three hours long, and Lawrence of Arabia ran more than three hours and a half hours. Today's most popular movies are nowhere near that long. Do you think the average American has a shorter attention span today than he did in 1962?
Most definitely.
The world is Twitter, a 280 character long.

6) In 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy went on a two-week goodwill tour of India and Pakistan. She received a ceremonial "welcome necklace" in India. Made without jewels or precious metals -- just beads, sequins and paper -- it was valued by the First Lady for its delicate appearance and craftsmanship, and today it's on display at the John F. Kennedy Library. Tell us about a piece of jewelry that means a great deal to you, and why.
My mother had a brass necklace, it was simply a brass cone with fine brass chains coming down that I kept after she died.

7) In Pakistan, Mrs. Kennedy made headlines by riding a camel. Have you ever ridden a horse, donkey, camel or elephant?
Not that I remember.

8) Also in 1962, the New York Newspaper Guild went on strike, so the nation's largest city went 114 days without a single daily paper. In 2018, how do you get your news?
I get the Hartford Courant electronically so that I can read it at the cottage.

9) Random question -- Complete this sentence: Before I go to sleep, I always check Facebook.