Friday, September 20, 2019

We Stood By Them, Will They Stand By Us?

When marriage was on the line, we stood by them.

When they were fighting to be in the military, we stood by them.

Will they stand by us?
We’re Fighting a New 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' All Over Again
The Advocate
By Stephen Peters
September 20, 2019

Eight years ago today, the deeply discriminatory law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) officially came to an end. September 20, 2011 was a day of incredible celebration as gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members were finally able to serve our nation openly and authentically. But after such tremendous progress, little did we know that only seven years later, there would be a new “don’t ask, don’t tell” forced onto the military in the form of a transgender military ban.
But today, we face a new form of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” this time targeting transgender servicemembers. In June 2016, the military updated the outdated regulations that prevented transgender people from serving authentically, finally allowing these troops to also serve openly with pride. But nearly a year later, a new occupent of the Oval Office decided to single out these brave Americans and target them for discrimination based on nothing more than bigotry.
At MMAA [Modern Military Association of America], we immediately sprung into action. Representing transgender servicemembers, qualified transgender recruits, the Gender Justice League and the Human Rights Campaign, we joined with Lambda Legal and Winston & Strawn to file a lawsuit against Donald Trump and his ban. Challenging this un-American policy in the courts and on Capitol Hill, together we’re determined more than ever to ensure that justice and equality ultimately prevail and transgender patriots are once again able to serve authentically.
We can’t fight this by ourselves we need the support of our gay brothers and lesbian sisters to stand with us along with our allies.

One of the places that the LGBTQ+ communities needs help with is in the polical arena.
Where do 10 candidates stand on LGBTQ issues?
Gazette looks at presidential candidates' pasts before Friday's forum
The Gazette
By Erin Jordan
September 19, 2019

With 10 Democratic presidential candidates gathering Friday evening in Cedar Rapids for a forum on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues, The Gazette reviewed their past comments, votes and other actions on LGBTQ issues. Here is a synopsis:

Joe Biden
In 1993, Biden voted to ban gay Americans from serving in the military. President Bill Clinton modified that in 1994 with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allowed gay men and women to serve if their sexual orientation was secret. President Barack Obama signed the repeal of that ban in 2010.

On same-sex marriage, Biden voted in 1996 for the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing these unions and preventing same-sex partners from the same benefits of other married couples. States started making same-sex marriage legal (the Iowa Supreme Court did in 2009, making it the third state to do so) and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
Biden said in June he would make the Equality Act his No. 1 priority if elected president. This bill, passed May 17 by the U.S. House, would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes in federal civil rights law.
Cory Booker
The New Jersey U.S. senator long has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ issues after writing in 1992 in the Stanford Daily newspaper he’d evolved to that position.
The city of Newark, which Booker led as mayor from 2006 to 2013, displayed a rainbow flag for Gay Pride Month in 2007 before it was trendy for many cities and companies to use the symbol.

That gesture stuck out to Kyla Paterson, the first transgender chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Stonewall Caucus and an Iowa City resident. Paterson this week endorsed Booker.
Well we pretty much know where Pete Buttigieg stands on LGBTQ+ issues.
Julian Castro
Castro has said he used his positions in city and federal government to help LGBTQ people avoid discrimination.

On the San Antonio City Council for four years before becoming mayor in 2009, Castro signed an ordinance in 2013 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for employment, housing and public accommodations, reported Pink News in January. This protected San Antonio residents who had no federal or state anti-discrimination laws, the news outlet noted.

As U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama administration, Castro helped expand regulations to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community, he recently told the National Center for Transgender Equality. He spoke specifically about services and advocacy for LGBTQ teens who are homeless.
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard, a U.S. representative, has made a dramatic reversal on LGBTQ issues.

The Hawaii native grew up supporting the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, an organization run by her father, Mike Gabbard, which opposed gay rights.
The article goes on to list the other candidates stands on LGBTQ+ rights.

The other news articles that caught my attention wasn’t about politics.
Despite protests elsewhere, Hartford library hosting a Drag Queen Story Hour as part of its LGBTQ-themed Big Read
The Hartford Courant
By Susan Dunne
September 18, 2019

Drag Queen Story Hour, which has swept the nation since being introduced in San Francisco in 2015 but has drawn protests in some cities, is coming to the Hartford Public Library for the first time, with two events on Sept. 28 as part of the library’s Big Read program.

The nationwide story hours have been controversial in cities such as St. Petersburg, Florida; Spokane, Washington; and most recently in Chula Vista, California, where protesters failed to stop a story hour at the library. The St. Louis Public Library has a Drag Queen Story Hour scheduled the same day as Hartford, and protests are expected there.
The Big Read is the library’s annual focus on one book for the entire city. This year’s Big Read is “Advice from the Lights,” a book of poems by Stephanie Burt, a transwoman who is a professor of English at Harvard. The kids’ Big Read is “George,” a story about a young transgirl.

“This year we wanted to focus on LGBTQ literature and start it at the same time as the citywide celebration of pride,” says Liz Castle, the library’s programming and events manager. Two of the books to be read — “Pink is for Boys” and “Julian is a Mermaid” — are LGBT-themed.

And speaking of “Julian is a Mermaid”
A children’s book about a trans mermaid just won a prestigious prize
Pink News
By Vic Parsons
September 12, 2019

A children’s picture book about a trans mermaid called Julián has won the prestigious Klaus Fugge prize.

Jessica Love, the author of Julián Is a Mermaid, was named the winner on Wednesday, 11 September. The prize goes to the most exciting and promising newcomer to picture book illustration.

Judge and former children’s laureate Anthony Browne called the book “astonishingly beautiful”.
“Julián Is a Mermaid reminds us that picture books can make us understand the world differently and better; that they are for everyone. It is a groundbreaking book,” said Julia Eccleshare, chair of the judges.
Thank you for stopping by. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Geriatric Crowd...

Which I am a card carrying member, faces more discrimination. Many of us lack mobility and may need assisted living or home care what will happen to us? Will we get someone at a LTC (Long Term Care) facility who follows us around quoting the Bible? Will we get invited to setback card games? Or will we be isolated? Will we have to go back in the closet?
Growing old LGBTQ in the Berkshires: Barriers are many, residents say
The Berkshire Eagle
By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz
September 11, 2019

PITTSFIELD — A lack of public transportation and access to primary care physicians make growing old in the Berkshires a challenge. For LGBTQ residents, even more so.

On Tuesday, more than a dozen residents attended a Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Aging listening session at the Berkshire Athenaeum to talk about issues they have faced.

"Isolation, we know, is a really significant and toxic experience for folks," said Lisa Krinsky, director of the LGBT Aging Project at the Fenway Institute. "Most of us came from Eastern Massachusetts to attend the listening session. I think we all left with much more of an appreciation for the kind of transportation issues in the Berkshires."

The Commission on LGBT Aging has been traveling the state to hear from residents about barriers they face. The Pittsfield event was hosted by state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, vice chairwoman of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.
If I have to go into a LTC or a nursing home will I be harassed by the residents or the staff?
Members of the commission also talked about how to respond to discrimination, if it arises.

Two women also shared stories about how they have been intentionally misgendered, both being called "sir," at different county businesses.

Misgendering can be considered illegal gender stereotyping, said Chris Erchull, an attorney for GLAD, a national organization that provides legal services and advocacy for the LGBTQ community.
Um… well first off, GLAD is New England based and GLAAD is national, and Chris is from GLAD.

I know here in Connecticut there is work being done on making home healthcare, nursing homes, and LTC more LGBTQ+ friendly. Connecticut Community Care is providing training to those facilities…
What is LGBT Inclusivity and the Getting it Right program?

Getting it Right: Creating an LGBT Inclusive Organization is a program of Connecticut Community Care supported with funding from the John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust. The program works with aging service providers such as home care and facility-based providers to create welcoming and intentionally inclusive services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) clients and families. We provide an integrated set of resources to Getting it Right (GIR) providers. These include training and other best practice resources. GIR begins with the premise that intentional inclusion means proactive practices that go beyond current standards and policies of non-discrimination.
Getting it Right is a “train the trainer” model. We train organizational champions who are then charged with training other direct service staff. GIR provides these training resources to the provider agency.
So far five organizations have gotten certified.

Like all training and certifications they all look good on paper but it takes a continuing effort to make it happen, it has to be top down with the administration leading the way and it has to be enforced at the supervisor level.

Also here in Connecticut the state legislature included a LGBTQ+ legislative committee, its charge is…
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Health and Human Services Network to make recommendations to the state legislative, executive and judicial branches of government concerning the delivery of health and human services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons in the state.

(b) The network shall work to build a safer and healthier environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer persons by (1) conducting a needs analysis, within available appropriations, (2)  collecting additional data on the health and human services needs of such persons as necessary, (3) informing state policy through reports submitted at least biennially, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health, human services, appropriations and the budgets of state agencies, other legislative committees as necessary, the Governor and the Chief Court Administrator, and (4) building organizational member capacity, leadership and advocacy across the geographic and social spectrum of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
I believe that this is the first LGBTQ+ legislative committee in the nation and one of my goals on the committee is to make sure that aging trans population get proper healthcare.

There is also another agency that is looking into proper healthcare for us in LTC facilities. State Unit On Aging Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has “Inclusive Community Workgroup” that is working to make sure not just the trans community but all minorities are treated with respect and dignity, and do not face discrimination and harassment.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sex Change Capitol Of The World

How many of you remember that name given to Trinidad Colorado?

The LA Time just had an article about Dr. Biber, the Sisters of Charity, and Mt. San Rafael Hospital.
How Stanley Biber, a pioneer in gender confirmation surgery, won over the Sisters of Charity
By Martin J. Smith
September 12, 2019

TRINIDAD, Colo. —  In 1969, when Dr. Stanley Biber first performed gender confirmation surgery on an acquaintance who’d sought his help, he created a whole new set of challenges for himself in Trinidad: How was he going to explain all this to the Sisters of Charity who were still helping run the small, rural hospital where he worked, and to the mostly Roman Catholic community that eventually would be hosting about three or four transgender medical pilgrims a week?

The original Mt. San Rafael Hospital was built by the Catholic order in 1889 and was run by those nuns for the next 79 years. The Sisters of Charity turned control of the hospital over to the Trinidad Area Health Assn. in December 1968, just before Biber began specializing in gender surgery but continued working as patient advocates and in other roles with the hospital for decades afterward.
At first, Biber kept the charts of his early transgender patients in the hospital administrator’s safe. Claudine Griggs, at the time a law-office secretary and part-time graduate student in Rancho Cucamonga who went to Biber for surgery in 1991, says she heard the surgeon concocted a cover story about his first patient being “an accident victim” to avoid raising questions.

Secrets don’t stay secret for long in a town that size, especially with so many strangers wandering around. “Obviously when they started having a lot of ‘accidents,’ they knew something was going on,” Griggs says.
A conservative town opens their doors to us…
By the time Griggs went to Trinidad for her surgery, she says Biber and the Mt. San Rafael staff were welcoming transgender patients in a way that affirmed their dignity and reassured the patients about the professionalism of the surgeon and the hospital.
In another article in the LA Times...
He made this town the world’s ‘sex-change capital,’ but he’s not honored here
By Martin J. Smith
September 12, 2019

TRINIDAD, Colo. —  If you’re looking for evidence that this little-known Western outpost was, for 41 years, known as the world’s “sex-change capital,” be prepared to look a long time.

Dr. Stanley Biber, the colorful country surgeon whose pioneering work made “going to Trinidad” a euphemism for gender confirmation surgery, has been dead since 2006. His decades of work, which brought medical pilgrims from around the world to this heavily Catholic former coal-mining town, is not commemorated in any way at Mt. San Rafael Hospital, where Biber and his protege, Dr. Marci Bowers, performed an estimated 6,000 gender surgeries between 1969 and 2010.
Then the news media picked up on what was going on in the sleepy town.
His work made headlines — and occasionally drew the attention of self-righteous outsiders. In 1999, for example, members of the staunchly anti-LGBTQ Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church arrived to picket what its news release for the event described as “Satan’s physician” and the town it called the “anteroom to Hell.” Feature stories about Biber appeared in this newspaper and other national media, and TV show host Geraldo Rivera and his camera crew documented a surgery.
You may have concluded that Biber’s obscurity suggests a certain discomfort among locals with his chosen area of specialty, or a continuing marginalization of that important history for transgender Americans. Most locals will tell you that you’re wrong, including one you might expect to take Biber’s exclusion as a personal slight.

Trinidad City Councilwoman Michelle Miles came to Trinidad for gender confirmation surgery in 2005 and later made it her home — one of the few medical pilgrims to have done so. She says Trinidad is just not the kind of place that goes around putting up statues and plaques.
CBS Sunday Morning did this video about him and the town...