Monday, March 31, 2008

Manic Monday

Lisa’s Manic Monday for March 31, 2008

What is the sexiest part of the body?
The face.

If you kissed a frog, who would you like it to turn into?
This is a very easy question to answer; my true love. Especially if I had to kiss a frog to meet her.

What do you have stuck up on your refrigerator right now?
A 1800 calorie diet (which I haven’t been following), a calendar, a lab sheet for my next doctors appointment, a magnet from GLAD holding up the lab sheet and a white board with a “To do list” (which I also haven’t been following).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Down In The Dumps…

I am in “Blue Funk” right now; I don’t want to go into details. Just that I am trying to decide if I want to go somewhere this afternoon. I probably go and put on my “Happy Face”, but…

Update - 6:40pm
It went better than I expected and my "Happy Face" was real, but I still have some issues that I have to settle.

Saturday Six - Episode 206

Patrick’s Place: Saturday Six - Episode 206

1. When presented with a new project at work that clearly doesn’t make sense to you, are you likely to voice your reservations first or set them aside to work on the project?
I worked in a job shop so we were driven by the customers needs. The customer said jump and we asked “How high?” they were the ones who were paying the bills.

2. You are shown a new technology that will be incorporated into your job, and you realize that this technology will actually slow things down. Do you express this discovery before trying the new technology, or do you try it first with the intention of then demonstrating how much more difficult it made things?
I always tried to make it work and if it didn’t, I complained to my boss and sometimes it got changed and other times it didn’t. but I always gave it my best effort.

3. At your workplace, do you tend to be among the first people your co-workers approach for help in a crisis, the last people they approach, or somewhere in between?
It depended on my employees, some came complaining to me right away, some tried and tried, getting nowhere and some tried until they ran into a dead end and then they came to me. One ran off complaining to my boss first bypassing me all together, which got me very mad that he couldn’t come to me first.

4. Take the quiz:
What Kind of Thinker Are You?

Your Thinking is Abstract and Sequential

You like to do research and collect lots of information.

The more facts you have, the easier it is for you to learn.

You need to figure things out for yourself and consider all possibilities.

You tend to become an expert in the subjects that you study.

It's difficult for you to work with people who know less than you do.

You aren't a very patient teacher, and you don't like convincing people that you're right.

5. You’re watching television on a rainy Saturday: which has a greater appeal: watching a new show you’ve never seen before, watching a movie or television episode you have seen before and enjoyed, or watching a sporting event featuring two teams you have no strong connection to?
I can eliminate sports programs right of the bat and it is a toss up between a new show or a good movie that I had seen before. I would probably watch some of the new program and if I liked it, I would watch it.

6. Should employers be required to provide naptime for their employees? If you think they should, how much time should be required?
YES! I lived only a couple of miles from work and I use to go home every day and have lunch and take a short 15-minute nap. It did wonders for me and if I could not take a nap I would get run down around three.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Heating Oil Price – YIKES!

I had another fill-up today and the price was $3.879 can you believe it! I am paying $3.25 for gasoline and there is something like $0.60 cents of road tax on it, so the real price is around $2.60. Why is heating oil so expensive? Can you imagine what it is like for families on a fixed income?
This is insane!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Washington DC Lobby Days

My reservation are made and confirmed, I will be driving down to Washington DC with a friend on Sunday April 13th and returning on the 16th. The Lobbying Days is sponsored by the National Center for Transgender Equality and we will be lobbying for the Hate Crime bill (The Mathew Shepard bill) and the gender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Last year, well to put it bluntly, we were screwed when gender identity was taken out of the bill by Barney Frank and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), so we have are work cutout for us. This year we will be staying at Washington Plaza Hotel right in the center of Washington, what gets me is that for the price that we are paying to be in the center of Washington, the internet and parking is extra. The motel that we stayed at last year in Arlington VA the rooms came with the internet and the parking was free was a third of the price of this hotel, next year I think I will go back there.

Friday Fill-In #65

Janet’s Friday Fill-In #65

1. Some relationships are meant to _be_.
2. _I can’t remember_ is the last concert I saw; it was _twenty-five – thirty years ago_.
3. Spring should be _just around the corner _.
4. Oh no! I forgot _to print the awards_!
5. I've recently started _frustrated in not being able to lose weight_.
6. _The songs of the birds on a spring morning_ never fails to make me smile.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going out tonight to a coffeeshop to hear a folk singer_, tomorrow my plans include _going to our annual banquet_ and Sunday, I want to _go to my nephew birthday party_!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Separate But Equal – Yeah Right!

We have heard over and over again that Civil Union is equal to marriage, well tell that to H&R Block. There is an article in this morning’s Hartford Courant about how H&B Block treats married couples different from civil union couples. The married couple can do their taxes on line, but the civil union couple have to go into the office to have their taxes done. Can you say discrimination?

Same-Sex Couple Blocked By H & R
Tax Preparer Says Its Computer Software Can't Support Civil-Union Returns
By MARK PAZNIOKAS | Courant Staff Writer
March 26, 2008

After 23 months of same-sex, civil-union bliss, Jason Smith and Settimio Pisu had grown accustomed to some institutions being not quite ready for the concept of gay spouses.
There was that long day at the DMV trying to jointly register a car, which ended pleasantly enough with an apology from a clerk.
And don't even ask the Guilford couple about their adoption stories.
Still, Smith and Pisu weren't ready for the online message that popped up as they tried to file their taxes on H&R Block's website: "We don't support Connecticut Civil Union returns." …

… Shock melted into annoyance after he concluded that H&R Block meant that its software, not politics, keeps it from supporting civil-union returns.
The giant tax preparer was willing to prepare the couple's taxes at one of its offices for $199.80 — $155 more than the online price…

…H&R Block has managed to rewrite its software to handle gay marriages in Massachusetts, but not so with civil unions in Connecticut or Vermont, Smith said.
"It's really not that complicated," Smith said.
TurboTax has figured it out, he said.
"When you go through their website, not only do they support the return, they tell you it's cheaper to buy" the software, rather than to file online, Smith said.
The reason is that TurboTax charges online for each return, and gay couples in civil unions cannot file joint federal returns.
"They are actually looking out for you and trying to save you money," Smith said. "That's a completely perfect response."

The paper has a poll on the article and when I looked the vote the results were…
Is H&R Block discriminating by not allowing gay couples in civil unions to file their taxes online?
Yes (150 responses)46.0%
No (176 responses)54.0%
* 326 total responses

What get my goat is the 54% of the people do not see this as discriminatory. What is it then? When they do not want to offer the same service to a homosexual couple that they offer to a heterosexual couple (I can understand charging more because there are more forms to fill out.)? It is not as if the law was just passed, it was passed over a year ago and Vermont had civil unions even longer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

HB5723 An Act Concerning Discrimination...

H.B. No. 5723 AN ACT CONCERNING DISCRIMINATION passed the Judiciary Committee today with only 6 Nays
3/24/2008 (JUD) Joint Favorable
3/24/2008 (LCO) Filed with Legislative Commissioners' Office

Update 3/25/08:
The vote was Yeas 37 & Nays 6. You can see the vote here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday Six - Episode 205

Patrick’s Place: Saturday Six - Episode 205

1. You’re in church, listening to a sermon, when your pastor begins a diatribe that you strongly disagree with. Which are you more likely to do: sit through the sermon and confront the pastor privately afterwards, get up and leave in the middle of the sermon, or say nothing at all?
Since I do not usually attend church, I will answer hypothetically and say that I do not think that I would say anything.

2. Regardless of your response to question #1, how likely would you be to return to the same church with the same level of enthusiasm the following week?
No, I do not think I would go back.

3. Based on how well you know your particular belief system’s main principles, how much do you agree with them overall?
100%, that is kind of a loaded question. If it our belief system wouldn’t we agree with them?
My principles are simple…
1. I believe in God
2. Do no harm – to people, property or the environment.
3. Treat everyone equally, with respect and dignity.

4. Based on how well you know your pastor or the person from whom you take the most spiritual advice (or the person who has influenced your beliefs the most if not a pastor), how much do you think you agree with this person overall and how much do you disagree?
I really d
o not have anyone that I seek spiritual guidance from; I learned it from my parents and from life. I think each of us knows right from wrong.

5. How important is it to you that the people with whom you associate most often have views on spirituality that closely mirror your own?
I think that all my friends follow my three principles, that they are all “good” people.

6. To what extent do you believe spirited rallies about racism actually opens the door to improve race relations in this country, as opposed to merely maintaining a level of anger that blocks such attempts to improve things?
That is a hard question to answers; it has so many different facets and levels to it.
I think that the best way for fight racism is by example, by treating “everyone equally, with respect and dignity”
However, when something is blatantly racist you have to speak-up. An example of that is when a local nightclub had a comedy act by a black face comedian who was portraying blacks as stereotype; many felt that something had to be done. What was done was not a “spirited rally” but an alternate comedy act; flyers were handed out in front of the nightclub and posted around the neighborhood explaining why we were against the show and directing them to the other show.

Up At My Brother’s Condo In Maine For Easter

We took a walk yesterday at Parson’s Beach and of course, I took some pictures…

This is Mattie, my brother's dog

And today at Fort William’s and Portland Light...
This is the Officer's Quarters at Ft. William

Portland Lighthouse

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Opposition to HB5723 An Act Concerning Discrimination...

This is the testimony of the person who testified against the bill…
Why not simply write legislation specifically for the state legislators and scores of citizens who have been testifying over the years? Why not honor what they say about their experience? Why not ask them to draft legislation?

??? Hun ??? What is this suppose to mean?

The answer, at least in part, is that while personal experience is valuable, epistemology, the process of how we acquire knowledge, is broader. Also, the process of drafting legislation involves specialized knowledge that the average citizen lacks.
To broaden my own understanding about "sexual orientation", I have pursued two avenues. For forty years I have been in conversation with gay and lesbian persons and for twenty years I have studied scientific research on "sexual orientation." It is this latter area that I believe the General Assembly has neglected since at least 1991.

??? I thought this bill was on gender identity and expression???

Several years ago during a similar hearing, Chairman Lawlor introduced the Office of Legislative Research as a group of dedicated and unbiased individuals. I thought, "But how do they know that the research they are selecting is unbiased or accurate." From what I can tell, the material on OLR's web-site has been compiled by those with a legal background but not knowledge on this subject. For the most part, it is simply material from advocate groups, not primary research and conclusions by the compilers.

Hmm… I think the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, National Institute Health and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are definitely biased, for the truth.

The General Assembly is apparently giving more credence to emotion, caring as it may be, than to thought research and discussion. This was frighteningly manifested in 2001 when it nearly passed legislation to break the Seal of Confession.
My knowledge of the legislature's actions goes back to 1991. In that year "sexual orientation" was added to the list of protected classes against discrimination. Yet it wasn't until 1991 that any research claiming that "sexual orientation" was biologically caused and perhaps innate and unchanged was broadly publicized. Conversely, in 1988 Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins published Gay, Straight and In-Between. He said that while there was no scientific evidence supporting the change in terminology from "sexual preference" to "sexual orientation", it was politically expedient.

Now there is an up-to-date references, we have learned a lot since 1988 and 1991.

1996 was the first year I noticed the term "transsexual" appear in periodicals. "Transgender" is the more recent term. Indeed, this is the secondary term in the Wikipedia entry for Gender Identity. The first sentence reads, "Gender identity (or core gender identity) is a person's own sense of identification as male or female." This does correspond to the bill's definition (Sec. 1., 21). Subjectivity and emotions are core components in the definitions.

Wikipedia, now that is a scholarly reference.

The point of the opening paragraphs is personal experience and, more precisely, an individual's interpretation of one's experience which is a singularly precarious basis upon which to base laws. My observations of the General Assembly's actions during the last two decades on issues of "sexual orientation" indicate that this is the principle criteria being used.

Once again, the scientific evidence does provide a strong basis and we are talking about gender identity and expression, not sexual orientation.

Civil protections and rights for neglected individuals and classes is a mark of a civilized society. However I believe both the General Assembly's processes and practices are negligent in acquiring sufficient and proper information to take action on this and similar bills.

Yup, a really well written and informed testimony.

Friday Fill-In #64

1. _Hang Gliding_ is so exciting! (I tried it a couple of times in my youth.)
2. Strawberry fields _full of lust juicy strawberries are only a couple of months away_.
3. _Tiramisu_ sounds like it would taste delicious! I love the name Tiramisu, its sounds so decadent.
4. Why does _good food_ make me feel so good?!
5. _The Grand Canyon_ is something I've always wanted to see.
6. It's sad when _when a person has so much hate that it consumes them _.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _a pizza party_, tomorrow my plans include _driving up to Maine_ and Sunday, I want to _enjoying Easter_!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Testimony to the Judicial Committee

2008 Testimony to the Judicial Committee
An Act Concerning Discrimination HB5723

Honorable chairmen, senators and representatives, my name is Diana _________ and I live in _____. I would like to urge you to vote in favor of HB 5723 An Act Concerning Discrimination.

Since I testified here last year, more trans-people have lost their jobs or are worrying if the next paycheck will be their last one. Meanwhile other trans-people have been struggling to find a job, any job to help them feed their families. They want to work, they have the skills to do the jobs, but no one will hire them because they are transgendered. Every time I attend a support group, I hear the same worry… I am afraid that I will be fired if my boss found out that I am transgendered. They live with this constant fear.

A friend told me that when she told her boss that she was going to transition, he warned her that if she did she would be fired.

Another friend down in the southern part of the state was up for a promotion at a large box store and when she asked why she didn’t get the promotion; she was told, “Well, you know, because… you’re…” Unfortunately, we do know all to well why we are denied promotions and when we do get a job we are stuck in low paying jobs with no chance for advancement because of discrimination.

I could go on and on with stories of discrimination, however it does not have to be like that; I have friends who transitioned at work without any problems. Human Resources worked together with her and developed policies to help her and the companies through her transition. Their customers and vendors just blinked, paused and said, “OK” then they went on with their business.

All we are asking for is an equal chance at a job, all jobs, and not just some jobs. We cannot have this law cover some jobs and not others.

I retired last year and I have been living full since last June and I was apprehensive about transitioning, I didn’t know what to expect. To my amazement, it has gone smoothly. Most of the businesses made the transition easy I just sent them a copy of the probate order and they changed the name on the account, but others businesses made my life miserable. They had no clue in how to go about the change; one credit card company took three tries before they got it right. Another company suggested at first that it would be easier if I close the account and open a new account, but then I would lose my credit history with the company.

One night I stopped at a fast food restaurant on the Berlin Turnpike, while I was standing in line the staff were coming out from the back room and looking at me. One of the employees walked by with his wrist limp, swaying his hips and from the back of the store I could hear giggling. I spoke to the manager at the counter and his reply was, “They are only high school students, what do you expect?” my answers was, “They are also your employees.” I didn’t press it any further. In another incident a couple of months ago, while I was at a neighborhood grocery store, the person who was bagging groceries looked at me and said, “What the hell are you?” he then walked away and started bagging another check-out line. The checkout clerk apologized while bagging my groceries; she was embarrassed by his behavior. So far, when I go back to that store I have not met that individual again. Without this bill, there is no incentive for an employer to train their employees about gender identity discrimination

I am not naïve enough to think that this bill will do away with discrimination and harassment, but it will make an employer, business or property owner think twice. This bill will show that the state of Connecticut does not condone any type of discrimination and harassment based on gender identity or expression against it citizens. Please vote in favor of HB 5723 and help pass it without any amendments, thank you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Just Got Back From the Legislative Office Building

It was a very long day!

I got there a little before ten and I didn’t testify until five, I just hung around the LOB killing time until my number (which was ninety-five, you draw a number out of a basket that determines the order in which you testify. Not ever number was picked, I was about thirtieth person to testify.) was called. I read all my homework assignments and a good part of my book. We had about ten testify in favor and one opposed of the bill. The person who testified against the bill was a minister who didn’t know what the bill was all about but saw it said something about gender identity and transsexuals so he was opposed to it.

I will post my testimony tomorrow and when they post the transcript of the hearing, I will post the minister. Just try not to chuckle too loud.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My First Workshop

I submitted a workshop proposal for Fantasia Fair in October and it was accepted, this will be my first workshop that I have given.

Dear Diana,

Your proposal sounds great. Please consider it accepted for either Fri. or Sat. I will get back to you as our planning progresses.

Best wishes,

On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 08:24:32 -0700 (PDT) Diana L writes:

Hi H
I would like to give a workshop on...

Building A Grassroots Coalition for Trans-Issues

This workshop will provide methods to organize the Trans-Community to help pass anti-discrimination legislation and to help influence policy decisions for such issues as changing driver license's gender designations and education policies for trans-students.
The workshop will cover:

* Forming the Core Group/ Planning Committee – its composition and diversity
* Building a coalition – how to get other organization involved in trans-issues
* Developing a grassroots base – how to reach out to the trans community and get them involved
* Examining various organizational models – programmatic, participatory and empowerment
* Funding – grants, fundraisers and donations & incorporating as a 501(c)(3) or using a fiduciary

Do you need any A/V equipment?
I will not need any A/V equipment, just a blank wall to project on. I will bring my own computer and projector.

Provide a brief Bio.
She is also on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition, which is working to promote transgender issues in; housing, employment, medical, legal, legislative and to provide one on one advocacy work. Diana is the passed Executive Director of the Connecticut Outreach Society. She is current enroll in the University of Connecticut School of Social Work S.T.E.P. program and is earning credits towards her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Organizing.

What days can you not do the workshop?
I hope that by October that we can change the wording for the Anti-D bill to past tense and that I will be accepted into the full Master’s program. I would not be available Monday – Thursday, but I should be able to give a more definite answer once the fall class schedule comes out this summer. Last year I was able to schedule my classes early in the week.


Science Fiction Legend Arthur C. Clarke, 90, Dies

By Mitch Wagner
March 18, 2008 07:44 PM

Arthur C. Clarke, the science-fiction writer who co-authored the screenplay and book 2001: A Space Odyssey, and who came up with the idea for the communications satellite in the 1940s, died at a hospital near his home in Sri Lanka early Wednesday. He was 90.

He was one of my favorite science fiction authors, his science fiction had a way of becoming science fact.

Tomorrow is the Big Day! (No, no..not the big day)

The hearing for the Anti-Discrimination bill is tomorrow and I have my testimony all written for the third time. I hope that this is the last time I have to testify, that the bill passes this year. It has taken up much of my time this month along with the True Colors Conference and the Trans Health and Law Conference next month.
I know it will be a long rainy day tomorrow, just sitting around for most of the day just waiting for my three minutes to testify. I have my book to read and I will just find some chair to slouch down in to read. It is not only our bill but a number of other bills that will be heard tomorrow and you have to sit through all their testimonies as well.
Last year there were such interesting bills like letting constables use their own car for work (sic), but it is really interesting to see all these different people there for different causes. It is democracy at its basic level, I think you get that feeling more on a state level then on the national level. On the national level you felt like a cog on a wheel.
I will post my testimony on Thursday.

That Old Factory

OK as promised…

Ensign-Bickford Company
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ensign-Bickford Industries, Incorporated (formerly The Ensign-Bickford Company) was started in 1836 in Simsbury, Connecticut as a manufacturer of William Bickford's safety fuse for use in mining. Safety fuse was a great advance in mining technology over the practice of filling holes with black powder. The next step in mining technology was detonating cord. Ensign-Bickford and other companies developed different versions of detonating cord. Ensign-Bickford's "Primacord" or "primercord" became the functional generic name for detonating cord in North America. In 2003 Ensign-Bickford sold the trademarks and processes to Dyno Nobel Inc of Australia (formerly of Norway).

I remember about fifteen years ago, we had a QA Inspector who quit and she went work for them. She gave her two-week notice and during those two weeks while still working for us, a part of the Ensign-Bickford plant went BOOM killing a QA Inspector and a chemist. As you can imagine she was very nervous going to work for them, but she did and the last time I heard from her she enjoyed her job.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Manic Monday

Lisa's Manic Monday for March 17, 2008

If you could have any music group or musician play at a party, who would you hire?
The Eagles!

Name three things to be happy about today.
That I am here typing this.
The love of my family.
That I live in a “Blue” state.

How do you release frustration?
I find it hard to release frustration, like when my professors were late in getting the Letters of Recommendation out.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another Sunday, Another Walk

I went walking again this Sunday, this time from mile 9.6 to mile 11.4 and here are some of the pictures I took along the way.

Can you guess what they make at this old factory? I will post the answer on Tuesday.

At The Conference…

Friday I got to the True Colors Conference at UConn early so that I could sign-in at the Volunteer desk; I had signed up just to help a friend who was giving a workshop. However, as usual, once you put on a yellow tee shirt (to indicate volunteers) you are fair game so I ended up running earning. I had to bring food to the back stage for Debra Chasnoff, the director of STRAIGHTLACED and I also got stopped all the time with the question: “Do you know where…”

I meet my friends Patty and Staci who were giving workshops, I was Patty’s “Presenter’s Liaison” and we went over to the Connecticut Outreach table; where met another COS member and we laid out the handouts and pamphlets. Then I went with Patty for her workshop: “Health Care Guide for Medical, Helping Professionals for the Trans Community -- This workshop will explore a health care booklet for adult Ts (transsexuals and transgendered) that the presenter is developing as part of her Cultural Competency course at College.” [1] After the workshop as we were walking back to the Student Union where we were going to meet our friends for lunch I mentioned to Patty that in her audience was a person who had Chaired the American Medical Association’s -- Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's Trans Health Care Committee. I knew that it would shake her up if she learned that he was there before the workshop because this was her first and she didn't need that pressure.

After lunch with Patty, I went to a workshop: “Planned Obsolescence: Creating a New Paradigm of Transgender Care Beyond Gender Identity Disorder - This workshop is a presentation of Stone’s original thinking on the development of a new paradigm of transgender care. By formulating a new paradigm, and gaining support for a model of care which is non-pathologizing, flexible and inclusive, Stone proposes that Gender Identity Disorder will be rendered obsolete. There will be a discussion of his new proposed diagnosis for care with plenty of time for lively discussion.”"[1] One of the great obstacle that the Trans-community has is with the DSM IV TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is that it classifieds Gender Identity Disorder as a mental illness when it is not. It should be the same as Homosexuality.
It was an excellent workshop! I hope that the DSM V will incorporate this change, because it was developed by and for the trans-community, and not by some panel of old men using 19th Century paradigms to decide what is best for us.

After the conference, I went with Patty and Staci out to dinner.

Saturday, I didn’t get there as early because I was not volunteering that day and I went to two workshop:
New Media Activism: Using the Internet As Your Voice for Social Justice -- The two ladies who brought you Feisty Aphrodite will introduce some of the key vehicles of New Media that will allow you to share your voice and bring awareness to issues pertaining to the LGBTI community. Through podcasting, blogging, websites, vlogging, and YouTube (to name a few), we will show you how easy and effective the web can be to network groups together and begin social change. New Media has revolutionized the political, social and communication landscape, enabling the LGBTI community to bring their issues to the forefront while raising awareness to combat stereotypes and prejudice. Anyone who is interested in utilizing the vast possibilities of reaching an endless audience – whether you are a technological guru or simply technologically impaired - we have your seat. [1]
Building Bridges: The Common Thread of Social Justice Movements – Activists working for social changes may at times feel overwhelmed. They may feel that their cause is not progressing as fast as it should, or sense that other issues receive more attention and possibly detract from their efforts. If activists from different social justice groups could find ways to work together and share resources, the mutual benefits realized would help all groups involved achieve their goals. Building Bridges is an interactive discussion that explores the relationship between social justice issues. Using historical perspectives and current events, participants analyze the common traits among social justice issues. Attendees will work to develop suggestions as to how GLBT groups and individuals can create relationships and persuade activists from other social justice groups to work together to achieve their goals. [1]
The first workshop was a little too basic for me, but they did talk about a free software program for editing mp3 files. The second workshop I thought was preaching to the choir, it would be a great workshop for to teach diversity but not for a LGBT audience.

After the conference I went out to dinner with a friend who was a volunteer chaperone for the dance that evening.

[1] True Colors VX: A Global Perspective of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Conference Guide

By the Way Sunday

By the way...

Did anyone call you last night?
Yes, my brother called me

How late were you on the computer last night?

10:30, I checked my email before I turned off the computer.

What did you have to eat last night?
Seafood ravioli in a white cream sauce.

Did you watch any good TV shows or movies last night?
No, good shows, I can’t even remember what I did watch.

Did any news items stand out to you last night?
The crane crash in New York City

Did you go out last night?

No, I came in. I was at the True Colors Conference all day and then I went to dinner with a friend. I got back around 7:00pm

What was the weather like last night?

Cloudy and around 45F.

What was the last thing you said last night?
Ah… as I soaked in the tub.

What time did you go to bed last night?

11:20 just after the weather.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Six - Episode 204

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six - Episode 204

1. Do you have any plans to attend a St. Patrick’s Day party this weekend?
No, I have no desire to attend a St. Patrick’s Day party.

2. Have you ever thrown a St. Patrick’s Day party? If not, would you consider doing so?

No and No. See above.

3. What is your favorite thing about the Irish?
They are OK, no better or worst that any other nationality.

4. Take the quiz:
What Color Green Are You?

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

5. Should carrying alcohol in public places — as people would tend to do during a city’s St. Paddy’s Day celebration — be illegal?
It depends on whether alcohol is normally severed in public, like a ballpark. I do not think exceptions should be made.

6. Are you more likely to be a designated driver at a party, or more likely to need one?
Yes, I am more likely to be the designated driver. I very rarely have more than one drink.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #63

Janet’s Friday Fill-Ins #63

1. Contact may cause _irritated eyes_.
2. The parties hereto do mutually agree _to squirt guns at twenty paces_.
3. Disney parks _do nothing for me_.
4. _A nice hot bath_ sounds really good right about now!
5. I positively _beat_.
6. _A Baby’s giggle_ always makes me smile :-)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _a hot shower and an early night _, tomorrow my plans include _back up to the True Color Conference to volunteer to help out again_ and Sunday, I want to _relax unless someone wants to go hiking_!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Do The Flowers You Pick Say About You

I found this on Kwizgiver blog, "what if this is as good as it gets?"

What An Iris Says About You

You are incredibly hopeful and courageous.

Even when you've been challenged in life, you have faith that everything will work out.

Your feelings run deep, and you are a very grateful person.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What I Have Been Up To Lately

Keeping busy while retired takes work…
Sunday, I went for my weekly walk and we walked 5 miles (8 km) on a Rails to Trails Greenway, a converted railroad track which was made into a walk/bicycle path. We walked from mile 7 to mile 9.6 and then we turned around and walked back. This is a wetlands that the trial runs along.

Monday, I helped out at True Colors in preparation for the up coming conference on the weekend, I stuffed conference folder with evaluation forms, Resource Guides and Conference Guides (This is a 5Meg file, it is worth downloading just to see all the amazing workshops and work that goes into the conference.) for four hours, we got several hundred of them finished.
Today, I took part on a LGBTQII panel a the UConn School of Medicine for second year med students.
Subject: volunteers on WEDNESDAY?
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 12:15:46 -0400

Hi, folks - if you are around and available, we could use a bunch of
volunteers in the office tomorrow (Wednesday, the 12th) between 9:00 and
1:00 - we need to load the truck, put together participant packages for
Thursday, and gather supplies to bring up to UCONN for the following day.

If you are around, and wanna help, boy could we use you! email or just show
up -- thanks!!! Robin

Thursday, I will be on the second LGBTQII panel a the UConn and also gather up the material for the Connecticut Outreach Society table at the conference.
Friday and Saturday, up at the conference helping and also attending workshops
Sunday, sitting around getting bored and complaining that there never is anything to do.

All I Am Asking Is For An Equal Chance

There is a bill before the state legislator that will give us an equal chance, HB5723 An Act Concerning Discrimination; the bill will make it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity and expression. Please call your legislator and ask him to vote in favor of the bill as it was raised in the Judicial Committee. Form more information on the bill and how you can get involved visit here.

On the national level, Diane Schroer was offered a job at the Library of Congress as an international terrorism analyst. She was highly qualified for the job because in the military she was a colonel in the Special Forces and headed a joint task force on terrorism, briefing Vice President Cheney. However, when she told them that she would be coming to work as Diane and not David, they rescinded the offer.

Please look at these two videos, the first one is an interview of Diane Schroer by CNN and the other is an interview of Diane Schroer by the ACLU who is handling her case against the Library of Congress.

We need to hire the best person for the job. The country lost tremendous chance to hire a person who was the most qualified for the job. Bigotry hurts everyone.

The videos I found on Donna Rose's blog.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Manic Monday

Lisa's Manic Monday for March 10, 2007

What's your favorite thing to spend money on?
Food! I love to dine out at a nice restaurant.

If you could retire tomorrow what would you do?
Ah… I am retired. I volunteer at a non-profit LGBT Youth organization, they work with the Dept. of Children and families (DCF) and Dept. of Social Services (DSS) to find homes and mentors for LGBT kids. They are holding they annual conference this weekend. I also have gone back to college and are taking classes toward a Masters in Social Work.

Should anything be censored and if so, what and why?

Another hard question especially because so much hate speech is directed at me. But I think the only speech that should be censored is speech that promotes violence or may cause injuries such as call fire in a crowd or “those people should be wiped off the face of the earth, they are an abomination.”

Sunday, March 09, 2008

By the Way Sunday

By the way...

What is your dad's first name?

What is your mother's maiden name?
For security purposes, I am going to skip the question.

Where were you born?
Once again, I will just say Connecticut because of security reasons.

Are you an only child?

No, I have an older brother, who is five years older.

Do you have any cousins?
I have a whole gaggle of cousins. On my mother’s side of the family, three but on my father’s side I think the count is ten

Who is your oldest living relative?
My aunt at 90, she was always the smallest and weakest of my mother’s sister but she out lived all her sisters.

Who is your youngest living relative?
My nephew’s son, he is going to be two this year.

Do you participate in regular family get-togethers or reunions?
Yes, on my father’s side we get together when someone dies or get married. Oh! You mean like family picnics, no. On my mother’s side, we see each other my be once or twice a year

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saturday Six - Episode 203

Patrick’s Place Weekender: Saturday Six - Episode 203

1. What was the first board game you remember playing?
Oh, that is a long time ago. My feeble brain doesn’t remember that far back. I will say that my favorite game is Backgammon.

2. When you last played a crossword puzzle, did you look up any of the answers before you finished?
No, I didn’t have to look up the answers… that’s because I never did a crossword puzzle. However, I did write one.

3. Did you ever own a Rubik’s Cube? If so, were you ever able to solve it on your own?
Yes, I have a Rubik’s Cube and no I was never able to solve. Somewhere buried in the bottom of my desk draw, I still have it.

4. Take the quiz: What Kind of Puzzle Are You?

You Are Sudoku

You are simple, modern and elegant.

You're not that difficult to figure out, but very few people truly get you.

You approach the world with a pure logic that most people will never grasp.

5. You decide to buy yourself a jigsaw puzzle: what kind of image are you most likely to buy: a landscape, an image of an animal, a sports hero, or a shot from a popular movie?
A landscape jigsaw puzzle.

6. Have you ever tried Sudoku? How easy did you find it (or would you think you would find it) to be?
No way! I can’t even figure out what you are suppose to do to solve it.

NCTE Lobby Day: April 14-15, 2008

Last year I went down to Washington DC to lobby for the gender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Hate Crime bill and hopefully, I will be going down to lobby again this year.

If you look closely you can see me in the top left side of the photo, I am the one with the over-the-shoulder bag.

Lobby Day: April 14-15, 2008
sponsored by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender Law Center

Dear Friends and Allies,

Mark your calendars, make your plans, and reserve your spot today at America's only federal Lobby Day devoted exclusively to winning full transgender equality. Join us in Washington, DC on Monday and Tuesday, April 14-15, 2008.

Every year transgender people, our families, and our allies come from around the country to speak directly to our representatives about the laws and issues that impact our lives. Last year's debates about employment non-discrimination and hate crimes laws showed us just how critical it is that lawmakers hear directly from us. We need you to make that happen, so register today and bring a friend.

When you attend, you will get:

* Briefings on the hottest public policy issues impacting transgender people right now;
* Full training and support materials for the lobby visits;
* Assistance in setting up your meetings if this is your first time;
* Paired up with an experienced lobbyist if you'd like.

Since the schedule for these two days is packed, please plan to arrive on Sunday, April 13. We are working with a hotel near our offices and near Dupont Circle to provide a block of rooms for us at a discounted rate. We'll send you the details when it's confirmed. The draft agenda is below.

Monday, April 14, 2008

* 9am - 1pm Policy Briefings (lunch provided)
* 1pm - 3pm Training for Lobby Visits
* 3pm - 4pm Policy Briefings, part 2
* 7pm - 9pm Reception at the National Press Club (seperate ticket)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

* Morning (exact time tbd) Rally in front of the United States Capitol
* 9am - 12pm Lobby Visits on Capitol Hill
* 12pm - 1 pm Lunch On Your Own
* 1pm - 5pm Lobby Visits on Capitol Hill

Participating in Lobby Day, including the training, policy briefing and rally, is free. We do need you to register in advance so that we can plan for your participation and make sure that you are able to meet with your member of Congress. Once you register, we'll send you a comprehensive packet of information about how to prepare for your visit. Click to register today!

There will be a ticket charge for the reception, to defray our costs and to help raise funds to support this and ongoing efforts to educate Congress about the need for transgender-inclusive legislation. Scholarships are available; please contact us at for more information. Click for more information.

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization. For more information, please visit

Mood Painting

I found this on Cat's blog...

Click here to create your own painting.

How Grown Up Are You?

I found this on Kwizgiver blog...

You Are 75% Grown Up, 25% Kid

Congratulations, you are definitely quite emotionally mature.

Although you have your moments of moodiness, you're usually stable and level headed.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #62

Janet’s Friday Fill-Ins #62

1. Ahhhh, it's so nice _not to have to wear a coat outside_.
2. One of my favorite things on my desk or bureau is _my jewelry box_.
3. Japanese Cherry Blossom _are a sure sign of spring_.
4. _The deck at our cottage _ is my favorite place to sit and read.
5. _Bacon, lettuce_ and _tomato sandwich_ is delicious!
6. I love to watch _the romantic scenes _ in movies.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going out with some friends_, tomorrow my plans include _going to the support group (I have to facilitate the meeting this month because the Director is sunning herself in Florida)_ and Sunday, I want to _relax, (it will be too cold outside to walk)_!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Help Stop The Hate -- Get Involved and Speak Up

Poll shows 78% of New Yorkers support transgender non-discrimination protections

This is very good news, the poll results correspond well with other polls both nation and local. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force did a nation survey in ’06 and they found 79% of those polled were in favor of adding gender and gender expression anti-discrimination laws, and in 2005 Zogby-Garden State Equality poll, 70 percent of New Jersey supports the transgender equality bill. Last November, when I was at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Long Island Power Summit, we went door-to-door polling in Nassau County and we found that about 70% of those people asked were in favor of the gender inclusive Anti-Discrimination bill.
Now why can’t the politicians understand that this is a no brainier and vote in favor of the bill here in Connecticut, and for the bills in New York and Massachusetts?

Here is a press release from the Empire State Pride Agenda…

Time for Legislature to pass law,” says Pride Agenda’s Alan Van Capelle

New York City, March 5, 2008 – A statewide poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group for the Empire State Pride Agenda found that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support passing a law that provides transgender people with protections from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas of everyday life. The survey found that 78% of New Yorkers favor such a law while just 13% do not.

“These findings clearly show that there is overwhelming support in New York for discrimination protections for transgender people,” said Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. “Upstate or down -- Republican or Democrat – it doesn’t really matter. There is broad public consensus that transgender discrimination is wrong, whether it comes from a boss or a co-worker, a landlord or a restaurant owner, and there ought to be a law to stop it.”

“Given such a high level of public support for legal protections, the Legislature should move quickly to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA),” said Van Capelle. “Our survey shows that this is a no-brainer with the people of New York. Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Suffolk and Tompkins Counties have already enacted transgender non-discrimination laws, and so have thirteen states.* It’s time for the Legislature to follow the will of the people of New York and pass a law saying that discrimination against transgender people is illegal all across our state.”

Besides asking where New Yorkers stand on a law, the survey asked respondents a number of questions about transgender people and their understanding of transgender issues. Respondents were also asked whether they would support their state legislators if they voted to end discrimination against transgender people. On this, only nine percent (9%) of New Yorkers said they would be less likely to support their Assemblymember or State Senator. Thirty-seven percent (37%) said they would be more likely to support their legislator and fifty-one percent (51%) said voting for a bill wouldn’t be a factor in who they decide to support.

“Responses to our survey confirmed what we’ve always believed about New Yorkers,” said Van Capelle. “New Yorkers believe in fairness and have a ‘live and let live’ attitude about people who are different from them. They strongly believe that no one should be discriminated against or have fewer rights because of those differences.”

Van Capelle also urged elected officials to look at the findings. “This survey should answer many of the questions legislators have about where New Yorkers are on this issue. It shows there is no political harm to supporting discrimination protections for transgender people. So why not do what the people of New York overwhelmingly support and pass a law saying it’s wrong to discriminate.”

Transgender New Yorkers welcomed the poll’s findings.

Debra Oppenheimer, a transgender woman and a Board Member of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley in Rochester, said, “It is heartening to see the widespread support in New York for fairness and equality. Transgender New Yorkers routinely face discrimination in ways that impact our lives, big and small, and we deserve the opportunity to have a job and a home and provide for ourselves and our families just like anybody else. All we’re looking for is some protection from discrimination to create a level playing field so we can continue to be productive employees, tenants and citizens.”

Juli Owens, a transgender woman and the Executive Director of the Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition, said, “It's very encouraging to see that New Yorkers support the fight against transgender discrimination. I would not be able to keep my job and my profession if my employer knew that I am transgender. With no state law for employment protection, I am forced to live a dual life, being one gender at work and the other gender at home and socially. This news is extremely positive!”

GENDA (A.6584/Gottfried, S.3753/Duane), amends the state’s human rights law to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit. It has 71 co-sponsors in the Assembly and 17 in the State Senate, although the Pride Agenda’s legislative scorecard shows that 95 Assemblymembers and 27 Senators say that they will vote for GENDA. The bill has been voted on in committees in the Assembly the past few years but has never made to the floor. In 2002, the Senate failed to pass an amendment to the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) that would have explicitly included gender identity and expression, though it received support from a majority of Senate Democrats. Since then, support in the Senate has increased and now includes a number of Senate Republicans who told their constituents at the Pride Agenda’s annual LGBT Equality & Justice Day last year that they would vote for the bill. Governor Spitzer has said he will sign GENDA into law if the Legislature sends it to him.

The survey of 600 registered voters was conducted in February and has a margin of error of +/- four percent.

Colorado, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia have enacted laws providing non-discrimination protections for transgender people. Governors in six additional states have issued Executive Orders prohibiting transgender discrimination in the public workforce. These states are: Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Please help us, call you state representative and tell them to vote in favor of the An Act Concerning Discrimination HB5723 here in Connecticut, in Massachusetts it is HB1722 and in New York A.6584/S.3753.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Can You Say, Hypocrite?

Yesterday Rep. Barney Franks issued a press release endorsing the Massachusetts Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination bill but on the national level he will not introduce a gender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

Newton, MA—U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-Newton) today submitted the following statement urging the Massachusetts legislature to extend current state antidiscrimination laws to people who are transgender. Rep. Frank has long supported policies to extend important employment, housing and other protections to people who are transgender.
Compare what he said now to what he said Barney Frank on "The Agenda" - Dec. 17, 2007 (listen to it here). If you listen to the interview, you hear Rep. Frank talk about the “ICK” factor and how the Gays and Lesbians went through it 35 years ago and that the trans-community is just now going trough it.
I think it is great that he backed the Massachusetts gender inclusive Anti-Discrimination bill but why doesn’t he back the inclusive ENDA? He says that he “has long supported policies to extend important employment, housing and other protections to people who are transgender.” However, last September he stabbed us in the back when he introduced the non-inclusive ENDA at the last minute and in December he said we have the “ICK” factor. That is SO hypocritical!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Manic Monday

Lisa's Manic Monday for March 3, 2008

You find that your best friend has stolen money to pay for medical treatment for a seriously ill relative. What would you do?
That is a very hard question to answers; I think that I would be very disappointed that he didn’t ask me if I would help. My trust in our friendship would be broken and I think it would be broken beyond repair.

P.S. I have a friend who needed money for surgery that was not covered by insurance and he had a silent auction to help raise money; I donated three of my photos and they went for over $75 each.

What three things you regret not learning to do?
Learning to sail – I always wanted a to buy a sailboat
Learning to play a musical instrument – I would loved to have learned to play a guitar; it might have help me to carry a beat.
Learning other computer languages – I only learned FORTRAN, BASIC and HTML, I wished I learned languages like C+

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What Do You Do When You Are On Hold?

I was watching CBS Sunday Morning and they had a short segment on being put on hold.
Therefore, I thought I would ask this question… What do you do when you are put on hold for a long time and you can’t just hang up because you will just have to wait some other time?

I do one of two things; I either turn on the speakerphone or use a headset. If I am sitting at my desk and doing work, I turn on the speakerphone so that I can sit there and continue working. I have a cordless phone with a headset attachment and if I am put on hold, I connect the headset so that I can walk around the house and do other things.

So what do you do on hold? You can either leave a comment to your blog with a link to your answer here or leave your answer on the comment page.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Saturday Six - Episode 202

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six - Episode 202

1. How often do you talk on your cell phone when you are driving? Of those times, how often are you using “hands-free” equipment like Bluetooth or ear buds?
I do not use my cell that much because I pay by the minute. My car has a Bluetooth link that I use. The first time I got a call, it scared me. I didn’t know at the time but it was set on auto-answer with no rings, so I was talking to a friend in the car when all of a sudden a voice over the radio was calling my name. I said, “What the heck!” (But I used a stronger word.) and the caller we a little put off by my answering the call that way. But now we have a good laugh over it.

2. Considering your most recent “close calls” caused by other drivers, would you say that the majority of the trouble-making drivers were using their cell phones at the time, too old to be driving, too young to be driving, or generally just not paying attention?
Yes, yes, yes and yes. I think it is a combination of all four, there is no one thing that causes accidents.

3. Do you favor a law that makes it illegal to use a cell phone behind the wheel at all — even when operating “hands-free?” Why or why not?
Connecticut has a hand free law that no one obeys, but I still thing it is a good idea. I think that they should not band cell phone calls all together.

4. Take the quiz: How’s Your Cell Phone Etiquette?

Your Cell Phone Etiquette is 22% Bad, 78% Good

Your cell phone manners are quite good. Not perfect, but almost.

Occasionally, you do annoy people with your cell. But when you realize it, you stop.

5. Where was the last inappropriate place (such as a movie theater or museum), where you heard someone else’s cell phone go off?
During class last week and they got up and walked out of the room..

6. Where was the last inappropriate place where your own cell phone embarrassed you by going off when you thought you had turned it off?
During a play, I turned it to vibrate but when I put it in my pocket, it must have press the button because it ranged nice and loud during the play

Open Letter from Barack Obama to the LGBT Community

As reported in the The Bilerico Project

I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’s wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.

Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.[Emphasis added by me]

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

The next president must also address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When it comes to prevention, we do not have to choose between values and science. While abstinence education should be part of any strategy, we also need to use common sense. We should have age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception. We should pass the JUSTICE Act to combat infection within our prison population. And we should lift the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. In addition, local governments can protect public health by distributing contraceptives.

We also need a president who’s willing to confront the stigma – too often tied to homophobia – that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. I confronted this stigma directly in a speech to evangelicals at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and will continue to speak out as president. That is where I stand on the major issues of the day. But having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone. If we want to repeal DOMA, repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and implement fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace, we need to bring the message of LGBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones – and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I brought this message of inclusiveness to all of America in my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. I talked about the need to fight homophobia when I announced my candidacy for President, and I have been talking about LGBT equality to a number of groups during this campaign – from local LGBT activists to rural farmers to parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached.

Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.

Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.