Sunday, May 31, 2009

George Tiller shot to death at Wichita church

George Tiller shot to death at Wichita church
The Wichita Eagle

George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.
"Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today’s event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George’s friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace.

This is a terrorist act.

Update: 4:47pm

NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Statement on the Murder of Dr. George Tiller

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, today issued the following statement on the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kan.

“On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America, our prayers and thoughts are with Dr. Tiller’s family and friends at this moment, a moment that fills us with immeasurable shock and deep sadness.

“For almost two decades, Dr. Tiller and those individuals who helped provide care to his patients have lived under intense harassment tinged with persistent threats of violence. Even under these adverse circumstances, Dr. Tiller never wavered in his commitment to providing abortion services and other reproductive health care to women and their families, often in the most difficult and heart-breaking circumstances.

“Dr. Tiller’s murder will send a chill down the spines of the brave and courageous providers and other professionals who are part of reproductive-health centers that serve women across this country. We want them to know that they have our support as they move forward in providing these essential services in the aftermath of the shocking news from Wichita.

“We understand that the investigation is ongoing and that law-enforcement officials are pursuing a suspect. If it proves to be an act of anti-abortion violence, as we suspect it is, then the full weight of the law must be used to send a clear message that these types of attacks will be prosecuted fully and swiftly.

“We also call on opponents of a woman’s right to choose to condemn this action completely and absolutely. What happened today in Wichita cannot become the beginning of a more aggressive wave of violence targeting abortion providers and the women for whom they provide care. Women accessing their legal right to abortion—and the providers who make this possible—should never be targets of violence.”

On The Lighter Side Of Marriage Equality…

I heard this song and I can’t get it out of my mind…

"Garfunkel and Oates sing a pro-gay marriage song in response to a Pat Robertson quote that legalizing gay marriage would lead to legalizing sex with ducks."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today’s Hartford Courant Editorial – Transgender Rights

State Must Extend Legal Protections To Transgender Residents
May 30, 2009

Connecticut has done a good job of protecting its residents from discrimination in employment, education, housing, public accommodations and credit. But one small group of people has been left out of specific statutory protection. The legislature should rectify the omission by adding the phrase "gender identity or expression" to anti-discrimination laws.
About half of the comments on the Hartford Courant’s web-site have been negative. They make the same old arguments about teachers and “special rights.”

One person writes, “Do you want then teaching Elementary School children? Do you want them running Daycare Centers? Do you want your young childs sexual identity influenced by these folks? Just a thought.” Another wrote, “What exactly does "legal protection" mean for cross dressers? Does that mean that a cross dressing male can show up at his job at an elementary, junior high or high school wearing a dress and make-up?

As I have mentioned before, this is the same old argument that they said about gays in the seventies when Anita Bryant running around the country sell her hate. And they said it in the 90’s when Connecticut passed a non-discrimination law protecting sexual orientation. It wasn’t true then and it not true now. In addition, if you ban teachers from transitioning, you are teaching the children that it is OK to discriminate and as I mentioned in an earlier post about school bullying of LGBT students, this will only increase the bullying by sending the wrong message.

Then you have the “special rights” crowd… “What laws protect the normal, middle class, white, working man? We always hear about laws to protect certain"groups", what is there to protect me?” and “Wait one minute here. I belong to the rather large group of disenfrancheised voters. Can we get statutory protection too?” or “Until the State adds a Council on the Equal Legal Protection of White Males, I will not endorse further additional rights being given others.

What is so special about wanting a job so that you can take care of your family?

The editorial then goes on to say,
This could be done yet this session by amendment. A bill to add that language received a public hearing but was not voted out of committee.
I won’t be holding my breath. Since there are, only three more days left in the legislative session and the budget hasn’t been passed yet. In 2007, they introduced the bill to the House at the end of the day, the day before the session ended and it got filibuster. I would imagine the samething would happen this year if they introduced the amendment.

Saturday Six - Episode 268

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six - Episode 268

1. You’re planning a trip that would be an eight-hour car ride, a four-hour train ride, or a two-hour plane ride. With money and time being no object, which would you most likely choose and why?
I would travel by train, because you can sit back, relax and enjoy the view or you can walk around and visit the dinning car.
I actually was thinking about taking the high speed train to Washington DC this spring. It was a four-hour trip compared to a six-hour drive. If I took the plane, it would have been about three hours (two and half hours getting through the security and baggage handling, and only 30-minute flight time).

2. Has your worst travel experience been on a plane, on a bus or in a car?
It was in a plane a long time ago. We were flying back from a wedding in Dayton Ohio, the plane had an engine go out and there were all thunderstorms around us. The plane was weaving in and out of the storms and was heavy turbulence.

3. Of the following modes of transportation, which one are you most likely to be able to sleep in as a passenger? When did you last doze in that vehicle?
In a car, bus or train I can sleep. Since I am usually the driver, I don’t get to sleep.

4. Of that same list, which one would you least likely to be able to sleep in as a passenger? What’s the biggest stumbling block to your being able to sleep that way?
A plane, it is too noisy to sleep.

5. Take the quiz: What Type of Transportation Are You?

You Are Walking

You are a calm, peaceful person. You truly enjoy life.
You are very down to earth and grounded. You are not easily upset.

More than other people, you are able to really stop and smell the roses.
You take things at your own speed. You realize that life is a journey, not a race.

6. In your response to the quiz, which single line best describes you?
Actually I like the whole answer, but the best line is “You take things at your own speed. You realize that life is a journey, not a race.”

Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturday 9: Uninvited

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Uninvited

1. Do you mind people to show up uninvited?
Yes, I think you should call before you stop by.

2. Last person you talked to on the phone?
A friend to find out if anyone was going to the coffee shop tonight.

3. Last person on your missed call list?

A person from a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at a local high school to set up a speaking engagement.

4. Who calls you the most?

My brother

5. What is your favorite song about breaking up?

I never thought about a song about breaking up, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what song to pick.

6. If someone sent you an unexpected gift, what would you like it to be?
I could say a million dollars or a Porsche, but I would say that I would want a gift from the heart.

7. Your classic rock station plays the top songs of all time. What is number one?
It is a toss-up between WPLR 99.1 in New Haven and WAQY 102.1 in Springfield

8. Do you live for today or tomorrow?

Tomorrow, because you always have to plan for the future. It you live for today, then when tomorrow comes you will not be prepared.

9. What movie villain scared you as a kid?

I do not know, that was a very long time ago, if I had to pick I would say Snidely Whiplash

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday Fill-ins #126

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #126


1. It's cold and _wet and dreary just like last Friday _.

2. _I love cherry _ tomatoes.

3. My favorite health and beauty product is _skin conditioner for my dry skin_.

4. _Up to the cottage is_ a nice long ride.

5. Well, first of all _they do not go there, they go on the top self_.

6. _Dick Chaney and George W. Bush_; those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was _scary_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _the film festival_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a party_ and Sunday, I want to _go walking_!

School Bullying

I just came from a fantastic forum on school bullying, it was an open and frank discussion on bullying aim at LGBT youth…



• 30% of youth who commit suicide are gay and lesbian. THIS COULD BE YOUR CHILD

• Many youth keep their sexuality a secret so if your child is gay, lesbian or bisexual, you may not even know it and he/she may be suffering. THIS COULD BE YOUR CHILD.

• Your child does not even need to be gay or lesbian, bisexual or transsexual to be violently targeted. All there needs to be is a perception that he/she is one of the former.

• 53% of students report hearing homophobic remarks by school staff

• 97% of students in public high schools report hearing homophobic remarks from their peers

Are these the morals you want your children to grow up with?

The forum was attended by teachers, students, school social workers, GSA faculty advisor, UConn School of Social Work staff and activists.
I came away with a clearer understanding on how bullying affects everyone, how the key to ending bullying is to bring about a change in culture that must begin at the top. Not just the teachers or the school administrators, but in the community, in the churches, and in the families. Having a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) is a step in the right direction, but there has to be a zero tolerance on name-calling, calling a person a faggot or using the expression “That so gay.” Churches have to tone down their inflammatory rhetoric. Families cannot throw their sons or daughters out in the street because they are gay, lesbian or transgender.
There was a ten-year girl there who told how she was bullied because her mom is a lesbian and that the school administrators did nothing about it. She told how she organized a group of other children to bring about change in her school.

What Motivates MeTo Be An Activist

I have been asked many times, on why or how I became an activist, and I think that I always cared about civil rights; however, I never acted on those cares.

My activism started out without direct thought about becoming an activist. When I came out of the closet in 1999, I began attending a support/social group called the Connecticut Outreach Society that meets twice a month. I started becoming active in COS because it gave me another night to go out dressed as Diana by attending the Board meetings for the Connecticut Outreach Society. At the Board meetings, I started to volunteer to work at events that COS took part in, I helped at events like the True Colors conference and Pride where COS had a table. Later I became Program Director and still later, I became their Executive Director, not out of activism but a desire to build COS back up again. Its paid membership was down to a little over a dozen members and its treasury had less than a thousands dollars, not enough to pay the rent and phone bill for the rest of the year.

I started to realize that my feeling was deeper then crossdressing, that it was more of an identity of who I am and not what I wore. I started to attend the Twenty Club, a support group for transsexuals and there I started to hear stories discrimination and oppression. I heard stories of members being fired when they came out at work or highly skilled workers who were unable to find employment. I heard members tell how they were thrown out of stores or restaurants because they are trans. I heard a story of how a trans-woman was beaten on the job and she was arrested by police for disorderly conduct and her attackers were not arrested. Of being harassed by the police. This went against my deep sense of justice and fairness, and I wanted to do something to end the injustice. Thus was my activism born, by asking a simple question, “What can I do to help?”

It lead to my involvement with the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition and it lead me to pursuing my Masters in Social Work.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The CT Out Film Festival

Last night I went to the Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival at Trinity College’s Cinestudio to watch the movie Trinidad that is about how the city is known for the Gender Reassignment Surgeries. The movie was a documentary and was pretty much what I expected. They had interviews from the town’s people both for ands against, the movie showed the obligatory putting on make-up scene and the “before and after” shots.
However, before the main feature they had a number of shorts which were very good. They were, “Babysitting Andy,” Pat Mills, 2007, Canada, 11 min, “The Bond,” Michael Connell, 2007, USA, 6 min, “Just Me?” Amy Neil, 2007, USA, 22 min and “Shafted” Allegra & April Hirschman, 2009, USA, 9 min (the producer was there and afterward she answered questions about the movie).
I did like the short “The Bond” this is the write-up from the film festival…
"How could you raise a transsexual child and not know it?" In this honest and compassionate documentary, the father of a transsexual child shares his family's story - what it was like when his child came out, how their relationship has changed, and how their bond continues to get stronger. Made by a father for transsexual and transgender individuals and their parents, this film offers hopeful answers to the hard questions parents face when a child - of any age - comes out.
I liked it so much that I looked up where I could buy it and the distributor sells it for $50!!! Come on folks, it is only 6 minutes long that is over $8 a minute! I can buy the movie Mamma Mia for $20 and that is over a 100 minutes long. Michael Connell produced the movie as a class project with fellow students in five weeks.
The other “short” that I liked was “Just Me?” that was about a lesbian researching her family tree to find out if her great-grandmother was a lesbian. The movie was very nicely done

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California high court upholds gay marriage ban

California high court upholds gay marriage ban

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

(05-26) 10:23 PDT San Francisco, CA (AP) --

The state Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, but also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed.

The 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George rejected an argument from gay rights activists that the ban revised the California constitution's equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature's approval.

The court said the people have a right, through the ballot box, to change their constitution.

American Psychiatric Association (APA) DSM Reform

Last week I wrote about the protest out in San Francisco to change the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' (DSM-IV) to remove Gender Identity Disorder (GID) as a mental illness. The protest were covered by various news agencies…

The Psychiatric Times wrote:

Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?
Lois Wingerson

As transgender activists protested outside the American Psychiatric Association (APA) meeting, speakers at the meeting were presenting on the same topic: gender identity disorder (GID). Some of their words would add clinical weight to the political slogans.

…Sidney W. Ecker, MD, a former clinical professor of urology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, and chief of urology at the Washington DC VA Medical Center, was scheduled to review studies documenting that factors that influence gender identity are present before birth. While social and hormonal influences act later during childhood, he wrote, “gender identity is determined before and persists despite these effects.

Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, a professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, Calif, had a message more difficult for psychiatrists to hear. “The mental health profession has been consistently doing harm to children who are not ‘gender normal,’ and they need to retrain,” she told Psychiatric Times. Ehrensaft has specialized in therapy for foster children as well as for children with gender issues.

A program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, takes a different approach, offering in-person and online support groups to help families adjust to and help their children work through their own gender identity issues. Edgardo Menvielle, MD, MSHS, director of the program, was curious whether children seen in Washington have different mental health profiles than kids involved with the Toronto program. Based on Child Behavior Checklist ratings, he reported that the Washington youth showed “less pathological tendencies,” suggesting that peer support may “lessen manifestations of pathology in the child.

“We got homosexuality out of the DSM because of protests at the APA,” she [Diane Ehrensaft] pointed out. “Now it’s time to do the same with GID.”
Salon reports;

Are transgender people mentally ill?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 05:38 PDT
Judy Berman

The LGBT community has had a long, often painful relationship with the psychiatric profession. Until 1974, when the American Psychiatric Association (APA) voted to remove the diagnosis from the second edition of its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM), the organization maintained that homosexuality was a mental illness. The change came slowly, after years of protest and debate.

On Monday night, protesters gathered outside the APA meeting at a "Reform GID Now!" demonstration. As the association's membership works to revise the DSM for a fifth edition, activists want the APA to select a more representative working group on gender identity. Many in the transgender community are upset that Kenneth Zucker, psychologist-in-chief at Toronto's Center for Addiction and Mental Health, has been chosen to lead the DSM-V Task Force on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders…
Medpage, a news service for “physicians that provides a clinical perspective on the breaking medical news that their patients are reading” reported…
APA: Major Changes Loom for Bible of Mental Health
By John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today
Published: May 19, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, May 19 -- Some familiar disorders may be dropped and diagnostic criteria for others are in line for substantial revision in the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

Schizoaffective disorder and gender identity disorder are among those that may be on the chopping block, according to members of the working groups leading the revision who spoke here at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.

Since it was first published in 1952, the DSM has provided the definitive word on what is and is not mental illness, with enormous influence within medicine and on the world beyond.

The elimination of homosexuality as a mental illness in the third DSM edition issued in the 1970s, for example, is now widely viewed as a watershed development in changing society's view from outright hostility to varying degrees of acceptance.

DSM-V is on track to be published in 2012…

Gender identity gets attention

One DSM issue that is drawing close attention from outside the psychiatric community is what to do with gender identity disorder.

The condition -- in which people, often during childhood, realize that their biological gender does not match what their minds tell them -- is now included in DSM-IV as a sexual dysfunction alongside pedophilia and sexual sadism.

Not surprisingly, transgender individuals and the groups representing them are lobbying hard to have gender identity disorder dropped from DSM-V.

As described by its chairwoman, Peggy Cohen-Kettinis, Ph.D., of VU University in Amsterdam, the group is facing three main options: keep gender identity disorder approximately as it is, jettison it entirely, or change the name and diagnostic criteria.

Dr. Cohen-Kettinis said the group was nearing a decision, but both she and fellow group member Jack Drescher, M.D., a New York-based psychiatrist and prolific author on sexuality and gender, were noncommittal on which way the group was leaning.

A number of speakers at the forum represented the transgender community and most pleaded for option two.

Rebecca Allison, M.D., a Phoenix-based cardiologist and transsexual, said the ideal would be to drop the condition from DSM but keep it in the International Classification of Diseases system as a medical condition, with a name like "gender variance."

Such a move would make it more likely that insurance companies would cover transgender transition services such as hormonal treatments and surgery, she and other speakers said.
I believe that it is time to remove GID from the realm of a mental illness to that of a medical disease. To remove the sigma of a mental illness that the right wing fanatics use against us and to recognize that a persons gender is determined in utero before ever taking their first breath.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Saturday 9: Hot Fun in the Summertime

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Hot Fun in the Summertime

1. Is summer your favorite season? Why?
No, I like the fall better. The summer is too hot! However, I do like swimming and canoeing.

2. Do you exercise more in the summer because you wear less clothing?
Less, it is too hot! I tend to walk more in the spring and fall, during the summer I only walk in th early morning.

3. Do you enjoy tanning or are you more concerned about the dangers of basking in the sun?
I am more concerned about getting cancer, since it runs in the family.

4. You are on the beach when a waiter appears for your drink order. What do you ask for?
A tall glass of ice tea.

5. Do you camp in the summertime?
I use to go backpacking when I was younger and could care a 65lb. pack.

6. What was your favorite summer vacation as a kid?
When I was about seven or eight we use to go up to lake Winnisquam NH every summer to a cottage on the lake. The picture is from around 1955.

7. Do you enjoy sleeping outdoors?

Yes, as long as there are no biting bugs

8. Do you throw a summer barbecue every year?
No, not really, however, I do invite friends up to the cottage and we have a cookout.

9. Have you ever been to a nude beach? If yes, what did you think?
Nope. Not my cup of tea.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #125


1. Moving _on up, moving on out_.

2. _Nothing in life is_ free.

3. My best quality is _that I keep my word_.

4. _The devil is in the_ details.

5. In nearly 10 years, _I will be over the hill_.

6. _A good night sleep_ is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _the class party_, tomorrow my plans include _driving up to our cottage in New Hampshire_ and Sunday, I want to _work on the cottage_!

Stop Bullying In Our Schools

Even with a law against bullying, it is still rampant in Connecticut. The recent report “Harsh Realities Finds Transgender Youth Face Extreme Harassment in School” by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) showed…

Key findings of Harsh Realities include:

Biased language:

# 90% of transgender students heard derogatory remarks, such as "dyke" or "faggot," sometimes, often or frequently in school in the past year.

# 90% of transgender students heard negative remarks about someone’s gender expression sometimes, often or frequently in school in the past year.

# Less than a fifth of transgender students said that school staff intervened most of the time or always when hearing homophobic remarks (16%) or negative remarks about someone’s gender expression (11%).

# School staff also contributed to the harassment. A third of transgender students heard school staff make homophobic remarks (32%), sexist remarks (39%) and negative comments about someone’s gender expression (39%) sometimes, often or frequently in the past year.

School Safety and Experiences of Harassment and Assault

# Two-thirds of transgender students felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation (69%) and how they expressed their gender (65%).

# Almost all transgender students had been verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past year at school because of their sexual orientation (89%) and gender expression (87%).

# More than half of all transgender students had been physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (55%) and gender expression (53%).

# More than a quarter of transgender students had been physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (28%) and gender expression (26%).

# Most transgender students (54%) who were victimized in school did not report the events to school authorities. Among those who did report incidents to school personnel, few students (33%) believed that staff addressed the situation effectively.

Impact of Victimization on Educational Outcomes

# Almost half of all transgender students reported skipping a class at least once in the past month (47%) and missing at least one day of school in the past month (46%) because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

# Transgender students experiencing high levels of harassment were more likely than other transgender students to miss school for safety reasons (verbal harassment based on sexual orientation: 64% vs. 25%, gender expression: 56% vs. 32%, gender: 68% vs. 38%).

# Transgender students who experienced high levels of harassment had significantly lower GPAs than those who experienced lower levels of harassment (verbal harassment based on sexual orientation: 2.2. vs. 3.0, gender expression: 2.3 vs. 2.8, gender: 2.2 vs. 2.7).

Engagement with the School Community

# Transgender students who were out to most or all other students and school staff reported a greater sense of belonging to their school community than those who were not out or only out to a few other students or staff.

# The majority (66%) of transgender students were out to most or all of their peers, yet less than half (45%) were out to most or all of the school staff.

# Most transgender students had talked with a teacher (66%) or a school-based mental health professional (51%) at least once in the past year about LGBT-related issues. Transgender students were also more likely than non-transgender lesbian, gay and bisexual students to talk with school staff about these issues.

In-School Resources and Supports

# Although transgender students were not more likely to report having a GSA in their school, they did report attending GSA meetings more frequently than non-transgender LGB students.

# Although most transgender students (83%) could identify at least one supportive educator, only a third (36%) could identify many (six or more) supportive staff.

# Only half (54%) of transgender students reported that their school had an anti-harassment policy, and only 24% said that the school policy included specific protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Today at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) there is a press conference at 3:30 in hearing room 1C. At the press conference, youth leaders will share their ideas about improving school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally youth. Please attend and add your voice to end discrimination and bullying.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something My Mother Never Taught Me

Being transgender, you have to learn life lessons quickly. Many things women learn over a lifetime I have to learn in months. Last week, I had to take a friend to the hospital for out patience surgery and I waited around all day at the hospital. At lunchtime, I went down to the cafeteria to eat and as I went through the salad bar line, the guy behind me started talking to me. He asked me if anything in the salad bar look good today, I replied that it didn’t and we talked about the quality of the salad bar as we moved down the bar. After a while, I realized that he was flirting with me. That was a very strange realization, it is something that I have not gotten use to yet. It’s strange for two reasons, one, I am not use to strangers coming and talking to me and two; I am attracted to women.

Before I transitioned, it was very rare that a stranger man or woman would start a conversation with me. Now when I am in a checkout line at store, the clerk or someone in line will make a comment about an item that I am buying and it is something that I am just starting to get use to happening. I still do not know quite how to respond when a women complements me about the clothes that I am wearing. I do not know if I should say anything besides thanking them or saying where I bought the clothes.

These are just a few of the things that I never learned while growing up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Tale Of Two Countries

Yesterday in San Francisco there was a protest against the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The protesters want the APA to revise the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' (DSM-V) to remove Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and related diagnoses from the fifth edition (see below -- The vision of GID Reform). Meanwhile in France, the French government has removed transsexualism as a mental illness, creating a stark contrast to the draconian polices of the APA.

A persons who been diagnosed with GID is stigmatized and discriminated against for the rest of their lives. At the same time that homosexuality was removed from the DSM, GID was added to it. Just as homosexuality is no longer considered a mental illness so should GID. I believe that you should only be diagnosed with GID if you have a problem with being transgendered not because you are transgendered. I recall a line from the move “Transanerica” where Bree Osborne at one point tells her psychiatrist, "Isn't it funny how plastic surgery can cure mental illness," and I feel that is the point, it is not a mental illness but medical and it should be treated as such.

However, for many gender variant people they will not be able to get proper medical treatment (hormones surgery, etc.) with out a diagnoses, therefore I believe that GID should be taken out of the DSM and added to the list of medical diseases. As I mentioned this has already been done in France…
Le Provence:
Transsexualism will no longer be classified as a mental illness in France
Published on Saturday 16 May 2009
Translated by Curtis E. Hinkle, Founder of the Organisation Intersex International

Transsexualism will no longer be classified in France as a mental illness, a government decision hailed Saturday as "historic" by the associations concerned, on the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia and transphobia.

The Minister of Health, Roselyne Bachelot, has appealed "in recent days" to the High Authority of Health in order to make a decree that transsexualism be removed from the category of psychiatric disorders, a spokesman for the department stated.

In America, those calling for reform have said…
Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
“In 1973 the APA wisely voted to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The result was a very real decrease in bias and prejudice faced by lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in our society. Today, America’s psychiatric professionals are considering changing the way diversity of gender identity and expression are classified in this important document. This work has far-reaching implications not only for the health and well-being of transgender people, but for the civil rights of the transgender community and of all people
PBS “In The Life:”
…Because GID pathologizes the identity of those diagnosed, many gender nonconforming children are subject to so-called “reparative” therapies by parents and mental health professionals. Such therapies regard adult transexuality or homosexuality as a “bad outcome.” Because the American healthcare system requires a GID diagnosis before a doctor can prescribe hormones or perform sex-reassignment-surgery, transgender adults are caught in a Catch-22. They are as reliant on GID as they are stigmatized by it.
The vision of GID Reform:
It is time for the medical professions to affirm that difference is not disease, nonconformity is not pathology, and uniqueness is not illness

It is time for culturally competent psychiatric policies that recognize the legitimacy of cross-gender identity and yet distinguish gender dysphoria as a serious condition, treatable with medical procedures.

It is time for diagnostic criteria that serve a clear therapeutic purpose, are appropriately inclusive, and define disorder on the basis of distress or impairment and not upon social nonconformity.
It is time for medical policies which, above all, do no harm to those they are intended to help.
The activists yesterday were calling for…
1. A more representative Work Group
The APA Work Group on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders is currently compromised by some members who have clear conflicts of interest in retaining and expanding specific diagnoses they have been involved in creating or promoting.
We urge the APA to expand the Work Group to represent more diverse views from behavioral science, bioethics, and philosophy of science.

2. A published position statement from APA
APA has often shifted public policy and perception through the publication of approved position statements. We urge the APA to state that diagnosing normal variants of human gender identity and expression as psychiatric disorders encourages an adversarial relationship between psychiatry and sex and gender minorities. We also urge the APA to state that these diagnoses are misused by some people outside of psychiatry who wish to deny civil rights to trans and gender-variant people.

This is an eleven minute video from “In The Life” it is a little long but it does show the struggle that we are facing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Manic Monday

Lisa’s Manic Monday #168

If you could completely redecorate any room in your house at no expense to you, what room would you choose?

My living room. I would like to have a wood from instead of carpet and it is time to paint the walls, I had the same color for the last 18 years. I was planning on changing it until I got laid-off a couple of years ago.

Which hour of the day do you feel goes the slowest?
That is an easy question to answer, three o’clock in the afternoon. I have been taking naps lately, of course waking up at 4 in the morning doesn’t help.

If your birthday could be in a different month of the year, when would you have it?

I like the month (early October) that my birthday is in now and I would not change it. The weather is still warm and the leaves are just changing color.

Youth In Harm's Way

This was in the Meriden Record Journal this morning…

Youth in harm's way
Robin P. McHaelen, MSW, is Executive Director, True Colors, Inc. in Manchester.
Visit: for more information.

"Daniel" was called a "faggot" every single day of his life in middle school - not because of his attractions, but because he "acted like a sissy." "Jude" got kicked out of her foster home because she refused to wear "girl clothes" to family functions and her foster parents were "embarrassed." From the time he was a toddler, "Jamie's" family tried to "man him up" with beatings. But Jamie knew right from the beginning that she was a girl. It took the rest of us until she was eleven to figure it out.

GLSEN's National School Climate Survey, a 2008 report on the experiences of more than 6,000 students, tells the story in stark terms: Almost all transgender students have been verbally harassed in school in the past year (87 percent). Over half of all transgender students have been physically harassed (pushed or shoved) in school because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. Over a quarter of these kids have been physically assaulted.
This must end - and it must end now.

At the same time, I am horrified by the experiences of the youth and adults among us who continue to be excluded from full participation as citizens. Over the last 15 years, I have borne witness to the discrimination that transgender and gender variant youth and adults experience on a daily basis. Thirteen other states have successfully passed legislation to legally protect these individuals - but Connecticut has not.

Youth across Connecticut who don't fit neatly inside the "norms" of masculinity and femininity are routinely harassed, name-called, and subject to various levels of violence at school, abused by family members and the community at large at home, and if relegated to out-of-home care, are likely to be re-victimized once in the system.

Too many leave school without graduating, opt out of services that are abusive and culturally incompetent, and end up on the street, couch-surfing, drifting through young adulthood with no place to go, and no one to turn to. This is tragic not only for them, but for our society as a whole. Who knows what human gifts have been lost, what talents wasted, for lack of simple, equal treatment under the law?

It is time that we end this bullying and discrimination and pass a gender inclusive anti-discrimination law and enforce the anti-bullying laws!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

LGBT Healthcare

A study on the current needs of the LGBT community by the AMA Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation was just released.

Needs of gay, transgender patients not adequately addressed, report says
By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: May 13, 2009 - 3:45 pm EDT

The healthcare industry is not adequately addressing the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients, says an annual report from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. Released for the third year in a row, the Healthcare Equality Index is a national report that sets benchmarks and highlights best practices and healthcare facility policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

According to the findings, less than 7% of facilities reporting protect patients from discrimination based on gender identity, while about 73% of participants protect these patients from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Meanwhile, 98% of the participating facilities bar employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 63% of those policies include “gender identity or expression” or “gender identity.” Cultural-competency training was more aligned, as 72% of participating facilities provide cultural-competency training addressing sexual orientation and healthcare issues relevant to the lesbian, gay and bisexual community, while about 70% of participating facilities provide cultural-competency training addressing gender identity and healthcare issues relevant to the transgender community.

I find it is very troubling that only 7% of the facilities have gender inclusive anti-discrimination policies. The trans-community horrible life threatening discrimination. A friend and a member of the support group told the group that she slipped on some ice and was taken to the emergency room. This is what she had to say about the incident.
"S" [Note: I deleted her name and will call her "S"] has worked as a truck driver for 27 years in _____, CT. She pays her bills, cares for her kids, and has been a trusted and capable employee …..Yet, as a transgender person, she has lived in fear that she will not have the same basic care and protections against discrimination that other Connecticut citizens have. In January, her fears became reality.

On January 30, 2009, "S" fell on the ice at work at 1:30 in the morning. She couldn't stand and was in horrible pain, but was able to call 911. The paramedics arrived in four minutes. After assessing her condition, they recognized the need to get "S" to a hospital as soon as possible. Yet, when you are transgender, even in the condition "S" was in, going to the hospital is not that easy of a decision.

At the hospital, she was attended to by three medical staff people. They began treating her by cutting off her clothes. "S" was frightened, cold, alone, and in desperate pain. Then….they stopped. And walked away.

Having learned she was a transgender person, they left her lying alone on a table for two long hours without any medication or care. At one point one of the doctors said to the other, "you deal with `it;' I'm not dealing with `it.'

The "it" was a human being: "S". Both doctors left the room, and the nurses told "S" to "start walking." They threw off her bed covers, then left the room for 45 minutes.

X-rays ultimately revealed a fractured vertebrae, but the hospital still released "S". She was told to have her primary doctor evaluate her further with a CT scan, MRI, and more x-rays. She was told to find a ride home.

Finally, "S" was fully evaluated at another local hospital. Her diagnosis: three fractured vertebrae, two crushed vertebrae, and one fractured rib.

Since then, "S" has had severe chest and back pain and months of physical therapy, while missing over six weeks of work.

She pursued a complaint against the hospital medical staff. An investigation was done, and the hospital confirmed the appalling and callous denial of care by their emergency staff. All people involved in "S"'s mistreatment will receive training.

Healthcare Equality Index

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Six - Episode 266

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six - Episode 266

1. Which room in your home needs the most cleaning attention right now?
The living room and the dinning room.

2. As a general rule, which room is usually the most spotless?

None, I plan on getting off my butt this week and clean one room a day.

3. Which single room of your home do you generally spend the most time in when you’re home?
Bedroom, I have a TV in there. It is followed by the living room where I use my laptop.

4. If you learned that a portrait was going to be taken of you in your home, which room would you choose to have it made in and why?
In my atrium. I think you can see why.

5. Take the quiz: What Room of the House Are You?

You Are the Living Room

You are laid back and casual. You can have fun in almost any situation.
You believe in being easy going. Life's hard enough, and you're not going to make it any harder.

You are sociable and friendly. You welcome almost anyone into your life.
You are completely unpretentious. You prefer living in a comfortable home to living in a showy home.

6. What is the newest thing in the room that is the answer to Question #5?
They are all the same age, when I built the house I bought all new furniture.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Saturday 9: Do You Think I'm Sexy?

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Do You Think I'm Sexy?

1. Who do you think is sexy?
When I was young, it was the girl in the house on the street behind us. Now a day I think the woman who plays Bones in Bones is attractive.

2. When does it become love?
I do not know if you can put it into words. Each love is different or as they say, you’ll know it when you see it.

3. Are you a good dancer?
Horrible, I have two left feet.

4. What magazines do you read?
PC Photo and Science News

5. If you could have any name, what would you call yourself?

Funny you should ask, I have already chosen a new first name and middle name.

6. Have you ever ridden in a limo? If yes, when?

Yes, when my parents died

7. What is something you really like to do?

Take pictures.

8. Last chance: Who wins Idol, Kris Allen or Adam Lambert?
I have never watched American Idol, so I have no idea.

9. If you had to, what animal would you choose to be?

A fox, a fox is sly, smart, cunning and foxy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Friday Fill-ins #124

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #124


1. If we had no winter _there would by not skating_.

2. _I am in a state of_ a perpetual astonishment.

3. If I had my life to live over _I would have done it a lot earlier_.

4. _The rain will stop_ inside of four and twenty hours.

5. If you've never been thrilled _then I suggest you take up hang gliding_.

6. To be interested in the changing seasons _then I suggest you visit New England in the fall_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _doing nothing_, tomorrow my plans include _doing nothing (Its great not to have to worry about school)_ and Sunday, I want to _visit some friends_!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is My Marriage Gay?

There were some same-sex marriages in the state of Connecticut even before Civil Unions and the Supreme Court ruling and their marriages were legal. I know of several couples who were married before one of them transitioned and they stayed married after they had their gender changed on their birth certificate changed. Consider…
Is My Marriage Gay?
New York Times
Published: May 11, 2009
Belgrade Lakes, Me.

AS many Americans know, last week Gov. John Baldacci of Maine signed a law that made this state the fifth in the nation to legalize gay marriage. It’s worth pointing out, however, that there were some legal same-sex marriages in Maine already, just as there probably are in all 50 states. These are marriages in which at least one member of the couple has changed genders since the wedding.

Deirdre Finney and I were wed in 1988 at the National Cathedral in Washington. In 2000, I started the long and complex process of changing from male to female. Deedie stood by me, deciding that her life was better with me than without me. Maybe she was crazy for doing so; lots of people have generously offered her this unsolicited opinion over the years. But what she would tell you, were you to ask, is that the things that she loved in me have mostly remained the same, and that our marriage, in the end, is about a lot more than what genders we are, or were.

I’ve been legally female since 2002, although the definition of what makes someone “legally” male or female is part of what makes this issue so unwieldy. How do we define legal gender? By chromosomes? By genitalia? By spirit? By whether one asks directions when lost?

For our part, Deirdre and I remain legally married, even though we’re both legally female. If we had divorced last month, before Governor Baldacci’s signature, I would have been allowed on the following day to marry a man only. There are states, however, that do not recognize sex changes. If I were to attempt to remarry in Ohio, for instance, I would be allowed to wed a woman only.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yellow Journalism!

From ABC News…
Texting Trolley Driver Is Transgendered Male
Driver Tied to Boston Crash Cited Transgender Status Before Hiring
BOSTON, May 11, 2009

From the Boston Herald…
Driver applied for job under different name
Has checkered driving history
By Edward Mason and Dave Wedge
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - Updated 9h ago

This is the lowest form of Yellow Journalism!

Mentioning that he is transgender is nothing but sensationalism! Shame on the writers and shame on the editors.

Would they have mentioned his race or nationality or sexual orientation? No, they would not have mentioned them, then why is it OK to mention his gender identity?

The facts of the case are, he was texting while driving, he broke the law and he had previous driving arrest.

When they mentioned the fact that he is transgender, they brought ABC and the Boston Herald down to the lowest levels of journalism.

Update 4/14/09
I found out today that there have been a number of other accidents by trolley drivers and not one had their backgrounds published by the press. In addiction, the driver was not hired because of affirmative action program as it was reported in the press.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Manic Monday #167

Lisa’s Manic Monday #167

How old were you when you learned to tie your shoes?
I have no idea. That was about 55 years ago!

Have you ever snooped in somebody else's medicine cabinet?
No. I see no reason to snoop.

Who do you think you are?

Wow! We are getting deep here.
Who am I? That is a question that I am continuously asking myself and I do not think I have answered that question yet. I think that is a question that we all ask ourselves and never really answer. Some may answer in how we are related to other, sister, brother, husband, wife, mother or father. Some may answer based in status or employment, judge, CEO, supervisor, worker, electrician or hairdresser. Some may answer based on wealth.
Me, I think I am a shy, quite, reserved person who is trying to bring about change, struggling to get through life and leave a world that is better off then when I was born.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rape Victim Billed For Evidence Costs

I found this posted on Feministe.

This is crazy! The sexual assault victims are being violated twice once by the rapist and once by their government! It was bad enough when Sarah Palin the former mayor of Wasilla AK approved the city budget that charged rape victims for the rape kits that are used to collect evidence, but this is Houston TX!

Rape Victim Billed For Evidence Costs
By Stephen Dean

POSTED: Thursday, May 7, 2009
UPDATED: 12:12 am CDT May 9, 2009
HOUSTON -- Victims of sexual assault are getting bills, rejection letters and pushy calls from bill collectors while a state crime victims' fund sits full of cash, Local 2 Investigates reported Thursday.

"I'm the victim, and yet here I am. I'm asked to pay this bill and my credit's going to get hurt," said a single mom from Houston.

She received bills marked, "delinquent," after she visited a hospital where police told her to have evidence gathered. Officers assured her she would not pay a dime for that rape kit to be handled.
And it is not like the crime victim’s fund doesn’t have any money…
Texas State Comptroller's office figures show the fund has tens of millions of dollars left over at the end of each year.

In September 2006, the balance was $67,058,646 and one year later, the balance was $57,669,432.

In 2008, that figure was up again to $66,572,261 that was left unspent in the fund.

Update: 5/17/09
It now seems that the Houston press was in error. The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault has put out their own statement, saying in part:...

An Open Letter to Sexual Assault Victims in Texas

Filed Under Announcement | By Melissa Heald

Recently a Houston television station ran a story about a rape victim who was billed for her own rape exam. The news piece implied this was a common practice in Texas despite being told by several sources, including the Deputy Director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), that this was not the case. This news story, riddled with inaccuracies and half truths, was picked up by other news outlets and blogs and it took on a life of its own. Activists, advocates, survivors and other concerned individuals from around the country were justifiably angry and began to demand answers and action. The problem is there isn’t really a problem, just the perception of injustice that is spiraling out of control.

TAASA is concerned that this misinformation will have a chilling effect on a rape victim’s willingness to report the crime and get a forensic/medical exam (rape kit). We want to assure everyone that the cost of a forensic exam is not billed to the victim. This is always the responsibility of law enforcement and they in turn can be reimbursed for up to $700 though the Crime Victim’s Compensation (CVC) fund. If the cost exceeds this amount it is absorbed by the law enforcement agency or hospital, not the victim.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Saturday Six - Episode 265

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six - Episode 265

1. Do you tend to accomplish more in the morning, the afternoon, or the evening?
I get more done in the morning, than the afternoon. Notice when this was posted.

2. When there are bad thunderstorms outside, how much does this affect your ability to get things done?
I get distracted by the thunderstorms and I like to watch them.

3. If you could set your own work schedule, would you go in earlier in the morning or later in the day?
Earlier in the morning. Before I retired, I worked from 7:00 to 3:30, but I have to admit that I have gotten use to waking up later. It is going to be tuff next fall with an eight o’clock class.

4. If you had the chance to work four ten-hour days and have a three-day weekend, would you prefer that over a traditional five-day workweek?
No, ten hours makes a long day. I worked many a ten hour shift six days a week when I was younger and I think a ten hour day would be hard now.

5. Take the quiz:
Are You Dusk or Dawn?

You Are Dusk

You are a naturally idealistic and creative person. You look forward to nights where everything is possible.
You spend most of your energy on play. Work is okay, but the true you emerges after the work day is done.

You're an offbeat type that doesn't like rules or schedules. Life's too short to waste at a desk in a cube.
Whether you spend your night socializing or working on side projects, you like that your time is yours.

6. Where is the last place you remember taking time to admire a sunset or dusk?
Walking out of my house to me car last week, there was a beautiful sunset (It has been raining ever since.).

The sunset is from last summer at our cottage in New Hampshire.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Saturday 9

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: With a Little Help From My Friends

1. How many of your friendships have lasted more than ten years?
About four and they are from my high school days

2. Which of your current friends do you feel will still be important to you ten years from now?
The ones that I have made in the last ten years

3. It's Friday evening and you're planning your weekend. What's on your agenda?

Listening to a little folk music and see what is happening with my friends. However, being retired my week does not revolve around weekend any more.

4. What was the most recent movie to scare you or give you the creeps?

I do not watch those types of movies.

5. Finally, the new cast and movie of Star Trek are out. Excited or indifferent?

I will let you know on Tuesday when I go and see the Star Trek movie. I am going to see a matinée with my retired friends.

6. Do you have any nervous habits?
Yeah, I eat.

7. Do you swear in general?
No, it takes an awful lot to get me to swear.

8. Do you swear on your blog?

9. Does it bother you when you read a post with curse words?
It depends; sometimes it shows the level of the intelligence of the author.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #123

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #123

ffi we go!

1. Apples are to oranges as _donkeys are to mules_.

2. _The semester is finally over_ and that's all I have to say about that.

3. I think I hear _the ice cream truck coming_.

4. _The Rainbow_ flag.

5. Do what you want to do, but _leave me out of it_.

6. _Jimmy was walking down the street_ and behind him was a Radio Flyer wagon; in the wagon was a bucket filled with _pennies_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _the usual Friday night coffee house_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a support group_ and Sunday, I want to _go walking_!

A sure sign of spring...

The lilac bush under my bedroom window is in bloom and the sweet fragrance is drifting in my bedroom window.

Family Values

In our quest for equality and the passage of a gender inclusive anti-discrimination legislation, the opposition has made family values an issue. These are our family values…

‘Maddy’ Just Might Work After All

New York Times
Published: April 24, 2009
Decades later, my two children and my wife and I were sitting around the kitchen table, eating dinner. I was mid-transition. My older son, Zach, gave me a look.

“What,” I said. He was 7.

“We can’t keep calling you ‘Daddy,’ ” he said. “If you’re going to be a girl. It’s too weird.”

…Because of the love of my spouse, Deedie, not to mention that of my boys, I found the courage, somehow, to traverse the weird ocean between men and women, to make the voyage not only from one sex to another, but from a place where my life was defined by the secrets I kept to a new one, where almost everything I’d ever held in my heart could finally be spoken out loud.

“Well,” I said to my sons. “My new name is Jenny. You could call me Jenny.”

Zach laughed derisively. “Jenny? That’s the name you’d give a lady mule.”

I tried not to be hurt. “O.K., fine. What do you want to call me?”

“The important thing, boys,” Deedie said, “is that you pick something you’re comfortable with.”

Zach thought this over. He was pretty good at naming things. For a while we’d had a hermit crab named Grabber. Later on, we’d owned a snake named Biter.

“I know,” he said. “Let’s call you Maddy. That’s like, half Mommy, and half Daddy. And anyhow, I know a girl at school named Maddy. She’s pretty nice.”

By the time my boys were in middle school, our family began to seem normal to us again. I was in charge of waking everyone and making breakfast and getting Sean to practice his French horn and Zach his three-quarter-size tuba. Deedie was in charge of dinner and shepherding the boys through their homework and coaching Sean’s traveling soccer team.

After a time, Deedie and I even began to seem familiar to each other again. And the things that had changed in me seemed, incredibly, less important to Deedie than what had remained the same.

Was she crazy to stay with me after I’d announced my intention to transition? Maybe. Whatever the reason, she decided that her life was better with me in it than not, and if this makes her nuts, well, fine, have it your way, she’s nuts. Sweet, though.

A MONTH later, he had to write an essay for school about an experience that had changed him. He wrote this:

“An experience that changed me is that my dad is transgender, and became my ‘Maddy.’ A person who is transgender has a lifelong sense of being born into the wrong body.

“I was about 4 when Maddy began the ‘transition.’ I don’t really remember the experience well because it was over nine years ago. Once the transition had taken place, I was comfortable with it. But I was worried what my friends would think. I kept it secret for a little bit, but eventually they found out. They all accepted it a lot better than I thought they would.

“Maddy is funny and wise. We go fishing and biking. We talk a lot, about anything that is on our minds. One night this spring, Maddy and I had a fancy dinner at a restaurant in Waterville. It was a special night. I wore a jacket and a tie. I had a steak. It made me feel like Maddy and I were really close. Maddy said that she thought I was growing up and that she was proud of me.

“Sometimes it’s true that I wish I had a regular father, but only because I don’t remember what it was like to have a normal family. Sometimes it’s hard to have a family that is different. But most of the time I think I am the luckiest kid on earth. Even though my family is different, I can’t think of any way that life could be better.

“I know people from lots of different kinds of families. Some families are divorced, so some of my friends only live with one parent at a time. Other families have someone who is mentally challenged in their family. But no matter how different they are, they are all people. My goal is that some day everybody will be treated with love.”

What about the boys, indeed.

Jennifer F. Boylan is a professor of creative writing and American literature at Colby College in Maine and an author of a number of books, including a bestseller, “She’s Not There” in 2001.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Maine Becomes The Fifth State In The Union With Marriage Equality

Governor Signs LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom

May 6, 2009

AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom.

“I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully,” Governor Baldacci said. “I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste.”

“I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue,” Governor Baldacci said. “This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.”

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

“Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.’”

“This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State,” Governor Baldacci said.

“It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government.”

“Even as I sign this important legislation into law, I recognize that this may not be the final word,” Governor Baldacci said. “Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people.”

“While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do,” Governor Baldacci said.

Discrimination At Its Worst

This is just plan out and out homophobic. Ask yourself this, would the school officials ban students from going to the bathroom if a straight couple was found kissing in the restroom?

Kentucky Equality Federation received reports that a Franklin County High official allegedly sent an email to teachers instructing them not to allow homosexuals to leave class to use the restroom.

The email was allegedly sent after two female classmates were caught kissing in the public restroom.

Stop the Hate!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Employers And The Transgender Worker

Last week there was an article in CNN Money about a friend who transitioned at work here in Connecticut. You read all the stories employers firing transgender employees when they come out at work, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This story shows that companies can profit from having a diverse workforce.

When a staffer switches genders
Coping with major changes can flummox a workplace, but you can protect your bottom line and your employees by promoting tolerance and respect.
By Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Last Updated: April 29, 2009: 1:33 PM ET
(Fortune Small Business) -- Tony Ferraiolo will never forget his first day back at work after surgery. The 46-year-old supervisor's knees trembled as he entered the windowless headquarters of Madison Co., a switch and sensor manufacturer in Branford, Conn.

Under the curious gaze of his colleagues, Ferraiolo crossed the plant floor and settled into his office. A few minutes later, Madison owner and president Steve Schickler walked in and sat down. "So you're a 'he' now, right?" Schickler asked. Ferraiolo nodded. "Good enough," Schickler said briskly. "I'll let the managers know."

For Schickler, 50, there was no question about what would happen next. Ferraiolo would continue to supervise more than half of the plant's 50 employees. Life would go on as before, with one small difference: Ferraiolo would no longer use the ladies' room.

Schickler describes his decision to support the transgender employee formerly known as Ann Ferraiolo through the transition as a no-brainer.

"If you start limiting your choices in staff based on this kind of thing, you're cutting yourself off from a lot of good people," he says. "We could have lost a valuable manufacturing supervisor - it was as simple as that."

Most employers will never have to deal with a transgender worker: Estimates of the transsexual population in the U.S. are vague but relatively low, ranging from less than 50,000 to 600,000 (not including those who choose not to undergo sex reassignment surgery). Nonetheless, gender identity has become the latest battleground in workplace discrimination law, which no business owner can afford to ignore. And given that few small businesses boast dedicated HR teams, it's particularly important for management to set a tone of workplace tolerance and respect.

"I never knew a female could become a male," says Ferraiolo, who had identified as a lesbian for years but always felt painfully uncomfortable in his female body. "When I saw that video, I realized that was what I wanted and who I was." Within a week Ferraiolo had asked friends outside of work to address him as "he." But at work he was still regarded as a woman even though he had already changed his legal name to Tony.

Then Ferraiolo decided to undergo chest-reconstruction surgery, an elective procedure that he paid for out of his own pocket. He would need three weeks off from work. With some trepidation he told Dotson and Schickler, but neither was as shocked as he'd expected. "Tony was Tony," Dotson explains. "He was never all that feminine, so it didn't faze us too much."

From the get-go, Schickler and Dotson made it clear that they expected the entire staff to treat Ferraiolo with respect. Schickler met with Madison's five senior managers, who made sure that everyone got the message. "I think that anyone who might have had a problem with Tony's decision looked around and saw that the culture was going to be supportive," Schickler says. "That set the tone."

When Ferraiolo returned to work in March 2005, he had a man's chest and boasted an impressive goatee, grown without resorting to hormones. But becoming a man posed a thorny question that hadn't been discussed before surgery: Which restroom should he use?

For the first two weeks, Ferraiolo trekked to the bathroom at the gas station down the street. "I'm not the type to walk straight into the men's room," he says. "I'd supervised these guys for six years, and I didn't want to be rude." Eventually Ferraiolo and Dotson agreed that he would use the single-cubicle men's toilet in the front office.

It may seem trivial, but the restroom question can easily flummox managers who must balance a transgender employee's needs against those of the rest of the staff. Many specialists advise against asking a transgender person to use a segregated bathroom beyond an initial adjustment period, simply because it won't help reintegrate the employee. "If a person is presenting as a woman, we recommend she be treated as a woman, which includes using the women's restroom," says Janis Walworth, a consultant on transgender issues.

What if the employee hasn't had gender reassignment surgery and lacks the "right parts"? Walworth advises against anatomical requirements for restroom access, given that most gender reassignment candidates are required to live in their desired gender for a year before an operation. Moreover, many transgender people do not undergo surgery. "What's between your legs is irrelevant to doing the job," Walworth says. "Surgery is private medical information and shouldn't be anybody else's business."

The biggest adjustment for everyone at Madison was undoubtedly the change of pronoun that accompanied Ferraiolo's transition. "That was one of the most difficult things to do," Dotson says. " 'She' would flow out of your mouth before you could think about it." One colleague told Ferraiolo that it was against her religion to accept his new identity. She came around after some discussion, Ferraiolo says. But she calls him only Tony, avoiding pronouns altogether. Others still address him in the feminine.

"I think some people are just limited," says Ferraiolo. "Even if they knew how much it hurt my soul when they use the wrong pronoun, I'm not sure they would stop."

Ferraiolo has become a better manager since he changed genders. Before the transition, Schickler would often coach Ferraiolo on improving his people skills. "Tony was very aggressive before," he says.

Ferraiolo agrees. He remembers feeling angry all the time, and he would often shout at the workers he supervised. "I wouldn't have wanted to work for me," he admits. "Now I'm more relaxed, so I have better relationships with the employees."

The lesson? Tolerance can be good business as well as good karma. "An employee with a visibly different lifestyle choice from the employer sends a message that this is an accepting business environment," says Phillips, the workplace discrimination attorney. "That often leads to more customer loyalty and better business."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Manic Monday #166

Lisa’s Manic Monday #166

Which household chore do you dislike the most?

Washing the windows.

What's the best museum you've ever visited?
The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford CT

It's Star Wars Day today. I've never seen any of the Star Wars movies. What "common" movies haven't you seen?
Since I very rarely go out to a movie, I have would say most of them. I have been to all of the Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter movies but that is it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Virginia Prince (1912 - 2009)

Helen Boyd wrote in her blog en|Gendered

Dr. Richard Docter announced at dinner last night, here at the Liberty Conference, that Virginia Prince had died at the age of 96. She was in good health and mentally acute until about a month ago when her health began a steep decline. Docter was her biographer as a well as a friend.

She was a true pioneer. I remember meeting her up at Fantasia Fair in 2002; she left a lasting impression on me. The first time that I met her was at a workshop for planning your transition and she let us all know in no uncertain terms what she thought about GRS.
It is the end of an era.

Here is her biography…

Virginia Prince (Arnold Lowman ) was born November 23rd 1912 in Los Angeles and she started to crossdress and go out in public as a teenager.
In 1939 she got her PhD in pharmacology from the University of California, San Francisco.
In 1960, she started publishing, Tranvestia, for as she called it, heterosexual femmiphiles.
In 1961 Prince began to meet other transgender individuals in the Los Angeles area and formed the Hose and Heels club.
In 1962, the club went national and was know as Foundation for Full Personality Expression, (FPE or Phi Pi Epsilon). Its members were heterosexual and married: homosexuals and transsexuals were not admitted.
In the mid 1960s, Prince was arrested and found guilty of sending obscene material (Letters to a friend about crossdressing - in those days, just talking about crossdressing was considered pornographic) through the post. As part of her probation, she could not crossdress in public, but her lawyers got an exception if she was educating the public about cross-dressing.
In 1976, FPE eventually became the Society for the Second Self, or 'Tri-Ess' when it merged with another Californian group.
In 1979 she wrote, "I was then free to live my life as I wanted having no domestic or business responsibilities. I therefore crossed the line completely and have lived as a woman full time ever since. I am therefore to be classified as a 'transgenderist' now.”
In 1987, she was the first recipient of the Virginia Prince Lifetime Service Award, sponsored by the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE).

Pioneers of Transgendering: The Life and Work of Virginia Prince” By Dave King & Richard Ekins
Gender Variant Biography: Virginia Prince (1912 -). pharmacologist, grooming products retailer, femmiphilic organizer.
Stryker, Susan (May 1, 2008), "Transgender History," Seal Press

Northampton MA Pride Festival

I went up to the Pride Festival yesterday and when I got there at around 12:45, it was mobbed. I had to drive around for a half hour looking for a parking space and I ended up parking up near Smith College and walking ten minutes to festival. When I got to the parking lot where the festival was being held, it was wall to wall people. I wandered around meeting friends as I walked and I ended up at the uniTy support groups table and hung around there until I had to walk back to the car to feed the parking meter since it was only one hour parking.The parking garage now had space, so I moved my car there and snapped this picture from the fourth floor (The picture quality isn’t that great because it is actually a frame from a video that I took). By that time, the crowd was down to about half of what it was when I got there.
The Pride Festival has vendors selling everything from vinyl siding to cheap trinkets, from clinics giving away condoms to clowns blowing up balloons and face painters for the kids. It has food vendors selling three pieces of Thai chicken on a sticks for $3.50 or fried dough vendors or ice cream trucks or sausages and peppers. On the stage there were over amplified singers that their words were all garbled to a point where you couldn’t make out the words. It is you typical carnival.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday Six - Episode 264

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six - Episode 264

1. You’re having a high-stress day. What hobby does the most to calm your nerves and relieve your mind when you get home?
Photograph, I can get lost taking pictues

2. What comfort food are you most likely to turn to when you’re having a bad day?
Yes. Oh, you want one particular food and not food in general. Hmm, maybe lobster… or ice cream or maybe chocolate. On the other hand, I do like chocolate milk shakes, that combines my like for ice cream and chocolate. I guess I would have to say whatever food is in the refrigerator.
I don’t know, I like food.

3. What kind of exercise leaves you feeling the best after it’s over?


4. When you want to get out of the house for a while, but don’t have time for a real getaway, where are you most likely to go for a few hours?

To a museum.

5. Take the quiz: Are You Mind, Body or Spirit?

You Are Mind

If you dream it, then you can do it. You are very mentally sharp and strong.
You enjoy challenging yourself both at work and with studies. You love mastering difficult tasks.

You thrive in new environments, even stressful ones. You are able to study everything objectively.
You have an upbeat attitude, and won't be deterred easily. You are open minded and optimistic about the future.

6. Which of yours do you think is more healthy: your mind, your body or your soul?

My soul, I think that I am at peace with myself, now if only the world was at peace with me.