Monday, November 30, 2009

Manic Monday #190

Lisa’s Manic Monday #190

Reflect on the characteristics of your best friend. What makes him or her so special?
They are a good listener, has empathy and is truly caring.

What is one quality you admire most in others?
Thinks of others first.

Describe an activity that you think is truly romantic
A candlelit dinner, a good wine, good music, a fire in the fireplace and snowing. (I don’t know, but I always felt that snow was romantic. I’m not talking about a blizzard, just a light snowfall.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Sad Death

For some of us when we transition we face tremendous societal pressure against us. Society likes conformity and it punishes those who transgress the norm, sports writer Mike Penner faced that pressure when she transitioned. In 2007, she transitioned and went by the name, Christine Daniels, however, in 2008 she de-transitioned. No reason was ever state as to why she did go back to being identified as male, but I can imagine that one of the reasons was the pressure that she felt from society because she was a transsexual. Being such a public figure in a male dominate field, I feel, must have played a part in her de-transitioning. Yesterday, she was found dead of an apparent suicide.

AP reported that…
LA Times sports writer Mike Penner dead at 52

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Times sports writer Mike Penner, who announced two years ago he was a transsexual and was changing his name to Christine Daniels, has died at age 52, the newspaper reported Saturday.

Penner was pronounced dead Friday at a hospital, said Los Angeles County coroner's Lt. Brian Elias. He said coroner's officials hadn't yet performed an autopsy or issued an official cause of death.

The Times said in a story Saturday Penner was believed to have committed suicide. Penner had returned to using the name Mike Penner last year and was a Times columnist at the time of his death.

Penner revealed that journey on April 26, 2007, when he wrote a story for the Times headlined "Old Mike, New Christine," in which he revealed he was taking a few weeks vacation and when he returned to his job as a sports writer it would be as a woman named Christine Daniels.

"I am a transsexual sports writer," Penner wrote. "It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words."

The announcement sent shock waves through the sports world, but Penner's bosses were supportive.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

For all of you out there like me, who do not like to watch football, I give a game to play instead…Hexxagon

Hexxagon made by Neave Games

Use the mouse to move your pieces around the board.

Quit game – Q
Mute sound – M

You play as the red diamonds and your opponent (either another player or the computer) plays as the blue globules. Your goal is to take over all the spaces on the board, and you do this by leaping into the spaces next to your opponent's pieces.

When you select one of your pieces, highlights of possible moves will be shown. The green highlights show where your piece will duplicate, the yellow highlights show where you will only jump. It's a good idea to duplicate as much as you can early on, and to spread around the board so you're not cornered.

I’m off to New Hampshire to join my family for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Story Part 9 My First Holiday With The Family

I had just come out to my extended family in October of 2006. We were up at my cousin’s summer cottages in Maine, there was my brother, sister-in-law, my cousin B and his girlfriend, my cousin A and his wife (it was their cottage), their son and his wife, and their daughter and her husband there. I had already come out to my brother and sister-in-law and we had agreed that it was time to tell my cousins. So Saturday night after dinner as we were sitting around the living room I told them that I had something important to tell them and I broke the news that I am transsexual. Cousin’s A wife got up and walked over to me and gave me a great big hug. The following morning, after breakfast, I told their son’s and daughter’s families. There were many questions, but in the end, they were all supportive. It was a great load of my shoulders, I had worried that they wouldn’t understand and accept me.

As we were leaving the next day to head back home, my cousin A’s wife said to me you are coming over to Thanksgiving dinner… as Diana? That Thanksgiving was the first holiday that I ever spent with the family as Diana. I was nervous as hell, but it was so liberating to finally to be myself. This Thanksgiving I am going to celebrating up at the family cottage in New Hampshire and then on Saturday, go up and visit my cousin A’s family in northern New Hampshire.

I am one of the lucky ones, there are many trans, lesbians, gays and bisexuals out there who will be spending the holidays alone, please open your doors to them and invite them in for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What We Give Up

When we transition, we may lose everything that we love, and this is even truer if you are in the public spotlight. There was an article in the New York Times about Sara Buechner who is a classical pianist who was forced to begin her career all over again.
Anything He Can Do, She Can Do
Published: November 13, 2009

IN September 1998, David Buechner, then 39, a prominent classical pianist, came out as a transgender woman, explaining that from then on, she would live and perform as Sara Davis Buechner. The pianist had been accustomed to rave reviews (at 24, David, in his New York City concert debut, was called “an extraordinary young artist” by a New York Times critic). But the debut as Sara, reported in a Times magazine article, was not so well received, even by loved ones.

In the next years, Ms. Buechner largely disappeared from public view, though not by choice. David had done 50 concerts a year — performing with philharmonic orchestras in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland and San Francisco — but as Sara, she couldn’t get bookings. “Apart from local gigs, from 1998 to 2003, I did three to five concerts a year,” she said. David taught as an adjunct professor at Manhattan School of Music and New York University, but as Sara, seeking a full-time professorship, “I applied 35 places and wouldn’t even get a response. Behind my back, I’d hear, ‘Is it safe to leave him in a room with undergrads?’ ”

n the next years, Ms. Buechner largely disappeared from public view, though not by choice. David had done 50 concerts a year — performing with philharmonic orchestras in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland and San Francisco — but as Sara, she couldn’t get bookings. “Apart from local gigs, from 1998 to 2003, I did three to five concerts a year,” she said. David taught as an adjunct professor at Manhattan School of Music and New York University, but as Sara, seeking a full-time professorship, “I applied 35 places and wouldn’t even get a response. Behind my back, I’d hear, ‘Is it safe to leave him in a room with undergrads?’”

On Nov. 11, she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her New York City debut by playing in Merkin Concert Hall, still 10 blocks from Carnegie Hall, but a joyous night. The 440-seat hall was full; the audience gave her numerous standing ovations. Her parents traveled from Baltimore, her brother from Kansas. They’ve all long since accepted Sara, happy that she’s happy. Her mother said she was advised to take a firm stand against Sara by a prominent therapist so as not to encourage the switch, but now regrets it. “Sometimes you think you know more than your children, but you don’t,” she said.
In 2003, Ms. Buechner was hired by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver to teach piano from over 100 candidates and received tenure in 2008.
On Nov. 11, she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her New York City debut by playing in Merkin Concert Hall, still 10 blocks from Carnegie Hall, but a joyous night. The 440-seat hall was full; the audience gave her numerous standing ovations.
You can listen to some of Ms. Buechner here.

Sara Buechner is not alone in traveling this journey. Jennifer Leitham is another woman who has taken this journey. This is an excerpt from her web-site,
“Jennifer is best known for her decade long stints with both Mel Tormé and Doc Severinsen. She has appeared with many distinguished artists including Woody Herman, George Shearing, Gerry Mulligan, Peggy Lee, Joe Pass, Cleo Laine, Louie Bellson, Pete Rugolo, Bill Watrous, and numerous others. She has also been a member of the Tonight Show All-Stars, The Woody Herman Thundering Herd, Benny Carter Quintet, Bob Cooper Quartet, DIVA, and more.”
When she transitioned, she had to reestablish herself as a musician. The gigs are slowing coming back and you can listen to some of Ms. Leitham here.

I have met both Sara and Jennifer, I met Sara in Provincetown MA where she gave a performance during the Fantasia Fair conference and I met Jennifer when I was lobbying in Washington DC for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Other musicians who have made this journey are Wendy Carlos and Billy Tipton, and you can listen to their music here and here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Senate ENDA Bill Is Held-up

The Senate last week said that they are holding back the ENDA bill that passed the House.
The Advocate has an article about the bill,
The Gender (Identity) Divide

The exclusion of gender identity from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act helped guarantee the bill’s failure in 2007. Now that ENDA is once again moving on the Hill, will it finally protect those who need it most?
Are we going to be thrown under the bus as Congress did back in 2007? Are we going to go through this all over again?
On the federal level, the T of LGBT has long been an inessential element in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit antigay discrimination nationwide, bolstering the current patchwork of laws in liberal-leaning states. ENDA was first introduced in Congress in 1994, though a precursor to the bill was originally written 20 years earlier.

Since 1994, ENDA has been reintroduced in every congressional term except one. None of the versions included gender identity until 2007, with Democrats in control of both houses of Congress. But when a preliminary vote in the House of Representatives reportedly failed to muster adequate support, Massachusetts representative Barney Frank split ENDA into two separate bills, one with gender identity protections, one without. The former died in committee; the latter passed the House, only to die in the Senate. While any version of ENDA was subject to a near-certain veto by then-President George W. Bush, many national gay organizations denounced Frank’s move as unacceptable. The nation’s largest gay rights lobbying group, the Human Rights Campaign, which supported passage of the non–transgender-inclusive bill, became the subject of controversy, with transgender activists and their allies protesting HRC fund-raising dinners nationwide.

Yet this month’s Senate committee hearing on the bill did not include testimony from transgender individuals, which elicited measured concern from National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Kiesling and dismay from Diego Sanchez, senior legislative adviser to Frank. “This was a wake-up call for me that we’re not done educating people,” Sanchez told The Advocate last week. “If the biggest piece of discussion about this bill is gender identity, then it’s only logical that you would want to cast the light on the one part that people understand the least.”

Unless transgender men and women become more visible — and valued — members of the gay community, Beasley says she isn’t hopeful the picture is going to change anytime soon, even if she believes a federal law banning discrimination is a step in the right direction. “Most of society and the community looks down on transgenders,” Beasley says.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was brutally murder in Cayey, Puerto Rico last week; Mercado was a victim of a violent hate crime because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. The accused murderer is believed to claim a “gay panic” defense.

CNN writes of Mercado murder, “He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso.” However, what is also disturbing was the callus attitude of the chief police officer on the case, “The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that ‘people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen’”.

In another CCN article they write that,
According to Telemundo and other local reports, Martinez Matos confessed to authorities that he picked Lopez Mercado up from the street, thinking that he was a woman.

When he realized that Lopez Mercado was a man, Martinez Matos said he regressed to an incident when he was sexually assaulted during a prison term, Telemundo and local reports said.
There is no excuse for murdering someone and I hope that Matos is charged with hate crime under the new federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This is a hate crime! When a person is murdered the way Mercado was murder, it was done out if hate, prejudice and bigotry.

There are a number of people who do not believe in the hate crime laws; they believe that all murders are done of anger, or that the laws interfere with religious freedom. Some believe that to single out a subculture for special treatment in the eyes of the law is wrong, that a murder by a bank robber should be treated the same as chopping up a trans or gay person. That hate crime laws prohibit religious leaders from speaking out again marriage equality or condemning LGBT people for what they believe as a “sinful lifestyle.”

In the eyes of the law, motive and intent are taking into account in most crimes of violence. If in a bar, someone pushes another person out of the way and that person falls and hit their head and dies, then that is usually treated a manslaughter. They did mean to harm the other person but it did result in a death. If two people get into a fight in a bar and one person picks up a beer bottle and hits the other person over the head with the bottle and he dies, then that is treated as a worst offense then the first case. Or if they are fighting and one person leaves, and then returns with a gun to kill the other person, it is then premeditated murder. The same is true for a hate crime, motive and intent is taken into account, it is not enough to murder a LGBT person but the motive and intent must be proven to be because of the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition, hate crimes also intimidates the subculture. When a victim’s body is mutilated and burned it is a message of hate and oppression that effects the entire LGBT community.

Religious leaders can preach hate and damnation all they want and it is not a hate crime. They can oppose marriage equality and it is not a hate crime. They can tell their followers to refuse to serve gay couples in restaurants or wait on them in stores it maybe discrimination, but it is not a hate crime. It is only a hate crime when a fist meets a person face because they are LGBT.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Six – Episode 293

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 293

1. You’re home alone watching television: what beverage are you most likely to be drinking?
Juice or water

2. You have dinner with friends at a nice restaurant: what beverage are you most likely to be drinking?
A Chardonnay.

3. You’re at a cocktail party with a free bar: what beverage are you most likely to be drinking?
Cranberry juice and club soda with a twist of lime

4. Given a choice, are you more likely to choose water, a soft drink, tea, coffee, beer or wine?
It depends, where I am; at home, I would most likely be water during the day, during dinner tea or coffee.

5. Take the quiz: What Kind of Wine Are You?

You Are Chardonnay

Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.
You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.
You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.
Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).

Deep down you are: Dependable and modest

Your partying style: Understated and polite

Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat

6. What is your favorite wine?
Chardonnay, I like a California wine from Hacienda vineyards

Saturday 9: Talking in Your Sleep

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Talking in Your Sleep

1. Has anyone in your life talked in their sleep?
Not that I know of, I was asleep.

2. What do you like about fall?
I like the cool temperatures; they are great for walking on leaf covered trails

3. Do you have an addictive personality?
I don’t smoke, gamble, use drugs, but I do drink occasionally. However, I am addicted to food, I enjoy it too much and my waistline shows it.

4. Who was the last person to do something extra special for you?
A friend who loaned me a book for class

5. Would you ever take someone back if they cheated on you?
No, if they cheated once they will most likely cheat again.

6. Are you happy with where you are in life?

I have mixed feelings, however, the game is not over yet. I will let you know how I feel on this on my deathbed.

7. Do you believe that you can change someone?
No, they have to change themselves.

8. Have you ever wished you could've had someone but you couldn't?
Yeah once, but that's life, sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don't. You can only dream.

9. Would you ever fight someone over your significant other?

No. violence never settled anything. If my significant other couldn’t choose without fighting, then I wouldn’t want her as my significant other.

Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20th Transgender Day of Remembrance

Every year on November 20th a Day of Remembrance Vigil is held to remember those individuals who were brutally murdered simply because they did not conform to societies standards of what a “real man or woman” looks or acts like. This year’s victims are,

Taysia Elzy
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana USA
Cause of Death: Shot to death by 20 year old Christopher Conwell.
Date of Death: December 26, 2008
Taysia was 34 years old. Taysia and Michael Green were romantically involved and it is believed that they were murdered because Taysia was transgender and Michael was murdered because of his relationship with Taysia. They were both found dead in their apartment.

Michael Green
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana USA
Cause of Death: Shot to death by 20 year old Christopher Conwell.
Date of Death: December 26, 2008
Michael was 22 years old.
While Michael was not transgender, it is believed that he was murdered because he and Taysia Elzy were lovers.They were both found dead in their apartment.

Caprice Curry
Location: San Francisco, California
Cause of Death: Stabbed to death.
Date of Death: January 17, 2009
Caprice was 31 years old.

Image Devereux
Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Cause of Death: her murdered body (Ms. Jimmy) was found on Joseph Street behind the old Club Spektrum
Date of Death: April 14, 2009
Image was 34 years old.

Foxy Ivy
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Cause of Death: Stabbed to death
Date of Death: May 25, 2009
Foxy was an African American woman under the age of 35, she was found in Highland Parkand had been fatally shot in the back of the head.

Kelly (Frederick) Watson
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cause of Death: Murdered
Date of Death: June 9, 2009
Kelly was 32 years old. If you have any information on this murder, please call the Albuquerque Police Department at (505) 843-STOP.

Unidentified person wearing woman’s clothing
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cause of Death: Shot multiple times
Date of Death: July 1, 2009
The victim was shot multiple times police sources told NBC 10. She was believed to be in her late 30s, according to police.

Terri Benally
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cause of Death: Beaten to death
Date of Death: July 7, 2009
Terri was 42 years old.

Cesar Torres
Location: El Paso, Texas
Cause of Death: Blunt Force Trauma
Date of Death: July 9, 2009
An autopsy report says Cesar died from blunt force trauma. He had cuts around his eyes, broken ribs, a broken nose, a ruptured liver, wrenched neck and several stab wounds. Cesar was 39 years old.

Beyonce (Eric) Lee
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Cause of Death: Stabbed to death
Date of Death: July 26, 2009
Eric Lee was a drag performer who dressed and performed as the famous singer Beyonce. Eric was found in his apartment where he had been stabbed to death. Eric was 21 years old.

Tyli’a Mack also known as NaNa Boo
Location: Washington, DC
Cause of Death: Stabbed to death
Date of Death: August 26, 2009
Tyli’a was stabbed to death on the street in broad daylight. Tyli’a was 21 years old.

Paulina Ibarra
Location: East Hollywood, California
Cause of Death: Stabbed to death
Date of Death: August 28, 2009
Paulina was found dead inside her apartment, she had been stabbed to death. Paulina was 24 years old.

Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado
Location: Cayey, Peurto Rico
Cause of Death: Decapitated
Date of Death: November 14, 2009
Jorge was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso. Jorge was 19 years old.

To find where other vigil are being held or to find a list of victims…
List of Vigils to be held around the world
List of Victims

Friday Fill-ins #151

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #151

1. We need _to pass a universal health care bill with a public option_.

2. _When I was thinking back to when I was worried about going back to college_ and it made me smile.

3. If you want _seconds you have to wait until everyone else have gotten their food_.

4. _Don’t overfill your plate_ because _your eyes are bigger than your stomach_.

5. Massachusetts has a proposed 5% sales tax on elective cosmetic surgery; I think _it makes sense_.

6. _Having family altogether for Thanksgiving_ makes for a happy holiday.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _recovering from minor surgery_, tomorrow my plans include _more recovering from minor surgery and doing homework_ and Sunday, I want to _continue to recover from minor surgery and doing homework_!

Texas Bans Marriage!

In their zeal to ban marriage equality, Texas may have gone too far and banned marriage all together. In 2005, Article I, Section 32 of the Texas constitution was amended to say…
Sec. 32. MARRIAGE.
(a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
I’m not a lawyer, but this sure sounds like they banned all marriage!

An article in the Miami Herald reports that,
A Texas-size technicality: Marriage may be unconstitutional
By Dave Montgomery
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

AUSTIN — Here's a question for Texans: Are you really married?

Maybe not.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the state legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

"This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively "eliminates marriage in Texas," including common-law marriages.
"It’s a silly argument," said Kelly Shackelford, president of the Liberty Legal Institute in Plano. Any lawsuit based on the wording of Subsection B, he said, would have "about one chance in a trillion" of being successful.

Shackelford said the clause was designed to be broad enough to prevent the creation of domestic partnerships, civil unions or other arrangements that would give same-sex couples many of the benefits of marriage.
Maybe, it might just be too broad?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Story Part 8 - Coming Out

Coming out: in the LGBT community, it means disclosing to others the fact that you are either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Most non-LGBT people think it is a one-time process, but it is not, it is an on-going process. Each time I start a new class at school, I come out. Each time I call my credit card company, I come out. When I went to have my car repaired after my accident, I came out to the auto repair shop manager.

A lesbian, gay or bisexual cannot be read as lesbian, gay or bisexual just by talking to them or seeing them, but many trans-people are identified as trans by their voice and/or appearance. When I have to call the credit card company, I always get transfer to security because I do not sound like Diana. The manger of the auto repair shop took awhile, but I could see the moment when he realized that I was trans.

We have to “Out” ourselves because of legal or tax purposes. When I transitioned I had to contact all of my credit cards companies, all of the utilities companies and finical institutions to change my names, I has to change the names on my property deeds (I still not have done that in New Hampshire because I have to re-file the deed, I need to have a lawyer. In Connecticut, I only had to give them a copy of the Probate Court order and pay $40). I still get some stock dividend checks in my male name because those companies want me to sell my stock and rebuy them. Which means that I have to pay capital gains on the transfer (if there are any tax lawyers reading this, I had mixed information about if I have to take capital gains on the transaction).

For those of us who pass easily, they still have to “out” themselves. If they go to an emergency room, you have to tell the doctors. When I told my health insurance company about my name change, they called me back to tell me that my policy dies not cover anything trans related. If you are going for a new job, many applications ask the question, “Have you ever been know by another name in the last five years?” Bingo! We have to say yes to the question and out ourselves. A trans-woman was fired from a job because she said no on the job application.

For trans-people it is a never-ending coming out process, whether it is because you are read as being trans or institutional policies or legal or medical reasons, we are in a never ending coming out process.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Manic Monday #189

Lisa’s Manic Monday #189

You have a brain tumor. Though there is no discomfort at the moment, this tumor would unquestionably kill you in six months. However, your life can (and will) be saved by an operation; the only downside is that there will be a brutal incision to your frontal lobe. After the surgery, you will be significantly less intelligent. You will still be a fully functioning adult, but you will be less logical, you will have a terrible memory, and you will have little ability to understand complex concepts or difficult ideas. The surgery is in two weeks.

How do you spend the next fourteen days?

Establish a trust fund for myself and gather as many family and friends around me as I can for support. (I hope that this is just a theoretical question)

Every person you have ever slept with is invited to a banquet where you are the guest of honor. No one will be in attendance except you, the collection of your former lovers, and the catering service. After the meal, you are asked to give a fifteen-minute speech to the assembly.

What do you talk about?

Well first of all I would make sure that all the leftover food has been taken away and there is nothing to throw at me. Then I would talk about how they were all able to see the beauty in a person heart.

You have won a prize. The prize has two options, and you can choose either (but not both). The first option is a year in Europe with a monthly stipend of $2,000. The second option is ten minutes on the moon.

Which option do you select?

That is an easy question to answer, I could always go to Europe, but only once to the moon. I’ll pick the moon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Six – Episode 292

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 292

1. What is the last thing you purchased for yourself, other than basics like groceries?
A new winter coat

2. What is the last thing you purchased for someone else?

Chocolates, for my aunt

3. If you were to win a lottery, what is the first charity you’d donate to?
True Colors

4. If you won that lottery, what is the first “luxury” you’d buy for yourself?
A house in Key West FL or in Maine

5. Take the quiz:
Do You Put Yourself First or Last?

You Put Yourself First

By putting yourself first, you're actually not being selfish. You're just being realistic.
You like to help others as much as the next person... maybe even more. But you know you need to be at the top of your game in order to really give back.

You take good care of yourself, and you have learned the art of tactfully saying "no." It's all about balance.
You try to stay away from people and activities that drain you. You prefer to save your energy for those who really matter to you.

6. When is the last time you spent an entire weekend putting yourself first?

This weekend and most weekends, since I am single I don’t have to share the weekend (except for homework)

Saturday 9: Man on the Moon

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Man on the Moon

1. Do you think it was important to send a man to the moon?
Yes, and I think that we should return to the moon. Many of the things that we take for granted now were invented to solve problems when we went to the moon the first time.

2. What is your biggest fear?
To die alone

3. If someone hung a sign around your neck today, what would it say and why?

Here is someone who went against the wind.

4. What is the longest line that you've stood in and was it worth it?
At the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles ), it was all day, from one line to the next.

5. As the holidays approach, what song are looking forward to hearing again?

Bah Humbug, none. But I suppose I have to pick one, then I pick the Waitresses “Christmas Wrapping”

6. Whose music do you think is the most important of your generation's?
The Eagles, the Doors, Foreigner, Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, etc

7. Do you find it is to be kind to strangers? Give an example.

Well it all depends on what you mean? If you mean opening doors, picking up a package, and thing like that, then yes I do feel it is nice to help strangers/

8. When do usually lose your patience?
I very rarely lose my patience.

9. Is there a book that you're dying to see as a movie?

I cannot wait for the last movie in the Harry Potter series.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friday Fill-ins #150

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #150


1. The last band I saw live was _I forgot the name of the band, but it was a little folk band that played at the coffee house _.

2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is _is being with the family_. (if you don't celebrate thanksgiving, insert your favorite holiday)

3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is _always done on the day before Christmas_.

4. Thoughts of _sugar plums_ fill my head.

5. I wish I could wear _a size 16_.

6. Bagpipes _sounds like cats being strangled_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to attending the _Transgender Day of Remembrance_, tomorrow my plans include _attending 1 Big Event_ and Sunday, I want to _rest and do some homework_!


I saw this on "what if this is as good as it gets?" blog and had to pass it along...

76% of MA Voters Favor Protecting Transgender People from Discrimination November 11th, 2009

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) released the results of a new Massachusetts poll on Trans-rights yesterday...
NEW POLL Shows Broad and Deep Support for Current Legislation

A new poll shows that 76% of Massachusetts voters, including 81% of women, support passing a law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners from November 4-8 2009, was released today by a coalition ofMassachusetts organizations* working to pass non-discrimination legislation. It was based on telephone interviews with 400 likely voters.

Advocates said the poll demonstrates far greater support for the non-discrimination bill (H. 1728/S. 1687) than previously thought. The bill is now being studied by the joint Judiciary Committee of the legislature.

“Voters understand discrimination and don’t want to see it allowed in the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Carl Sciortino (D), lead sponsor of the bill. “Legislators seriously underestimate their constituents if they think voters don’t get this. It’s time for Massachusetts to join the 13 other states that ban discrimination against their transgender citizens.”

Not only did voters say they want their legislators to pass this law, more than half (51%) are more likely to vote for their legislator if their representative voted for the bill. Only 14% would be less likely to vote for such a legislator.

Several states have recently added gender identity and expression to their non discrimination laws. Last week, voters of Kalamazoo, MI overwhelmingly passed a measure that will add gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals to an existing city ordinance banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.

“Every day in Massachusetts, transgender people lose their jobs, are evicted, suffer harassment, and are denied services because of who they are,” said Sciortino. “Let’s not tolerate that any more. Let’s pass this

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Story Part 7 – You Don’t Know What’s Like

This is a continuing series that I am writing based on events that have happened in my life that I have had as a result of being transgender.

When I was coming out, I was sometimes told that I talked too much about being transgender… it was true. But there was a reason why I dwelled on it so much, for 50 years I had to repress all my thoughts, all of what I wanted to say and most of all I could never be myself. My soul was hidden away in a box.

When I finally came out of the dark and into the light of day, I had 50 years of pent-up feelings that just busted out. Most of all, I felt that I had to prove to the world and that I still have to prove to the world that who I am is valid. When the whole world tells you that you are damned and going to hell, that you are a freak, when you are the butt of jokes, when you are laughed at, when your very existences and the right to live is questioned, well you get kind of defensive.

When you hear that an acquaintance had committed suicide, when you hear that two others had tried to commit suicide, when someone comes to the support group with their face all swollen, black, and blue, you start to realize what oppression is. If you have been following my blog, you know that I am going to college for my master’s in Social Work and some of the topics that they cover are oppression and society’s pressure to conform. I know first hand what they are teaching, I have seen it. So if someone that you know is trans, please forgive them if they seem to dwell on the topic, they maybe just getting off their shoulders the weight of 50 years of oppression.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Years Ago, The Trans-Community Was Thrown Under The Bus

This year it is abortion rights, we cannot have legislation at the expense of others rights. Two years ago a gender inclusive ENDA was thrown out and a non-inclusive ENDA substituted in order to pass ENDA – it was a bad comprise. This year abortion rights were thrown out of the healthcare bill in order to pass the bill – it is a bad comprise. Sometime it is not right to pass a bad bill just to pass the bill.

In published reports, there is major consternation with the language of the Stupak Amendment in the House version of the healthcare bill concerning abortion rights. An ABC News article writes,
An amendment included in the House health care bill passed this weekend promising to restrict federal funding for abortions has reignited a fiery debate on one of the most controversial issues in the country.
An article in the Huffington Post reports that,
As the House of Representatives inches toward a final vote on comprehensive health care reform this weekend -- the most dramatic domestic policy debate in several generations, a reorganization of a sixth of the economy -- the only thing the parties can talk about is abortion and immigration.

Stupak, in meetings with Pelosi and other members of leadership, pressed to include, instead, his own amendment that would ban the public health insurance option from funding abortion and also ban any private plan operating within the exchange from funding abortions. Under Stupak's plan, a woman buying private insurance from within the exchange with her own money would not have a choice of a plan that covered abortion.

The thinking among leadership is that allowing a vote -- regardless of the outcome -- helps win votes for final passage. If it passes, then pro-lifers line up behind health care reform. If it fails, at least they had their vote. For pro-choicers, if the amendment passes they can still fight to remove it during negotiations with the Senate -- which rejected tough abortion restrictions.
This is government at its worst! You do not pass a bad bill in hopes of it being overturned. This is exactly what the House did for ENDA, it was wrong then and it is wrong now. I hope they are right and that the Senate will reject it, but suppose the Senate does pass it, we will be left with a horrible law. Insurance companies would not have to pay for any abortions except in a medical emergency when a mother’s life depended upon it. We all know insurance companies, do you honestly think they wouldn’t try to weasels out of paying.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Manic Monday #188

Lisa’s Manic Monday #188

What does it mean to you to have courage?
To tilt windmills. The “Don Quixote” syndrome, to dream the impossible dream.

Is your favorite time the past, present or the future?
Since in the past, I never lived my life as my true self and since I do not know what the future has in store for me, I want to live in the present.

What makes you a good person?
I follow the “Golden Rule”, “Do unto other as you would have other do unto you''
I treat everyone with respect and dignity.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Trans-issues In The News

There were a couple of news articles that caught my eye this week, the first was a New York Times article about the glass ceiling for women that is called “Before That Sex Change, Think About Your Next Paycheck” and the other article is another New York Times article about “Can a Boy Wear a Skirt to School?”

The first story, I found by a back-link to another Catherine Rampell article where she wrote,
You might expect that anybody who has had a sex change, or even just cross-dresses on occasion, would suffer a wage cut because of social stigmatization. Wrong, or at least partly wrong. Turns out it depends on the direction of the change: the study found that earnings for male-to-female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third after their gender transitions, but earnings for female-to-male transgender workers increased slightly.

The study, published in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, was based on survey data the authors collected from 64 transgender workers. The authors, Kristen Schilt at the University of Chicago and Matthew Wiswall at New York University, theorize male-to-female workers tend to be penalized and female-to-male workers modestly rewarded because of anti-woman, rather than just anti-transgender, discrimination.

Ben Barres, a female-to-male transgender neuroscientist at Stanford, found that his work was more highly valued after his gender transition. “Ben Barres gave a great seminar today,” a colleague of his reportedly said, “but then his work is much better than his sister’s.”

Dr. Barres, of course, doesn’t have a sister in academia.
I think that this article emphasis what women have said all along, that their ideas and contributions are trivialized in the workplace. The transgender community is in a unique position to prove that the discrimination is real. I have heard the same thing from my friends, that even though the employer supported their transition, that as a women their views were being ignored. She is a project engineer with a EE and a MBA and before her transition “his” ideas were valued. Now, her ideas are glossed over, only to be brought up later by a man and then everyone thinks it is a great idea. Conversely, I have a friend who is a trans-man and he reports that his every comment is taken as a fact, even on a topic he knows nothing about.

In the other New York Times article that was written by Jan Hoffman, she writes,
BY now, most high school dress codes have just about done away with the guesswork.

Girls: no midriff-baring blouses, stiletto heels, miniskirts.

Boys: no sagging pants, muscle shirts.

But do the math.

Rules” + “teenager” = “challenges.”

If the skirt is an acceptable length, can a boy wear it?

Can a girl attend her prom in a tuxedo?

Last week, a cross-dressing Houston senior was sent home because his wig violated the school’s dress code rule that a boy’s hair may not be “longer than the bottom of a regular shirt collar.” In October, officials at a high school in Cobb County, Ga., sent home a boy who favored wigs, makeup and skinny jeans. In August, a Mississippi student’s senior portrait was barred from her yearbook because she had posed in a tuxedo.

Other schools are more accepting of unconventional gender expression. In September, a freshman girl at Rincon High School in Tucson who identifies as male was nominated for homecoming prince. Last May, a gay male student at a Los Angeles high school was crowned prom queen.

But when officials want to discipline a student whose wardrobe expresses sexual orientation or gender variance, they must consider antidiscrimination policies, mental health factors, community standards and classroom distractions.

And safety is a critical concern. In February 2008, Lawrence King, an eighth-grader from Oxnard, Calif., who occasionally wore high-heeled boots and makeup, was shot to death in class by another student.

At Wesson Attendance Center, a Mississippi public school, just that sort of fight erupted over senior portraits. Last summer, during her photo session, Ceara Sturgis, 17, dutifully tried on the traditional black drape, the open-necked robe that reveals the collarbone, a hint of bare shoulder.

“It was terrible!” said Ms. Sturgis, an honors student, band president and soccer goalie, who has been openly gay since 10th grade. “If you put a boy in a drape, that’s me! I have big shoulders and ooh, it didn’t look like me! I said, ‘I can’t do this!’ So my mom said, ‘Try on the tux.’ And that looked normal.”

Dress codes should not be enforced based on gender, rather they should be based on the clothes. The code should not say boys will wear… and girls will wear… but rather slacks or shorts must be below the knee and skirt or dresses must be below the knee. You are enforcing a minimum standard dress code rather then a gender stereo type. In response to the comment about causing disruptions or violence in school, punish the bully or the disruptor not the victim. Have a zero tolerance policy on bullying.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday Six – Episode 291

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 291

1. In the last year, which single person has helped you relieve the most of your stress?
I don’t know if it one person, I have a network of friends and family that I can count on to help me.

2. In the last year, which single place have you found the most restful, relaxing place to be?

Up at our family’s lake cottage in New Hampshire

3. What single activity relieves the most stress for you?
Photography, I can zone out taking picture.

4. Do you feel that your church (or your faith) relieves more stress or causes more stress?

5. Take the quiz: How Should You De-stress?

You Should Play Some Music

Part of what's stressing you out is that you can't stop thinking about your problems. Whenever you try to relax, you can't stop your mind from racing.
The best thing you can do is crowd out your thoughts. And there's no easier way to do this than by cranking some music.

Dancing is optional but highly recommended. Give yourself a break from your stress and really let loose.
Or put on some of your old favorite music (happy music only though!). Sit back and remember what it was like not to be so overwhelmed.

6. Which is more important for you: to “de-stress” or “recharge?”
De-stressing, I need a place of quite to get away from the every day pressures

Friday, November 06, 2009

Saturday 9: Be True to Your School

Sam’s Saturday 9: Be True to Your School

1. What was your favorite subject in high school?
I never really had a favorite subject, I hated school! I was always on the outside looking in, now a days you would have called me a nerd.

2. Do you watch reality shows? Which ones?

Nope! Never watched any.

3. What's your favorite all time reality show?
See above.

4. Do you feel "reality" shows are real or are they faked?
They are just boring with contrived drama.

5. What did you look like when you were a teenager?
This was from my college days.

6. Whose advice do you listen to?

Are you kidding? I was a teenager, I listened to no one.

7. How often are you sick?

Three or four times a year, until I stopped biting my finger nails

8. Do you like or dislike change?

9. How many times in your life have you had a broken heart?

#8 I like change, but only for the good. I like change in social justice issues. However, I like the sameness in my life; I lived all my life in this town. It is familiar and comfortable like an old shoe.

With High Unemployment And More People Using Foodbanks…

Where do you think Governor Rell cut the budget? Over half of the $34 millions in cuts were made to Department of Social Services, Medicaid programs, Department of Children and Families and Department of Development Services.
In the Connecticut News Junkie blog reported,
The Department of Social Services budget was cut by $7.25 million, including $700,000 out of the $753,000 in aid to the blind and almost $1 million of the $38 million in old age assistance. Also, funds budgeted for outreach efforts for Husky, the Medicaid program for low-income children and families, was cut by $35,000. The Department of Children and Families received an $8.6 million cut, including board and care for foster children and those in residential care. The Department of Development Services, which provides assistance to the disabled, was cut by $3.75 million.
This is outrageous! When more people then ever are in need of assistance because of the economy, it is immoral to make the cuts to social services. The two major areas of the Department of Developmental Services budget that took the hit were, Personal Services ($3,487,500) and Clinical Services ($170,000). In the Department of Social Services the budget cuts were made in Personal Services ($5,500,000), Old Age Assistance ($1,000,000) and Aid to the Disabled ($700,000). Yeah, lets throw the old folks and the disabled out on the streets! Other cuts were made in the Department of Children and Families budget in Personal Services ($2,500,000), Board and Care for Children - Foster ($3,500,000) and Board & Care - Residential ($2,500,000). Who cares about the kids – let them sell drugs and sell their bodies. Then we can lock them up in prison. In addition, the Workers' Compensation Commission budget was cut in both Personal ($400,000) and Rehabilitative ($114,403) Services.

We are cutting help to the most needy of our society, the children and the disabled and at the same time the governor refuses to increase the taxes on those making over a $1,000,000!

Friday Fill-Ins #149

Janet’s Friday Fill-Ins #149


1. Plans and schedules _are make to be changed_.

2. I'm happy when things _finally go as planned_.

3. The last thing I drank was _apple cider_.

4. One of the most valuable things in my life is _being able to live my life_.

5. I like _pepper, onions and sausage _ on my pizza.

6. Dear November, _please don’t snow over Thanksgiving weekend_.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going to the coffee shop_, tomorrow my plans include _a fundraiser dinner_ and Sunday, I want have to _get back to doing homework_!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Maine Votes Down Marriage Equality 52% - 47% Our battle is not over!

It took 144 years for women to get the right to vote! Only 13 states passed a Women’s Suffrage ballot imitative, but some of those took multiply attempts before they passed, in Oregon, it took six attempts before it passed. However, 16 states did not pass the Women’s Suffrage voter initiatives.

Human Rights should not be subject a popular vote! The LGBT population is only about 5% of the population, but 47% of the people came out to vote in favor of the basic Human Right to be able to marry the person that you love. I do not think that Human Rights be at the whim of the majority.

We will be back next year, and the year after that, no matter how long it will take. I hope that it does not take as long as it took to get women suffrage... but we shall prevail in the end!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Kalamazoo residents approve nondiscrimination ordinance

From Bilerico Project

Our campaign started with a very basic idea, and today voters confirmed that we are One Kalamazoo," said Campaign Manager, Jon Hoadley.

With only absentee ballots outstanding, 65 percent of Kalamazoo voters have approved Ordinance 1856 by a vote of 6,463 to 3,527, adding protections for gay and transgender people to the city's nondiscrimination ordinance. This margin is larger than the number of outstanding absentee ballots that are currently being counted.

"I am elated with the outcome of the election," says Yes on Ordinance 1856/One Kalamazoo Steering Committee member and local resident Janice Brown. "This vote reinforces what our campaign set out to prove - that our fellow residents of Kalamazoo share the belief that all people should be treated fairly and equally, including gay and transgender people."

The outcome of today's vote confirmed that all hardworking people in Kalamazoo should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families without fear of being fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

"Kalamazoo is a great place to live and the passage of Ordinance 1856 makes the city an even better place," says local resident Rev. Matt Laney, Pastor of the First Congregational Church. "I am proud to live in a city that recognizes that all people deserve fairness and respect."

The Yes on 1856/ One Kalamazoo campaign in support of the nondiscrimination ordinance involved hundreds of local volunteers and contributors, and had the endorsement of over 30 local religious, social, business, and political organization. The campaign would like to thank the Kalamazoo community for asserting their belief in the inherent equality of all Kalamazoo residents, and the countless volunteers for their hard work and dedication in recent months - and in some case, years - to ensure the passage of the ordinance.

When The Agency That Is Suppose To Protect Our Children Doesn’t

In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Philadelphia's Department of Human Services discriminates against trans-youth. In an article they say,
DHS discrimination against transgender teen alleged
By Sam Wood
Inquirer Staff Writer
Sun, Nov. 1, 2009

A transgender teenager who identifies as a girl said she was subject to constant abuse and discrimination during 18 months in the custody of Philadelphia's Department of Human Services.

At the Youth Study Center, the 16-year-old teen was placed in the boys' unit, where, she said, staff and residents harassed her despite a judge's order that she be addressed by her preferred female name and female pronouns.

In November 2007, the teen was admitted to the Youth Study Center.

The social worker diagnosed gender identity disorder, a condition marked by the persistent discomfort of a person's own sexual anatomy and a strong identification with the opposite sex.

The next month, Common Pleas Court Judge Abram Frank Reynolds ordered that the teen be addressed with her female name and that female pronouns be used when referring to her. He also authorized DHS to administer hormone therapy to the teen to delay puberty.

The complaint contends that staff at the Youth Study Center ignored the order and heaped abuse on her.

One staffer allegedly told her that as long as she had male genitalia, "I'm not going to call you by [her female name]." When she asked for a bra and panties, another staffer hurled an insult and refused to accommodate her.

Though she repeatedly asked to be placed with girls, she was kept in the boys' unit, where residents threatened her, it states.

Staff allowed her to spend one night on the girls' unit. That was the only night in the custody of the Youth Study Center that she slept without fear of being harassed and abused, the complaint states.
Here in Connecticut, a trans-youth was being harassed in high school by a bully, so what did the school do to stop the harassment? Do you think that they disciplined the bully? No they didn’t, they transferred the trans-youth to a school for trouble-makers. Later, the bully was also transferred to the school for trouble-makers where he resumed his bullying of the trans-girl. The girl was forced to drop out of school and is now being home-schooled.

There is a responsibility that the government takes on when they assume custody of our children which is to provide a safe learning environment, to protect and nurture them. I feel that what was done to these children was criminal and those who harassed these children should have been punished.

Here in Connecticut the organization that helps LGBT youth is True Colors and nationally the organization that helps trans-youth is Trans-Youth Family Allies

Monday, November 02, 2009

Homophobia Gone Wild – Town Orders Gays To Leave Town

This is unbelievable…
The Jamaican Star
By Dwayne Mcleod, Staff Reporter

Today has been proclaimed 'Gay Eradication Day' by residents of the McGregor Gully community in East Kingston. Residents say that they will be taking action as a two-week notice given to all gays and lesbians to flee the community has now expired.

THE STAR learnt that about two weeks ago angry residents who declared that they were fed up with seeing the activities of several gay persons in their community, ordered that they leave by today or suffer the consequences.

The residents say they will not stop until their community is "gay free" and are not afraid of resorting to extreme measures.

Stop the Hate!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Manic Monday #187

Lisa’s Manic Monday #187

Most of the U.S. observed Daylight Savings Time yesterday. Is it easy or difficult for you to switch your body clock? Do you suffer from jet lag when traveling?
Yes! I woke up on Savings Time, I wanted to eat on Savings Time and I want to go to bed on Savings Time. In addition, I hate changing 14 clocks!
Yes, I also get jet lag. When I flew out to Washington State, it was horrible for me, my internal clock went “Bong” and broke its main spring.

If you had to pick one place in your town to bring a tourist, where would you go?
There is not too much in town to take anyone to see. There is nothing fancy to show a tourist, I would rather take them down to Mystic Seaport or up to Ol’ Sturbridge village.

When you travel away from home, do you miss it?
Yes, coming home always feels so good to sleep in your own bed.

Housing For The Trans-community

I am researching a term paper for one of my classes, where we have to research and analyze a government policy and the policy that I chose is HMIS or the Homeless Management Information System. Huh? It is a requirement that is imposed on homeless shelter if they receive federal fund and outline the data that they have to collect. A part of that requirement is that they collect information on the client’s gender and a new requirement just modified is section 3.5. They now require information if the client is MtF or FtM transsexual!

My research found based on the data collected here in Connecticut that 0.1% of the homeless population is transgendered or 3 trans-persons are in homeless shelters in Connecticut. Why is this important? It is because many time when we seek funding to assist the homeless trans-community we are asked how many are homeless, well now we have a definitive answer. Now maybe the spigot of funds might open up a little bit more.

In other housing news that is related to the LGBT community, HUD has proposed a new policy on regulations protect LGBT people from housing discrimination for renters in the HUD programs. According to an article in the New York Times…
Gay Renters to Get Some Discrimination Protection
Published: October 30, 2009
“If the regulations pass, gay and transgender renters would get legal firepower they've never had, though not as extensive as other protected classes. The proposed regulations only cover HUD rental programs, so not all apartments will be included.”

“The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, which covers all housing, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It was amended in 1988 to include familial status and handicap. HUD investigates about 10,500 discrimination complaints a year. In cases involving threats of force, offenders can be criminally prosecuted.”

“In 2007, Michigan's Fair Housing Centers compared the treatment of same-sex couple versus heterosexual couples by landlords, real estate agents and lenders. Though the same-sex couples were given higher incomes and credit scores than their counterparts, one-third reported landlord discrimination.”

“And in Detroit, a landlord ticked off the apartment rules: ‘No drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, one-night stands.'”