Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Story Part 24 – The Inside Looking Out

For a long as I can remember, I always felt that I was on the outside looking in. Now I feel that I am on the inside looking out. The feeling and perspective is different, instead of feeling like a square peg in a round hole, I feel like a oval peg in a round hole. Not quite a perfect fit.

I’m part of speakers bureau that does outreach at schools and the students sometimes ask me what is like to have been a man who is now a woman and I say that I don’t know. I never really was a man and I’m not really a woman, rather I am woman with a unique perspective on life. When I was growing up I always hung out with friends who were into cars, but that didn’t really interest me. Nor did sports interest me. At parties I always wanted to hang out with the women in the kitchen rather then with the men in the living room taking about cars and sports. Now when I hang out with the women in the kitchen, I don’t quite fit in there either, because I wasn’t socialized all my life as a woman. So it is a better fit, but not a perfect fit.

As I said in a poem that I wrote, “We are like a bridge that spans male and female” we bridge the gap, however, we are not firmly anchored to either side.

It is neither black nor white, but it all the shades of gray.
It is neither day nor night, but it is twilight.
It is neither hot nor cold, but a pleasant warmth.
It is neither truth nor a lie, but white lies.

We are like the colors of a rainbow.
We are like spices to a chef.
We are like the colors on an artist palette.
We are like a bridge that spans male and female.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bullying In The News

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had a hard time finding any research papers on bullying trans-students. After I wrote that I found two news stories on bullying, one on a straight girl who commented suicide and another on a trans-student. I think that the two articles graphically point out how pervasive bullying has become in schools.
6 teens indicted in fatal bullying
The Republican

NORTHAMPTON - Six young people have been indicted on charges ranging from statutory rape to criminal harassment in the death of 15-year-old Phoebe N. Prince, who hanged herself in January after months of intense bullying at South Hadley High School.

Prince's harassment was common knowledge to most students, faculty, staff and administrators, Scheibel said. The district attorney's investigation determined, however, that the school officials' actions, or lack of action, did not rise to the level of criminal conduct, she said during a press conference at her offices.
Meanwhile a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that address bullying is hung-up because of conservatives who object to the fact that the bill also addresses bullying against transgender individuals.
Justice for Phoebe
By Boston Herald Editorial Staff

Lawmakers can tinker with state law to their heart’s content but the strongest anti-bullying message was the one that was delivered yesterday by Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel.

That message was that the old excuses - “It happens in every school” or “It’s part of growing up” - are simply no defense against the systematic harassment of a 15-year-old girl who should have found safe haven in the hallways of her own school.

Meanwhile, in New York state this news article about a bullying case against a trans-student was settled.
Settlement reached in lawsuit against Mohawk school district
By David Robinson
The Evening Times

Mohawk, N.Y. -

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of a gay student alleging that the Mohawk school district failed to protect him from threats and physical assaults and ignored repeated bullying.

Both the NYCLU and school district released statements on the settlement.

“This lawsuit affirms that school districts nationwide have the responsibility to protect children from bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender non-conformity,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “No child should live in fear of going to school.”
Responding to the accusations of deliberate indifference to harassment, a statement from Caputo maintained the district’s position.

“The school district has steadfastly and consistently denied those allegations, many of which were wholly unsupported by independent evidence,” she stated in an e-mail.

The federal lawsuit alleged over the past two years, prior to this school year, the student was subjected to relentless verbal and physical abuse, culminating in another student bringing a knife and making a death threat.

A failure by district officials to formally investigate harassment, discipline students, or even inform the student and his parents of their right to file complaints under Board of Education grievance procedures is also part of claims made in the lawsuit.
To read more about the affects of bullying of trans-students read the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) report “Harsh Realities Finds Transgender Youth Face Extreme Harassment in School

Monday, March 29, 2010

Manic Monday #205

Lisa’s Manic Monday #205

How do you feel about couples that share an email address?
It doesn’t bother me, I don’t care if they do. I don’t really write that many personal emails.

How open about your life are you in the various online arenas?
Too, too much! If you know my last name, you’ll get hundreds of hits on my name. That is why I jealously guard to make sure my name doesn’t appear on my blog

On average, how many hours a week do you spend online? Do you think it's too much?

Too, too much! Hmm… I think I just said that someplace? Anyhow, I have been doing a research paper for class, so for the last 4 or 5 days, I have been spending about 8 hours a day on-line.

Researching Bullying

I am doing a homework assignment on bullying of LGBT students in school for my graduate class in Social Work and it is amazing what I am finding. There are many research papers that have been writing on bullying gay and lesbian students, but very little on gender variant students and those that report to be LGBT, trans-students are a footnote.

As a result, I have had to shift the focus of my paper from bullying against trans-students to bullying against LG students.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 311

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 311

1. Have you ever belonged to a Christmas Club savings account? If so, did you actually use that check for Christmas shopping?
No, but my mother did and they did use it for Christmas shopping. I remember when I was little, accompany my mother to the bank when she took the money out in December.

2. For a few years in a row, you receive a nice tax refund: do you make an adjustment with your payroll deduction so they’ll take less, or do you leave it that way so that you can continue to receive the big check every spring?

My theme song is, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to jail I go.” I never get money back, I end up paying. Hence, why give money to the government interest free?

3. How likely are you to put such a check towards paying off bills rather than spending it on something for yourself?
If I did miscalculate and got money back, it would go right into my savings account.

4. Roughly what percentage of the time do you make at least double the minimum payment due to a credit card company?

I pay the bill in full each month, the credit card company doesn’t like me.

5. Take the quiz:
What’s Your Money Personality?

Your Money Personality is Healthy

You have a good relationship with money.
You don't spend wildly, but you're not opposed to treating yourself on occasion.

In general, you save some of what you earn.
You know the importance of a nest egg.

You aren't afraid of being financially literate - you embrace learning more about finances.
From a retirement plan to having an emergency fund, you know what you need to have to be safe.

6. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most stressful, how much stress are your finances causing you right now?
-1. If you asked me this question in the fall of ’08, I would have given you a very different answer. Obama’s has gotten use out of Bush’s recession very nicely.

Saturday 9: You're My Best Friend

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: You're My Best Friend

1. Outside of your romantic life, do you currently have a best friend?
No, I have best friends.

2. Regarding your future, what is the best thing you could hope for?
Graduating from school next year

3. Have you ever helped out a friend with basic needs, like rent or food? If yes. what did you do?
Yes, with money. I loaned him money at no interest to fix his car, so that he could go to work and he finally paid me back.

4. If they re-instituted the draft (for both genders and your were of age) would you go, or would find some way out of it?
Well, since I am old enough to have been in the Vietnam draft, I went to college to avoid getting drafted. I think that there should be a draft, for both genders. I think one of the reasons why there was so much opposition to the Vietnam war was that the parents were worried that their son might end up in Vietnam.

5. Tell us one thing you wish you hadn't let yourself do.
I do not know if there is such a thing for me, I am pretty satisfied with the way my life turned out.

6. Tell us about the last time you bragged.
I take the “Fifth”

7. What area are you wisest in?

8. Tell us about something that happened that at the time made you "full of yourself".
I don’t remember the exact details, everyone was so sure that I was wrong, but in the end I was the only one who was right.

9. Has there ever been a time that you wanted to try something in the bedroom, but were afraid to ask?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fill-ins # 139

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins # 139


1. The right word _is respect_.
2. _Don’t talk back to me_ and shut the door quietly, please.
3. Up _is what the stock market has been for the year compared to last year_.
4. _Bent over my laptop doing homework_ is where you'll find me.
5. Ooh! What is that _it looks delicious__?
6. _Listening to what others have to say_ is a good idea.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _seeing the performance by the comedian milDRED at school_, tomorrow my plans include _homework_ and Sunday, I want have to _finish writing a paper for school_! (I complain about all the homework, but this summer I will be complaining about having nothing to do… I sound like a pre-teen, instead of a 60+ year old)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This Is One Sick Movie - Please Sign The Petition To Stop It

Demand that "Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives" Be Pulled from Tribeca Film Festival Line-up
GLAAD was recently alerted by community members and allies to a film called Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives that will be screened at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival.

GLAAD has since seen the film in its entirety and can report that the title is far from the only problem with this film. The film, its title and its marketing misrepresent the lives of transgender women and use grotesque, exploitative depictions of violence against transgender women in ways that make light of the horrific brutality they all too often face.

Misrepresenting the Lives of Transgender Women

Writer/director Israel Luna based his film on the "exploitation films" of the 1970s such as I Spit On Your Grave, about a woman who was raped and sought revenge on her attackers. The five lead characters in Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives are brutally attacked by a group of men; two do not survive the attack, but the surviving three seek gruesome revenge on their attackers. The film is a pastiche of graphic violence and horror movie clichés, with a few scenes of campy humor.

By marketing Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives as a "transploitation" film, by using the word "trannies" (a pejorative term for transgender people) in the title of the film, by casting transgender women in some roles, and by citing the murders of Angie Zapata and Jorge Mercado in the trailer, Israel Luna has attempted to place his film squarely within a transgender narrative.

However, while some of the actors in the film identify as transgender, the characters are written as drag queens, "performing" femininity in a way that is completely artificial. The very names of these over-the-top female caricatures (Emma Grashun, Rachel Slurr, et al.) drive this point home.

Because of its positioning as a transgender film, viewers unfamiliar with the lives of transgender women will likely leave this film with the impression that transgender women are ridiculous caricatures of "real women." It demeans actual transgender women who struggle for acceptance and respect in their day-to-day lives and to be valued for their contributions to our society.

Exploiting and Sensationalizing Anti-Transgender Violence

Transgender people are a marginalized and vulnerable minority in our culture, subjected to horrific hate crimes and pervasive discrimination. Relatively few media images of transgender people exist, so every media image becomes essential in educating audiences about transgender lives and working to eliminate the discrimination and violence they face.

In this context, it is irresponsible and insulting to make a film that serves up graphic anti-transgender violence as a "hook" for an homage to B-movies of the 1970s. Anti-LGBT hate crimes are serious issues that do not translate into an exploitation film. The very nature of exploitation films is to shock and titillate audiences with extreme, sensationalized violence.

Films like Boys Don't Cry and A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story have graphically portrayed the murders of transgender people. In a serious dramatic context, such depictions convey the tragic reality of the violence that many transgender people face. But in this film, repeated shots of a baseball bat covered in clumps of hair and blood are grotesque - and serve only as horror movie-like gore. Depictions of violence and brutality are immediately followed by ridiculous scenes that make light of the horrific crimes that have been committed. There is nothing funny about the murders of countless LGBT people who have fallen victim to hate-motivated violence.

Furthermore, the filmmakers have chosen to market Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives using a crass trailer that opens with references to the recent murders of Angie Zapata and Jorge Mercado, putting their brutal murders on par with the outlandish violence in this film.


GLAAD finds it troubling that a film festival as respected as Tribeca would give a film that sensationalizes anti-transgender violence and misrepresents the lives of transgender women, a platform that affords such great exposure. The Tribeca Film Festival has a history of screening powerful LGBT films, such as the GLAAD Media Award-nominated Quentin Crisp biopic An Englishman in New York, and the GLAAD Media Award-winning film Transamerica, about a transgender woman reconnecting with her son. Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives does not meet, and in fact devalues, the standard of excellence established by the festival.

GLAAD has reached out to writer/director Israel Luna and the Tribeca Film Festival, and both have refused to take responsibility for the problematic content and offensive marketing of this film.

Gender Is Inborn

In the past, I have written about (Making A Man Of Me) how we all have an inner sense of gender that is a part of our very being and that gender is inborn in all of us. In Maine, a family in the late sixties and early seventies tried to raise their daughter gender neutral (There is also a current family in Sweden that is trying the same thing and I wrote about it here) and the daughter wrote about her experience in a Newsweek article.
My Name Is Jesse
But I am not a boy. Inside my parents' failed experiment with gender neutrality.

By Jesse Ellison | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Mar 23, 2010

When I was 2 years old, my father started building a big house behind our tiny starter house. For days leading up to the arrival of the giant trucks and backhoes coming to dig out the foundation, my mother tried to get me excited. "Don't you want to watch the big trucks?!" she'd tease. When they finally arrived, the neighborhood boys parked themselves on our property, transfixed. I glanced out the window and immediately turned back to my toys, ignoring the commotion. As my mother recalls, "It was really a wake-up for me."

In 1978, the year I was born, feminists like my mother were embracing the notion that gender roles were entirely rooted in the way that you were raised. In the 1970s, the feminist fringe was giving up bras, shaving, and diets; they were lighting their own cigarettes and opening their own doors. It was the "new feminism," and where the first movement was concerned with legal equality, like the right to vote, these women were focused on de facto equality: asserting that it was nurture, not nature, that made women and men different. To bust out of gender oppression also meant to assert that there was absolutely nothing different about our biological makeup.

We all thought that the differences had to do with how you were brought up in a sexist culture, and if you gave children the same chances, it would equalize," my mom says. "It took a while to think, 'Maybe men and women really are different from each other, and they're both equally valuable.' "
As we learn more and more about gender identity I think that we learn the there is something deep within us that tells us our gender. When children are born intersex and the doctors try to “correct” the child’s gender, we are finding that the children are letting us know their true gender is not what the doctors assigned them at birth. We find that the outward clues of our gender are wrong some of the time and that maybe instead of assigning gender at birth, that maybe we should wait until the child tells us their gender. What a radical idea!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Story Part 23 - The Road Taken

This June I will be attending my nephew’s wedding in Ashville North Carolina, which I am looking forward to attending. However, I am not looking forward to the drive to North Carolina. I have two choices, flying or driving, well actually three, taking the train, but the train station is nowhere near Ashville and it would be over an hour drive in a rented car.

I don’t mind flying, it’s the standing around waiting to go through security that I don’t like and sitting around the airport waiting for the plane. The last time that I flew was back in 1999 and things have changed since then. So that leaves me with driving as the lesser of evils. What I don’t like about driving is the bathroom stops, when you are trans and don’t pass that good… well bathrooms becomes an issues. You don’t think that is an issue with the trans community? Then read this booklet, “Peeing in Peace”. I read somewhere that trans-people have a high incidents of Urinary Track Infections because we hold it so long out of fear of going in to a public bathrooms. Why don’t we stop more often? We fear violence against us or the possibility of being arrested by a police officer who don’t understand the law. Ironically, it is probably safer to go the bathroom at the airport where they are use to trans-people than at a highway rest stop where you might run into a conservative hick cop who wants to teach you a lesson or make a point.

So anyhow, I’m probably worrying over nothing as usual, but it is in the back of my mind as I plan the drive down and back. It’s not the driving that I mind, it’s the length of the drive.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Come Out, Come Out Where Ever You Are…

This is a topic that I have discussed before, but the Huffington Post just posted a column about coming out to bring about political change. First of all let me state, that I am not in favor of blindly coming out. You should assess your safety first in coming out, then weigh the other facts and make your own judgment. In addition, we should not judge other their choice to either to come out or not to come out, we do not walk in their shoes.

The column by Steven Petrow in the Huffington Post talks about the CNN documentary on Susan Stanton, the former Largo, FL city manager that was shown last week,
Cracking Open the Transgender Closet Door

Just recently my partner and I watched CNN's gripping documentary, "Her Name Was Steven," the story of former Largo, FL city manager Steven Stanton's gender reassignment from male to female and its collateral damage to his marriage and job. For those of you who missed it, the film's power lay in its ability to delve into Stanton's private world, most notably the struggle between her private and public selves and the painful transition from Steven to Susan. It was a tour de force that will hopefully further open the door to the inequities and discrimination faced by transgender people in this country.
He then goes on to talk about all the negative comments that were post about the show and he goes on to write about the first trans-person that he met. He tells about what he learned from that encounter. He then writes about what a Hollywood PR agent whose specialty is helping celebrities come out told him,
The research is shockingly clear and straightforward. If we know somebody who is gay or lesbian, we are less afraid and more accepting. The same holds true in the transgender community. The CNN documentary [this past weekend] helped millions get rid of their fear of transgender people and replace it with understanding.
He then writes about being a ten-year-old boy and seeing a documentary on homosexuals,
The novelty of this story on television made me think back to my parents' generation, and how in the 1960s and 70s they had such trouble accepting gay and lesbian family members and friends. There was even a CBS news special called--drumbeat please--"The Homosexuals," which labeled homosexuality a disease, in accordance with the American Psychiatric Association's classification of it as a "mental disorder." What struck me most watching as a ten-year-old boy was that the men interviewed were cast in dark shadows so as not to be recognized. Their shame was completely recognizable to me even as a young boy.
Mr. Petrow then says that he sees none of that shame in CNN documentary and that Susan invites us to try to understand.

I also believe that if someone knows someone who is Trans, that they are less likely to be afraid and more accepting. I believe that we fear the unknown. In the past I wrote about the auto repair shop manager who when he realized that I was Trans stepped away, but then closed the gap once he became comfortable again. I see it my classes at the beginning of the semester, the students are a little leery of me but by the end of the semester, they are relaxed around me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Manic Monday #204

Lisa’s Manic Monday #204

What do you value most in other people?

The ability to listen. I think we all need someone that was can talk to and let off our stress

If you could only see black and white except for one color, what color would you choose to see?
Blue. I like the blue lights on Christmas tree and the blue strobes on police cars (as long as they are not behind me). I think it has a calming affect.

You have a 10 minute speech to give at a high school, what is it about?
Diversity, we are one of the diverse nations in the world. We were founded by immigrants (as we killed off the natives) from all over the world, from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We are a melting pot and we still are.

This Topic Is Very Dear And Near To Me… Baby Boomers

Since I’m getting up in my age and I’m a “Boomers”, this article hit close to home…
Study Looks At LGBT Boomers
Published 3/19/2010

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender baby boomers say their approach to retirement and aging has been shaped by years of discrimination, a new study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute finds.

“Still Out, Still Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers” was conducted by MMMI with the American Society on Aging and its constituent group, the LGBT Aging Issues Network.

Asked if their families were completely or very accepting of their sexuality, 61% of lesbians said yes, compared to 57% of gay men, 24% of bisexuals and 42% of transgenders who said the same.

The study polled 1,200 LGBT individuals and 1,200 people from the general population. Among its findings:

—60% of LGBT Boomers fear being unable to care for themselves as they age; 35% fear becoming dependent on others; and 10% fear discrimination as they age.

—48% of the LGBT group said they would be at least 70 before they can retire, compared with 40% in the general population who said so, mostly for economic reasons. Only a quarter or fewer in the LGBT group say they have saved what they need to live in retirement.
For the aging Trans-population there is an organization called TAN that has information about what support there is for elder trans-people.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Question Of Openness And Inclusiveness

The University of California Hastings College of the Law has been sued by a group on campus that wants to discriminate because they are not receiving funding from the student activity fund. The Christian group wants to be able to bar LGBT students from their organization and the college rules are that organization must be open to all students. The Christian Legal Society lost in a lower court and are appealing the ruling. Karen Sloan writes on,
The case stems from a 2004 decision by Hastings to deny the Christian Legal Society funding and status as a registered student organization on the grounds that it excludes gays and lesbians. Society members must sign a statement of faith that the group's national chapter has interpreted to bar people with a "sexually immoral lifestyle." Hastings said the Christian Legal Society violates the school's non-discrimination policy.

… The brief [from Society of American Law Teachers] argues that Hastings' non-discrimination policy does not unfairly target the Christian Legal Society's religious message or prevent the organization from conveying its message. At the same time, the brief urges the Court to continue to give schools the autonomy to establish their own policies regarding student groups. Religious groups should not have a constitutionally mandated exception from non-discrimination rules, according to the brief.
It is interesting to note who is supporting and who is not supporting the court challenge,
Numerous amicus briefs have been filed in the case. In addition to the law school organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National School Boards Association and the Anti-Defamation League are among the groups that have filed amicus brief on behalf of Hastings. The Boy Scouts of America, the Cato Institute and the Association of Christian Schools International are just a few of the groups that have filed amicus brief on behalf of the Christian Legal Society.
I am co-chair of a LGBT campus organization at the university that I am attending and part of the school policy is that in order to receive funding we cannot discriminate against anyone. I do not see why a group that discriminates against some students should get funding. If a school organization said they were only for white students, how many people would feel that they should get money from the student activity fund? Then why should it be any different for a Christian organization that bar non-Christians and Christians LGBT students?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Saturday 9: Just One Look

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Just One Look

1. How vein are you about how you look?
Not very. I do want to look presentable, but I also want to blend into the crowd.

2. When you were little what was your favorite TV show?
I have to say Davy Crockett, since Fess Parker just passed away.

3. If someone was going to make a movie or TV show about your life, who would play you and why?
Calpernia Addams. I’ll let you guest why.

4. Who is your favorite Major League Baseball team? How about your favorite player?
I don’t follow baseball

5. What is your favorite baseball-related movie?
A League of Their Own

6. What is one lesson you have learned in the past year?
Hmm… I don’t know. There are a lot of things that I learned, but nothing stands out. I suppose I could say something about the lessons that I learned in class.

7. Tell us about one of your childhood memories
Spending the summers up at Lake Winnisquam New Hampshire

8. How do you handle sticky situations? Do you have a method? If so, what is it?
Every situation is different, but if it is your fault then admit to it.

9. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?
Of course, since they talk about me to my face, why would behind my back be any different.

Friday Fill-ins #168

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #168


1. Today I will be _going to the Wadsworth Anteneum and having dinner with some friends_.
2. _I love art_ and I say why not?
3. What do you think of _bigots_?
4. At _my house_ it's free Pastry Day til 10:30AM Friday! Oppss...time is up! I guess I will have to eat them all myself!
5. People say that what we're all seeking is _to live our lives in peace_.
6. The image I cherish most is _the picture that took of my parents_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going to the coffee shop to hear some folk music_, tomorrow my plans include _in the morning taking part in a panel discussion and at night and going to a banquet_ and Sunday, I want to _recover from the banquet and doing homework_!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

HUD Is Researching Discrimination In Housing Against The LGBT Community

This week HUD announced that they are going to be studying discrimination against LGBT people in housing. Ed O’Keefe wrote in his column “The Federal Eye” in the Washington Post reported that,
HUD probing gay housing discrimination
Updated 3:25 p.m. ET

The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to study the impact of housing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, fulfilling the wishes of gay rights groups who believe landlords regularly discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Local and state groups have conducted studies on gay housing discrimination in certain areas of the country, but there is no definitive national assessment of the issue, HUD said. A 2007 study in Michigan found that nearly 30 percent of same-sex couples were treated differently when trying to buy or rent a home.

A forthcoming study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force finds that 11 percent of transgender people surveyed said they have been evicted and 19 percent have become homeless because of the bias.
This is not the first time that HUD collected data on the transgender community. Back in November I wrote a blog column (Housing For The Trans-community) about HUD and homelessness in the trans-community.

I know several trans-people who were kicked out of their apartment once they transitioned and I know others who have had a difficult time finding new apartment or buying a home. I know someone who was forced to leave their apartment when her neighbors started harassing her and the landlord told her if she didn’t like it then she could move. However, under Connecticut state law it is the property owner’s responsibility to provide a safe living space and they are suppose to evicted the harasser, not the victim.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Story Part 22 –The Town Tranny

There is a debate in the transgender community over something called the “Town Tranny” or an “Out” transsexual and I could be called a “Town Tranny” because I chose to live to live as a open trans-person. When I go to the grocery store, the hardware store, the post office or to an auto repair shop (and also to the state police officer who investigated the accident) as I did back in 2008 when I was in an accident, I am easily recognized as a trans-person.

There are some trans-persons who believe that you are not really a transsexual if you are not stealth (unidentifiable as a trans-person), that you are a crossdresser living full time as a woman. They believe that a trans-person should transition and then start living their life as a woman or a man. They want to trade one closet for another. It is like the lines from the Star Trek TV series episode “The Best of Both Worlds”, "I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service us," and "You will be assimilated," like many gay men and lesbians, also some trans-people believe that you be able to assimilate back into the general population, that you do not live openly as a trans-person.

This concept is discussed in the blog, “Trans Group Blog”….
Not every transsexual person is capable of going stealth. So, does that mean that s/he should not bother. Perhaps it is better for them to stay in the closet so the rest of us don't get embarrassed by their existence.

If it were not for these transsexual people willing to step forward, many of us would still be in the dark thinking that we were the only ones. These people that talk to the media, write the books, make the movies, and live daily lives being open about their transsexual history are the ones that are making it easier for the rest of us.

Now days, most people have heard of transsexuals, but only about 20 years ago, nobody had heard of them. There are many historical parallels that can be drawn when comparing transgender people with gays, blacks, and other minorities. Some of us remember how the straight looking gays shunned and put down drag queens, but it was the drag queens, by their being open and out, launched the gay pride movement.
I believe that those of us who are “Out” are the ones who are bring about change and the same is true of the gay and lesbian population, that the ones working for social justice are the one who are willing to stand up and be counted. In the movie “Milk”, Harvey Milk called out for us “to come out of the closet and be counted”, it was true back then and it is true now, to bring about change there must be some willing tot stand up for justice. I am not saying like Milk that we all must come out of the closet, what I am saying is do not criticize those who chose to be out.

The blog goes in to say,
Many late transitioners are never going to achieve stealth, but we can still enjoy being who we are. I get to wear what I want; I get to express my femininity, and I never get treated as a man. I honestly think men just don't see me as the same "species," which is fine with me. So, why the "failure" label, or why make snide remarks that we go around showing our surgery photos. I don't feel like a failure in the least bit, and I have never shown any surgery photos. I have given several talks on transgender 101 for various classes and for several different diversity weeks, and plus I have spoke several times in church. …
I am one of those “late bloomers” and I know I will never pass, I have what I call the “Ten foot” rule, no one can tell that I am trans until they get close and then they can begin to see the clues that I was born with a male body. That knowledge that I never would pass held me back for most of my life and I will not allow that to stop me now. I have learned that for me it is better to be myself then to hide in a closet. You can ask my brother or family and they will tell you that I smile more now, that I am more out going and more relaxed since I transitioned. I use to have two or three panic attacks a year before I transitioned and since I transitioned, now I do not have them anymore.

Do I have any regrets? Yes, I have some, but we all have regrets for everything that we do in life. The question should be instead, “Are you happier now than before I transitioned?” and the answer is yes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have written in the past about discrimination and how it affects the trans-community. How trans-people with PhD’s and Master’s degrees cannot find job. That as soon as they come out to their employer, they get fired and cannot find jobs, the unemployment rate for trans-people is over 40% in some surveys.

In New York City, an organization did a test where there were two equally qualified persons that applied for jobs, one straight and one trans. The straight person received eight job offers while the trans-person received none.

In a Daily News article there wrote…
'Transgender people need not apply' at J. Crew says Make the Road New York advocacy group

BY Erica Pearson
Sunday, March 14th 2010, 4:00 AM

Members of the nonprofit group Make the Road New York are rallying today in front of the preppy haven's Fifth Ave. location to protest what they say is employment discrimination.

Smith applied for jobs at dozens of retail stores in Manhattan as an openly transgender person. At the same time, a nontransgender person evenly matched in age, race and experience applied for the same jobs.

Smith didn't get a single offer, but the other person got eight. Smith was one of two pairs of applicants who tested the hiring practices of retailers.
It is time to end the discrimination. Employment should be based on your ability to do the job, not who you are.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Manic Monday #203

Lisa’s Manic Monday #203

How did you decide to live where you do?
This is an easy question for me, we moved here because of my father got a job in the neighboring town and I stayed in town ever since. It is in the central part of the state, half way between Hartford and New Haven.

Do you like risks, or do you avoid them? What major risks have you taken in your life?
I try to avoid them, they are too risky! This is another easy question for me… becoming a woman.

If you had to choose, which could you live without: TV, the internet, a telephone or friends?
We all need friends because we are social animals. A TV keeps me from getting bored and the internet keeps me informed, so I would say the telephone, since I could always stay in contact with someone by emails.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I’ve Been At The True Colors Conference For The Last Two Days

I have been up at the True Colors conference in Storrs at the University of Connecticut campus. True Colors is an organization that works with LGBT youth and for the last 17 years they held a conference for the kids, professionals and the general public. This year I went to a workshop on Friday about transgender youth, called “From Toddlers to Teens: Creating Developmentally Appropriate Support for Gender Variant/Transgender Youth”. The description for the workshop was…
This day long workshop will explore child-centered issues and interventions across the developmental life cycle of children. Beginning with gender different toddlers and children in the morning and progressing through adolescence in the afternoon, the presenters will explore the differing needs of the youth, their parents and caregivers as they grow and develop. The workshop will include both didactic presentation, discussion, case studies and will offer significant opportunities for questions and answers from the participants. Parents of gender variant youth will participate throughout the presentation.

The workshop was given by Moonhawk River Stone, he is a therapist in the Albany area that specializes in trans-youth. He is also on the Boards of Directors of Transgender Youth and Family Allies and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. It was an excellent workshop and I learned a lot, much of which will help me in my Independent Studies class.

Most of Saturday I spent at the Connecticut Outreach Society’s table at the conference. It was very rainy and windy on Saturday, so I didn’t really want to walk the other building to go to the other workshops. Then at 2:45 I did my presentation called, “Transgender Activist History: From World War II to the Presents” and the description of my workshop was…
The workshop will cover the people and events that shaped the transgender community from the end of World War II until the present. I will talk about notable persons such as Christine Jorgensen, Virginia Prince and Sylvia Rivera. I will look at events that have shaped the trans-community such as the Dewey's Lunch Counter Uprising (1965), the Compton Lunch Counter Uprising (1966), the Stonewall Uprising (1969) and the HRC protest (2005). In addition, we will discuss the current state of gender inclusive legislation.
I was worried that the attendance would be low because it was the last workshop slot of the day and that many people would have left the conference early because of the stormy weather. I was promised that there would be a computer with internet access there for me and I checked with the staff that morning to make sure that there was a computer, well there wasn’t. There were about six or seven attendees there went I got to the room. The staff tried to set up the computer for me and had no luck in getting it to work, however, an attendee had a laptop computer that she loaned me and saved the day. By that time the room had filled up with about 40 attendees. I started my presentations about 15 minutes late so I was forced to rush through my power point presentation, skipping a number of slides.

Looking at the workshop evaluations afterward, almost all of them circled “Excellent” or “Very Good” and one wrote in “Superb!!” Someone one else wrote, “this was the best workshop that I attended during the conference” and another wrote, “I stayed just for this workshop and I’m glad that I did.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Story Part 21 - The Gathering Of The Tribe

When I first came out and started going to the support group, the Connecticut Outreach Group, members talked about going to conferences in Boston and on Cape Cod. They all raved about the good time and fun they had at the conferences, so I thought that I would attend one and see what it was like.

But going to a conference meant the I had to tell a little “white lie” I couldn’t tell my family or work where I was really going, so I invited a cover story. I wrote this in my diary,
October 12th, 2000
It’s getting closer to the Fantasia Fair, but as it does I have to lie to Mom and Dad and I hate it! I don’t really like it and I might not go to another event, this make me feel so bad lying to them. This is really downer…

This on the other hand evolves two lies, one at work - I’m going up to my brothers to help on his house and the other for family - I’m going to a computer show in Boston. Well, where in Boston, who’s going, what are you going to see, how do we get in touch with you, etc. etc…. “Oh, what a tangle web we weave when at first we do deceive… “ or however Shakespeare said it.

October 17th, 2000
An other white lie last night, [my brother] called an asked about my trip to Boston. I’m torn between wanting to go to Provincetown, but I hate all these lies. I have to think of a way to at least come out of the closet to [my brother], but I worry about the consequence.
I’m off to P’town, I made the commitment, so now I have to live with the out come. Hopefully, no more lies and that I will have a good time there and not worrying about Mom and Dad finding out.
When I got to Provincetown and checked in to the Bed and Breakfast, I walked down to the where you registered for the conference and the filled with trans-people. It was amazing, to see all these other people who were just like me and they came from all over the U.S. and the world. There were people from Europe, South America, Canada. There were people there that I had read about or saw on TV.

There were workshops to attend during the day and at night we went out to dinner with friends or to the Banquet or the follies. There was always something to do or some friends to sit around and talk politics with or you could just wander around P’town by yourself.

I made many new friends and every year it became a kind of like a family ritual when the family came together for a picnic. Not only at Fantasia Fair, but also all the other conferences that I attended each year, I also saw a lot of the sane friends at those conferences. It is like the gathering of the tribes.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Coming To A State Near You!

The REAL ID Act affects everyone, not just the transgender community. The REAL ID Act is making an aggravation into a nightmare when you go to get your driver licenses renewed. The St. Petersburg Times reports,
New Florida driver's license rules frustrate a confused public

By Leonora LaPeter Anton, Times Staff Writer
Friday, February 26, 2010

The new rules are part of a federal law called Real ID, which Congress passed in 2005 out of concern that drivers' licenses were too easy to get.

The law is controversial and many states have rejected it as too costly to implement. Florida, where some of the Sept. 11 attackers got drivers' licenses, is among the first states to comply.

To get a state ID or driver's license, even if it is a renewal or replacement, you must come in armed with your original birth certificate or passport, Social Security card and two items mailed to you that contain your address.

If your name has changed because of marriage or divorce, you must provide certified copies proving it.

But just as often people are confused, and don't know what to do.

Like the woman born in 1951 whose birth certificate was destroyed in a hospital fire and couldn't be found in state archives.

And the construction superintendent on the Interstate 4 Connector project and his wife. They left their birth certificates and marriage license in a safe deposit box back in Missouri.

Or the high school math teacher who insisted her 1958 birth certificate, also from Missouri, was the original.

"I've been here for over 20 years," Curtiss said, "and I can't get my license renewed because I don't have a birth certificate."
This can be a real nightmare for some people, especially low income people who do not happen to have fixed addresses.

In Florida, this is what the article said is required to get your driver’s license…
What the new law requires

To get a new ID or driver's license, here's what you need:

One of the following:

A certified United States birth certificate (hospital birth certificates are not accepted); a valid U.S. passport; a consular Report of Birth Abroad; a certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570); or a certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561).
One of these to prove your social security number:
W-2 form; paycheck; or any 1099 form.

Two items showing your home address:

Many documents are acceptable, from a mortgage statement or voter ID card to a utility bill or a car insurance policy.

Can I renew online?

You must visit an office to get a new driver's license:

•If you are applying for your first driver license or identification card
•When your current credential expires and you have already used the one-time "convenience" renewal option
•If you legally change your name (eg: by marriage or divorce)

If none of these apply then you can renew your license online, or by mail.

Still confused?

Go to to do a customized search to find your exact requirements.
On blog I once read what a person had to do to her driver license when her purse was stolen. The state she lived in also required a birth certificate and the state she was born in required her to be in person to get a copy of the birth certificate. However, she lived in another state and had to fly back to her home state, but she couldn’t fly because she didn’t have a driver license for ID to get on the plane. So, she had to bring a friend along who could vouch for her identity and fly back to her home state. Her troubles were not over yet because her home state required a driver license to obtain a copy of her birth certificate. Her friend had to fill out an affidavit swearing she was who she said she was. How many people could afford to fly back with a friend to get their birth certificate?

They want a copy of your W-9 or 1099, what happens if you are unemployed and living in a homeless shelter? What happens if you do not pay utility bills or own a house?

How many low income or elderly people will be denied driver licenses because they will not be able to get the proper ID. How many people will be denied the right to vote because they do not have a driver license?

The REAL ID Act protects no one, but disenfranchises many.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Any Harry Potter Fans?

Daniel Radcliffe made a donation to a suicide prevention hot line, NewsBlaze reported that…
Harry Potter Hero Daniel Radcliffe Backs The Trevor Project
Published: March 05, 2010
By Alessandro De Arcangelis

New York - Harry Potter superstar Daniel Radcliffe has recently come out with a bombastic public announcement: he has made a "major donation" to the Trevor Project, a non-profit US organization that operates in order to support suicide prevention among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

The Trevor Project was founded by writer James Lecesne, Peggy Rajski and producer Randy Stone, who cooperated to give birth in 1994 to the "Trevor" movie, winner of an Academy Award for best short film. The movie is focused on the interior struggle of a young gay boy who ends up attempting suicide. When the movie was chosen to be on air on HBO in 1998, the three guys had to face the sad reality that many of the viewers and the people who helped them in their cinematographic success could be dealing with the very same reality described in the film.

"I [Daniel Radcliffe] think it's important for somebody from a big, commercial movie series like Harry Potter and particularly because I am not gay or bisexual or transgendered. ... The fact that I am straight makes not a difference, but it shows that straight people are incredibly interested and care a lot about this as well", he said, almost challenging the superficiality that often takes precedence over sensitivity about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people's rights.

It seems that in Hogwarts they can properly teach respect for human rights, besides magic.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. If you or a friend are feeling lost or alone call The Trevor Helpline. There is hope, there is help...

Phone: 1.866.4.U.TREVOR // 1.866.488.7386

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 308

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 308

1. When a close friend has a serious problem, what are they most likely to be able to depend on you to provide?
A good ear to listen and to help out any way that I can.

2. Other than church, to whom did you make your last charitable contribution?
I usually attend fundraising dinners and the last one was a $100 a plate dinner for a free clinic, the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective. I also volunteer there.

3. What is the last item you donated to a Goodwill-type store or similar charitable organization?
All my male clothes.

4. What kind of material item, (i.e., clothes, books, etc), have you donated the most of in your lifetime?
My time.

5. Take the quiz: What Makes You a Good Friend?

You Are a Good Friend Because You're Supportive

You are almost like a life coach for your best friends.
You give them help when they need it... but you also know when to give them a push.
People tend to rely on you for moral support and advice.
You've probably always been mature for your age, so this is a role that's you're comfortable with.
A friend like you is one of the rarest kinds.
You are both a good mentor and companion.
Your friends need you most when: They are confused or worried
You really can't be friends with: Someone who only wants to complain
Your friendship quote: "The only way to have a friend is to be one."

6. Consider your best friend: between that person and you, which of you have more people you can go to when you’re having a really bad day and need to blow off steam: you or your friend?
She does.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Saturday 9: Your Smiling Face

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Your Smiling Face

1. No matter what's going on in your life, what always makes you smile?
Hmmm… I don’t know. I think that I so many things make me smile, and you never know what will make you smile for each circumstance.

2. What's the biggest lie you've ever told?

That an old barn was haunted, the person I told it to, believed it 40 years later.

3. Do you hold a grudge?
No, it is a waist of time. I have other things to thing about besides grudges.

4. What is the worst job you've ever had?

That is an easy question to answer, it was when I was in college and my summer job was to go to all the high schools in the state and take inventory of all the state owned equipment.

5. What would be your dream job?
A job that you can go to or decide not to go to when ever you want, where you are your own boss and don’t have to listen to anyone. Its called retirement.

6. What is the happiest event you've experienced?
When I found out that my family loved me.

7. What is the saddest thing you've experienced?
When my father died

8. Do you tend to exaggerate or underestimate?
It depends on the occasion.

9. List the cars that you have owned. Give us just a few words about each one.

Toyota Celica – good car never had any problems
Datsum 200SX – lots of problems
Ford Escort – good mileage
Ford Focus – lousy mileage
Toyota Prius (Second Generation) – great car
Toyota Prius (Third Gen.) – another great car

Friday Fill-ins #166

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #166


1. Why are you making _this so hard, have you read the directions_?
2. I want you to take _ten, sit down and think this over_.
3. _If you don’t follow the instructions_ then it will be on my terms.
4. _Just read the instructions_ and see what happens.
5. I could use a _good stiff drink_.
6. _Don’t get mad when you don’t follow the directions_ and then _take it out on me_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _doing nothing_, tomorrow my plans include _going to a family function_ and Sunday, I want to _visit some friends_! (YEAH!!! No homework… its spring break!)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Soloist

I just came back from watching the movie “The Soloist”. Excellent movie! Good acting, good cinematography.

The local chapter of the NASW showed the movie and had a discussion afterwards about the it. The movie is a true story about child prodigy musician who has schizophrenia and is homeless. Jamie Foxx portrays Nathaniel Ayers the musician and the reporter, Steve Lopez, is played by Robert Downey Jr., both actors give a superb performances.
After the movie there was a discussion about schizophrenia and homelessness.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My Story Part 20 – The Good Times

OK, last week I wrote about crying, so this week I think it is only fitting to talk about the good times. I had to think hard and long to think of some good times, not because there are not that many, but because we tend to remember the bad times more than the good times.

The number one good time is when after I told my brother about me being trans, he called me when he got home to tell me that he would love me no matter what, that was the best feeling that I ever had. It lifted a great weight off of me.

The number two spot is when I was accepted to graduate school.

That is followed closely by the time that I was waiting with friends for our table in a restaurant and a woman came up to me. She said… “You probably don’t remember me, but you spoke in our class at University of Hartford and because of what you said in class that day. I knew what to do when a client came out to me and told me that she felt that she is transgender.”

I think one of the best things that I ever did was to go back to school. I am having more fun in school (except for the exams like the exam that I had yesterday) then I ever did back when I went for my Bachelors. I have made more friends and I become more involved in school functions then if I stayed home and just sat around during my retirement. I will miss school when I graduate next year.

I have made so many new friends and not just in the trans-community, I think it is so great that there are some many people out there that see you as who you are and not what you are. They more than make up for all the old friends that I have lost since transitioning.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What In The World Is Happening?

With the massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake that struck south-central Chile Saturday night, the earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude on the Richter scale off of Japan Friday and the Haitian 7.0 earthquake on January 12. What is happening!

I think that this latest series of earthquakes started back in 2004 with the massive 9.1 earthquake in the Indian Ocean off Indonesia that triggered the tsunami. I believe that we are in a period of tectonic plates’ readjustment. That until the plates reach another point of lower stress that we are going to have these massive quakes around the world and I think a big California earthquake is even more likely.

It is known that earthquakes come in cycles and for a long time there was a lull in magnitude 7 and above earthquakes. Now the earth is coming into another active cycle that may last over a decade.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Manic Monday #202

Lisa’s Manic Monday #202

Were you considered popular in high school? Why or why not?
No, I was what you now would call a “Nerd.” I never cared about sports, you could always find me after school hanging out in the Science Club room.

How old are you in your dreams?
An adult, probably middle aged.

Did you ever run away from home? Why or why not?
Kind of, back when I was about 13 – 14, my parents were going down to Bridgeport to visit my father’s relatives and I ran away and hid so that I would have to go with them. I ran out into the woods and hid out for about an hour and when I walked back home, my parents were still there and boy was my father mad!
I just hated going down to visit them, all my cousins made me feel like a "fifth wheel", they just totally ignored me. Only one cousin took the time to talk to me, all the other usually took off and went somewhere when we went down there to visit, the were a clique.