Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recent Supreme Court Decisions

There have been two Supreme Court decisions that have affected the LGBT community. One was about whether name of people who sign petitions should be made public and the other was about the use of student activity fees.

The case was about an effort by the anti-marriage equality group, Protect Marriage Washington, to block the disclosure of the names of the people who signed the petitions to for a referendum to repeal a legislative measure that extends legal protections to same-sex couples.
U.S. Supreme Court: Petition signatures are public
By Cathy McKitrick
The Salt Lake Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that names signed to initiative and referendum petitions are a form of political speech and should therefore be made public.

The 8-1 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts said disclosing signatures helped protect the integrity of petitioning by ensuring that only valid signatures are counted toward getting an issue on the ballot.

“Public disclosure also promotes transparency and accountability in the electoral process to an extent other measures cannot,” he wrote.

The case, Doe v. Reed, dealt with Referendum 71 in Washington state. The ballot measure, which failed, had sought to overturn a state law granting domestic partnership rights to gay and lesbian couples.

Proponents of keeping petition signers’ names secret argued that disclosing them could open those individuals to retaliation or other harm. And they pointed to the Proposition 8 battle in California, where voters — including some LDS Church members — said they suffered vandalism or other harassment for working to overturn same-sex marriage.
The other case that that the Supreme Court ruled on was about a law sued by a Christian student group at University of California's Hastings College of the Law because they were not allowed to discriminate against non-Christians and LGBT students. The college has a rule that all student groups that receive funds from the student activity fees must be open to all students. The Christian Legal Society said that the rule was unconstitutional and sued.
Court: Christian group can't bar gays, get funding

WASHINGTON — An ideologically split Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian student group that won't let gays join, with one justice saying that the First Amendment does not require a public university to validate or support the group's "discriminatory practices."

The court turned away an appeal from the Christian Legal Society, which sued to get funding and recognition from the University of California's Hastings College of the Law. The CLS requires that voting members sign a statement of faith and regards "unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle" as being inconsistent with that faith.

But Hastings, which is in San Francisco, said no recognized campus groups may exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation.

The court on a 5-4 judgment upheld the lower court rulings saying the Christian group's First Amendment rights of association, free speech and free exercise were not violated by the college's nondiscrimination policy.

"In requiring CLS — in common with all other student organizations — to choose between welcoming all students and forgoing the benefits of official recognition, we hold, Hastings did not transgress constitutional limitations," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the 5-4 majority opinion for the court's liberals and moderate Anthony Kennedy. "CLS, it bears emphasis, seeks not parity with other organizations, but a preferential exemption from Hastings' policy."

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a strong dissent for the court's conservatives, saying the opinion was "a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country."

"Our proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express 'the thought that we hate,'" Alito said, quoting a previous court decision. "Today's decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country's institutions of higher learning."

But the decision is a large setback for the Christian Legal Society, which has chapters at universities nationwide and has won similar lawsuits in other courts.

"All college students, including religious students, should have the right to form groups around shared beliefs without being banished from campus," said Kim Colby, senior counsel at the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law & Religious Freedom.
I have been watching this case since I am past Co-Chair of the UConn School of Social Work’s Pride committee. The university has the same policy as the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, that the student organization must be open to all students if they are receiving student funds.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Third Anniversary Of My Transition

I wish that I could write some profound observation or words about my transition, but there is not any thing to write about. Since I transitioned life has not changed and that in itself maybe the most profound observation, I am still the same person, the same personality, still act and behave the same. The only difference that I can tell is the most people call me ma’am.

What has changed? I think that I am more relaxed and that I am doing more things then before I transitioned. All through life, I had about six friends that I knew since high school, now I have dozens. All through my life I never went out to dinner with any of them or to a play nor took a day trip, now I do that with my new friends. I never knew anyone who wasn’t from my hometown, now I have friend from coast to coast and not just on-line friends. For fifty years, whenever my brother called me, I answered my phone within four rings and then there was a change, he was getting my answering machine. Why? Because I was out doing things and he noticed the change.

I never took part in anything outside work, last year I helped organize a play at the Hartford Stage Company, and I helped organized a conference. This year I will also help organize a fashion show. I have friends who are actors, authors and photographers.

I’ve learned that most people are good.

However, I also learned that there are some bad people out there. I never before had a person come up to me and tell me that I am a sinner and that I am damn to go to hell. I never had anyone laugh at me to my face before. No one ever didn’t like me before or shunned me before. As a result, I think I am a little bit defensive whenever I hear laughter… now I think are they laughing at me?

I guess one of the changes that have taken place is the way that I perceive people, sadly now see the negative side of people.

To quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yesterday Was The 41st Anniversary Of The Stonewall Uprising

I found this on the web, it is a recording of NPR’s “Weekend All Things Considered” on Stonewall, it is an interview of people who were there at the rebellion. It was recorder twenty years after Stonewall.

Then take a few minutes and listen to it…

Remembering Stonewall
Premiered July 1, 1989, on Weekend All Things Considered.

Manic Monday #211

Lisa’s Manic Monday #211

If you could only see black and white except for one color, what color would you choose to see?
Hmm… I would want to see red for practical reasons; most of the warning signs are red.

If you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Friends. Gold, money, diamonds would be nice, but friends will get you get through life better than riches. I guess you can say that true friendship is worth all the money in the world.

Imagine you could go back to the age of five and relive the rest of your life, knowing everything that you know now. You will reexperience your entire adolescence with both the cognitive ability of an adult and the memories of everything you’ve learned form having lived your life previously.

Would you lose your virginity earlier or later than you did the first time around (and by how many years)?

Oh, yes, by a good number of years. How many, I won’t say.
You faked me out, I thought you were going to ask the classic question, what would you do over.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 324

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 324

1. A friend borrows your favorite DVD and keeps forgetting to return it: are you more likely to keep needling him about it or just quietly replace it and remember never to loan him another one?
I don’t think that I have any time limit, I just won’t lend them any more DVD until they return the first DVD.

2. A friend borrows $50 and forgets to pay back the loan. How long are you likely to wait for the money before you assume that you’ll never see it?
I don’t know, it depends upon the person, since I very rarely lend money out, so I don’t know the answers. However, I will tell you a story…
Once back, when I had just gotten out of college, a friend needed $1500 to repair the windshield and some other defects on his car. He needed his car to go to work but he couldn’t register it until the car was fixed, so I loaned him the money. However, I wrote a simple contract up on literally the back of two envelop. It simple said that I was giving him the money to fix his car and he agreed to pay my back $50 a week. Every week when he gave me the $50 we both signed both of the envelops with the amount paid. After several months, he stopped paying. I was at a local bar with some friends when he came in with his wife, somehow the topic of money came up and I asked him why he stopped paying. His wife chimed in and said that it was a gift and he is not going to give me anything more money. That I lied when I gave him the money because I said it was a gift. I pulled out my copy of the agreement and said no, he still has to pay off $750. That was last time I saw them, but every week I got a $50 bill in the mail until the loan was paid off. It turned out that the next week they filed for divorce and he moved to Texas and worked on oil wells. Every once in awhile, I here from him and he is still in Texas.

3. Of the scenarios presented in the first two questions, which one is likely to do more damage to the friendship, or will either do more than the other?
Both, since friendship is based on trust.

4. If you receive what you believe is a sincere apology from someone, how likely are you to completely drop any anger you had over what caused the apology to begin with?
Well first of all, I don’t get angry, I get disappointed. But yes, an apology is a good start.

5. Take the quiz: Do You Hold a Grudge?

You Don't Hold a Grudge

You're willing to give almost anyone a second chance, even if they've really wronged you.
Incredibly forgiving and compassionate, you understand that people sometimes change for the better.

6. Think of the people you’re no longer friends with: generally speaking, who’s more at fault for the end of the friendships: you, them, or an equal mix?
It is a mix, I tend to lose contact with them. The relationships just fade away.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Saturday 9: Letters From the Sky

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Letters From the Sky

1. Do you believe that we will ever be contacted by beings from another planet?
No. Do I believe that there is life on other planets, yes. However, space is just so vast that I do not think that we will ever be contacted.

2. Have you or a family member ever traced your family tree?
Yes, as I have been tracing the family tree on, I see that there are other links out there for my relatives. However, I am debating whether I was want to join the web-site because it is run by the Mormons and I just don’t know if I want to give money to the Mormons.

3. Did you ever consider an acting career?

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages." - William Shakespeare

4. What is the funniest situation you’ve witnessed in a religious setting?
I don’t think that I ever saw a funny situation.

5. What's the first movie you remember ever seeing in a theater?
Oh come on now, do you really expect me to remember something that happened over 60 years ago?

6. What's the most difficult confession you've ever had to make?

Telling family that I’m a transsexual… see if you can beat that! There is probably nothing harder.

7. What is a city that you have visited and hated?
Any mega city. I don’t like crowds, I like to be able to see the sky at night.

8. Has anyone in your life been "they one who got away"?
Yes, and she is probably lucky and I am probably lucky also. It would have been a lot harder to transition if I had a family.

9. Why do you think the 10 foot duck walked into the bar on Thursday Thunks?
What does that have to do with the price pf beans?

Friday Fill-ins #182

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #182

1. On vacation, I like _to sample the food from the region_.
2. _Some day I would like sail in a windjammer_ on the ocean.
3. One of my favorite vacation spots _are Ogunquit ME, Provincetown, MA and the lakes of New Hampshire_.
4. _I always have a hard time sleeping when there is a_ full moon.
5. Up, up and away _reminds me of the movie “Up”_.
6. Bananas _peppers are great on sandwiches_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _the coffee shop and hear some folk music_, tomorrow my plans include _seeing the movie “Word is Out” at the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Film Festival_ and Sunday, I want to _clean up the house and work outside_!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Story Part 34 – What, Me Worry?

I do know how many of you remember the Mad Magazine, Alfred E Neuman, he use to say all the time “What, me worry?” For me I worry all the time.

Ever since high school, I worried about being found out by my friend. I thought that if they ever found out it would be the end of the world. When I told them forty years later, they were all supportive.

I worried about losing my family if they ever found out. When I told them forty years later, they were all supportive.

At work, I worried that I would lose my job if anyone found. When I told management, they were totally supportive.

On the drive down to North Carolina, I worried about stopping at rest areas. However, I didn’t have any trouble at all traveling.

Did I worry for nothing? Am I just a worrier?

I know some friends that they haven’t spoken to their friends since they transitioned, their friends want nothing to do with them.

I have a friend who hasn’t spoken to his family in twenty years, ever since he transitioned. Only one aunt will talk to him.

I have a friend who was fired one week after she told her boss about her transition; she worked there for 25 years.

On blogs and forums, I read all the time about trans-people being harassed for using the bathroom. There is even a booklet about it, “Peeing In Peace

I don’t think I worry for nothing, I just consider myself blessed with understanding family and friends.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

At Long Last…

A project that I have been working on is finally taking a big step forward today. I am a part of team that is conducting research in the greater Hartford area to study the transgender population. I have been working with the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective (HGLHC) and the Connecticut Trans Advocacy Coalition (CTAC) in conjunction with Community Health Action, Innovation and Networking (CHAIN) and the Institute for Community Research (ICR) to study AIDS/HIV in the transgender community.

We have been working for over a year developing the survey and procedures for the research project. It has been a long slow drawn out process, but a fantastic learning opportunity. This winter in my Research II class when we were talking how to conduct a research project, I was actually working on a project. HGLHC and CTAC received a grant from Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) for this study. We have been working with the CHAIN and ICR staff to develop the research project; we hope to survey the transgender community in Hartford to get an idea of the size of the transgender population and the risk to the community for AIDS/HIV. Like all projects, we had to give this a fancy name, so this project is know as the T.R.A.N.S. Project or the Transgender Regional Area Network Survey Project. Because this project is funding by the National Institute for Health (NIH), I had to be certified to work with human subject and we had to go before the Institute Review Board (IRB) to check to see if we are following all the federal guideline for working with people. This fit in to my class studies perfectly when we were talking about IRB’s, I had already gone before an IRB hearing.

Today, we are having a focus group take the survey and tell us what they think of the survey. They then will go out and recruit others to come in and take the survey. Hopefully, over the next several months we will survey at least 200 trans-people so that we can develop an idea of the size of the trans-community in the Hartford and the risk of AIDS/HIV in the community.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Men Date Trans-Women Because They Are Tall, Beautiful, With Nice Legs And Bums - I Don’t Think So

There is a blog, “Dark Q’s Gay Blog” that asks the question “Why do men prefer transgender women instead of biological women?” I think he is only looking at one factor; there are many answers to that question. He writes,
One very strong reason is that since transgender women MAY have some typically male physical traits such as big shoulders and proeminent under-jaw, they have to hide them somehow so they never leave the house without make up or you will never see a respectable transgender wearing a piece of clothing that doesn`t suit her and instead of masking the typically male features it highlights them. Men love women that take care of themselves: wear make up, perfume and are always trendy and classy regardless of the situation. I`m not saying that biological women can`t be trendy and classy, I`m just saying that biological women can sometimes appear natural, without make up or anything fancy while most of the transgender women can`t !”
While that is true of one type of trans-person, it is not true of all trans-people. Most trans-people that I know do not wear heels or wear perfume; they are just as comfortable in jeans or Capri’s with a Tee top. The last time I wore a dress was to my aunt’s funeral and before that was to a banquet. I have to admit, that most are transsexuals, but a lot of crossdressers do not want to look over dressed and stand out in a crowd.

He goes on to write that…
Another reason would be that transgender people are said to understand a man better. It`s simple, since transgender women used to be men it is easier for them to understand what a straight or bisexual man thinks and wants from his life partner and not only. This is what men are always looking for in a woman: understanding and tolerance, but sometimes it`s pretty difficult to understand men ( uh… you know what I mean, don`t you? hehe).
I believe this is true. But I also believe that a long term relationship is based more then they both like football, that it is based on seeing the inner person.

He sums it up with saying,
In addition to what I`ve said earlier, you probably know that men love beautiful women. Although some of them may say that they don`t look for beauty but for brains, trust me: they do want beautiful women next to them! So, some of the physical features that men love the most are legs, posterior and breasts. Well, transgender women have them all! Tall, beautiful, with nice legs and bums, transgender women are a delight for most of the men!
While some men might see that, I believe there is another facet that he hasn’t mentioned and that is a very important facet, the fact that many men are attracted to the male anatomy and there is a name for them, “Tranny chasers”. Now I am not saying all men who date trans-women are tranny chasers, I know a number of couples who are in long term relationships, but unfortunately I know many more who their partner left them once they had surgery. As they say, “the proof is in the pudding is in the eating” will they stick around after the surgery?

If you look at the research that has been done on violence against transgender people, you will find a high number of latten homosexuals, those that are in denial. Many knew that they were dating a transgender person and either became violent after they had sex or became violent when someone else commented on their dating a transgender person. If you look at the victims on the Transgender Day of Remembrance web-site, many of the victims were prostitutes who the johns knew they were transgender, but in a fit of guilt and rage after sex murdered the woman. Usually the murders are violent and brutal, with multiple wounds and dismemberment.

Look at the case of Angie Zapata, brutally murder by her boyfriend…
Prosecutor: Accused Zapata killer didn’t ‘snap’ at transgender ‘deception’
By Ernest Luning 4/19/09
The Colorado Independent

Andrade, 32, killed Angie Zapata in a fit of rage last summer after discovering she was transgender, Martin argued, urging jurors to reject first-degree murder and hate crime charges in the brutal slaying. “Allen [Andrade] had no idea until right before he started hitting this person that the person he thought was a she was actually a he,” Martin said in the Greeley courtroom of Weld County District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow.

Nonsense, a prosecutor said, promising to prove that Andrade didn’t “snap,” as defense attorneys have claimed, and that the accused killer wasn’t deceived that Angie Zapata was transgender. “This was not a snap decision,” prosecutor Brandi Nieto told jurors. ”The defendant knew for approximately 36 hours that Angie was biologically male.”

Jurors won’t hear evidence that Andrade belonged to a homophobic street gang that threatens to kill members who have had homosexual sex. Last month, the trial judge threw out testimony prosecutors had hoped to introduce that Andrade feared for his life after having oral sex with Zapata so decided to kill her to save face with his gang.
This is a murderer who after having sex with a person he knew to be transgender, killed in a fit of guilt.

As I said, those that love a trans-person for who they are and not what they are, are rare. The majority of persons loving trans-persons are just having sex with them because they are transgender.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Manic Monday #210

Lisa’s Manic Monday #210

As an adult, what is your favorite thing about summer?
Having the summer off from school!

What was your favorite thing about summer when you were a kid?
Having the summer off from school!

Hmmm, nothing seems to have changed in forty years. It still is nice to have the summer off from school, to be able to sit by the water and watching the day go slowly by. Not worrying about homework until classes begin again in September

Me on the shores of Lake Winnisquam up in New Hampshire back around the mid-1950’s
Me on the shores of a lake up in New Hampshire where our cottage is located.

In 2010, it will be the summer of _travel_.
I just came back from Asheville, NC where my nephew was married and in August I'll travel up to my brother's in Maine.


There has been a slow change for the better in national policy in the way the current administration treaty with LGBT issues. Some bemoan the lack of legislation with DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), however, I see other important advances in LGBT issues that we never had with the Bush II administration.

Last week, the Obama administration issued new guidelines to changing the gender marker on passports.
State eases rules for changing gender on passports
Washington Post
Federal Eye
By Dan O’Keefe

The State Department has revised its policy on changing passports for transgender people, announcing Wednesday night that a doctor's note will now suffice in such cases.

Previously, the State Department had required that a person undergo sexual reassignment surgery before it would change the passport. The policy had outraged transgender advocates, who called for an updated approach.

Under the new policy, which takes effect Thursday, a doctor must attest that the person is undergoing clinical treatment for gender transition, State said. Limited-validity passports will also be available to applicants in the process of gender transition, the department added.

State noted that its policy is "based on standards and recommendations of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), recognized by the American Medical Association as the authority in this field."

The department also stressed that passport-issuing officials "will only ask appropriate questions to obtain information necessary to determine citizenship and identity."
This is an important step for trans-people who are traveling, now the will be subject to less harassment abroad. Their documentation will now match their appearance. At the Norwalk Pride on Saturday, I was talking to a trans-woman who was born in Canada and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen and every time she went up to Canada to visit her parents she had to show her passport that said she was male. Now her passport will match her appearance and also the gender on her driver license.

This week the White House is hosting another reception for the LGBT community, another big step forward. As far as I know, Obama is the first president to do so.
Obama to host LGBT reception Tuesday
by News Staff
Mon. June 21, 2010

Washington, D.C. — Tuesday is going to be quite a day at the White House, as President Obama welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists to a special reception in honor of Pride month.

One of the guests will be 18-year-old Constance McMillen of Mississippi, who made headlines earlier this year when school officials refused to let her take her girlfriend to the prom. She eventually transferred to a different school.

"I'll never get my senior year back," she told USA Today. "But the experiences that I have had because of this have really made it a lot easier. It has really helped me."
How Cool Is That! (I wrote about her, here.)

Obama also revised the federal policy on employment, adding a non-discrimination clause for sexual orientation which was removed by Bush II and Obama also added gender identity and expression to the policy. In addition, the president has appointed two openly trans-persona one to Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security and another to the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor.

I think that President Obama has come a lot farther for LGBT rights than any other president.

Update 6/22/10
This was just sent out from NTCE...

* The federal hate crimes prevention law passed.
Now we are working with the FBI, the Department of Justice and a lot of great allies to see that it is implemented in a way that really educates law enforcement about transgender people and the violence perpetrated against us.

* When the healthcare reform bill was signed into law in March, we had achieved our highest priority against all odds. The law does NOT contain a prohibition against using federal funds for transition-related care. A prohibition in the new law could have ended years of advocacy work to get even private insurers to cover our healthcare.

* Transgender federal employees now have explicit job protections and we are working with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to implement these important new protections.

* After years of working with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to end the gender no-match letters that were being sent to the employers of transgender people outing them at work, the letters have largely stopped.

* And very shortly, we expect to see the fruition of our technical assistance and advocacy on a Veterans Administration transgender healthcare policy. We are very optimistic that, very soon, trans veterans will be able to count on consistent access to healthcare across the VA system.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Coming Out To The Family

I have been out to my mother’s side of the family for several years now, but I never came out to my father’s side of the family, until now. I just finished addressing the envelopes for my “Coming Out” letter to my cousins and they will go in the mail tonight. So wish me luck.

Here is the letter…

There is something important I’d like to share with everyone.

In September of 2006, they announced at work that they were closing down the factory in stages, beginning the end of the first quarter of 2007. We saw the shutdown coming when they were not sending us any new orders, but instead were farming the work to other locations. In June of 2007, I was laid off. For me it worked out great, I was planning to retire in 2008, so with the severance package, I was able to collect pay until just before I was eligible for early retirement. In addition, I received tuition reimbursement and I went back to college for my Masters

However, that was not the only changes that were taking place in my life. I was always the quite one, at parties or family gatherings. Well there was a reason for that. You see all through my life I was deeply troubled. I knew I was different and it wasn’t until I had my heart problems in 1999 that I felt I had to act, that life was too short. Therefore, I sought counseling, with counselors and support groups, and I have finally achieved self-acceptance. I now have a life. I have been going out; to movies, plays, lectures, and restaurants; getting involved in politics, went back to college; started traveling and I made new friendships.

You see that I come to accept myself for who I am a transsexual. Some of my earliest memories were of feeling that I should have been born a girl. I remember when I was little and saying my prayers at night, ending with prayer that I would wake up as a girl and I used to cry myself to sleep. I have fought this for over fifty years and I realized that I could not hide it anymore, that hiding was causing physical stress. Now I have been on hormones since 2004 and when I was laid-off in June of 2007, I started living full time as “Diana”. Once I went full time, I had my name legally changed to Diana, changed all my paperwork and got a new driver’s license with a “F” for the gender marker.

What ever is the cause of GID (Gender Identity Disorder is the medical term for transsexualism) I can tell you one thing and that is it is not a choice, I have been fighting this all my life and it is not something I would ever want. Life is hard and this doesn’t make it any easier, but I am happier and I am getting out enjoying life. No one really knows what causes GID, but the majority of medical information indicates that it is caused by something pre-natal. Whether it is a hormone imbalance during pregnancy or it is genetic is not known. What is known, is that gender is part of your very being and we are all are born with a sense of our gender identity.

Since coming out I have been very active; I have given lectures at colleges (including Yale, UConn School of Law, UConn School of Social Work and the UConn School of Medicine), and given workshops at conferences. I have worked on the Ned Lamont’s campaign for U.S. senate, I have lobbied Congress in Washington, and helped out at various non-profit organizations in the area. I am currently on the steering committee of a coalition that is trying to change the Anti-Discrimination laws in Connecticut and I have testified before the Judiciary Committee. As a part of that effort, I have been interviewed by the Hartford Courant, the Connecticut Post and I have been on the radio and television. In addition, I am graduate student at the UConn School of Social Work Master’s program since September 2008 and my concentration is in Community Organizing. I’m planning to graduate next spring. As you can see I am no longer just sitting around the house, now it is a rare evening that I am home.

I know that this is hard for you to understand and it is also hard for me to understand as well. If you need to talk you can call me at (860) XXX-XXXX or email me at diana@XXXXXX.XXX

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday 9: Jumping Someone Else's Train

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Jumping Someone Else's Train

1. When was your last train ride?

Last year on June 27 to New York City and it was a disaster, you can read about it here.

2. How many foreign countries have you visited? Tell us about one.
One, Canada and I was probably around ten year’s old so I don’t remember much about the trip.

3. What do you always take with you on vacation?

Now? I take my laptop and mp3 player. Before computers I took a book along with me.

4. Tell us about something you've lost recently.
I don’t know if I lost anything recently. I thought I lost my purse, but it turned up under my car seat.

5. Do you prefer action packed vacations or relaxing ones?
A relaxing vacation not like the one I just came back from yesterday. You can read about it starting here.

6. How long will you wait in a check out line before abandoning your purchases?

It depends upon what I was buying and how much I wanted it.

7. How old do you wish you were?

I would like to be stuck at the age I am right now for maybe ten years. These are the best years of my life so far.

8. Do you consider yourself kind?

9. Tell us about your tattoos. Or if you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be?
I don’t like tattoos. I would never get a tattoo. I think that they get ugly as you grow older, they lose their color and definition.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #181

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #181


1. _It is_ 6:58 PM and I still have three and a half hours to drive.
2. It was the reason, of course, _that I drove home_.
3. _Apologize_ is something I no longer feel the need to do.
4. I have another errand to run, then _I can sit back and kick off my shoes and relax_.
5. _Don’t give me excuses_...just go find it
6. What were once vices _are now at the casinos _.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going to the coffee shop_, tomorrow my plans include _going to Norwalk Pride_ and Sunday, I want to _relax_!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 322

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 322

1. If you had to go back to school this fall, what degree would you pursue?
Well it just so happens that I am going back to school. I went back to school after I was laid-off for my Master’s in Social Work at the University of Connecticut.

2. Would you be more likely to choose a degree that would complement your current one, or go in a completely different direction?
It is 180 degrees from my bachelor degree, Electrical Engineering.

3. Did you or would you have lived on campus for college, or stayed at home if that had been an option?
I would live off campus. There is too much craziness on campus and also I am over 60 years old and I wouldn’t fit in on campus. I visit the main campus about once or twice a month and the students look like kids. At least in grad school they are in their late 20’s or early 30’s.

4. If you had to live on campus, and you found yourself in a dorm with mostly college-age young people who liked to party, how much of an impact would their rowdiness have on your ability to study?
A lot! I am way past the partying age; my bedtime is 11:00PM not 2 AM.

5. Take the quiz:
What College Are You?

You Are Harvard

You are smart, ambitious, and hard working. Academic success has always come easily for you.
You are responsible and conscientious. You don't mind hard work and never cut corners.

You are very competitive and driven. You like to be the best at everything you do.
And you also expect the best from any school you attend. You want to go to a top institution.

6. Is this a college you could see yourself attending if money were no object?
No, I rather go to Yale.

On The Road Days 10 & 11 – Home! Home At Last!

Yesterday I found out that the repair shop ordered the wrong part to fix the transmission on my cousin’s van and that it would not be ready until sometime Friday. Since I had to go to meet people on Friday to pick up material for Saturday’s Fairfield County Pride in Norwalk and also I would run out of my meds Thursday night, I rented a car to drive home. I left Asheville at 11:00AM and I arrived at my niece’s house in central New Jersey at 10:30PM. I left her house at 7:10AM and I made it to the rental place at Bradley airport at 10:50AM, so I was charged only for one day’s rental. Now I’m waiting for my cousin’s husband to pick me up and bring me to his house so that I can be reunited with my car.

The only bummer was that I didn’t check out the car first and when I got to Bradley, they found a scratch on the side if the car.

Overall I enjoyed the trip, even though it cost me twice what I budgeted. I thought the Smithsonian Air and Space museum was great and I glad that we went, it was well worth the price (it’s free).

I liked the day trips along the Blue Ridge Parkway that I took; the scenery was breath taking, along with the drop-offs on the side of the road. On some of the sections of the highway, the only thing protected you from a thousand foot precipice was an old wooden guardrail. However, the first day’s trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway with the detour wasn’t that great, until the detour went through the Pisgah National Forest.

The wedding on Saturday was beautiful and the location was fantastic! The next day’s brunch with all the family was nice and so was going to Asheville for dinner. Asheville at ten o’clock at night on a Sunday was hopping.

Monday, the whole family got together again at my brother’s and sister-in-law’s rented house and we had a southern style barbeque. All of my brother’s and sister-in-law’s children and grandchildren were there and my cousin’s family were there.

I liked the Asheville area, but…
It seemed like once you got outside the city, all the road went up the side of mountains on winding roads. The distances on the map between the cabin that my cousin rented and the one my brother rented was only a couple of miles apart by straight line but many miles on switchback roads. The other thing that I didn’t like about Asheville was the heat and humidity, I do not tolerate heat and humidity. I was sitting outside Sunday night and sweat was running down my back.

Here are the links for the trip...
Day One,
Day Four,
Day Five,
Day Six,
Day Seven,
Day Eight,
Day Nine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On The Road Day 9

Yesterday there was no good news about the van; it looked like it was another day in Asheville, and so I headed off to the mountains. This time I drove north on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The mountains down here are different from the mountains up north in that their slopes are steeper than the Berkshires, the Green or White mountains. Therefore, when you go up a mountain the road is all hairpin curves or switchbacks.

I stopped at three overlooks, at the Pounding Mill overlook; I took a panoramic view composed of five photos. It was a spur of the moment idea and I didn’t set the camera properly so you can see the seams of the photos.

These photos are from Craggy Mt. overlook and in one of the photographs you can see the tunnel through the mountain.

The last photo is of the overlook at Glassmine Falls.I got more bad news about the van, they ordered the wrong part and it will not be ready until Friday. Therefore, I’m looking into another way to get home. Maybe renting a car.

Day Ten & Eleven is here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On The Road Day 8 – Good-byes

Yesterday was a day of good-byes. I went over to my brother and sister-in-law’s rental cabin and hung out there all day with the family. My niece and nephews and their spouses went to the Biltmore Estate and I stayed with my brother and sister-in-law and their grandkids at the cabin. It was 90+ degrees and the pool looked awful inviting, but I didn’t have a bathing suite. So a quick trip to the store fixed that and the water was SO good!

There were twenty-eight of us there at the cabin, eighteen adults and ten child, and we came from seven states. What was nice to watch, was the children. All the cousins playing together, their ages were from eight to three years old and they got along so good together. For dinner, my nephew and his brother-in-law cooked dinner, leftover BBQ beef brisket from the wedding and pork tender loins.

The repair place said that they would have the car ready by five and hopefully, it will be sooner. Therefore, we are going to have to drive through the night because my cousin’s husband is schoolteacher and he has to be back by 9:00AM tomorrow! I am not looking forward to the drive; I can’t sleep in a car. We have three drivers, so each of us will drive for four hours and with luck and no construction delays we should be there by seven in the morning.

Update 9:12AM The car will not be ready today, they have to replace the transmission! The worst part, is that I only have enough meds until Thursday. Lucky I brought two extra days of meds or I would have been out by now.

Day Nine is here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

On The Road Day 7

Yesterday, I went to a brunch at my nephew in-law’s restaurant, the Village Wayside Bar & Grill. Most of the people at the wedding were there and I said my good-bye to my family members who were heading home after the brunch. The restaurant is located in the Biltmore Village which are stores built in the architecture style of the 1890’s. The restaurant is in the old 1896 train station for the Biltmore Estates.

Afterward, we all headed up to my brother and sister-in-law’s rented house and the kids spent all day in the pool while the adults sat around talking. That was all brought to an abrupt stop when a passing downpour put a damper on the outside activity. It cooled down the temperature but the humidity went up.

For dinner, all fourteen of us headed in to Asheville. We ate at the Mellow Mushroom, an eclectic pizza joint and I had a Gourmet White pizza (sun-dried tomatoes, Provolone, Feta, Mozzarella, tomatoes and onions), it was delicious! After dinner, we walked around Asheville and ended up at Pack Square Park, along the way we passed these three guys holding up signs quoting the Bible about repenting. I wonder what they thought of me?

The people Asheville have been very friendly and I just love their southern accent. I like the Asheville area, there is so much to do here and the city was still hoping at ten o’clock at night. But the heat and humidity is just so oppressive that I would never like to live here.

As I said, the people are so friendly here, I interact with strangers mostly at breakfast in the lobby of the motel. The lobby is filled with families for breakfast, you have to wait in-line for the toaster and they all have been great. I pass from a distant, but up close, it is very easy to read me. However, in my favor is the fact that the last thing they would think is that I trans-person would be there at the motel for breakfast and also, they are absorbed with their family, therefore, I don’t get read.

Today, we learn when the van will be fixed and how long we have to stay in town. Hopefully, it will be fixed in time to get home on Friday. Friday I have to pick up the material for Saturday’s Fairfield Pride. I am suppose to work the table there and I have to pick up the material on Friday for the table.

Day Eight is here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On The Road Day 6: The Wedding

Today’s main event was the wedding at 6:00PM, before that I went to house that my brother rented for his family in Weaverville, NC and stayed for a couple of hours before I went back to my motel room to change for the wedding.

The wedding was held at “The Fields of Blackberry Cove” in Weaverville, a couple of miles from my brother’s rental. The wedding was held outside in a field and it was a 90/90 day (90 degrees 90% humidity) and I slowly melted. The reception was in a converted barn in the field there and the meal was a southern Barbecue; BBQ pork ribs, BBQ beef brisket, BBQ Chicken salad, corn bread and sweet potatoes. As usual, I ate way too much.

I left around 9:30 and cranked the car air conditioner on high.

Day Seven is here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On The Road Day 5

I’m glad I rented a car, it is nice to be able to get around on my own and not have to depend on others for a ride.

Yesterday, I wanted to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway for about an hour and a half turn around and come back to the hotel. I packed a lunch and headed off for the mountains, but I quickly found out that the parkway was closed so I had to take a detour around the section that was closed. So I took the detour around the closure and the detour was over an hour long instead of a half hour drive along the parkway. The detour took me through Pisgah National Forest, it was a beautiful ride, but it was not the scenic parkway.

Once I got to the parkway, the view was breathtaking. There was a haze in the air from the humidity and it gave the mountains the bluish tint. Here are a few of the pictures that I took…

The Cold Mountain Overlook.

The Pounding Mill Overlook.

My rental car.
Later, I went over to my nephew’s future in-law’s bar and grill to join my brother and family. It is a nice little place on Lodge St. in Asheville.

I have been up since 4:00am! Just what I don't need today with the wedding this evening, at 6:00pm. By the time everyone starts to party, I would have been awake 14 hours. :-(

Day Six is here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

On The Road – Day 4

We are down in Asheville, NC for my nephew’s wedding, I came down with my cousin’s family and after we realized that the family is spread out all the Asheville area, I rented a Prius. In the evening I drove up to the cabin that my cousins are renting for the wedding, it is over 25 away up in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest. The road up to their cabin in Barnardsville was crazy with hairpin curves that were so sharp, that the headlights didn’t show the road and it went up at a steep angle. This went on for over a mile, up and up the mountain.

Today, I will be going up to the cabin that my brother rented in Weaverville and tonight I think that we are planning on going to a concert in Asheville.

The only downside of the day was the motel day clerk, when I was meeting the guy from the rental car company in the lobby, the clerk questioned me about staying at the motel. She seemed a little incredulous that I was staying here. But as usual all my worrying about the ride down here and having to stop at rest areas was for nothing.

Day Five is here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On The Road Again.

I’m down in Asheville, NC for the wedding of my cousin and on the way down we stopped at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, here are some of the photos…

John H. Glenn’s Mercury space capsule.

The command module of Apollo 11, the space flight where for the first time Man stepped on the moon.
The Space Shuttle…

The first turbine powered helicopter, Kaman K225. In the mid-seventies, for a summer job I worked at Kaman where this was made.
The “Enola Gay”, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima Japan during World War II.

Day Four is here

Monday, June 07, 2010

My Story Part 33 – Thoughts on Prodigal Sons

Last Thursday I watched the movie Prodigal Sons by Kimberly Reed about her homecoming for her 20th high school class reunion in Helena Montana (You can read about the movie here.). What stuck in my mind from the movie was the part about their trip to Croatia when her brother showed his birth family pictures from his and Kimberly’s childhood to his relatives (He was adopted). Kimberly had a hard time dealing with the photos from her youth when she was a boy.

She said something to her brother like, do you know how I feel when you show those picture to them, they are now laughing at me behind my back. This hit close to home for me, I wonder what happens when I leave the room are they laughing? Are they courteous to our faces and laugh behind our back? I think that many trans-people, who do not pass that well in public, think the same thing because we just had too many people laugh at use to our face and I think that many trans-people are a little guarded when we hear laughing. Saturday, I was walking to the Hartford Pride and there were a bunch of guys coming from the park. One of them said, “Hey, check that out… that’s a dude!” and they all started laughing. That was not the first time that I was laughed at and will not be the last. One of the first times that I was laughed at was when I was on an elevator and I stepped off, as the doors closed and the elevator moved on to the next floor, I heard laughter coming from it.

For me, I have become overly sensitive to laughter and I can understand Kimberly sensitivity to her brother showing the pictures and her worry about being laughed at by others. Later in the movie, she apologizes to her brother and said that she realizes that it is her problem and that she took it out in him. I also realize that I am overly sensitive and must work on correcting it. In addition, I have developed coping skills, I think of them as idiots, that they have problems with their own self-esteem problems and are take it out on others.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 321

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 321

1. When moving to a new place to start a new job…are you more likely to look for friends at work or outside of work first?
Since I have always lived in the same town, I don’t know what I would do. However, I would guess that I would look for new friends both at work and outside. Since I do a lot of volunteer work, that would be a good place to start outside of work.

2. You notice that their way of doing things seems inefficient based on your own experience with a much better procedure. Assuming your way wouldn’t represent any major expense for the company, how quickly would you suggest it?
Maybe after two or three months, after I got the lay of the land.

3. A co-worker invites you have a beer after work: if it’s someone you’ll have to work with closely, but you’re not one who likes bars, how likely are you to accept the invitation?
I’m not big on bar scenes. I might go because basically I hate going to a bar alone, so it might soften my dislike of bars.

4. Suppose you decide to accept, and the co-worker spends much of the evening complaining about problems you’ve already noticed. Are you more likely to add your two cents’ worth on the problems, express your take on what’s right with what you’ve seen so far, or just let him vent and take mental notes?
I would just let him vent and take mental notes, wondering if it is just him or is it the new company.

5. The same co-worker invites you to a cocktail party that will mostly be attended by other colleagues, all of whom feel the same way he does. If you suspect that the atmosphere might be negative, but that you’re likely to find out some secrets that could potentially give you some leverage against some people who have wasted no time in making you miserable in the new job, how likely are you to attend?
Now I would be worried about what type of company that I am working at. Or is this just a bunch of misfits that I do not want to be associated with at work.

6. Take the quiz: The Cocktail Test

You Are Intense

You're so energetic and passionate it's intoxicating. You are fired up!
You're the type of person that has many things going on at once. And you refuse to pick just one.

You are always up for an adventure, and you are likely to turn a boring day into something amazing.
You crave new and mind blowing experiences. If you feel nervous, you're doing something right.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Saturday 9: If I Had a Hammer

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: If I Had a Hammer

1. Are you handy with tools?
I’m all thumbs

2. What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

Doing an “Outreach” at a family service non-profit on Tuesday. We got a nice thank-you letter from them and I feel that we made a difference.

3. What was the worst thing that happened to you this week?
The hot water heater at our cottage sprung a leak

4. Do you think you act your age?

Yes, unfortunately.

5. Describe an item of clothing that has definitely seen better days but that you refuse to dispose of and still wear. Why won't you toss it?

Some Tee shirts and jeans. I don’t toss them because you never know when you need some grubby clothes to wear working around the house.

6. What is your favorite summertime beverage?
Ice tea

7. Have you ever lied about your age?

No, I don’t any reason to lie, you have no control over how old you are, so why lie?

8. What was the most memorable birthday party you've attended?
Once you reach my age, birthdays just all blend together. I guess that go to show you, you could put on the fanciest birthday party, but in a couple of years its memory just fades away.

9. What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?

When I thought I was having a heart attack, that brought about a great change for the better in my life.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Update: High School Graduation To Be Held In A Church

Last night the Board voted 5-4 not to appeal the court decision. Much to the disappointment of the American Center for Law & Justice lawyer...
Vincent McCarthy, the board's attorney, said after the vote that he was shocked that the board will not appeal the ruling. He said he intended for the board to file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York.
Hartford Courant
My question is why would he be disappointed? If he were truly representing the school board then I would think he would acquiesce to their decision. Did he have some other agenda besides representing the school board, like having a test case to bring to the Supreme Court?

Update June 4 10:20AM
There is an excellent article by Rick Green in the Hartford Courant’s blog CtConfidential today…
Family Institute Supported Enfield Graduation Plan
Rick Green
June 4, 2010

The story here is the cozy relationship between the Family Institute of Connecticut, the American Center for Law & Justice and Enfield Board of Education Chairman Gregory Stokes and how they engineered a behind-the-scenes power play to move graduation and create a priceless public relations opportunity.

Enfield, you're just a side player in the Family Institute and Pat Robertson's American Center for Law & Justice's campaign to win more attention — and fundraising money — through this First Amendment misadventure. A blog post by Peter Wolfgang, the institute's executive director, titled "Enfield Victory: The Inside Story," explains what this is all about.

From the beginning of the Family Institute's campaign to get the board to change its mind early this year, this was about the ACLU, gay marriage and "the enemies of the Catholic church in Connecticut." E-mail fundraising alerts to Family Institute supporters throughout the state describe the fight as "an attack on religious liberty … all of Connecticut now has a stake in the ACLU's attack on one of Connecticut's largest protestant churches."

In another e-mail — coupled with more pleas for money — the Family Institute described the Enfield drama as "the beginning" of "the battle" with "the cultural Left."

Working behind the scenes with Stokes, American Center for Law & Justice lawyer Vincent McCarthy and First Cathedral Archbishop LeRoy Bailey, Wolfgang orchestrated a plan to get board members to support the church graduation.

This was never about merely where to hold high school graduation ceremonies. The Family Institute and its opportunistic friends used a small town to further a half-baked campaign against religious freedom.

The tragedy isn't merely about a trampling of the First Amendment. Two high school graduations have been hijacked.
You hear the religious right talk about the “Gay Agenda” but what is their agenda?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #179

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #179


1. _Maine_ is my favorite place to travel to.
2. When I think about my childhood, I often remember _Lake Winnisquam in New Hampshire_.
3. _The Golden Rule_ makes for a good friend.
4. The wind in the trees, the rain on my skin, _brings back memories of walking down Commercial St. in Provincetown MA_.
5. _Sailing_ is so exciting!
6. My best friend knows _that I am quite and shy_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going to the film festival_, tomorrow my plans include _going to Hartford Pride_ and Sunday, I want to _packing for my trip to Asheville NC for my nephew’s wedding_!

My Story Part 32 – The Squirrel, the Cop and Me

My first encounter with a law officer happened before I transitioned. I only crossdressed at home and I never answered the door when I was crossdresses, I hid from everyone. So, one nice spring day I washing the dishes in the kitchen with my back to door (I have glass sliding door and it was open) when there was a knock at the door. Startled, I jumped and turned around, there was a cop with a 12 gauge shotgun over his shoulder and he was also startled when he read me as a male.

He told me that there was a report of a rabid squirrel in my woodpile and he was here to shoot it. He walks down to the woodpile and I hear two shots, BAM! BAM! And he walks back up to me and said “I got him!” and I said “Good.” He walks away. That was my first encounter with the police and I imagine that I was the talk of the police station that night. Later, I walked down to the woodpile and there pieces of squirrel everywhere. I went back into the house put on a pair of rubber boots and gloves. I went back and picked up the pieces and sprayed the area in a mixture of water and bleach. There wasn’t much left of the squirrel after getting hit twice by a 12 gauge shotgun shooting double-ought buckshot.

My next encounter with the police was also when I was home, but it was after I transitioned. I was sitting reading when the doorbell rang. I got up and wondered who would be at the door ten o’clock at night. I peeked out the window and saw a state trooper standing there! I answered the door and he was the state trooper who lives down the street. I had met him before when I bought my first Prius back in 2003 before I transitioned and we still living as a male. He had stopped by, we had talked about the car, and now he recognized me as the person he talked to 3 years ago. He was very courteous and called me ma’am, he said that he stopped by to tell me that my garage door was open and the light was flashing. I thanked him and closed the garage door.

My third encounter with the police was with the Maine state police when I was in an accident a couple of years ago. Once again, he was courteous, called me ma’am and was very professional.

I tell these stories because there is a big difference in where you are stopped and who stopped you. I have heard stories of how the police have mistreated trans-people, arresting them when they did nothing wrong. I hope that my interface with the police is the norm and not the exception.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Follow-Up: High School Graduation To Be Held In A Church

This is a follow up on two blogs (here and here) that I wrote about the Enfield High Schools graduation being held in a church. The federal court has just ruled that it is a violation of the separation of church and state, and ordered the graduation to be held elsewhere.
Judge Blocks Enfield Schools From Holding Graduations At Church
Hartford Courant
May 31, 2010

In her ruling Monday, Hall [U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall] wrote that the school system's decision to hold graduations at First Cathedral violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"By choosing to hold graduations at First Cathedral, Enfield schools sends the message that it is closely linked with First Cathedral and its religious mission, that it favors the religious over the irreligious and that it prefers Christians over those that subscribe to other faiths, or no faith at all," Hall wrote. "In addition to the character of the forum, the history and context of the decision to hold the graduations at First Cathedral also support the conclusion that, in doing so, Enfield Public Schools has endorsed religion."

Luchenitser [lead counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State] said there are several other venues comparable to First Cathedral in price, distance from the high schools or seating capacity at which the graduations could be held. He offered as examples the MassMutual Center and Symphony Hall in Springfield, the Big E Coliseum in West Springfield and La Renaissance banquet hall in East Windsor.
In today’s Hartford Courant there is an article that said the town is planning on appealing the judge’s decision.
A day after a federal judge barred the town from holding its two public high school graduations in a church on June 23 and 24, a lawyer for the town filed a motion asking the judge to temporarily stay the injunction, pending an appeal, so the church can be used as planned.

The town's motion, filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, says that students and families will be "harmed irreparably" if the town undoes its plans to rent First Cathedral for the ceremonies and later wins its appeal of Judge Janet Hall's ruling.
Other news reports said that if they lose the appeal they would hold the graduation at the high schools and limit the number of tickets to the family members, instead of holding the graduation at one of the other location that are “comparable to First Cathedral in price, distance from the high schools or seating capacity”. The Board of Education will meet tomorrow night to determine the location of their graduation.

In an opinion piece in the Hartford Courant, Rick Green writes…
But this school district really has better things to be doing with it's time than jumping into bed with a conservative, biased group like the Family Institute of Connecticut and another group, the American Center for Law & Justice, which was founded by evangelical leader Pat Robertson.

Enfield citizens - and parents and high school students - have nothing to gain in this fight. The school district could have booked Symphony Hall in Springfield for thousands of dollars less the the price of the First Cathedral in Bloomfield.

Instead, the local school board chair, Gregory Stokes - a pastor himself - worked behind the scenes to engineer a costly, wasteful adventure in constructional law.

As U.S. District Judge Janet Hall pointed out in her ruling on Monday, Stokes colluded with Family Institute Director Peter Wolfgang to come up with a plan to hold the graduation at First Cathedral - even after the board initially decided not to hold graduation at the church:
Chairman Stokes was in close contact with the FIC, beginning in early March 2010, on the issue of Enfield's high school graduations. In March and April, Stokes and FIC Executive Director Peter Wolfgang exchanged numerous electronic messages containing discussions of strategy on how to best ensure that the Enfield graduations would be held at First Cathedral. Stokes and Wolfgang discussed which Board of Education members would most likely provide the deciding votes in their favor.
Unbelievably, the chairman of a board of education of a public school district decided to work closely with the Family Institute, a group that exists to selectively promote certain churches in order to, as Hall wrote, "fight for 'religious' liberty by holding graduations at First Cathedral." Ironic isn't the word.

Students gain nothing, except a perverted lesson that even their own local elected leaders can work to undermine their constitutional rights - in the name of religious liberty.
To me this is not about separation of church and state, but is about respecting other people’s religious beliefs.

Update: June 3, 11:30AM
I just learned that Rev. Bailey, is on the Board of the FIC.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Blogging For LGBT Families 2010

Today is the 5th annual “Blogging for LGBT Families” day and it is about families with LGBT members. When a person who is LGBT comes out of the closet, it affects all the family their lives are also change.

Today I went with two other trans-person to a Family Service non-profit agency in the greater Hartford area to do an “Outreach” for their staff of LCSW on how being trans affected my family and my friends. We answered their questions about our early lives and how we knew that we were transgender. What it was like growing up and if our parents knew. They asked what they should do if a client came out to them. They questioned us about what they should do if the client was a parent or if the client was a child.

It is important to have these outreaches because it helps train therapist on what to expect when a client comes out to them. It will make life easier on the next generation of trans-people and isn’t that what life is all about, helping the next generation?

Saturday Six – Episode 320

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 320

1. Which would you rather be without: your teeth or your hair?

Since I already lost my hair, I’ll cheat and say my hair

2. If you had to lose one, would you lose an arm or a leg?
A leg, because you can always have an artificial leg, but a hand is harder to replace.

3. Would you rather have a beat-up jalopy that never breaks down or a stylish sports car that breaks down at least once a month?
The jalopy.

4. Would you rather be able to write well or speak well?

Write, I am a good public speaker, but my writing needs improvement.

5. God offers you the chance to meet him in person, which would require you to be the strictest of his followers: would you rather meet him and accept that responsibility, or not meet him and live on faith?
Which of his followers, Christians? Jews? Muslims? Hindus? Buddhists? Witchens?
I rather not meet him; I rather just go on living my life on faith.

6. Take the quiz: The Either Or Love Test

Your Love Style is Balanced

You tend to approach falling in love practically. You don't let your heart get ahead of your head.

You see love as the most important part of your life. You don't obsess over it, but it is what gets you up in the morning.

You see love with your head, and you believe in working on a relationship. You think communication is key - as well as core compatibility.

You are swept off your feet by words of love. A love letter or love poem from your sweetie can make your heart melt.