Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just What We Need…

The Huffington Post reported that Linda McMahon wants to look at the minimum wage…
Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, suggested Thursday that the U.S. ought to take a second look at the federal minimum wage.

"The minimum wage now in our country, I think we've set that, so there are a lot of people have benefited from it in our country, but I think we ought to review how much it ought to be, and whether or not we ought to have increases in the minimum wage," McMahon said at a press conference.
People are now working two or three jobs just to make ends meet and now she wants to “review” the minimum wage. This is from a woman who is willing to spend up to $50 million of her own money on the campaign and made $46 million last year! This from a candidate who wants to keep the tax breaks for millionaires.

Meanwhile, runaway teens are going homeless and ending up in slavery here in Connecticut because there are not enough beds for them in homeless shelters.

Why is it that I feel that her campaign motto should be, “I got mine, s**w you!”

My Story Part 46 – The Things We Do

I was channel surfing and I came across this movie where they were waxing a man’s chest, and I was laughing so hard that tears came to my eyes. You see, I been there, done that. One time when I was going up to Fantasia Fair in Provincetown MA, I got this bright idea to have my chest and back waxed. Did it ever hurt! I shiver just thinking about it. And to think I actually did it, and now thinking back about it, I must have been crazy!

My other bright idea was using Nair on my chest; it makes me cringe now when ever I see and ad for it. I was also up at Fantasia Fair and I covered my whole body with Nair… a BIG mistake! Men’s body hair is thicker than women’s body hair so that meant that I had to leave Nair on longer and Nair is a caustic chemical, lye, and I ended up with a nice cherry red body. In addition, I got some on my nipple! You could hear me scream through out the B&B. The whole week was in agony every time I brushed up against something and my nipple was VERY tender the whole week.

I also tried an Epilady… not a good idea, ripping the hairs out by their follicles.

I finally settled for the old fashion way of removing hair, a good sharp razor and shaving cream.

Now that I am on hormones my hair turned real fine and you can only see the hair up close. I went from a hair Italian man to a skin smooth woman. However, hormones does not remove the beard, for that I needed years and years of electrolysis. I joke that when an electrologist sees a trans-person enter their shop, they see a new pool, an addition to their house or a new car. We spend years in their shops at around $75 per hour = $$$$$

Hypothesis – body hair keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Theory – body hair keeps your clothes away from you body and it the summer it keeps your clothes from sticking to your body. This results a cool space between the sweat evaporating from your clothes and your skin. In the winter the opposite is true, body hair provides an air pocket to trap your heat.

Observation – when I shaved my body hair I could feel an immediate difference, I was cold all the time and I felt drafts more.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When Will It Stop! - Update

This is from Pam's House Blend...

September has been a hellish month for gay or gay-perceived teens this month. (TWO):

* Seth Walsh, the Bakersfield, CA 13-year-old who hanged himself from a tree in his back yard after years of being bullied, died Tuesday afternoon after nine days on life support. Police investigators interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he hanged himself. "Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears," Police Chief Jeff Kermode said. "They had never expected an outcome such as this."

* Asher Brown, 13, an eighth-grader killed himself last week. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston Texas. Brown, his family said, was "bullied to death" - picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes. Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class, his mother and stepfather said.

* Billy (William) Lucas, 15, a student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg, IN, was found dead in a barn at his grandmother's home Thursday evening - he had hanged himself. Friends say that he had been tormented for years. "He was threatened to get beat up every day," friend and classmate Nick Hughes said. "Sometimes in classes, kids would act like they were going to punch him and stuff and push him. Some people at school called him names," Hughes said, saying most of those names questioned Lucas' sexual orientation.

When Will It Stop!

It’s not hard to stop, all it takes is will power. All it will take is to speak up and take action. All it will take is for school officials and parents to say we have had enough of bullying.

It happened again, another teen committed suicide because of bullying, this time in Texas. A thirteen-year-old boy was bullied because he was gay. His parents complained to the school authorities over and over again and the authorities did nothing.
Parents say bullies drove their son to take his life
They claim school district took no action
Sept. 28, 2010

Asher Brown's worn-out tennis shoes still sit in the living room of his Cypress-area home while his student progress report — filled with straight A's — rests on the coffee table.

The eighth-grader killed himself last week. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.

Brown, his family said, was "bullied to death" — picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes. Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class, his mother and stepfather said.

The 13-year-old's parents said they had complained about the bullying to Hamilton Middle School officials during the past 18 months, but claimed their concerns fell on deaf ears.

David and Amy Truong said they made several visits to the school to complain about the harassment, and Amy Truong said she made numerous phone calls to the school that were never returned.
The school district denied that they were ever informed about the bullying.
His parents said Brown had been called names and endured harassment from other students since he joined Cy-Fair ISD two years ago. As a result, he stuck with a small group of friends who suffered similar harassment from other students, his parents said.

His most recent humiliation occurred the day before his suicide, when another student tripped Brown as he walked down a flight of stairs at the school, his parents said.

When Brown hit the stairway landing and went to retrieve his book bag, the other student kicked his books everywhere and kicked Brown down the remaining flight of stairs, the Truongs said.

Durham [School district spokeswoman] said that incident was investigated, but turned up no witnesses or video footage to corroborate the couple's claims.
What will it take to end the bullying? Here in Connecticut we have an anti-bullying law, but the law has no teeth, there are no penalties for violating the law. One of the requirements of the law is that each school district must have an anti-bullying policy, keep a record of the incidents of bullying and submit an annual report to the state Department of Education. Less than half of the school districts have submitted the report and less than half of those districts reported any cases of bullying. Do you believe that a school never had a case of bullying, I don’t. Here in Connecticut we need to a law with teeth that fines school districts for violation of the law.

On the federal level, there is an anti-bullying bill, the Safe Schools Improvement Act (S. 3739), which would prohibit bullying in public school students. The School Reform Newsreported that,
The act would require schools that receive federal money to adopt certain codes of conduct prohibiting bullying and harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.
So what is holding up the bill? Republican opposition, they object to the fact that the bill includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The Republicans are being pressured from right wing Christian conservations who in their hatred and bigotry what to block anything that has to do with sexual orientation and gender identity. Meanwhile, students are being murdered and tormented until they only see one way out, to commit suicide.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pinocchio Has Gender Issues

Can You Imagine…

Going into a baker to order some cookies and you are told that the baker doesn’t want to sell to you?

Well that happened to some college students in Indianapolis when they wanted to order some cookies for the “National Coming Out Day”. According to WXIN Fox 59 News
A campus organization said it was denied service in what's become a flashpoint in the fight for equal rights.

This is what they were after: a mulitcolored cupcake to celebrate "National Coming Out Day" next month; a rainbow confection to honor the diversity on the campus of IUPUI. But the student who had the order placed at Just Cookies was told no.
The bakery owner said in his defense…
"I explained we're a family-run business, we have two young, impressionable daughters and we thought maybe it was best not to do that," said co-owner David Stockton.
There has been a lot of discussion about a person’s religious right to refuse a customer if it goes against their religious beliefs, such as gay, lesbians, bi’s or trans-people. I feel that when you open a business to the public, you have an obligation to serve all the public, not just those you choose to serve.

If your religious beliefs are that no man should serve a woman, do you have a right to refuse service to a woman? Or if you feel that you do not want to hire people of a certain religious faiths, can you refuse to hire people of other faiths? Do you have the right not to rent an apartment to a black couple if it goes against your religious beliefs? Then why is it that a person has the right to refuse to serve a lesbian or gay or bisexual or trans person because if their religious beliefs? You have the right to limit your business to your religious community, but once you open your business to the public, you must obey the anti-discrimination law. A private golf course can limit their membership, but once they go public they must serve all of the public. A church has the right to rent the hall to only people who share their religious beliefs, but once they place an ad to rent the hall out to the public, they must rent it to all of the public, not just those whom they chose.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 337

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 337

1. How often do you get eight hours of sleep in a single night?
That is an easy question to answers… never. I usually sleep 4 hours a night and it is not that I want to sleep only 4 hours; I would love to sleep 8 hours or even 6 hours.

2. You find yourself fading towards the end of the day at work: what do you do for enough of an energy burst to get you to quitting time?
Yes! Unfortunately, I cannot have any caffeine and sugar is fating.

3. Which work shift would be ideal for you: 8am-5pm, 2pm-11pm or 11pm-8am?
I would rather work 7:00am – 3:30pm. That is one reason why I get up so early, for 35 years that was the hours that I worked.

4. Do you ever drink “energy drinks” for an extra boost?
Nope! It could be very deadly to me, I have a heart problem that caffeine could prove fatal.

Did you know that caffeine is one of the most deadly poisons known. It's LDL50 is 192 milligrams per kilogram (LDL50 = 50% die). Coffee = ~175 mg, Jolt Cola = 280 mg

5. Take the quiz: What’s Your Energy Level?

You Are an Early Riser

You're the type of person who just gets up early naturally. It's easy for you to succeed in this world.
It's likely that you've been extremely productive before the day has really began. You wake up alert and refreshed.

You tend to lose steam in the late afternoon and evening. Give yourself that time to rest.
Even though you get a quick start, you don't have to charge ahead all day long!

6. What percentage of the time would you say that you get up on the wrong side of the bed?
I don’t think I ever get up on the wrong side of the bed. I get up often wishing that I could sleep longer.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday 9: Just Like Me

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Just Like Me

1. Who in your life do you think behaves and thinks the most like you do?
I am one of a kind, and they broke the mold when they made me.

2. As a kid, were you ever wrongly accused (and punished, if it went that far) for something you didn't do? If so, what was it? What happened?

Always, my brother use to start the fights and I got blamed for them.

3. What about as an adult, were you ever wrongly accused for something you didn't do?? Do you think it's worse to be accused as a child or an adult? Why/why not?
Never as an adult. I think both of them causes physiological scares.

3. What’s the scariest weather situation you’ve experienced?
Up until this summer I would have said that it was a thunderstorm back in my college days, but this summer storm topped that one. I was watching a cable channel when they broke in with a weather alert, that tornado was moving through the state (Yes folks, Connecticut does get 5 or 6 tornado a year). I turned to a local channel and they were showing the weather radar. They were showing the storm’s track and they said in fifteen minutes the tornado would be at this intersection…it was the intersection where I live! Whoa! The sun was out and there was no wind or anything and in about ten minutes the sky got dark and the wind started blowing, it was getting very nasty out, very quickly. It got very dark, it started pouring and hail was bouncing off my skylights, the lights were flickering and ran down into the basement. Then ten minutes latter, the sun was out.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be and why?
Canada, they have sane LGBT laws up there.

5. Instead of going to work Monday, if you could spend the entire day doing something else--any one or two things that you absolutely love doing--what would you do?
I would have headed up to the cottage in New Hampshire; the foliage must be great by now.

6. What sites (other than meme sites) do you use most to help you post on your blog?
Google news and Pam’s House Blend

7. Check out a post on your blog from six months ago (March 2010) and tell us what is different now about your blog and/or life?
There is no change, we are both still the same.

8. What was the last photograph you took?
Sunrise looking across the lake

9. Which fashion trend do you believe is the most horrendous and why?
Baggy pants for boys and platform shoes for girls. There are some areas that should never see daylight and platform shoes are deadly.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lets End The Violence!

A trans-woman down in San Antonia TX was brutally beating and the police said it was probably a hate crime but that there was nothing that they could do. (You can read about it here) The said that because of Texas law only includes sexual orientation and not gender identity here hand are tied. They said that they only could charge the perpetrator with aggravated assault; however, they said that the assailant might be charged with the federal hate crime law. The federal law was passed this year added sexual orientation, mental disability and gender identity and expression to the federal law.

If you watch the video, the announcer said, “One man was in for quite a surprise when learning that the woman in his car was transgender.” He makes it sound like it was some how justified to beat up the woman. Nothing justifies violence! If the woman were part African-American or Jewish and the man found out and then assaulted her. Would the announcer have said the same thing? Would we have thought, “Oh she should have told him first!” Then why is it we think the woman should have told him that she was trans?

Lets stop the violence, lets stop the hate and bigotry.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Story Part 46 – What Would Have You Done?

This is going to be a short story today because I have to leave to go to my internship. So…

Earlier in the week, I went to a store to buy some school supplies and when I got in to the checkout line, low and behold the person in front of me was an old high school friend. I thought, “Oh this should be interesting!” While I was standing there, he looked at me a couple of time but didn’t recognized me. I was debating whether I should say “Hi” or just ignore him, and I choose to ignore him. I just didn’t want to go into “Trans 101” teaching mode nor if he flipped out to make a scene.

What would you have done, take the poll on the right side of my blog.

This was not the first time that I found myself in this situation; back before I came out I bumped into another high school friend that I still saw once or twice a year since graduating high school. I walked by him and his wife, and four other friends within a couple of feet. We were up in Provincetown, they were there to hang-glide, I was there for Fantasia Fair and we were dinning out with our friends at the restaurant. They were sitting by the door, so when my friends and I were leaving we had to walk right by their table. I was petrified, I just wanted to run and hide, but when we walked by them, they looked up at us and they didn’t recognized me. Whew!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It Is All About The Kids

Here are two views children who are transgender, the first article is from the Orlando Sentinel about a child who transitioned there…

How should schools handle transgender kids?
By Denise-Marie Balona
Orlando Sentinel

When most little girls draw themselves, they draw pictures of young ladies, often in fancy dresses and high heels.

But one kid in Deltona has always depicted herself differently: As a boy in pants, standing outside a "boy's" school or picking flowers for his mom.

Today, this youngster wants to be called "he." And after years of battles over school clothes and haircuts and long meetings with a therapist, the third-grader's parents are letting her live as a boy.

This child hasn't had a sex change and wasn't born a hermaphrodite.
Note the use of archaic and offensive word they used instead of intersex.
Canadian psychologist Kenneth J. Zucker, an internationally known expert on gender issues whose research is controversial in the gay and transgender community, questions whether kids should be allowed to switch roles. His studies indicate most kids will outgrow their behavior, so he tries to help them learn to be comfortable with the gender they were born with.

Irv Silver, a sex therapist in Orlando who has helped three kids with gender issues during his career, thinks children can be re-trained.

"Yes, people can be taught gender behaviors, if they are motivated," he said.

However, the majority of scholars, psychiatrists and therapists interviewed by the Sentinel said children aren't just going through a phase if they consistently insist they're the wrong sex over a period of years.

And, those experts conclude, it could be dangerous to ignore these feelings. Transgender kids sometimes feel so out of sync with their bodies they cut or otherwise intentionally injure their genitals — or commit suicide.
Society's — and parents' — acceptance of transgender people seems to be growing as well. Last year, students at the College of William and Mary in Virginia elected a transgender as homecoming queen.

TransYouth Family Allies, a national education and advocacy group that works with families with children who are questioning their gender, helped 15 kids in 2007. This year, it's helping 10 to 15 a month, said Executive Director Kim Pearson.

Officials at the Children's National Medical Center and the Stanford University School of Medicine's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Medical Education Research Group said they also have seen increases in the number of kids coming to them for help.
In Miami-Dade County, the school district changed its policies several years ago to accommodate transgender kids. Schools are encouraged to have unisex bathrooms and a trained Gender Safety Leader, who's charged with helping the kids make a smooth transition. Just weeks ago, the Hillsborough County School Board updated its anti-bullying policy to include transgender kids within the most protected groups.

The Volusia County school district is considering changing its anti-bullying policy, too, which parents of the transgender student in Deltona have been pressing for. The Deltona parents said they know their son may have a tough road ahead but is much happier since he cut his hair short and started shopping in the boys' section.
The article also reported that some of the parents and school officials are getting hate mail and if you read some of the comments at the end of the article you can see some of the hate and bigotry.

Up north in Maine they are also wrestling with this issues and yesterday the Maine Human Rights Commission ruled on a Maine case. An article on the Maine Public Broadcast Network web-site and reported that,
The Maine Human Rights Commission has ruled that Orono Middle School unlawfully discriminated against a transgender student during the 2008-2009 school year by not letting the male-to-female sixth-grader use the girl's bathroom.
In its ruling Monday, the panel cited derogatory remarks made by other students, and allegations of stalking and harrassment, but agreed with the commission's investigator that there were no grounds to believe that the school had subjected the student to a hostile educational environment.
And in other Maine news, the commission said that they will delay a new policy for schools until after the elections. An article on WABI web-site by Rob Poindexter said that,
Augusta - Members of the Maine Human Rights Commission say they'll wait until after a new Governor is elected before they issue new guidelines on how schools should accommodate transgendered students.
Today, the commission agreed it wants to work together with the state Department of Education on the new guidelines. Pat Ryan, Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission, says they'll need to wait until a new commissioner of education is appointed before they outline the transgender guidelines.
But all is not rosy. Most states and schools systems ban students from transitioning at school.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This Might Shock Some Of You…

However, we cannot go around with our heads buried in the sand…
7 Things to Know About the Underage US Sex Trade
By: Evie Pless
Care2 Make A Difference

1. It exists. Americans tend to associate sex trafficking of minors with distant countries and often don't realize the same problem is serious and growing within the United States.
2. The number of children forced into prostitution is high, and the average initial age is low. Within the US, more than 100,000 children are victimized through commercial sex and prostitution each year.
3. American street-kids are one of the most vulnerable groups. According to Kristof, "There's a misperception in America that "sex trafficking" is mostly about foreigners smuggled into the U.S.
4. There have been cases of human trafficking in all 50 states and D.C, and your favorite city could easily be a center for sex trafficking.
5. Your words matter. A new language is emerging that more accurately and sensitively reflects the realities of sex trafficking and prostitution. For example, popular culture has rendered the word "pimp" almost cool and, therefore, useless. Activists recommend it be replaced with the word "trafficker," and similarly, a person who is a "John" is better described as "a man who buys sex from young girls." Anyone forced into prostitution or exploited by traffickers is a victim or survivor.
6. Exploitation, not violent coercion or physical movement across borders, is the common factor between all cases of sex trafficking. This is according to an eye-opening report by Dr. Raymond and Dr. Hughes. Exploitation, and therefore sex trafficking, comes in many forms: subjection to physical coercion, harassment, or threats; an addiction to drugs; an inability to speak the local language; economic necessity; etc.
7. Every child involved in the sex trade is a victim. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, any child selling sex in the United States is, by definition, a victim of human trafficking.
You probably figured, like I did that can’t happen here, well we are wrong.

Last week, I attended a meeting to discuss how the problem of kids between the ages of 17 and 18 can be helped out of this terrible evil here in Connecticut. Yes, there are kids who are being forced into prostitution here in Connecticut.

Also consider this, a 2006 report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for the Homeless found that
...according to the National Runaway Switchboard, up to 42 percent identify as lesbian or gay. Additional research has found that homeless youth also disproportionately identify as bisexual and transgender.
It is time for us to take our heads out of the sand. Read the whole article and the report then take action!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Was Up At The Cottage This Weekend

I was at our family cottage in southern New Hampshire to do some work on the cottage and I snapped these photos…

The geese know that winter is coming
Sunset, Saturday evening
Sunrise Sunday morning

With my internship and class work, I will not be blogging as much. School work wins out over blogging.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Six – Episode 336

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 336

1. What is the biggest thing you wanted to do this summer that you actually managed to accomplish?
Gee, I don’t know. We didn’t do that much work on the cottage and I didn’t have any projects that I wanted to work on around my house.

2. What is the biggest thing you wanted to do this summer that you didn’t accomplish?
Actually, it was a project that I was working on for a non-profit where I volunteer. We are conducting a survey in the greater Hartford area and it is taking longer than we thought.

3. Did you take a vacation during the summer, and if so, where did you go?
Well kind of, I went to my nephew’s wedding in Asheville North Carolina and I stayed down there for over a week. I also took a long weekend up at my brother’s in Kennebunk ME and I went up to a botanical gardens in Boothbay.

4. What do you look forward to most about the fall?

School and my internship

5. What do you look forward to the least about fall?
School and my internship

6. Take the quiz:
What Season Tree Are You?

You Are an Autumn Tree

You are contemplative and deep. You enjoy observing the world around you.
You know that change is inevitable, and you try to roll with whatever life brings.

You can see the extraordinary in the ordinary. You are easily inspired.
You try to remain balanced and steady in the face of upheaval.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Saturday 9: Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying

1. When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a Hallmark movie.

2. If you could wake up tomorrow with a new talent, what would it be?
To sing or play an instrument.

3. Who is someone (other than yourself) would you like to go back into your past and talk to and why?
My mother, to find out if she would have been OK with me now.

4. What is your favorite meal eating out?
Oh… that is a tough question. When it comes to food, I like too many different types of food. I would have to say some type of seafood. My last take-out meal was Fried Clams (yesterday for lunch. I had a meeting at a state office next door and the meeting got out a little before noon and I could smell food cooking.). My last dinner at a restaurant was at Skippers Dock in Stonington (You can read about it here).

5. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend?
It depends… on the age group and the activity. If they are all old farts like me and we are talking about our aches and pains or it is a boring meeting then yes, I feel drained. However, if was like today with a group of 30 year olds, then no.

6. What word do you use far too frequently?
What? I have tinnitus and it makes me really have to concentrate to understand what people are saying in a noisy place.

7. What’s a word you’ve invented? (alternate question: What needs a word but doesn’t have one yet?)
Well, Refudiate is already taken, I have to think about it some more.

8. Pick out one of your favorite songs. Go to Song Facts and tell us about the song's history.
Its “Lola.” However, reading the Song Facts about it they use a very derogatory word to describe “Lola”, transvestite. It is considered fetishistic.

9. What is your absolute favorite piece of furniture you have and why?

The couch, I lay down on it to read my homework, surf the net with my laptop on it, sleep on it and sometimes I actually sit on it.

How Many Time Did The White Team Pass The Ball?"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Story Part 45 – Hoops

No, not that type of hoops. The type that the DSM makes you jump through. What is the DSM you ask. It is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and that is the book that therapist use to be paid, if it is the DSM they can bill the insurance companies.

Once you are diagnosed with a gender identity disorder, then there is the Standard of Care procedure that are followed and require that you jump through more hoops and perform other clown acts in order for you to get your reward.

And one of those hoops is “A period of psychotherapy of a duration specified by the mental health professional after the initial evaluation (usually a minimum of three months).” So that meant that I had to see a therapist for at least three months and here my tale begins…

I made an appointment to see a local therapist and when I walked into her office, there was an overstuffed chair and couch, and I choose the overstuffed chair. So here I was sitting in the chair that was two sizes too big for me and she started by taking my history. We did all the classic tests like the ink blot test and when we get to the one where she says a word and you reply with the first word that pops in to your head. I started to giggle.

Well that did it; she stops and asks me what is wrong. I said this is so Freudian; all you need is a beard and a monocle. We talked a little bit about it and then proceeded with the word association test. I must have jumped trough all the right hoops because after 3 months I was approved for hormones.

However, I don’t think it is right to be labeled with a mental disorder in order to be treated for a medical condition. When I can afford the surgery, I will have to go to two therapists in order to get my letters for the surgery. Now for ever and ever, I will be labeled with having a mental illness and for some people can mean the difference between being employed and not being employed. You carry the stigma the rest of your life. The way that the DSM is written now, once you have been diagnosed with GID you are stuck with the diagnosis the rest of your life. There might be a change in the DSM in a couple of years that will provide an exit clause, but you will still need an initial diagnosis of GID, which is not acceptable. It should be removed all together and moved to medical diagnosis.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Busy Day

As part of my internship, I have a nine o’clock meeting at one of the state agencies and that is followed in the afternoon by a meeting with one of the professors who wants to see me about doing something at the field seminar on Friday. After that is my class at two and then at 7:00pm they is a web training broadcast at my internship.

Another twelve-hour day!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Almightly Bottom Line

How many of you have heard of HIPAA?

A woman was murdered in New Jersey Sunday, shot to death in her own home. Sadly that would have not made headlines, it would have been just another murder out of hundreds of other murders. However, becuase she was transsexual propelled the story into the headlines. She was a post-op transseuxal and had all her records change to reflex her gender, including her birth certificate.

I like to ask two questions? First, why did the medical examiner release the fact that she was transsexual, has the medical examiner ever heard of a little law called HIPAA? At this time the fact that she was transgender has no bearing upon the case. Would the medical examiner release the fact that someone had cancer? Then why did the medical examiner feel that releasing other medical facts was okay?

Second why did the news media feel that they had to publish the fact that she was trans? At this time it has no bearing upon the case and it invade her privacy, by publishing her medical history. I believe the only reason that they did was to sensationalize the story and bring in ad revenue at her expense.

I am not going to provide a link because I don't want to reward them for their exploitation of the victim.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Off To My Internship

This morning is my first day at my internship, True Colors, it is going to be hard getting back into the groove. This will the first time that I have to be somewhere every day since my last internship back in the 2006/2007 school year.

I'm interning for 20 hours a week, five hours a day for four days and I have classes on the fifth day. It doesn't sound like a lot, but because I am retired I usually don't have to be anywhere at any particular time. So working is going to be something that I will have to get use to again.

Now to figure out what I'm going to wear.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Northampton Trans Pride 2010

The march and rally almost didn’t take place yesterday, it was called off earlier in the week, but at the last minute as group came together. It was a beautiful, you couldn’t have asked for better weather, mid seventies, light wind and partly sunny. I got up there around 10:30 and walked to Lampton Park where the march began and I marched with the Connecticut Outreach Society group. On the steps of city hall they held the rally. The speakers included Bet Powers, Monica Roberts, Gunner Scott and others, along with a couple of bands. Monica Robert is a long time trans-activists and was one of the first trans-people to lobby for ENDA back in the mid-nineties (her bog is here).
When the first band started play after Monica spoke, it was so loud that I took a walk to get away from the noise and I ended up at an ice cream shop and had a choclate milk shake. I came back to hear Gunner's speech and then I left around two.

I took a few pictures, Glenn Koetzner from the Rainbow Times took hundreds and they are on Facebook here.

I took a couple of short videos (less than 30 seconds), the quality isn’t that great (I took them with a still camera that has video capabilities), but you can get the feeling of the march.

Saturday Six – Episode 335

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 335

1. What is the most recent thing you purchased with real cash?
I think I bought a basket of peaches and apple cider from a local orchard.

2. As a general rule, do you keep cash on you at all times?

3. You have $50 in cash in your pocket and you are approached by someone asking for $20 because they’ve run out of gas. They seem believable and genuinely in need. Would you give them the $20?
No. I would like to help, but I also have to watch my budget because I’m living on my retirement.

4. Take the quiz: What Dollar Bill Are You?

You Are a Five Dollar Bill

You're not totally broke, but you definitely are counting all your pennies. You believe that thrift is a virtue.
You've got some cash in your pocket, and you'd like to keep it that way. You like being one step ahead of your bills.

You are responsible and detail oriented. You aren't intimidated by money or balancing your checkbook.
You are the type most likely to know what everything costs... and to know when a cashier gave you wrong change.

5. How often do you have this denomination in your pocket?
Yeah, I have fives in my pocketbook.

6. Which single line in the quiz answer above best describes you?
None of them describes me. I don’t usually go out to dinner on Saturday nights or any day of the week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday 9: Tell Her No

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Tell Her No

1. When was the last time that you had to tell someone that you loved, that the answer was no?
A very long, long time ago.

2. When was the last time you visited a hospital?
When my aunt was sick sometime around 2008.

3. If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter be, and what would you name it?
The do nothing club

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Nope, I have never hit anyone in my adult life and I don’t count hitting my brother when we were little.

5. What's the first thing you notice about the preferred sex?
Their eyes

6. What really turns you on?
A woman who about others, and it is not just about themselves.

7. What was your biggest mistake?
I’m not saying, but it was about counting your chickens before they hatch.

8. Tell us something totally random about yourself.
I can wiggle my nose and ears at the same time.

9. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Out To Lunch

I went down to Stonington today and meet a friend for lunch at Skippers Dock. Lunch was delicious; I had Pan Sautéed Filets of Sole Francais and my friend had the Dockburger BLT with Bleu Cheese Melt. We sat out on the deck out of the wind and it was quite comfortable despite being only in the upper sixties. There was this big yacht that was tied up to the restaurant dock and the restaurant staff was bring platters of food out to the boat. Then a little while latter all the guests arrived. This is a picture of it leaving…
After we ate, we drove down to the point and visited the Stonington Lighthouse Museum. The lighthouse in its current location was built in 1840.
Here is a picture looking out from the lighthouse tower's lantern room.
As we were leaving the lighthouse, this fishing boat was coming out of Stonington harbor.
On the way down to Stonington, I stopped at a scenic rest area on I-95 overlooking old Mystic harbor. The ship is the Charles W. Morgan that is tied up at Mystic Seaport.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Let's Stop The Hate

Montana tea party leader apologizes for post hinting at violence toward gays
By John S. Adams
Tribune Capitol Bureau
September 4, 2010

Ravndal, a prominent figure in the state's tea party movement since its early days [President of the Big Sky Tea Party Association], made the comment July 23, in regards to an article in the Billings Gazette about an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit over rights for same-sex couples.

The Facebook comment has since been removed, but the Tribune obtained a photo documenting the following exchange:

Tim Ravndal: "Marriage is between a man and a woman period! By giving rights to those otherwise would be a violation of the constitution and my own rights"

Keith Baker: "How dare you exercise your First Amendment Rights?"

Dennis Scranton: "I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions."

Tim Ravndal: "@Kieth, OOPS I forgot this aint(sic) America no more! @ Dennis, Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?"

Dennis Scranton: "Should be able to get info Gazette archives. Maybe even an illustration. Go back a bit over ten years."

The exchange between Ravndal and Facebook user Dennis Scranton appears to reference the 1998 slaying of 21-year-old University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was beaten and tied to a fencepost, where he was left to die. During the trial, witnesses testified that Shepard was targeted because he was gay.
And then he had the nerve to say that he didn’t realize that they were talking about Matthew Shepard…
When reached for comment Friday, Ravndal apologized for the post, saying he "never made the connection" to Shepard's murder until after national bloggers picked up on it and his phone started ringing earlier this week.

"I wasn't even thinking about the tragedy that happened in Wyoming," Ravndal said. "I made a mistake and I apologize to anyone I offended. I do not condone violence to any human being."
What did he think they were talking about?

Ravndal wasn’t the only one caught made anti-gay comments,
Jason Priest, a Republican Senate candidate from Red Lodge, issued an apology Wednesday after posting a vulgar antigay comment on someone else's Facebook page as part of a critique of President Barack Obama's economic policies.

It is time to stop the hate and bigotry!

Update: Sept. 10
The Montana Tea Party fired Tim Ravndal

Another Bad Supreme Court Decision

A Supreme Courts decision from last May once again affects each and everyone of us. The ruling is about binding arbitration, you know the fine print on your credit cards or the car rental agreements or your cable bill or even on employee manual where you give up you rights to legal action even if the company breaks the law.

Justice by the Hour The Supreme Court tangles with mandatory arbitration clauses.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Monday, April 26, 2010

In 2004, when Jackson signed his employment contract, he agreed that disputes arising from his employment would go to arbitration. Specifically, his contract said, "The Arbitrator, and not any federal, state or local court or agency, shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability or formation of this Agreement." And so, in 2007, when Jackson sued Rent-A-Center for racial discrimination and retaliation in federal district court, his former employer tried to dismiss the case, arguing that the arbitration agreement meant that only an arbitrator could determine whether the agreement was enforceable. (More legalese in the contract: The arbitration authority extended to "any claim that all or any part of this Agreement is void or voidable.")
Note the part that says, “The Arbitrator, and not any federal, state or local court or agency, shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability or formation of this Agreement.” The court ruled just that, that Jackson gave away all his rights under the law. That means that a company can have you work an 80 hour work week and pay you for only 40 hours or even pay you not at all. It means that companies can discriminate against black or pregnant women, they can do anything that they want to do. Impossible you say. The article goes on to say…
The rap on mandatory arbitration clauses is that, in the interest of speed and efficiency, they replace the truth-seeking function of courts with the truthiness-seeking function of paid arbitrators. In addition to structural incentives for arbitrators to favor the employer and wonky fee-sharing and secrecy rules, arbitration provides for limited review and unequal bargaining power between employers and employees (who are generally told to take it or leave it). But the courts have mostly tended to enforce arbitration agreements, except in extraordinary cases, and the lower courts agreed to dismiss Jackson's case. The 9th Circuit reversed, finding that whether an arbitration provision is unconscionable is a matter for the courts, not an arbitrator. Rent-A-Center appealed to the Supreme Court, and the tilt-a-whirl of oral argument begins.
So the company can stack the deck anyway they want, they determine who is the arbitrator or who pays for the arbitrator, in other words the Supreme Court just gave companies the right to impose any rules that they want and the employee cannot do anything about it.

When the justices asked if binding arbitration applied in all types of contracts, the lawyer answered,
But Ruth Bader Ginsburg cuts him short. "Underlying your whole case, I think, is the notion that this is a take-it-or-leave-it contract, very common in consumer, credit card agreements, in employment contracts, that one party has no say except to sign or not to sign," she says. "Are all those contracts subject to the unconscionability argument that you are making?" Uh, oh. When Silverberg [Jackson’s lawyer] says that, yes, all these contracts are subject to this argument, Scalia says, "Well, kiss goodbye to arbitration." Or, more likely, kiss it hello.

In the Wall Street Journal article by Clifford M. Marks, he writes…
Dissenting Justice Stevens wrote that the result made no sense. If the arbitration agreement is “so one-sided and the process of its making so unfair” then it was unreasonable to assume Jackson truly assented to put that very question to the arbitrator, Stevens wrote.

The decision is already drawing flak from liberal groups and lawmakers, who contend it will stack the scales in favor of corporations. In a statement, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said, “five members of the Supreme Court struck a blow to our nation’s civil rights laws and the protections that American workers have long enjoyed under those laws.”
Still not convinced…

The other bad Supreme Court decision this year was about allowing companies unlimited political spending in campaigns, you can read what I wrote here and here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

My Story Part – 44 Good Morning Class

Today is my first day back to school.

It all started back when I was still working and I was thinking about retirement. I asked several friends what did they think was the best way to help the trans-community once I retired and many of them said to go and get my Master’s in Social Work.

I get the mail from the Post Office for the Connecticut Outreach Society once a week, and one week there was a college catalog from the UConn School of School Work in the mail. I was glancing through it, some of the classes sounded interesting and reading further; I found out that anyone could take the classes, not just matriculating students. The program was called STEP (Staff Training and Education for the Profession Program), it is a non- matriculating program for people who have been away from school for a while and want to get their feet wet, so to speak. They could see if going back to school to earn their masters was for them. The program allows a person to earn up to 14 credits towards a MSW and if you decide to apply fulltime, those credits are transferred in the matriculating program. The class that caught my eye was, “New Perspectives on Gays and Lesbians”

So the next day, I went down to the HR department at work to see if the company would pay for the class. After talking it over, the HR director said that she thought it was a wonderful idea, so I enrolled in two classes, the “New Perspectives on Gays and Lesbians” and Marco Practices.

When I registered for the classes, I asked them if there would be any problem because my name was still my male name and they told me that it would not be a problem, they said that they would add a note to my file. The first day of class the professors called my male name and I told them they I go by Diana, so much for passing along note (sic). In all the classes I went by Diana, when I handed in my homework assignments or taking exams and when I did transition, the school changed my records. In class on the first day we introduced ourselves, most of the students received their bachelors within 10 years and their degree were in the humanities and when it came to my turn I said, that I got my bachelor degree 34 years ago in engineering. Talk about the square peg in a round hole.

At work, no one could understand why I was taking classes in social work. I told them that I wanted to help people once I retired, however, I couldn’t tell them the whole reason why because I was still closeted and no one at work knew that I was trans except HR. When they closed down the factory and I was laid off they gave us tuition allowance and I latter found out that I was the only one of the 60 employees to take advantage of the allowance.

I will graduate in May and I think that going back to school was the best thing that I ever did in life. It has built my self-esteem and confidence, it has giving me a purpose in living, it has help me in my transition and it was fun. Sure I bitch and moan about homework and exams, but I really enjoy the classroom discussion and the other students, I will miss them.

Well I have to start to think what I’m going to wear for my first day of class.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Manic Monday #221

Lisa’s Manic Monday #221

What's the main thing that builds your self-confidence and why?
Good question!
I know for me, self-confidence is something that I am aware of daily. Every waking hour I have to fight to keep my self-confidence because there are so many people out there that are trying to tear it down. How many of you who are reading this have every had someone come up to you and tell you that you are damned and going to hell? I have. Or have gone to a fast food place and one of the employees yells to the people in the back, “Hey you all have to see this!” and they all come out to gawk.
I am reminded of the poem by Reverend Jesse Jackson, “I am Somebody”

What lessons in humility have you learned over the course of your life?
That we all make mistakes or do something that we regret, but we owe up to it and move on.

How do you combat negative thoughts?
Okay, this is out of Coping Skills 101…
Belly breathing, square breathing, visualization – I’m a beautiful field of flowers, practice relaxation exercises, distracting yourself, etc. I use “distracting myself” a lot, if I’m in a check-out line and someone is staring, I might concentrate on the tabloid newspaper rack.

Saturday Six – Episode 334

Patrick’s Place Saturday Six – Episode 334

1. What is the newest thing in your living room?

A photograph that my brother and sister-in-law gave me.

2. What’s the oldest thing in your living room?
See answer #1

3. Which painting or portrait means the most to you and why?
The photograph of my parents who have pasted away. I think the answer is obvious.

4. Which item given to you by someone else means the most to you and why?
It is the mantle, my father made it for me. He was past his prime when he made it and are several imperfection, but it is the fact that he made which make it so valuable.

5. Which item that you bought is the item you regret buying the most?
The recliner, my parents gave it to as a house-warming gift and they order a “tall” recliner and it is just too large for me. I feel like Lily Tomlin in the skit she did on the oversized rocker.

6. Which item is in the most need of replacement?

The recliner.

Saturday 9: Half the Man I Used to Be

Crazy Sam’s Saturday 9: Half the Man I Used to Be (For me, I don't think that is true.)

1. Do you feel that you are essentially the same person that your were ten years ago?
Inside, yes; on the outside no.

2. Is there something that you have to give all or nothing to?
Yes, losing weight. I really have to bucker down and start losing weight.

3. Have you ever gambled? What have you bet on and for how much?
Once in a great while you can find me at Foxwoods or the Mohegan Sun casinos, I usually bring only a $100. but I usually go once ever couple of years.

4. Can you sleep anywhere or does it have to be in a bed?
I sleep best on a bed, a couch is next and anywhere else it is a real effort to fall and stay asleep.

5. Tell us about the most disastrous or embarrassing first impression you've ever made on someone.
Some people have a negative first impression of me because I’m trans, they don’t get to know me and see who I really am.

6. Do you have a memorable "ripped clothing" moment in your life? No? How about in someone else's?

7. What's changed on your blog since its inception? ...a redo? ...a change of pace? ...or is it about the same?
Well, I first started bloging on Geocites and then moved to Blogspot, since then I changed my motif once on Blogspot

8. If you could travel back in time and whisper something to yourself ten years ago, what would it be?
You can do it!

9. Okay, let's have it! What's the craziest, most impulsive thing you've ever done?
Hmmm… that is a hard one, it was probably something I did as a teenager many moons ago.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I just got back New Hampshire where I was at the family cottage for the weekend. We relaxed (i.e. napped)and we also did some work around the cottage. I installed an outside outlet and my nephew and his wife painted the bathroom and stairway, while my brother installed some Sheetrock and painted. The weather was very windy and the temperature in the low 70's during the day and at night it dropped into the upper 40's. Therefore, we spent a lot of the time indoors. The kids however went in swimming and even though they were turning blue, they had a great time in the water. In the strong winds leftover from hurricane Earl, my nephew's wife went out sailing on the lake and had a blast. She comes from Long Island, sailed most of her life and she said that it was a challenge to sail on the lake Saturday with all the changing winds gusts and wind direction.

I planted some Black Eye Susan's this spring and it is finally paying off...

P.S. I'll catch up on the weekend memes tomorrw.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #192

Janet’s Friday Fill-ins #192


Happy Labor Day weekend to all who celebrate it. we go!

1. Family _is most important to me_.

2. _To find the house I was looking for, I had to drive_ back and forth.

3. I love a _stiff drink right about now_.

4. _Chili_ makes a good meal.

5. I've got the _next round of drinks_

6. _Another oil rig caught fire in the Gulf_: wth!!!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _being with the family at the cottage_, tomorrow my plans include _ being with the family at the cottage _ and Sunday, I want to _ be with the family at the cottage for the last weekend of summer_!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

My Story Part – 43 Support Groups

When people hear about support groups, they think of AA or a cancer support group, but there are many other support groups and types of groups.

There are professionally moderated groups, peer support groups, and social support groups. I have attended both peer and social groups, Connecticut Outreach Society and uniTy are examples of social support groups, while the Twenty Club is a peer support group.

So what are the differences between the groups? The social support groups tend to have more functions, such as banquets, going out to dinners or movies, make-up consultants, etc. The typical meeting usually begin with a guest speaker and then end with a Koffee Klatch. The guest speakers might talk about hair styles for body type, or how to apply make-up and what make-up goes with their complexion. Sometimes instead of meeting at the meetinghouse, they might go out to a store that opens up their store to the group. When a vendor opens their store to us, we both win. The store usually does more business during those couple of hours that they do during a whole day. For the group members, this might be the only time that they can buy clothes off the rack and actual try them on. Normally they might buy their clothes on-line, so when they go to the store, they are ready to buy something. The same is true when the group goes out to a movie or restaurant, this might be the only time that their members might be able to go out in public dressed. I use to take group on a trip up to Northampton MA to go shopping and then to dinner. It was a safe place for us because it was far away from their hometowns that they wouldn’t bump into someone that they know.

A peer support group is just the opposite of the social groups, there are no guest speakers, thee are no “outings”, and instead they will deal with issues. How to change your name, finding a doctor, how hormones affect the body or dealing with the issues of living in another gender. Typically, a meeting starts with a check-in, everyone is given a chance to tell about the problems they have had since the last meeting. Then the members have a chance to talk about problems or questions that they would like to be discussed by the group. A good example of a peer support group, was the support group meeting that was scene from the 2007 soap opera “All My Children”, all the members except the actor are trans-people…

(I know Jennifer and Betty, and I met the actor who played Zoey at a reception at the National Press Club in Washington DC for people who were there for the NTCE Lobby Day to lobby for ENDA in 2007.)

There is a third type and that is a professionally moderated group by a therapist, usually there is a fee associated with it. While a peer or social support group might ask for donations at the door or a membership fee. Support group members tend to be older, I think because it is now easier to come out these days and there is the internet now that helps those who are coming out. Plus I feel the younger trans-people have different needs than those who come out later in life. In addition, there are other groups available for minors because many support groups are not licensed to work with minors.

I first attended a social support group back in 2000, the Connecticut Outreach Society and for me it was the most amazing feeling, to know that I wasn’t alone. That I wasn’t the only one who felt like I did. The support group opened me up to the realization that I could actually go out into public. In 2001, I attended the Twenty Club summer picnic at Stratton Brook State Park and in my diary I wrote, that everyone was talking about surgeons, hormones and transitioning… this is the “Big Leagues”

In 2002, I attended my first Twenty Club meeting because I had grown to understand that the feelings that I were having went a lot deeper than crossdressing, that it went to my very soul. Both groups helped me, COS help me to be able to see that I was possible that I could go out into public and live as Diana. While the Twenty Club helped me work out my problems. For the first three years attending Twenty Club, I just listened, listening to what worked and what didn’t, listening to where the bumps in the road were. It wasn’t until 2004 that I started my journey, now it was my turn to start asking questions. And now the wheel has turned and I am answering questions to those who are now departing on their own journey.

In 2003, I was the Program Director of COS, I organized the meetings and invited the guests, and then in 2004, I became the Director of COS for two years. I have been on the Board ever since then in one capacity or another; I am currently the Board Secretary.

Support group fill a need, but they are not for everyone or only one type is for them. However, they are worth trying out to see if there is a fit for you.